Coffee, a Church, and a Castle: Our Trip to Bratislava, Slovakia


Last weekend Chris and I visited the capital of nearby Slovakia, Bratislava.

Slovakia: An Extremely Brief History of the Country From 1000 (no joke) to Present 

But seriously, read more about Slovakia.  Artifacts dating from 270,000 BC have been found.

Only 90 minutes away!


Originally annexed into the Kingdom of Hungary (1000-1918), the Slovaks mutually merged with Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, and Carpathian Ruthenia to form the country of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Under pressure from Hungary and Germany, the country broke up in 1939–portions were annexed by Hungary as well as Germany–with the remaining land mass now named Czecho-Slovakia. Again, under threat from the Germans, Slovakia seceded and aligned with Nazi Germany until Czechoslovakia was reformed following WWII. In 1948, the country became occupied by the Soviet Union (which led to one of my favorite protests in sport by Vera Caslavska at the 1968 Olympics). Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Czechoslovakia earned autonomy once again. The Czech Republic and Slovakia mutually went their separate ways in 1993 in what is known as the Velvet Divorce (sassy!) although they remain close allies.

Says the Slovaks to the Soviets. At least that’s how I imagine it.

Bratislava Castle: Originally a stone palace in the 11th century, reconstructed in 1423, additions made in 1768, nearly completely destroyed by fire from the “carelessness of garrison soldiers” in 1811, and fully reconstructed starting in 1953.

Entering the city of Bratislava is interesting because on the one hand you’re driving on this modern highway but there are literally portions of a castle wall above you as you follow under an overpass.


On Saturday we made the trek up to the gorgeous castle. Thankfully it wasn’t too windy but it was super chilly; I was glad I decided to wear Chris’s super thick work socks.


The view of the city was amazing. Apparently on clear days you can see all the way to Austria and Hungary.


Christmas Market: I Lose Out on a Beautiful Antique Pitcher Because I’m not Aggressive Enough 

No seriously. This lady totally swooped in and took the pitcher I was interested in. I didn’t realize how cutthroat European markets can be.

Lesson learned. 

The markets were held all across Old Town.



This was a favorite: Fake Jousting. A man would push a “horse” and the rider would attempt to hit the mark with the jousting stick. 


St. Elisabeth’s Blue Church: Built in 1907-1908 and Consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary

Our last morning in the city we visited the Blue Church. So gorgeous! We weren’t able to tour the inside because there was a Sunday service, but it was amazing to just stand outside.


The school next door was originally used by the church.



Cafe & Restaurants: I  ❤ you Slovakian Food

As noted at least a thousand times in previous blogs, breakfast is my favorite. We went to Urban House because they had an amazing coffee menu and VEGETARIAN ENGLISH BREAKFAST. Which I’ve always wanted to have but with, you know, the meat and questionable pork content in baked beans, I’ve never had the option.


Oh and the avocado toast because hello, homeade rye bread. 
Kale was the best part! Even Chris liked it!
Totally stalked this dog walking out of Urban House. He had a scarf, vest, and coat on. 


During the trip we had drinks at a couple of places, although the Irish Pub and KGB Pub were clear favorites. Slovenska Pivaren was also great; get the potato dumplings in goat cheese and sour cream sauce. Trust me.

Chris could smoke inside at the Dubliner and do I need to explain why I skipped down the stairs to the underground USSR-inspired bar?



After visiting the castle we stopped by Eleven Books & Coffee which is hands down one of the best places we’ve visited and absolutely a must-see in the city. A small used bookstore that serves coffee, tea, a couple of beers, and wine, it was a perfect stop after a chilly two mile walk.

Sound Advice
I ordered the first mulled wine they sold all season! Chris had an IPA.

I also picked up a couple of books that I can’t wait to start reading. They came with bookmarks and chocolates that say “Books and chocolate are the answer! Wishing you a sweet reading experience.”


For Dinner we ate at Re.Fresh which was gorgeous and super filling. We were a little meh when we saw that it was a “club” but then realized the club and restaurant were on separate floors. I mean, I’m definitely pro-European Discoteque but alas Chris (surprise, surprise!) is not.

I’m so glad we went. They have great vegan, vegetarian, and meat options. Plus Saturday’s special was mushroom paprikosh! YAAAAASSSSS. The Slovakian version is with potato dumplings, not spaetzle (Hungarian/German) or traditional flour dumplings (Hungarian/Russian), but it was a good take on [my favorite] dish.

Wud Up Paprikosh
Chris’s burger + fries

On our last morning we stopped at the very adorable and delicious U Kubistu cafe on our way back from the Blue Church. We made it just in time for breakfast. Our server was AMAZING. The coffee was great and so were our dishes. A limited menu that changes daily depending on seasonality (yaasssss), it was one of my favorite places since moving to Europe. Plus when our coffee arrived, Superfreak was playing, so bonus points.

Chris’s breakfast of beans and eggs (with homemade sauce and bread)
My breakfast. First time having Socca.


Across the street.

A few other pictures:


Beer haul (the Fiesta was the beer Chris had at Eleven)


Sheep at the castle!
Books at our AirB&B
Bonus Picture of my market mug and Ike being crabby. It’s too cold to lay outside so he has to sit indoors like a peasant. You can literally see his disdain for me in his shoulder hunch.


❤ Ashlyn

Listening to: Jackie Motion Picture Soundtrack by Mica Levi

Dessert Obsession: Eleven Books & Coffee Dark Chocolate



2 thoughts on “Coffee, a Church, and a Castle: Our Trip to Bratislava, Slovakia

  1. The mushroom papricas looks WONDERFUL!
    My grandma Barbara Bencs (Bench) was born in Gomor Megye in 1900. It’s mow Czche
    I think Gomor means county. I cant find where my Grandpa was born in1898. I know he was in service as a footman in a hunting lodge castle for the Esterhazy family….don’t know where though. It’s also now Czch.
    I’m really enjoying your entries and pics. am so glad you’re having fun exploring.
    I just received your pictures from the party, thank you so much! They are great.


    1. Oh wow that’s great information! I know there are some Megye streets in Hungary, but not sure of the actual location. Do you know where the hunting lodge is? There is a Esterhazy Castle here in Papa!


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