Fall offers a bounty of riches, while the rolling countrysides of some of the most popular European destinations open horizons of splendid natural vistas.
Bratislava is postcard pretty this season: the colorful roofs of the buildings of Staré Mesto contrast with the cloudy skies, in a symphony of earthy browns, terracotta and greens. Especially at night, when the city turns on its lights, nothing seems more romantic than the image of the iconic Bratislava Castle, and the gentle silhouettes of the church steeples.
The International Festival of Contemporary Music Melos-Étos brings to Bratislava, from 7 to 13 November, soloists, ensembles and orchestras from Slovakia and from around the world. This is the XIIIth edition of the festival, and it will be held at the Hudobné Centrum.
Melos-Étos 2015 is not the only outstanding musical event of the season. On November 9, at the Music Hall of the Bratislava Castle, you can enjoy an evening of sonatas and waltz by Johannes Brahms performed by violinist Milan Paľa, cellist Jozef Lupták, and pianists Fiammetta Tarli (Italy) and Ivo Varbanov (Bulgaria).
On the Small Carpathian Wine Route, November 20-21 are days of celebration, with many cellars in Bratislava, Trnava and major centers of southwestern Slovakia opening their doors. Deň otvorených pivníc, the cellars of the region open all around the Small Carpathian mountainous region, will feature top varietals; Veltlinske Zelene, Rizling Vlassky, Frankovka Modra, Rizling Rynsky and Modry Portugal, to name a few of the more famous. About 80 wineries participate in the event, and many other small cellars along the route open their doors to show their fine winemaking traditions. But, for first time partakers, the Malokarpatské múzeum Pezinok (Small Carpathian Museum Pezinok), 20 km northeast of Bratislava, is the best to take in the history of viticulture and winery under the Small Carpathians. The museum offers a tour of the cellar, a permanent collection of wine-press machines from Central Europe – the largest of its kind, as well as tastings of local wines. If you are in the region, don’t miss the cellars of the Pezinok Castle, a former moated fortress turned chateau, which are now home to the National Wine Salon (Národný salón vín Slovenskej republiky).
There’s also an international film festival in Bratislava this November, the largest and the single most important international cinema event in Slovakia’s capital: from 12 to 17. Visit their website for details: http://www.iffbratislava.sk/
The ice skating season on Hviezdoslav Square in front of the Slovak National Theatre opens November 22, 2015, and will last till March 2, 2016: an excellent opportunity for city visitors to relax in the magical atmosphere of the Winter. If you don’t own a pair of skates, there are rentals at the ice rink.
And finally, the most anticipated shopping event of the year, the Christmas Market on the Main Square, opens November 20, and lasts for about a month, till December 22, 2015. This is a great opportunity for visitors to shop for Christmas presents, but also for authentic arts and crafts, and souvenirs. Traditional gastronomy and mulled wine are offered by several food stands.