Both crossroads and destination, Bratislava is a relatively young city amid 2000 years of history. Pastel palaces built by nobility sit alongside eight universities in this youthful metro area with an average age of 33.

Beautifully reconstructed Staré Mesto, Old Town, exudes a wonderful, relaxed vacation vibe. Visit Lesopark, the city’s forest preserve, for hiking, sports or quiet respite with a good book.

Whimsical sculptures, “posing” for humorous photographs include Rubberneck poking his head up from a manhole cover, Paparazzi peeking around a corner, camera in hand, Schoner Naci, a rendition of the well-loved street entertainer, and Napoleon’s Soldier, beckoning pedestrians to sit.

A Bratislava symbol, St. Michaels Gate, with onion-shaped copper roofs and statue of Archangel Michael slaying a dragon, offers great views and a Weaponry Museum.

Bratislava Castle dominates the city’s skyline. Once the seat of Hapsburg’s emperor, it’s now Slovakia’s cultural center. After 150 years in ruins after fire, it was reconstructed after World War II and now used for the Slovak National Museum, concerts and more. In glorious pomp and circumstance, Hapsburg’s King Maximilian II Coronation Reenactment occurs there each September.

Nový Most Bridge, an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge, boasts a flying saucer-shaped restaurant, aptly named UFO, on top.

The popular Clock Museum is located in the 1760 “House by the Good Shepherd.” Named for its location adjacent to a statue of Christ the Good Shepherd, this rococo trapezium is only one room wide in front. Other unique attractions include Police, Archaeology, Pharmaceuticals and Jewish Culture Museums.

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