Bratislava is a stone’s throw from Vienna. Or, it’s a +1hr boat ride along the Danube River on the Twin City Liner. Take your pick.
It cannot be compared to the Austrian capital or to Prague but it is a gem in its own right. Bratislava has got its fair share of historic buildings (an imposing Castle, baroque palaces, and notable cathedrals) and other protected heritage sites but some prominent 20th and early 21st century edifices – such as the Apollo Bridge, a new building for the Slovak National Theatre, as well as private real-estate development – are transforming the traditional cityscape. The construction boom may have slowed but Bratislava has the competitive advantage of being one of the last major European cities where there is still an abundance of available space. (read: welcome, foreign investors)
Plans are in the works to revitalize and develop unutilized quarters with the hope of giving the Slovak capital ‘a new look’: replace former factory sites in the centre with mixed-use buildings and parks; develop modern boulevards along the banks of the Danube; and, install high-speed tramways.
It might be some time before it is considered a modern European metropolis but the city is well on its way… Remarkably, stronger Wi-Fi hotspots can be found in some of the narrow cobbled passages of the Old Town than in many city centres! Laptop-bearing people lined Primate’s Square (Primaciálne námestie) into the wee hours of the morning.