Much of Bratislava's Old Town is cobbled, and that in itself means you need to proceed with a bit more caution than you might otherwise.
Pavements (sidewalks) in the area around the Old Town are not always in good condition. Keep your eyes open for dropped or lifted slabs, holes, the remains of street furniture sticking up and other such trip hazards.
The same applies when you are crossing the roads: watch out for tram lines (which are not raised, but which do have a shoe-heel-sized slot in them, and watch out for potholes.
I'm usually pretty nifty on my feet but even I was caught out in Bratislava, misjudging my step and ending up with a very painful pulled muscle in my upper leg (that's a euphemism, by the way!).
So do watch where you're walking, and take particular care if you have any mobility difficulties.
An Aussie student, just wanna say,make sure you know how much you drink costs before you order. Most places are good (slovak pub, bar across from charlies) but other bars, the bar tenders will take what you give them and walk off, it may not be much but it adds up. in just over two drinks in BAROK CIRCUS i paid sk100 (euro3) too much. Its not much, but honesty goes along way. I took another travllers tip and asked for a bill, but got some random bill for sk 430. so just pay with what ever it says on the menu in excat change if possible, its a pain in the ass but will save you over the night.
Wow, was my first thought. With only a few minutes of warning, the May sky opened and down came buckets of rain, huge rain drops bouncing off the pavement. Fortunately, I had my waterproof shell, the rain was not cold and I enjoyed it. But Wow!
Well, I had problems with the customs at the airprot in Bratislava in the new airport. I travelled just with handluggage to Sweden with Ryanair. These customs think they have the power all the time, and they dont want to help so much. First of all they should learn to speak English better.
While Bratislava is a very cool place to walk around, and has a very medieval feel, in many places the cobblestone streets are very uneven and while walking, even the slightest distraction could result in a horrible fall or trip. It occured so often that eventually I simply had to sit down and have a beer.
I arrived at Bratislave hlavná stanica last night and being in a bit of a hurry decided to opt for a cab. Prior to getting in, I asked the driver how much the fare to the Carlton Hotel (my meeting point) would be. His response was EUR 18-20 (for a 2-3km journey) claiming that EUR 15 was the minimum fare. I said "No thanks!" and immediately was told his friend could do me a EUR 10 fare. In the end I walked and arrived a couple of minutes late - it was only a 15-20 minute walk to the Carlton.
I asked a Slovak last evening if this was a common problem - sadly it is. Her tips were 1) to learn the basic phrases in Slovak to hire a cab (fair enough!) and also to phone for a cab rather take one from outside the station from the taxi rank. The fare should be nearer to EUR 5 apparently.
I read a from one Slovak that the service in Bratislava is bad. This is not true, I have lived in Slovakia for over 5 years and have found 98% of the service to be very good from a 2 star to a 5 star restaurant. I have been in the Hospitality business for over 30 years and only seen good service with a smile from Restaurant personel in Bratislava when I go there.
Many people tell to be wary of pick pockets. Use your head and you should have no problem.
Although there might be some dodgier areas about the city, the old town felt very safe and relaxed. The train station, though, while not particularly threatening, was a real mess, with drunks peeing openly into the street (and mothers letting their kids do the same). It's not a good introduction to a city that is otherwise pleasant, well kept and gentile.
The homepage of Bratislava opera tells that you can buy tickets from abroad via Ticketportal.sk. What happened in my case is that I signed in on the website, chose a ticket and paid via my card. I got a message that I should pick up the ticket at the main office of Ticketportal.sk in Bratislava.
I went there for the ticket and to my surprise they told me that I had to pay for the ticket once more since they claimed that there was no notification from there bank that I had paid. I could show them the a copy from my bank that I had paid, but they insisted that I had to pay twice. They claimed that their bak/it-system was built in such a way that they had to ask for payment twice. There were 2 girls/women ca 30yr talking to me, very sympathetic, smiling and understanding but the bottom line was that if I want a ticket I had to pay twice.
If you are living outside of Slovakia never use Ticketportal.sk. If you live in Bratislava I believe it is just as easy to go directly to the Opera to get the ticket.
The most surprising thing for me is that the "official" Opera support these people, which for non-slovakians is a scam
We missed our stop for the city center ( it is hard to tell) . We ended up getting off in aconstruction area and had to walk a ways and cross under a very dodgey looking underpass to get on a bus heading back. Best to sit up front and ask the driver to let you know when you are near the OLD TOWN.
Check your bills when in restaurants or pubs to ensure u are paying for what u ordered
This seems to be the norm- cause it happened too often to be a coincidence
when u go into pubs- they don't expect u to pay for your drink straight away -its like a tab- and i guess
if u are in there a long time u would'nt honestly notice the extra entries
It was very obvious in one restaurant when we were been charged for 10 espressos when we had 1 -now this just looked like a mis entry on the keyboard- but other places there would be extra drinks or dishes that we did'nt order
Handy to keep this in mind- no biggie but useful if u are trying to budget
Be on your lookout for suspicious looking characters offering to change your money. Be wary of men in sunglasses and fake leather jackets / coats loitering next to high traffic areas. Visit a bank or use credit cards to make purchases. Many or most places now accept credit cards in the Slovak Republic.
You normally don't want to act up in a night club, but be especially careful here. These bouncers don't take 1 ounce of crap from anybody. These guys don't even like eye contact. Besides the fact that most of them are packing, they're mostly pretty solid guys. If they say anything to you be as compliant as you can.
There is alot of racism in Bratislava, even in the inner city and old town. Especially towards people who look 'gypsy'. My friend is portugese, dresses very well and is the embassadors son. Just because of his skin color, he constantly gets harrased by both slovak boys, and police. There are also skin heads in bratislava who prey on anyone who isn't white. But also, if you have longer hair or have the typical 'antifa' look, you can get harrased by these skinheads. My friend whos german was jumped by about 15 skinheads in a park in old town just because his hair wasn't short. Also an African friend came to visit me in the summer, in 1 night alone, we were harrased 3 times and once some guys tried to beat him up, but he was able to get away. My best advice is to not linger around to much outside at night, go to your destination or at least look like your going somewhere. Do not walk around parks at night either. And im sorry to say but, if your not white, police are not likely to help you either...
Alright, I've been to this place over a dozen times, pretty fun, had a knife pulled on me only once, which is cool, but one night went out and police had area taped off, apparently some mafia shooting, and a guy got killed, not much unlike a Dubliner incident several years ago. Just watch out for the bouncers if *** hits the fan. P.S. helps to like hip-hop, seems like that's all they play anymore