Exploring Bratislava, Slovakia | Small but Lovely City

Bratislava is Slovakia’s capital, a country bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the southwest and the Czech Republic to the west. Bratislava is known for many things like its gorgeous old town, its castle in the city center, etc. But aside from these, Bratislava is also known for its beautiful people -those types which you see in pageants haha. 

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I visited Bratislava on the fall of 2018, I arrived from Vienna, Austria by bus. Bratislava is the fourth city I have visited on my first ever Eastern Europe tour. The bus ride took only two hours from Vienna, Yeah, they are pretty close. But often times, people skip Bratislava and often proceed to Bratislava’s more famous neighbors like Budapest or Prague. I have read online that Bratislava is virtually non-existent in the eyes of a typical western tourist. I’m not western, but I’m glad I was able to visit Bratislava, now it’s one of my favorite cities and it has become one of those cities in Eastern Europe that I always recommend when someone asks for the best places to visit in that area.

There are tons of things to love about Bratislava. First, it’s a very lovely town, second, it’s cheaper than most European Cities, third, its people are friendly and fourth, they serve really great food! I love the Cafe and pub atmosphere as well.

Courtesy of @tomdxbscot
Courtesy of @tomdxbscot

This city can be explored in a day as well, but in my case l was able to visit all the major attractions in less than a day. 

Here are some of the Top Things I suggest worth doing when in Bratislava. 

Visit Bratislava Castle

The castle’s view deck offers a spectacular 360 degree view of Bratislava. It’s pretty easy to get here as it is just located near the old town. You can just follow signs which are posted on most street corners if you are coming from the old town. If not, then you can always have your google map handy with you. 

View of the UFO Bridge from Bratislava Castle
Photo by Tom Henderson @tomdxbscot

Explore Bratislava’s Old Town

I will mention it here again, Bratislava’s old town is simply gorgeous. You can find countless pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops here. Basically the best place to unwind when in Bratislava. 

Go and See Michael’s Gate

This gate is the only city gate that has been preserved of the medieval fortifications and ranks among the oldest town buildings. Definitely a place to take that winning influencer shot lol. 

Visit Most SNP

Commonly referred to as Most Slovenského národného povstania or the UFO Bridge, and named Nový most from 1993 to 2012, is a road bridge over the Danube in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It is the world’s longest bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane.

reference: wikipedia. 

Of course, there are other things to do aside from the ones I mentioned above. But for me, being able to see those is already enough for me to appreciate the beauty of Bratislava, especially that I only stayed in the city for 24 hours. 

Have you been to Bratislava? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more. 😀

How To Apply For A Schengen Visa for Philippine-passport holders.

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How to apply for a Schengen Visa (Step by Step Procedure, Documents required and Tips on how to successfully obtain a Schengen Visa)

Applying for a visa can be one of the most-tedious task to do, especially with visas for highly-industrialized countries. Aside from the inch-thick documents we need to collect & submit and the time it takes for it to be processed, there is also a certain amount we need to pay. And above all these, there is still no guarantee that our application will be approved.

Anyway, in this article, I’ll be discussing mainly about the different procedures and documents required  in obtaining a Schengen Visa.

First, what is a  Schengen Visa? Well basically, a Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them.

Below are the Schengen States:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland,France,Germany,Greece,Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Aside from the Schengen States, you can also use your Schengen visa to visit other countries like:

Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey

Documents Required:

Fully Completed and Signed Visa Application Form

Cover Letter Stating the purpose of the visit.

Original Passport and passport Info Page Copy

Residence Visa Copy (if you are based abroad)

ID Photos (Bring at least 2 copies)

Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation

Travel Insurance

Proof of Accommodation(hotel bookings, etc.)

Proof of Financial Means (latest 6-months bank statement)

Employment Certificate if Employed

Day to day Itinerary

Invitation Letter if you’re invited by Someone from the EU

Affidavit of Support if someone else is paying for your expenses

Enrollment Certificate if you’re a student.

Step by step guide in getting a Schengen Visa

Basically, the first step in getting a Schengen Visa is to choose your main country of travel or the country of which you’ll be spending the most time (if you’re planning to travel to several Schengen States) as this will determine which Visa Application Center you will need to go.

For Schengen Visa Applications, it is mostly handled by VFS GLobal, although there are some countries where the Visa application is handled by the country’s embassy itself, there are also those which are handled by a different agency. So it is important to make sure to decide which country is your main country so you can go to that specific Visa Application Center.

Book an Appointment Online. Well after choosing the country, you should set an appointment where you will submit all your documents for your application. As mentioned on the first step, you should book an appointment based on your main country. In my case, I applied for a Schengen Visa for the Netherlands, and VFS Global handles visa application for the Netherlands, therefore, I booked an appointment on the VFS Global Website.

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I highly suggest that applicants should apply for at least 60-90 days before their intended travel dates to have ample time to fix any problems if there will be any.

On your appointment day at the Visa Application Center, representatives will collect and scan your documents, they will also assess what else may be lacking from all the documents you have submitted. After this, once everything is ok, you will then be called for biometrics collection (fingerprints and photo). Once everything is finished, you will then be given a receipt for you to claim your passport once the result of your application is ready. A tracking number is also written in the receipt for you to be able to track the progress of your application online. You can also opt for an SMS message update with an additional fee.

Processing time takes up to 21 days, so I advice that you only contact the Visa Application Center if you haven’t received any result yet after this timeframe. In my case, I received my passport with a Shengen Visa after 8 days.

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Shengen Visa Fees varies from each country of Application, Since I applied for The Netherlands through VFS GLOBAL in the UAE, then here is the breakdown of all the fees that I paid in the local currency:

99 AED around 26 USD – Appointment fee paid at the VFS Global site

260 AED around 70 USD – Shengen Visa Fee to be paid during the day of application

30 AED around 8 USD – Courier Service (Optional) – the passport will be delivered to your desired address.

I hope you find this article helpful. For questions, feel-free to ask it on the comments below and I will try to answer as soon as I’ll be able to read them.

Thank you for reading!