Spring in Bratislava is a season of renewal, with trees in bloom, happy smiles everywhere, and loads of active pursuits. As nature awakens from its winter dormant state and flowers and greenery, invade the gray, grim parks and gardens, there’s new life in the streets, and even the cultural agenda gets busy.
The Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary is Bratislava’s most appealing art nouveau building.
The Church of St. Elizabeth, also known as the Little Blue Church of Bratislava, is Bratislava’s most appealing art nouveau building. Journalists around the world describe it as pretty as a wedding cake. And it is.
Horský Park is a natural oasis of green in Staré Mesto, Bratislava’s old town, not far from Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava – about 20 minutes on foot. It is an urban park, unlike anything else you will find in the city: it boasts a pristine forest environment with original flora and fauna that remained untouched since 1868 when the mayor of Pressburg (current day Bratislava) Henricha Justiho created it on the western outskirts of the city.
Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava view of the castle from the Business Class Suite
An iconic rectangular castle dominates Bratislava from a rocky hill of the Little Carpathians. It’s an impressive sight and the main symbol of the city. Since it overlooks the Danube, its reflection in the water from above the trees at night is spellbinding.
The Slovakian capital is more laid back than other European destinations, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy an active holiday in Bratislava.
Carved casks in wine cellar of a Slovak producer. (© Renáta Sedmáková Fotolia.com)
There was a time when the stretch of land between Bratislava and Trnava was the most important road in this part of the world. Roman chariots roamed up and down, carrying a precious libation, brewed by Bacchus himself, all the way from Gerulata, to the table of the emperor. Today, this is called the Small Carpathian Wine Route – no longer a royal site, but a sight for sore eyes, nevertheless.
Visitors to the south-west of Slovakia will no doubt note the unique qualities that make the region so universally appealing. At once medieval, and at the same time clean and modern today, this place was inhabited since Neolithic times. The area grew expansively once the Romans took over. What they brought with them, the winemaking tradition Slovakia is now noted for, is one of Bratislava’s, and the country’s most cherished activities. The Small Carpathian Wine Route is a part of this tradition, and travelers to this region have enjoyed it for generations, albeit their passion is not noted in detail by many travel guides.
Perhaps the limited access to some of the villages here explains why not many tourists dare to pursue a tour of the Small Carpathian Wine Route. If you don’t have your own car, Modra, with its celebrated Manor House, which holds a handicraft market for Christmas, and some other interesting wine-related activities around the season, is out of reach. But specialized touring companies have no trouble taking you there, and if you are an experienced hiker, there are many resources, including detailed maps, to help you find your way around.
An experiential tour that combines wine, countryside, history, and the exceptional gastronomy of the region between Bratislava and Trnava, the Small Carpathian Wine Route proposes a rich bounty. What was once part of the Great Moravian Empire, is today a treat of another kind. Strung along this wine route, the towns of Pezinok, Modra, and Jur, all take part with their unique wine production techniques and idiosyncrasies. But no matter which town you find yourself in, you’ll discover not only fine quality wine but people who speak of centuries-old excellence and goodness.
The Small Carpathian Wine Route is not well known outside Slovakia: only about 0.3% of all European wine comes from here. Nevertheless, some wines are exported and enjoyed abroad, in particular, the sweet varieties blended with beet sugar: Nitrianske knieža (Knight of Nitra), Kláštorné červené (Red from Monastery) and some other refined creations. These and the more traditional libations are served all over the region, even in the fine restaurants surrounding our magnificent Mamaison Residence Sulekova.
Beginning in November, on Deň otvorených pivníc, the cellars of the region open all around the Small Carpathian mountainous region, with 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).
In Častá, on the same route, this time 37 km NE of Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava, you will find Hrad Červený Kameň, a 13th-century castle which houses wine tastings and an art exhibition at the wine-cellars day in May, when the season opens. Widely considered the most beautiful castle in the Little Carpathians, Hrad Červený Kameň was built at the request of Queen Konstancia Uhorska, on her own land, before 1240. The original construction was modernized by Rudolf Palfi and his wife Maria Eleonora Kaunitz – Rietberg in the 18th century. The castle is now a museum, opened to the public year round, and offering a diversity of public and private tours, as well as spaces for weddings and other events. The 1729 historical items collection of the castle is one of the main attractions here, but the library beats every record held by this landmark, with its 14 312 books. After you visit the museum, stop by its wine tavern, or the restaurant, to taste the fine wines of the Small Carpathian Wine Route.
Tasting these wines, echoes of the time when this land thrived as a winemaking region, you will discover an utterly unique European treasure, a tasteful retreat into the very heart of the continent. Just follow the little white signs that read; Malokarpatská vínna cesta – Small Carpathian Wine Route.
Dubbed as Bratislava’s extreme sports hall, Hangair is a novelty in Slovakia. It is a one-of-a-kind destination, designed for adrenalin junkies.
Trenčín Mesto Módy, a legendary fashion festival, will return after nearly a decade pause to the Slovak “city of fashion” in September.
If you are in Bratislava from June 30 untile the second of July, you can attend one of the largest European hip-hop festivals. Hip Hop Žije celebrates its fifth edition this year and will take place at Zlaté Piesky (the Golden Sands).
When you stay with us at Mamaison Residence Sulekova, a 10 minute walk from your hotel you will find a charming little garden the locals call Kochova Záhrada (Koch’s Garden). It is a protected area landscaped sometime around the early 1930s (1932 – 1935) as the park grounds of the Karol Koch sanatorium. The project was carried by architects Dušan Jurkovič, Jindřich Merganc, and Oto Klimeš. With benches, stairways, raised points, rest areas, sculptures, and a small pond, the garden was supposed to be a relaxing oasis for the patients of the sanatorium. All permanent features of the plot, like stairs, stone tiles, alleys, benches, fountain, and sculptures, are still the original from 1932.
After years of neglect, local authorities and volunteers are working diligently to make this place the beautiful retreat it once was. Although it is a private garden, generally not open to the public, the owners are occasionally opening its gates, especially for thematic events and workshops, as well as for volunteer care of the grounds.
Although it is a small space, covering about half a hectare on the slopes of a hill, this urban gem has an incredible variety of plants. Currently, under Municipal protection, Kochova Záhrada is a significant example dendrological garden, with about 30 conifers and 26 deciduous evergreen exotic species among several other tree varieties. Local authorities, owners, and volunteers are still working to revitalize the garden and to reopen it to the public.
Besides plants, the garden also features a fountain and two sculptures, one of a mother and child, and one called Lovers.
Until the garden reopens officially, you can always see their official website (linked in the first paragraph) to see their current public programs and volunteering opportunities.