Why go? With just one extra day, you can get a flavor of the real Slovakia beyond Bratislava. In minutes, you can easily see a Roman fortress, castles, hiking places, an unusual cave, wineries, beautiful ancient towns. Stay one more day!
Within 30 minutes of Old Town:
* GERULATA in Rusovce – the oldest construction in Slovakia, 2000 year old remnants of Roman fortifications in an outlying district of the city.
More info: http://www.castles.sk/?castle=53 and http://www.muzeum.sk/muzeum/default.php?co=mmba
* Koliba Hill Park – a great place if you feel like hiking in the Small Carpathian mountains
* Zelezna Studnicka Hill – another good hiking and picnicking place, links to Koliba Hill.
* Zlate piesky lake or Rusovce – Take time out to relax and swim; there’s even a nudist beach.
* Senec – another lake perfect for swimming
Within 1 hour drive:
* CERVENY KAMEN Combination of rugged medieval castle with torture chamber and chateau-like quarters with displays of weapons and period furniture. In village of Casta. To get there, drive 1 hour northeast of Bratislava.
More information: http://www.specatacularslovakia.sk/ss2002/bratislava_day-trips_ascii.html
* PAJSTUN – Castle ruins with sinister gargoyles, accessible by hiking 90 minutes through a forest. Great for a picnic. To get there drive north of Bratislava (direction Brno), exit LAMAC, through ZAHORSKA BYSTRICA to BORINKA.
* MICROBREWERY in Svaty Jur – just 12.4 miles from Bratislava is a beautiful 300-year old monastery with excellent small-batch beer not available anywhere else.
* WINE & CERAMICS ROUTE – Enjoy a relaxing day touring a wine village or two (SVATY JUR, PEZINOK, MODRA) in the Small Carpathian mountains that begin within BRATISLAVA city limits Drive north from BRATISLAVA thru RACA. This region is known for Riesling, Muller Thurgau, Pinot Blac and other excellent wines. You can arrange for private wine tastings. Watch ceramics being handmade at Modra Majolika – you can even make your own. In September two towns, PEZINOK and MODRA, host the annual Burciak Festival. Burciak is a grape cider with a short life – 7-10 days – that packs a potent punch.
* TRNAVA – The oldest free royal town in Slovakia. Nicknamed “Little Rome”, the walled city of Trnava was the seat of the archbishop of Hungary in the 16th-17th centuries while the Turks occupied Hungary.
* NITRA – known as the “the mother of Slovak cities” because it was the capital of the first Slavic political entity (the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th c.) in what is now Slovakia, as well as the location of the first Christian church.
* SLOVENSKY GROB – For a hearty, typically Slovak meal featuring roasted goose, make an excursion to this small village with traditional restaurant, Pivnica u Zlatej husi (Cellar of the Golden Goose – http://www.zlatahus.sk).
Within 90 minutes drive:
* KOMARNO (http://www.komarno.sk) – Divided city straddling border with Hungary. Best known for its vast and effective fortress (http://www.komarno.sk/fpages/default_eng.asp?prg=fortress) – one of the largest in Europe – which kept out the Turks for 300 years. Also new Disneyesque Courtyard of Europe is interesting, with buildings representing architecture from every European country.
* SMOLENICE Completely restored 15th century castle, which was destroyed during the Napoleonic wars. Northeast of Bratislava, past Cerveny Kamen. More information (http://www.muzeum.sk/defaulte.php?obj=hrad&ix=smoz)
* DRINY CAVE/JASKYNA DRINY – the only cave in Slovakia with galleries formed by rainwater dripping down through cracks and fissures – producing beautiful stalgmites, stalactites and “waterfalls”. Other Slovak caves have passages carved out by underground rivers. Northeast of Bratislava, past Cerveny Kamen.
More info: http://www.ssj.sk/english/index.htm
* TOPOLCIANKY – Chateau, favourite reatreat place of former Czechoslovak presidents, now museum and hotel, as well as breeding farm for horses.