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Bratislava

City guide by local people

Bratislava Christmas market

Every year since 1993, between the end of November and December 23rd, large Christmas markets take place in the very city center of Bratislava. Inspired by the other big European cities, the tradition is regularly held also in Bratislava. You can find diversity of products and services here - from traditional food, alcoholic and non-alco beverages, and many street artists. Christmas market in Bratislava have a friendly atmosphere and are filled with locals enjoying the upcoming holiday season. 

Locations

There are 3 main locations within the city center where you can find food & drink stalls and little shops. 

  • Main square (to Primacial square and Courtyard of the Old Town Hall)- main spot with tens of booths where you can find traditional food and beverages (see below what exactly), but also traditional handmade Slovak gifts. There is a big Christmas tree in the corner of the square, right next to the stage where musical performances happen each weekend.
  • Hviezdoslavovo square - there are more food & beverages stall here than on Main square. Also, the area is a bit wider so the square is not that packed. There is a big Christmas tree in the center of the square, right next to the ice skating ring. Stage with artistic program is also present here.
  • Bratislava Castle - newly opened in 2016, this is a great spot to enjoy Christmas atmosphere from the most prominent part of Bratislava. Also, the view from here is incredible. However, this location doesn't have any long history and miss the charizma of Main square and Hviezdoslavovo square. Also, the prices might get a bit higher here, but definitely worth visiting.

Opening Hours

Bratislava Christmas Markets are happening in the city center in the period between the last week of November to 23rd of December. Opening hours of stalls are:

Monday 10 am - 10 pm
Tuesday 10 am - 10 pm
Wednesday 10 am - 10 pm
Thursday 10 am - 10 pm
Friday 10 am - 10 pm
Saturday 10 am - 10 pm
Sunday 10 am - 10 pm

Food and beverages

Ciganska pecienka

Ciganska pecienka - one of the most traditional foods at Christmas markets.

Source: Bonvivani.sk

All of the food-stalls offer traditional Slovak winter specialties, such as:

  • Ciganska pecenka - translated as "Gipsy liver", but no worries abouut the name! This is just a chicken, beef or pork steak in a breadroll, usually with mustard and onion.
  • Loksethin baked potato pancakes, usually served with grease and duck liver or in many sweet variations, e.g. with nutella, jam, honey etc.
  • Zemiakove placky - thick fried potato pancakes
  • Chlieb s mastou - classic bread with goose fat and onion. This has been one of the most traditional foods in Slovakia and many diplomats are served this when visiting Slovakia. The taste is nothing exceptional (I would prefer Lokse or Ciganska pecienka), but are worth tasting.
  • Trdelnik - Dessert! This is a sweet dough-roll which has a great tradition in Slovakia. It is usually served in a cinamon or vanilla flavor, but many other variations are available. 

Fancy for some drink? Of course there are many non-alcoholic beverages offered, such as tea, coffe, soda or water. Big tradition, however, comes from alcoholic drinks, so make sure to have a sip from:

  • Medovina - spirit made from honey. Sweet and warm, easy to drink, but one is enough...
  • Varene vinomulled wine made from quality Slovak wines.
  • Punc - punch drink, made from two main ingredients - wine and rum. This is the most traditional drink and actually quite tasty. If you have to choose one, go for Punc or Medovina.

Culture

A stage full of various cultural performances is a vital part of the Christmas market athmosphere. Musicians, folk dancers and other talented artists perform on the stage to entertain the visitors.

To see the program, please visit this official website.