During our Danube Waltz cruise with Viking River Cruises, we took the Bratislava Walking Tour. This was an included excursion during our cruise.
The walking tour starts off with a bus tour of some of the city highlights. If you are taking this tour I suggest sitting on the right side of the bus. You will have closer views of some of the overlooks of the city and the castle.
The bus does go by with views from the left side but you are across the street and have more chance of a car driving in front of your photos. The tour continues past the American, Iranian, and British consulate houses along with many others. You get to see the posh are of Bratislava.
Bratislava is the capital of Hungary. You may be wondering where in the heck is Bratislava? It is directly on the Danube River in the western portion of Slovakia. Bratislava is one of the newest capitals in the world. Bratislava, Vienna, and Hungary are the closest capitals to each other.
You can take a train ride approximately 45 minutes to reach Vienna. It is about a 2.5-hour ride to Budapest. Or you just hop on board a Viking River Cruise and relax on the Danube watching the world go by.
Back to our tour of Bratislava, the bus brought us right up to the castle and our guide led us to the main gates. The day we were at the castle there was a group of protesters. I am honestly still not sure what they were protesting about. Our guide said that it was common for there to be protesters at the castle and in the city.
We had about 15 minutes to wander the castle area on our own and take photos. The guide pointed out some historical facts about the castle while we were there. The castle has over 1500 years of history and was once the home of Hungarian royalty.
Multiple restorations have been done to the castle over the years including repairing the castle after Napoleon's troops attacked the castle in the 1800's.
After wandering about the castle area for a bit, we boarded the bus again and headed for the old town area. We lucked out again, and the Christmas markets were open while we were there. Our guide led us through the old town pointing out a few cannon balls that are still in buildings.
The guided portion of our tour ended towards the bottom of the old town area. We were maybe a 10-minute walk back to the ship. We had about an hour to wander the old town on our own and enjoy the Christmas Markets.
We decided to stop into Billa which is a local grocery store and pick up gifts and fun food to try. We found some Slovakian wine to bring home along with local chocolates. I will have a post up soon showing you the grocery store and what we found. I love wandering through local grocery stores and seeing what products are available and how much they are.
The walk back to the ship is easy and pretty direct. We turned left when we ran into the Danube and walked along the waterfront to the ship.
This was a great tour exploring Bratislava. It is a city I could see returning to and spending more time exploring. It doesn't have quite the over the top castles and buildings that we have seen in other cities on our cruise, but it was still quite lovely.
Our guide told us that a wish will come true for you if you touch the hat on the manhole worker statue in Bratislava. You know I had to give it a try.