Once hidden from the world behind the “Iron Curtain,” Slovakia retains an air of mystery and intrigue, and its small capital city has an unexpectedly colorful history. You’ll learn more about Bratislava’s past from a local expert and also visit the local Christmas market—a relatively new (and thoroughly delightful) tradition for Slovakians.
How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Slovakian? “Veselé Vanoce!” Today you’ll arrive in the capital city of Slovakia, Bratislava. The heart and soul of Slovakia, Bratislava is full of surprises.
The city straddles the mighty Danube and has played a leading role in the politics and culture of the region for many centuries. Following Ottoman incursions into Hungary in the 16th-century, Bratislava, then known as Pressburg, became the capital of Hungary in 1536 and retained that status under the Habsburgs well into the 19th-century. As a result of its longtime imperial prominence, the city is a melting pot of cultures and architectural styles, including Gothic, baroque and art deco. Unlike cities with venerable Christmas markets, Bratislava just established its first holiday market in 1993. But the Slovakians have quickly embraced the seasonal traditions of their Austrian and Hungarian neighbors— and you’ll get to embrace them as well.
Bratislava walking discovery tour with Christmas Market