Relax and outdoors in Bratislava
Parks and playgrounds
Parks and playgrounds are everywhere, but only a few of them are attractive enough to be destinations. Among the best are:
- the lawn of Medicka zahrada, complete with a popular children's playground (near the main bus station)
- the semi-wooded Sad Janka Krala, with paved paths for small children on bikes or skates, also has a good playground (just across the Danube from the old town and National Gallery)
- the entrance to an extensive forest at Zelezna studienka (near the major bus intersection at Patronka) has meadows and small playgrounds.
- Hiking trails are highly accessible within the city limits, even by public transport. One good entry point is Zelezna studienka mentioned above. Another is Koliba (see below).
Koliba is the forested hilltop that dominates the city. It is not reachable by public transportation, but a trolley-bus will take you much of the way up. A paved road to the top is car-accessible. Koliba is a year-round destination, combining a number features, including many family-friendly ones. For example:
- a choice of several restaurants and snack bars
- an indoor observation tower in the transmitter (you can't miss it)
- meadows suitable for group picnics
- occasional recreationals extras, including pony rides
- a hill that transforms from a short ski run/lift in the winter, to a wheeled toboggan track in the summer - especially popular with slightly older kids
- hiking trails that extend outwards to many other Carpathian destinations, or simply downhill to the city
Swimming is becoming easier to find, whether in winter or in summer, but sometimes runs to over-crowded in Bratislava during summer holidays and weekends.
The following venues are worth a try:
- Indoor facilities are available in hotels and semi-private health clubs. Call to inquire about specific hours, age restrictions and prices, which tend to be somewhat expensive.
- Outdoors, the largest swimming pool complex at present is Rosnicka in the western neighbourhood of Dubravka.
- Beaches are available, though waters tend to be murky. The largest, at Zlate Piesky near the airport, has a couple fancy water slides, and rustic holiday cabins.
- Somewhat nicer beaches are within an hour away by car - ask locals for tips.
- Roller-blading has become a popular activity, even in parks and especially along the Danube to the south of the city.
Horseback riding in the English style is offered at several riding schools, which offer one-time lessons tailored to the rider's abilities.