Here's what you can see on an afternoon stroll through Slovakia's capital

By Joanne DiBona,
Bratislava: Beauty on the Danube
There are times in our world travels when circumstances don’t allow us more than a few hours to visit destinations along our route. We had but three hours in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, as part of a Danube river cruise.  Nonetheless, these few hours were magical, providing us with an enchanting glimpse into the city’s rich history and the life of its inhabitants. Often called the "Beauty on the Danube," almost all of Bratislava’s picturesque city center is a pedestrian zone, just steps from the shores of the famous river.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Hviezdoslav Square: The hub of the city
You don’t have to walk far from the river’s edge before you come across the magnificent Hviezdoslav Square, the heart of Bratislava. The Neo-Renaissance-style 19th-century National Theatre dominates the square, which also serves as a shopping, dining and transportation hub.
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
A city of art
As you meander through Old Town, enjoy the art displays that are regularly featured along the pedestrian walkways branching out from the major squares. Bratislava is definitely a city of art.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
A golden touch
All over Old Town, you'll see whimsical bronze statues popping up in some unusual places, which add a modern touch to Bratislava’s historical center. This statue of a bronze man peeking out of a manhole has a story. It says a wish will come true for you if you touch the man’s head, but you have to keep your wish a secret forever. Notice his head is a golden bronze from all the visitors' enthusiastic touches! 
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Family time
Our visit was on a Saturday afternoon, a time when families traditionally get together for a relaxing stroll through Old Town’s picturesque streets.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Children's civic playground
A Slovakian child freely romps through the traffic-free square in the heart of Bratislava, looking back towards her parents who are trying to keep up with her!
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
Tour the city in vintage style
“Red bus” city tours transport visitors in vintage style through the heart of Bratislava’s Old Town. 
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Go back in time
As you meander through the side streets of Bratislava’s Old Town, you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time, soaking in views that haven’t changed for centuries. This view onto the Bratislava Castle from the Klariska church is a good example.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Feudal frescoes
Speaking of the Middle Ages, you can view a fresco of that time period in the open courtyard of a Renaissance home on White Street 6 in Old Town. Fortunately, Bratislava’s center suffered only minor destruction during WWII, which left many of its historic sites and precious artwork intact, unlike the rest of Europe.
Photo courtesy of Tony Di Bona
Shopping galore
You can find everything from delicate crystal vases to handmade linens to designer clothing in the stores that line the passageways of Bratislava’s Old Town. These colorful dolls in the marketplace are an example of the lovely ethnic artifacts that can be found in Slovakia.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Culinary delights
Bratislava offers a wide variety of restaurants to cater to any palate, from vegan and vegetarian to gluten-free, in addition to cuisine from around the world. If you're looking for a typical Slovakian meal, you can take your pick among many regional dishes served in any one of the restaurants that line the streets of Old Town.  From potato dumplings or crispy schnitzel to chicken paprika and traditional stuffed pierogi, you’ll delight in the many culinary options to discover in this city.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
The Blue Church
One of Bratislava’s most interesting Art Nouveau buildings is the unique "Blue Church," the 19th-century Church of St. Elizabeth.  Both the inside and outside of the church are shades of pale blue, decorated with blue majolica tiles. Even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics.
Photo courtesy of Visit Bratislava
Relax in the many gardens of Bratislava's Old Town
Visitors from around the world flock to Bratislava to enjoy its well-preserved Old Town as well as its many peaceful gardens, fountains and squares.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona
Yes, Slovakia produces mighty fine wine
Slovakia may not come to your mind when you think of fine wine, but don’t let that fool you.  Although not well-known internationally, Slovakia produces some delicious vintages – both whites and reds – in six distinct wine-growing areas of the country. 
Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona
We will return
Lovers can’t resist the romance of strolling down the picturesque streets of Bratislava as the sun sets over the horizon. Nor could we. This image of our perfect afternoon in this unforgettable city will forever remain in our memories.  We vowed to return soon, to discover not only Bratislava in-depth, but the fascinating country of Slovakia.
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona