24 hours in Bratislava
I Daniel Barthold
I Slovan v Dundalk 1:0
“Unusual for a Groundhopper, I only ticked off one new ground in Slovakia due to other commitments that week. It is especially unusual because Bratislava is located right in the heart of Europe with Vienna, Brno and Budapest basically round the corner.
However, due to the short notice of the Europa League qualifying schedule Bratislava was the best option and the city never disappoints.
This was my third time in the Slovakian capital – previously I tickets off Pasienky Stadium for the cracker Slovakia v Andorra in 2011 and I visited the city once before in 2006 to tick of Spartak Trnava. Unfortunately, the fixture back then had been moved to an earlier kick-off which is not uncommon in Eastern Europe.”
Bratislava is a lovely city which was buzzing on my arrival in August. Loads of tourists from Austria, Germany, United States and two dozen Irish supporters who were mainly consuming their pints in an Irish Pub.
The Old Town of Bratislava is perfect for a short trip because it isn’t that big so everything can be discovered within walking distance. I loved the so-called “Michael’s Gate” in heart of the Stare Mesto at Michalska Street. Along the gates there are plenty of shops and bars.
Travellers who have been to Eastern Europe know that the food is rich, delicious and fairly cheap. Beef and pork are deliciously prepared and the Slovakian cuisine offers several types of dumplings with it.
In terms of beers, I have to admit that I sticked with the Czech option: Budvar and Plisner Urquell. One can’t go wrong with those quality beers…
In terms of getting to and from the stadium I had mixed experiences. I got myself a taxi called from a local bar which was only a fiver, unfortunately I took a black taxi after the game which I knew would be a rip-off, however, 40 € was bad so taxi fares really vary especially when you don’t speak Slovak.
THE GAME: Slovan v Dundalk 1:0
I don’t really want to waste much time on the match report because the game was a shocker. Dundalk really struggling to keep up and Slovan extremely sloppy up front. The hosts scored eventually late in the game for a 1-0 1st leg lead which was just about deserved. Attendance was 9.980 which was more than I expected for such a fixture (roughly 40 away) and the price for the tickets was 14€ (very good seats on the main stand).
THE STADIUM: Tehelne pole
Opened in early January of 2019, this is a very modern arena less than a 10 minute drive from the Old Town. I am fan of vintage stadiums with old stands and terraces so this ground did not impress and still, it had a bit of style. The seat colours fit and the Slovan Ultras were able to create a bit of atmosphere. I have certainly seen worse modern arenas and it was worth ticking it off. The most annoying things: You need a Slovan club card to purchase refreshments which was a big minus on the experience – Staropramen beer from the tap was available outside the ground though.
GETTING TO / FROM BRATISLAVA
- From the UK with WizzAir or RyanAir from various airports (Luton, Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh)
- Vienna Airport is very close as well with flights offered by Austrian Airlines and EasyJet.
- Taxis to Bratislava city centre should not be more than 22-28 € (Slovakia’s currency is in fact €).
- There are regular trains from Bratislava station to Vienna and buses from Bratislava Airport to Vienna Central Station.
Born in 1983 in Hildesheim (Lower Saxony, Germany) and raised in the Hamburg Area. Supporter of FC St. Pauli and since 2010 living and working in London (England) as a sports business consultant. Groundhopping has been a passion since the early days but I am actively counting and ticking off grounds since the Euros 2004. I have been to 500 stadiums in 65 countries so far.