While one of the top attractions in Bratislava is certainly the Bratislava Castle I would argue that the best thing to do in the city is the Bratislava Iron Curtain Bike Tour. Granted my family loves a bike tour and though the tour company warned of early November snow when I booked, the weather could not have been better. We bought four tickets from Authentic Slovakia Tours for a four hour bike tour covering the hot spots of Bratislava. This included much of the Old Town which we had walked through the day before but it was nice to learn what we were actually looking at including St. Martin’s Cathedral.
Then we continued biking along the Danube River and then across the Most Lafranconi bridge away from the city and into the Cha Pečniansky les Nature Preserve. We then continued to the former Iron Curtain border zone with Austria which far from having a formal check point, only has a small stone to indicate that you are switching countries. We stopped this small marker for photos and also to try some Soviet era snacks that are still popular in Bratislava and that our guide bought us to try. From this spot you can also see the last communist-era housing project across the river on the outskirts of Bratislava, Dlhé diely, which is still inhabited and an interesting site.
Near this border is a WWII Czechoslovak military bunker called Bunker BS-1 which we were able to go in. This bunker is the first of many that were built as military fortifications to defend against Nazi Germany in the 1930’s so despite the popular misnomer there were not Nazi bunkers, they were ANTI Nazi bunkers. Consisting of many rooms these are now paling into a state of disrepair – going inside you can see they are now a sleeping place of the homeless and an occasional party spot for locals. There are 14 of these bunkers still left and while we did not visit it B-8 is apparently the best preserved and currently open as a museum.
Then on the way back to central Bratislava the Bratislava Iron Curtain Bike Tour took us through one of the oldest parks in Central Europe, the Sad Janka Král’a, dating from the 1770’s, and along the modern riverside including the Vyhliadková veža UFO (or UFO Observation Deck in English). We then stopped for pictures on the Apollo Bridge overlooking the castle before concluding the 14km bike tour back at the starting point. You can find out more about the tour here and the price varies based on how many people you have on the tour, starting at €25 per person.
Would the Bratislava Iron Curtain Bike Tour be something you would like to go on?