A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava

If our day in its capital city Bratislava is anything to go by, Slovakia will be worth a return visit. It’s only an hour away from Vienna and inexpensive to get to from there: 3 Euro per person on a bus a bit more if you want to hop on a train.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Worth the day trip!

You can of course opt for a more expensive option and buy a package that provides you with pick-up at your hotel, a fancy bus with a bathroom and AC and a tour guide for your walking tour waiting for you upon arrival. That is what we opted to do. When pressed for time, and making a last minute decision, we find that sometimes paying more is just fine if it means less worry. We found our tickets through the Vienna Information Office near the Opera house.

Note: Be careful not to over pay! Keep in mind that a guide in Bratislava is getting about 3 Euro an hour from the company (We were shocked – they live off the tips!) and that even if you took the train it would all be less than 15 Euro per person. So keep that in mind when bartering for the packages.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava - Montecristo Travels small dog trips

You can see the castle on the left and the old town and it’s sights on the right. Danube River below.

Our day started early. The driver picked us up at the hotel as promised and on time. He knew a dog was part of the deal and greeted me with much enthusiasm. We were dropped off near the Opera House where he pointed out clearly where our bus would pull up and told us it would be bright yellow and what number would be displayed on the front. Sure enough – after a pee break on the Opera House lawn – the bus showed up. We got in, no one cared that a small dog was joining them. Off we went! Easy.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Time to power nap before all that walking!

The drive to Bratislava (and back) was uneventful. Smooth highways, beautiful countryside… and because both countries are part of the European Union (EU) no border stop and no passport control. Before we knew it we were driving over the BIG Bridge over the Danube River – same river that goes through Vienna in fact!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Can you see the pedestrian walkway UNDER the road? Look carefully you will see a person walking.

This bridge is significant. Remember that until not that long ago the people of Slovakia and thus the citizens of Bratislava, were living under the harsh rule of communism. That bridge and the Danube River were constant reminders of what was JUST out of reach. Out there … only an hour away was Vienna. Much like with the Berlin Wall that bridge and river saw many executions as people tried to get away.

Today, if you want to get the most amazing view of the city you can take the pedestrian walkway under and across the bridge (surprisingly beautiful compared to many communist monstrosities), then take the elevator (or stairs!) up to the observation deck that looks much like the Seattle Space Needle. It’s about 300 feet above the Danube, and there is a restaurant up there if you feel so inclined. Sadly the whole thing takes over 2 hours to enjoy and we simply didn’t have the time. Poop!

Bratislava’s Old City Centre

Our bus dropped us off where the bridge connects to the Ring Road. There is an off ramp that takes drivers to the Old City. I will not lie to you. The stop was grungy, filled with graffiti tags and a smelly bathroom. It also had a kiosk selling cigarettes, beer, vending machine coffee, maps and other such things. We didn’t feel unsafe, but you could tell that the city had other priorities. It reminded mom of communist Hungary years and years ago the one she had visited as a child. Within moments our guide led us across the “bus lanes” and into the old city with all the beauty it had to reveal.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Luckily it turns quickly to this!

Our tour started with a surprise;  a statue of Hans Christian Anderson. I did not know this, and neither did mom (who lived in Denmark and saw the little mermaid statue in Copenhagen) but he lived in Bratislava for a while. I know right? Who knew? He lived there long enough to write one of his most famous stories: The Little Match Girl. It was an intriguing discovery!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Dad is at the back looking at all the etchings on the coat of all the stories he wrote!

We kept walking down a pedestrian street that is just beyond pretty. A good way to get our blood flowing into our legs after the long bus ride. It’s very green (pee break!) with loads of trees. This space is usually filled with a market but we were there just a tiny bit early and got to see it unencumbered. The cute houses and restaurants are some of the oldest in the city.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Art exhibit and so much shade and greenery!

We then headed down towards the Danube, where river cruise boats await along the open promenade. It was a little loop we did so that those that were going on a river cruise (and not returning to Vienna) could drop off their suitcases before continuing with the walking tour. I quite enjoyed the view…. And learning about the bridge and the struggles the county and its people suffered until it’s “Velvet Divorce” from the Czech Republic in 1993 from our guide.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

The river boats and people on the bridge crossing … see them?

Heading back into the Old Town, we made our way towards some of the major landmarks and sights. You know the drill! Opera houses, Parliament buildings, Concert halls. Many resembling the ones we had seen in Vienna.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Pretty fancy! I think this was the Opera House or Theatre.

Our favourites?

The Old Town Hall dates back to the 13th century and is one of the only remaining old stone buildings of that time.  I loved that it had this most pretty tower that you can climb up as part of the museum ticket (very good but not pet friendly- a handoff will be needed). It’s a lot of stairs but really worth it! The inner courtyard had stellar archways all around. I was allowed in the courtyard and took full advantage of that!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Isn’t it lovely? We just loved it’s vibe.

The Old Town hall is one of the many buildings that surround the main square and at its centre is the Maximillian or Roland Fountain. Built in 1572, its base is 9 metres in diameter.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Taken before the skies cleared! I’m asking Dad for a treat and some water. Note I am off leash!

The column is 10 metres high and topped with a man in shining armour. Some claim it’s Maximillian I other’s say it’s the Knight Roland, defender of the city. Hence the two names for one fountain. Either way, its importance was in providing drinking water to the main square and its people, saving them the hike to the river. I liked running all around it!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

And in the sun!

In the same square is a statue of a Napoleon soldier. I have no idea why it was there – or the story behind it – but it made for a fun photo op. I was slowly learning that Bratislava had a lot of fun statues around.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Mom, the soldier and me!

Around a bend towards the Western edge of the historic Old City Centre we went. We just loved the vibe of the city. Sure it’s not as grand or majestic in style as Prague, Vienna or Budapest for that matter, but it has soul. I was particularly fascinated by the juxtaposition of new buildings built where war had destroyed the previous one, often right next to a survivor. One building broke our heart. Its Art Deco beauty something to behold but nearly abandoned if not for one resident on the before last floor. 

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Gorgeous right?

We hope someone scoops it up and gives it the facelift it needs. Its location is amazing too – right across the street from Saint Martin’s Cathedral.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

St. Martins, the holocaust memorial and the ring road on the left!

Saint Martin’s dates back to the 15th century. The Castle on its hill towers above it from across the road (more on that soon!) but the Cathedral doesn’t seem to … care… LOL! Maybe because it knows it has importance of its own. You see many a coronation was had there. A full ELEVEN kings and EIGHT Queens to be precise!  Plus it’s kind of neat that they built the Cathedral right into the city wall. It’s a beauty inside so if you can do a hand off (no dogs inside) do visit, it’s worth it! The church is free and the treasury a little extra DO pay for that. You will not regret it.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

sober interior but beautiful in it’s design.

It’s a fascinating architectural piece. You can see the evolution from Romantic, to Gothic to Baroque. The spire is topped with an exact replica – in gold – of the crown of St. Stephen. And crazy enough … this amazing Cathedral is just a few meters away from the busiest of city ring roads (where the bridge into town connects!). Oddly we did not feel overwhelmed by the noise of traffic. I know not what magic that is!

In the same square and much more sobering is the Holocaust Memorial. The discrete steel and and stone sculpture commemorates the 105,000 lives of those killed. On the wall behind the sculpture is a silhouette of the Neolog Synagogue which used to sit on this site before it and the entire Jewish ghetto was destroyed by the Soviets in 1967 to make way for the bridge.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Star of David on top … and you can see the Synagogue in the marble to the left. Underpass below the Ring Road

Bratislava Castle

With only 4 hours left we decided that as much as we wanted to linger and see more of the Old City we needed to start our hike up to the castle if we were to see it at all. Following some simple signage we walked past St. Martin’s Cathedral and found ourselves on the vestige of the old city walls. You would never have known they were there if the signs didn’t point that way! Here there is a great series of old photos and plaques showing the Jewish community that once thrived there. And a photo of that Synagogue!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Amazing to see these. Synagogue in the centre.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Fun side angles to get lost in!

We managed to cross the Ring Road to get to the other side of it, for it separates the Old City from the Castle grounds.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

That pedestrian bridge is not too hard to find!

I absolutely loved the adorable yellow Rococo house known as the House of the Good Shepherd (1760-1765) that may be Europe’s most adorable clock museum!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Seriously HOW CUTE IS THIS HOUSE??

We passed in front and started climbing up and up and up the stairs…You can see some homes being restored and modernized, right next to those overgrown with vines. It’s pedestrian so I was off leash again! I LOVED the bike ramp with wooden barrier on the right of “not all” (so weird) steps!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Off leash!! Whoop stairs!! looking at the bike ramp.

And then the castle ground pathways materialized. At first the oldest ones made of cobble stones.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Look at how old that gate is!! off leash an no one cares!

And before you know it we looked up and there is was looming above you: Bratislava’s Castle.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

OH my lords look at those STAIRS!! WHOOOOHOOOO!

Just touring the castle grounds and gardens is worth the hike. The variety of eras represented in this one massive collection of buildings is mind boggling. The castle was built on Roman remnants the main building’s range from 1531 to 1783.

Note: Pets are not allowed inside so we gave it a pass. Time was of the essence anyway.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

With Dad at the main entrance.

I really wish we had a bit more time but realizing we had to hike all the way back so we headed off.

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

The view from the castle grounds!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Such a nice space to stroll. Pet’s welcome. I even ran off leash.

As we made our way back towards our bus top we walked through the truly lovely streets of the Old City Centre of Bratislava. Finally – and quite literally – I stumbled upon my favourite statue in the entire city: Čumil!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Seriously HOW could I not take a photo?

It may be “just” a statue of a man peeking out of a manhole but it is amusing none the less. Probably one of the most photographed spots in the city! Yes a total tourist thing to do… but heck when in Bratislava…

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Hot dog? yes ok .. that’s me! One for the road!

Three theories around what he is doing option a) he’s resting after cleaning the sewer or b) he’s trying to look under women’s skirt c) it’s a reference to communism and the lack of incentive to work so he’s … people watching. Originally there was no warning sign next to him but after he lost his head twice when delivery trucks (it’s a pedestrian area) went over… well … something had to be done. For him and for the suspension of the trucks!

A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava Montecristo Travels

Getting my flag patch for Slovakia!

So it is with a giggle in our heart we poped into a tourist store to get a Slovakia Flag badge for my sling bag and we JUST caught our bus back to Vienna where cake and coffee awaited!

38 Comments on “A Pet Friendly Day Trip to Bratislava

  1. Thanks so much for this virtual tour! I love how you always find (and share) such interesting statues as well as the beautiful buildings and landscapes wherever you go.

  2. Great write up of a beautiful city. That bridge looks very impressive. I think your dad was actually photobombing you in the photo with Hans Christian Anderson. And I love that shot of you in the sun warming your furs!

  3. I have never heard of this city, which is absolutely gorgeous. I love the architecture and the views are lovely. Montecristo looks like he’s having a ball.

  4. Peep #1 loves the picture of the street with all the trees and the benches. She says that if she were there, she would want to sit there on one of those benches, indefinitely. PURRS.

  5. I LOVE what you wrote about the bridge and the Danube being like the Berlin Wall and a symbol of what was so close but also so out of reach.

    Also interesting about the Hans Christian Anderson connection. The Little Match Girl was one of favorites as a kid.

    And of course, loved photo with the statue of the guy climbing out of the manhole, not sure what he was doing but certainly makes for a good photo op.

    • Thank you! Glad you found the post interesting and that last photo … amusing! Bringing a smile is part of the fun of the telling.

  6. OMD! I was loving the statue of the guy leaning over the bench then I saw the statue of the guy coming up out of the manhole! BOL!! So much FUN! I too love old architecture! It was nice of you to mention that these drivers work for tips only and I agree it’s worth it to pay more if you are unsure what you are doing.

    • I found it important to mention that the tour guides and such all just work for tips. When yo buy a ticket as a Canadian … well we assume that the profits are divided up according to who does the most work etc. but no … and yeah paying more for peace of mind can be worth it! Glad the photos made you laugh!

  7. Oh, my, what gorgeous scenery and the architecture is just amazing. My daughter and I love castles and all the history and dreaming that goes along with them! And the art deco building is stunning – only one resident left?! Curious as to why the vacancies? So much character…so many stories those walls must hold! There is something so special about seeing your photos and really touching that armchair traveller in me. These are what dreams and writing are made of! Thanks for sharing all your travels with us!

    • Such a wonderful comment thank you! Yeah … I suspect that there is likely a lot of updates needed for plumbing and water etc…? That building … how I wished it would be renovated! SO very glad our retell gin of our adventures brings you joy.

  8. You always outdo yourself with these amazing adventures. I travel internationally vicariously through you. Stellar images as well!

    • Thank you! The world is a vast and amazing place… I just hope to see a lot more of it and take you along! Thanks for taken the time to stop in.

  9. I swear you take the best photos. It feels like I’m there in Bratislava. Bratislava castle is so beautiful. I love the street side pictures too. Feels like a movie with the style and architecture of the buildings. Love the last candid photo of you all. Very sweet.

    • Thank you so much for that compliment! Side streets are sort of our favourite place …LOL
      And every now and then … a good selfie is what is needed to say The End!

  10. I did a daytrip to Bratislava back in the 90’s when I lived in Hungary and boy oh boy the Hungarians will be quick to tell you that Slovakia is actually Hungarian turf. It has a fascinating history. When I entered the country it was Czechoslovakia and when I left the Velvet Divorce happened, and became just Slovakia. Border agents were like “Meh.” As an American I never learned much about that area until I actually traveled there. I agree that the Danube and its many bridges know too many ghosts.

    • It’s always been a tug of war in that area. Stuck in the middle of so many things – I do believe that independence was the only way … out of that dark past.

  11. Another great tour of another amazing place. Thanks for taking us along! Looks like a great spot to visit and tourist trap or not, I love that Čumil statue! And the “hot dog” drinking station made me chuckle.

  12. This is very close to home; used to be part of my old country, then separated, but still a stone’s throw away. Brings up memories.

    • It’s difficult in these regions – the separations etc. I know .. I’m half Ukrainian so you can imagine how I feel about Crimea. And the other half go me is Belgian and heck there it’s a divide between Dutch and French etc. I honestly think in the end … the separations happen for a reason. Hopefully long run it will be best for all. I wish them much much prosperity and success. The people were kind, generous and hopeful.

  13. Montecristo is just adorable. He reminds me a bit of my papillon, Kitsune. My fiance and I are planning to take our first vacation with our dogs this summer. I’m really excited but a bit nervous. It will be our first time really traveling with our two small dogs. Your blog gives me hope that it can be done! Lovely photos.

  14. I LOOOOOVE that “hot dogs only” photo! :) What a fun trip. I can’t wait to take my 2 to Europe!!

  15. What a gorgeous city, I can’t believe you toured it in just one day. I didn’t know Hans Christian Anderson lived there – and wrote the Little Match Girl while he was there, I love the statue! That manhole cover statue is a riot, at least someone had a sense of humor! Wonderful travel post.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  16. Your photos are gorgeous and informative as usual! I hope someone scoops up that art deco building as well. The triangular formation on the building’s front looks like it would make a perfect reading nook. And with a view of Saint Martin’s Cathedral, what’s not to love while snuggled up with a good book.

  17. I loved visiting Vienna in 1971 and traveling on the Danube. Your pictures are beautiful and reveal how well these buildings have stood the test of time. Keep these adventures going!

  18. I am a huge history buff, and love visiting other countries to learn their culture and history. There is nothing quite like immersing yourself. Sadly, I don’t travel to Europe as often as I would like, and have yet to visit Eastern Europe. Which is a shame, because that is where my family is from. I love living vicariously through your blog adventures!

  19. Bratislava seems like a lovely city. I was in Prague last year, the architecture is similar to Bratislava and I loved the city. Good thing that you had such a nice weather while sightseeing!

  20. This was a very interesting post to read! It definitely made me want to travel more. This is a city I did not know much about. Thank you for sharing your adventure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>