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Day by Day Itinerary

Journey with OAT into Central Europe’s Bohemian heartland to discover the history, culture, and landscapes of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary—and prepare to enter an enchanting world of fairy-tale castles, Gothic cathedrals, and Roman ruins. In the Czech Republic, a region noted for its thermal spas and hearty Bohemian beers, witness the spires of Prague, the medieval splendor of Cesky Krumlov, and traditional ways of life in the Renaissance village of Slavonice. In Slovakia, sample its fine wines and discover the youthful optimism of Bratislava, the forested country’s historic capital. Then, enjoy an audience with the “Queen of the Danube,” and immerse yourself in the grandeur of Budapest, the lovely Hungarian capital infused with the vibrancy of a fiery paprika. Throughout this adventure, delve deeply into Bohemian culture through interactions with the warm and friendly inhabitants of three of Central Europe’s true hidden gems.

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    Depart the U.S. today on your overnight flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

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    Upon your arrival in Prague, an OAT representative will meet you the airport and assist you to your hotel. You’ll get to know your Trip Leader and small group, including those arriving from the Berlin & Dresden trip extension, during a short orientation walk around the neighborhood and a Welcome Drink. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

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    After breakfast, we’ll set off on a guided walking tour of Prague, a magical city nestled in a bend of the Vltava River whose spires have endured to create one of Europe’s most romantic skylines. While other European capitals were leveled during World War II, Prague survived virtually intact. Among the structures to remain remarkably undamaged was Prague’s great landmark, Prague Castle—the world’s largest ancient castle complex and still the seat of political power. Built during the ninth century, Prague Castle has evolved over the centuries, blending Romanesque, Gothic, and even Spanish architectural styles. Today, it is a sprawling complex of breathtaking enormity and a symbol of Czech unity.

    We'll explore the vaulted halls, cathedrals, flagstone courtyards, and sprawling gardens of the castle area, which includes a number of historic buildings. After concluding our tour in Old Town Square, we'll enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant, followed by free time. This evening, dinner is on your own.

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    Today begins with an enlightening discussion about some of the successes and controversies relating to the development of Czech statehood and democracy. Then, we'll discover the Prague subway with a complimentary all-day metro pass before setting out for a walk along Baroque streets of Mala Strana, the "Little Quarter" that is linked to Prague's Old Town (Stare Mesto) by the Charles Bridge. Originally an eighth-century market town, today Mala Strana is a quaint neighborhood of cobbled streets, boutiques, and Baroque churches and palaces. After our walk, we'll get to admire another angle of the elegant Charles Bridge during a cruise along the Vltava River. Built in 1357, the statue-adorned structure is one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe—and we'll gain further insights into its lengthy history and medieval construction during a visit to the Charles Bridge Museum.

    Lunch is on your own, followed by free time to pursue individual interests in Prague. Perhaps you'll use your all-day metro pass to visit Josefov (Prague’s Jewish Quarter). The Prague Ghetto and vibrant Jewish community have contributed to Prague’s character since the tenth century. Or, travelers may take advantage of an afternoon optional tour that journeys outside the city to the Skoda Auto Museum and a tour of the 18th-century Sychrov Castle, followed by an included dinner at a local restaurant.

    Travelers not participating in the optional tour have dinner on their own in Prague.

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    After breakfast, we begin our overland journey to Cesky Krumlov, stopping along the way to visit the Vojna Memorial. Located in the middle of a forest, Vojna was originally built by German POWs after World War II as a labor camp to work the nearby uranium mines. With the communist takeover in 1948, Vojna transitioned into a notorious forced labor camp for political prisoners. Today, the Vojna Memorial is a powerful reminder of the many Czech victims of the communist regime. Afterwards, we'll stop for lunch at a restaurant in Pisek, a picturesque Bohemian town founded in the 13th century on the banks of the Otava River.

    Upon arrival in Cesky Krumlov, we'll check in to our hotel and then head out to a local restaurant for dinner accompanied by traditional Czech dances.

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    After breakfast, we'll begin a walking tour of Cesky Krumlov, one of Europe's most picturesque locales. Nestled inside a narrow loop of the Vltava River, this romantic town with its hilltop castle was once a wealthy trading center and a favorite of European nobility. Today, its confection of red-gabled roofs, elegant bridges, and storybook castle lures lovers of history, culture, and architecture alike. Established in 1250 by the Lords of Krumlov, the 14th through 16th centuries brought a period of great splendor to Cesky Krumlov, which became a stop along one of the main trading routes to Italy. We’ll walk the winding, cobbled streets to admire the splendidly preserved historic buildings of the medieval town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ascend to the top of the hill to visit Cesky Krumlov Castle, a Renaissance jewel that encompasses more than 40 buildings, courtyards and gardens, a castle brewery—and live bears who roam the castle’s moat. We'll also visit the recently opened Castle Museum, which features precious artifacts previously hidden in Castle depositories

    After an included lunch at a restaurant overlooking Old Town Square, we'll ride to the country town of Vetrni, where we begin a peaceful rafting excursion along the Vltava River. We'll paddle about three miles on the gentle waters of the river, with six travelers and an instructor (who will point out highlights as we meander through the countryside) in each raft. The shallow rapids along this stretch of the Vlata are controlled by concrete weirs that cross the river, and it is possible to disembark the raft and walk around these obstacles if you wish. This trip is easy enough for the novice but passes through countryside that will charm the more experienced rafters as well.

    Dinner is on your own this evening in Cesky Krumlov.

    Please note: Fall departures may not offer the rafting excursion, and adverse weather conditions may preclude rafting at any time of year. When this is the case, we’ll explore the Vltava Valley instead.

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    After breakfast, we’ll journey a short distance outside Cesky Krumlov to visit Zlata Koruna (Golden Crown) Monastery, a former abbey founded in 1263 by a King of Bohemia that is the Czech Republic’s best preserved Cistercian monastery. The current monastery complex—recognized by UNESCO as a national cultural treasure—consists of a variety of Gothic structures, a three-nave basilica, and a chapel dating from about 1370. Then, we’ll set out on brief hike to a nearby Celtic settlement, whose remains date from the second century B.C.

    After we return to Cesky Krumlov, the rest of the day is at leisure, with lunch and dinner on your own. Or, you may join an optional Horseback Riding in the Czech Countryside tour, which includes a ride around the meadows surrounding Klet Mountain, a stable visit, and picnic dinner around a bonfire.

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    After breakfast, we depart Cesky Krumlov for an overland journey to Slavonice. En route, we'll stop in southern Bohemia's regional capital, Ceske Budejovice, to visit the famous Budweiser Budvar Brewery. While the history of brewing in Ceske Budejovice dates back to the 13th century, Budweiser Budvar was founded here in 1895 (the U.S. brewer chose the name Budweiser in 1876 because it was synonymous for superior beer). After our brewery tour, we'll stop in Trebon, an ancient walled village set among rolling hills and ancient fish ponds. Established in the middle of the twelfth century, Trebon has been a popular center of Czech fish farming since the Middle Ages and remains a picturesque spa town. There is also a brewery here that has been producing Bohemia Regent lager since 1379. We'll stroll through the magnificent park surrounding Trebon's Rennaisance-era chateau, and visit the town center to admire the series of pastel-colored burghers' houses and ancient fortifications.

    After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll stop in Jindrichuv Hradec, a charming 13th-century town with a huge castle just outside its Old Town. We'll visit the castle museum, which features the world's largest working mechanical Nativity scene; and the Gobelin Museum, to see its tapestry collections.

    We arrive in Slavonice in time to freshen up at our hotel before gathering at a local restaurant for a festive dinner complete with traditional Moravian music.

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    After breakfast, we'll embark on a walking tour of Slavonice, a charming village near the Austrian border whose streets have changed little since the 13th century. Slavonice is renowned for its collection of Gothic and Renaissance homes adorned with sgraffito wall designs, many dating from the 14th to 16th centuries. Our stroll through the well-preserved town center will reveal an especially fine example of 16th-century wall paintings depicting scenes from the Apocalypse. After lunch on your own, you'll have free time to further explore the medieval streets.

    Then, we'll embark on a discovery walk in the surrounding region, which will take us to the imposing 13th-century ruins of Landstejn Fortress, the 600-year-old Rudolec Castle, and some of the camouflaged WWII-era concrete bunkers in the area. Built between 1935 and 1938, the bunkers were meant to guard the Czechoslovak border against an invasion by Hitler, but after the war—and during the ensuing Cold War—the fortifications were used to prevent Czechoslovak citizens from escaping to the West. After working up a hearty appetite, we'll visit a nearby village and learn how to prepare some local specialties during a cooking class. Our hosts will show us around their garden and then we'll settle in for genuine Czech hospitality as dinner guests in the home of a local family.

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    After breakfast, we'll begin our journey to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. En route, we’ll stop for a visit to Trebic, an ancient Moravian city that is home to one of Europe’s best preserved Jewish ghettos—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jewish and Christian cultures co-existed here from the Middle Ages up to the 20th century, and our stroll will take us through Trebic’s ancient Jewish Quarter, to the Synagogue, and to the old Jewish cemetery. Then, we'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Lednice. Over the centuries, the region surrounding Lednice (and its twin town of Valtice) has been carefully landscaped with a series of woodlands, lakes, streams, gardens, and tree-lined chateaux—all of which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll explore Lednice Castle, an immense structure built in the Neo-Gothic style; and then we'll get to wander among the tropical plants in the Castle's original iron-framed greenhouse.

    After checking into our hotel in Bratislava, our Trip Leader will take us on a brief orientation walk of our surroundings. Dinner is on your own this evening.

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    Just as in the Czech Republic, the Velvet Revolution spelled the end of communism for Slovakia, a densely forested country with towering mountains in Central Europe's heartland. Its capital, Bratislava, is situated along the Danube in Slovakia's southwestern tip, close to the border with Hungary and Austria. Our morning walking tour will focus on Bratislava's compact Old Town, home to a variety of 14th-15th-century structures that include the Old Town Hall, the Neo-Classical Archbishop's Palace, and St. Martin's Cathedral, a Gothic coronation church where several Hungarian Habsburg kings and queens were crowned. As a stark contrast to Bratislava's vestiges of imperial grandeur, we'll visit a section of town featuring blocks of housing projects that serve as symbols of the days of communist-era oppression. We'll also enjoy a glimpse of life in contemporary Slovakia when we visit a local home for coffee and refreshments. Then, lunch is on your own, followed by an afternoon at leisure—perhaps an opportunity to check out the sweeping views of the city from the ramparts of Bratislava Castle, whose origins stretch back to the days of the Roman Empire.

    The region surrounding Bratislava is renowned for its quaint villages and the vineyards on the fertile slopes of the Little Carpathians, so this evening we'll journey outside the city to enjoy dinner and a wine-tasting in the the cellar of a local vintner.

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    After breakfast, we depart Bratislava and begin our journey to Budapest, Hungary. En route, we'll stop at the Roman city of Carnuntum, which began as a Roman army camp along the Danube River in what is now Austria. At its peak, some 50,000 people lived here, and after 1,700 years Carnuntum's ancient glory is currently being recreated from the site's extensive ruins.

    Crossing into northwestern Hungary, we'll stop for an included lunch in Gyor, an ancient city situated at the confluence of the Danube, Rába and Rábca rivers. We'll also take a stroll to admire the Baroque and Neo-Classical structures in Gyor's pedestrian-only historic core before continuing to Budapest.

    Dinner is included in a local restaurant this evening in Budapest.

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    After breakfast, we embark on morning city tour of the undisputed "Queen of the Danube." Budapest is divided by the beautiful river, with Pest (the left bank) to its east, and Buda (the right bank) to its west. We'll see the medieval building at Buda's Castle Hill, where a massive castle complex and its ramparts high above the Danube have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch on your own in one of the city's covered markets, you'll have the afternoon at leisure to explore on your own. You may wish to head to the turreted Fisherman's Bastion for panoramic views of the city, or spend some time at the famous Chain Bridge, which was first opened in 1849 to link the two provincial towns of Buda and Pest, and now stands as a symbol of Hungarian liberty. Or, in Heroes' Square, you can witness a memorial to the great leaders in Hungary's history that is dominated by the great Millennium Monument.

    For another perspective on the city, this evening we'll gather for an hour-long cruise on the Danube River—an opportunity to witness Budapest's monuments brilliantly illuminated, from Pest's Danube Promenade to the Buda Castle District.

    After returning to our hotel, dinner is on your own.

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    After breakfast, we'll embark on a brief walking tour with our Trip Leader along the elegant Andrássy Avenue, home to the opulent Neo-Rennaisance Hungarian State Opera House, followed by a subway ride to one of Europe's oldest legislative bodies, the imposing riverside Hungarian Parliament Building. Here, we'll meet with a witness to the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, a time when students and workers took to the streets of Budapest in the first major threat to Soviet control of the region. Then, we'll board a coach and head outside the city to the picturesque town of Szentendre. We'll enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy time at leisure to admire the Baroque buildings and well-kept merchant homes encircling the Main Square, take a romantic horse carriage ride, or simply wander the winding, cobblestone streets to discover Szentendre's wealth of architectural treasures.

    Return to Budapest for a Farewell Drink at our hotel, followed by a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant with lively Hungarian Gypsy music to celebrate our Bohemian journey.

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    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, begin your post-trip extension to Vienna, Austria.

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Weather & Regional

Before you travel, we encourage you to learn about the region of the world you'll discover on this trip. From weather and currency information to details on population, geography, and local history, you'll find a comprehensive introduction to your destinations below.  Visit our “What to Know” page to find information about the level of activity to expect, vaccination information resources, and visa requirements specific to this vacation.

What to Know

For more detailed information about this trip, download our Travel Handbook below. This document covers a wide range of information on specific areas of your trip, from passport, visa, and medical requirements; to the currencies of the countries you’ll visit and the types of electrical outlets you’ll encounter. This handbook is written expressly for this itinerary. For your convenience, we've highlighted our travelers' most common areas of interest on this page.

Download the Travel Handbook

What to Expect

Pacing

  • 5 locations in 14 days with two 2-night stays and some early mornings
  • International flights to Czech Republic depart around midnight

Physical Requirements

  • Not appropriate for travelers using wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility aids
  • You must be able to walk 2-3 miles unassisted and participate in 4-6 hours of physical activities each day
  • Agility and balance are required for embarking inflatable rafts

Climate

  • Daytime temperatures range from 35-70°F
  • The Czech Republic and Hungary have relatively temperate climates, while seasonal changes in temperature are more extreme in Slovakia
  • The hottest months are June-August, when mid-day temperatures can reach more than 95°F
  • April weather can be unpredictable and can change quickly within a short period of time

Terrain

  • Travel on some rugged paths, as well as bumpy, cobblestone roads, both by bus and on foot; climb uneven stairways

Transportation

  • Travel by 20-passenger coach, 50-passenger boat, and by raft
  • Several drives of 3 to 5 hours each

Accommodations & Facilities

  • Hotel rooms are smaller than U.S. and offer basic amenities
  • All accommodations feature private baths

Travel Documents

Passport

Your passport should meet these requirements for this itinerary:

  • It should be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return to the U.S.
  • It should have the recommended number of blank pages (refer to the handbook for details).
  • The blank pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top. Pages labeled “Amendments and Endorsements” are not acceptable.

Visas

U.S. citizens do not need a visa for this trip.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, do not travel with a U.S. passport, or will be traveling independently before/after this trip, then you may need a visa. Please check with the appropriate embassy or a visa servicing company. To contact our recommended visa servicing company, PVS International, call toll-free at 1-800-556-9990.

Vaccinations Information

For a detailed and up-to-date list of vaccinations that are recommended for this trip, please visit the CDC’s “Traveler’s Health” website. You can also refer to the handbook for details.

Before Your Trip

Before you leave on your adventure, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:

Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)

What to Bring

In an effort to help you bring less, we have included checklists within the handbook, which have been compiled from suggestions by Trip Leaders and former travelers. The lists are only jumping-off points—they offer recommendations based on experience, but not requirements. You might also want to refer to the climate charts in the handbook or online weather forecasts before you pack. Refer to the handbook for details.

Insider Tips

Accommodations

Main Trip

  • Hotel Le Palais

    Prague, Czech Republic

    This boutique-style hotel is situated in a tranquil neighborhood of Prague, about a 20-minute walk to Wenceslas Square and the National Museum. Hotel amenities include a library, health club, 24-hour lobby bar, and restaurant. There are 72 rooms, each with air-conditioning, Internet access, satellite TV, safe, minibar, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and private bath with, hair dryer, robe, and slippers.

  • The Old Inn

    Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

    Situated in the heart of Cesky Krumlov, The Old Inn is within walking distance of the castle, close to the banks of the Vltava River. During your stay, you can enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool, whirlpool, and massage facilities, or savor a meal in one of three restaurants. The 52 modern rooms offer air-conditioning, satellite TV, minibar, safe, wireless Internet, and private bath with hair dryer.

  • Hotel Dom u Ruze

    Slavonice, Czech Republic

    Located in the heart of Slavonice, this 12-room hotel offers convenient access to the town’s historic sites. A small indoor pool and Finnish sauna are available to help you relax, and the restaurant, offering Czech and Italian dishes, has a terrace on the city square. Each of the rooms offers a kitchenette, satellite TV, wireless Internet, minibar, and private bath.

  • Hotel Devin

    Bratislava, Slovakia

    Overlooking Bratislava’s historic city center on the banks of the Danube, the Hotel Devin is within easy walking distance of the National Gallery and St. Martin’s Cathedral. Its 90 air-conditioned rooms have coffee- and tea-making facilities, safes, minibars, flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet, and private bath. The hotel's restaurant features specialties of Slovakia and France, and its pool, sauna, and steam rooms offer great opportunities to relax.

  • Hotel K+K Opera

    Budapest, Hungary

    This hotel in the heart of Budapest offers a comfortable stay in a fantastic location. Just a few minutes’ walk away, you’ll find the opera, the Vaci utca shopping area, and easy tram access to all the great sites of the city. Its 200 air-conditioned rooms feature satellite TV, a safe, minibar, coffee- and tea-making facilities, wireless Internet, and private bath with hair dryer.

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  • The Circus Hotel

    Berlin, Germany

    The Circus Hotel is situated in the heart of Berlin, between the Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg districts, directly across from Rosenthaler Platz metro station. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, courtyard, and complimentary Wi-Fi. There are 62 rooms at the hotel, each with satellite TV and private bath with hair dryer.

  • Radisson Blu Gewandhaus Hotel

    Dresden, Germany

    The Radisson Blu Gewandhaus Hotel is located in the heart of Dresden, near the Town Hall Tower and Church of Our Lady. Hotel amenities include an atrium, restaurant, bar, lobby lounge, indoor pool, and fitness center. There are 97 air-conditioned rooms, each with cable TV, safe, minibar, complimentary wireless Internet access, and private bath with hair dryer.

  • Hotel Rathauspark

    Vienna, Austria

    Centrally located in Vienna about a block from Rathaus, the city’s elegant town hall building, the recently renovated Hotel Rathauspark features a restaurant and large lobby bar. There are 117 rooms at the hotel, each with mini bar, complimentary Internet access, cable TV, and private bath with hair dryer.

Flight Information

Flight Options to Personalize Your Trip

Whether you choose to take just a base trip or add an optional pre- and post-trip extension, you have many options when it comes to personalizing your air—and creating the OAT adventure that’s right for you:

Personalized Air Routing

  • Work with our expert Air Travel Consultants to select the airline and routing you prefer
  • Upgrade to business or premium economy class
  • Customize your trip by staying overnight in a connecting city, arriving at your destination a few days early, or spending additional time in a nearby city on your own
  • Combine your choice of OAT adventures to maximize your value

Your Own Air Routing

  • Make your own international flight arrangements directly with the airline
  • Purchase optional airport transfers to and from your hotel
  • Extend your Land Tour-only Travel Protection Plan coverage and protect the air arrangements you make on your own—including your frequent flyer miles

OR, leave your air routing up to us and your airfare (as well as airport transfers) will be included in your final trip cost.

Standard Air Routing

w/out standard air $2695
w/ standard air $3795

Private Adventures—New for 2015

How do you arrange a Private Adventure?

It’s simple: You choose the people you travel with. You choose the departure date. You choose the size of your group. OAT does the rest.

Your lifelong memories are only a phone call away: Call us toll-free at
1-800-955-1925

Group Size Additional Cost
4-6 $2000 per person
7-9 $950 per person

Now you can reserve an EXCLUSIVE departure of Jewels of Bohemia: Czech Republic, Slovakia & Hungary with just 8 travelers. Enjoy a truly special adventure—starting from only $950 per person more than our published trip price.

The benefits of your Private Adventure …

  • Travel in an exclusive group of friends or family members
  • Work with your Trip Leader to create unique experiences and special memories
  • Tailor the pacing of activities—spending more time doing what interests your group most at the speed that fits your comfort level
  • Enjoy the security of knowing we have regional offices nearby

This program is available on new reservations in 2015 only, and cannot be combined with any offer within 60 days to departure or with our Group Travel program. The additional cost of a Private Departure is per person, on top of the departure price and varies by trip. Private Departures do not include any changes or additions to our standard itineraries. Age restrictions may apply to some itineraries and must be at least 13 years old to travel with Overseas Adventure Travel. Ask your Group Sales Team for details. Additional taxes and fees will apply. Standard Terms & Conditions apply. Every effort has been made to present this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors.

The Sculptures of Bratislava

New public art in an old city



Emerging from a manhole wearing his hard hat, Cumil the sewer worker is a very popular bronze sculpture.

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a city on the Danube River whose centuries-old buildings attest to its long history. But several more recent works of art are also likely to catch your eye as you stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, thanks to local sculptors who have made the city exceptionally rich in public art with modern sensibilities—often with a touch of humor.

It takes an upward glance to view the typical historic monument to some past ruler or general mounted high on his horse. But you have to look downward at the intersection of Panská and Laurinská streets in Bratislava to see one of the most popular local sculptures: Cumil the sewer worker, portrayed in bronze as he emerges from a manhole wearing his hard hat. Created by sculptor Viktor Hulik in 1997 in the spirit of “low art,” Cumil seems unperturbed by the fact that all of his many admirers are looking down on him.

Cumil’s popularity has pleasantly surprised his creator, who worked with fellow artist Juraj Melis to create several works of public art when improvements were being made to Bratislava’s pedestrian-only zone in the Old Town. With a grin on his face, Cumil rests his chin on his hands and seems to be contentedly viewing the world from his low perspective. He has even occasionally inspired imitation from “living sculpture” posers who put on metallic face paint and mimic his position.

Modern art reflects the city’s past

Two other sculptures of life-sized figures created as part of Melis and Hulik’s project are nearby and offer a contemporary perspective on people from Bratislava’s history. Not far from Cumil on the street named Rybárska brána, a statue of a smiling man greets passers-by with a tip of his top hat. He’s known as Schöne Náci, a term of endearment meaning “beautiful Ignác,” reflecting the full name of Ignác Lamár, who was a beloved figure on the streets of the Old Town during the first half of the 20th century.

The original Schöne Náci had aspired to become a comedian and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather. But he ultimately found his calling in the heart of Bratislava, where for decades he strolled from cafe to cafe in top hat and tails brightening everyone’s day with cheerful, elegantly presented salutations. In particular, he was known for greeting women with the phrase “I kiss your hand” in three languages: Slovak, German, and Hungarian.

Another notable sculpture is found in the city’s Main Square. A life-sized Napoleonic soldier leans in a casual pose on a park bench facing the Roland Fountain and Old Town Hall, always ready to look over the shoulder of any visitor who takes a seat. While the relaxed pose is a modern twist, the soldier’s long coat and hat portray a uniform from the early 19th century, when Napoleon’s troops occupied the city—then called Pressburg—twice, in 1805 and 1809.

An abundance of work from Slovak sculptors

Slovak sculptor Tibor Bártfay has also created many works that contribute to Bratislava’s wealth of public art, including a statue of Hans Christian Anderson in Hviezdoslavovo Square in honor of the Danish author’s 1841 visit to the city. A versatile artist, Bártfay’s work ranges from the fanciful “Witch near the castle” (also called “Girl with ravens”) next to Bratislava Castle to the more abstract, spherical Peace Fountain at Hodzovo Square.

Many other public artworks grace Bratislava’s streets and parks, from a statue of a paparazzi-like photographer sneaking a shot around the corner of a building to a street-level figure pointing upward to direct your gaze to a giant ear on the side of another building. With its exceptional number of outdoor sculptures in both traditional and contemporary styles, the city is a virtual gallery of public art, much of which adds a contemporary flair to its many-layered history.