Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 427,000, also the country's largest city. Situated in southwestern Slovakia over both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two countries and is less than 60km from Vienna.
Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic center of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the executive branch of the government. It is also home to several universities, museums, theaters, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. The headquarters of many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions are in Bratislava as well. The history of the city has been strongly influenced by various peoples, including Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Slovaks.
City sights include the narrowest house in Europe, Michael's Gate, the University Library Building, the Grassalkovich Palace and St. Martin's Cathedral. The city's most prominent feature, however, is Bratislava Castle which sits on a plateau above the Danube.
Recent years have seen a strong growth in the Slovak economy, and this has led to a boom in the Bratislava construction industry which is briskly reshaping the city's skyline.
In terms of renting, you will find that prices have already reached western levels, although, standards are occasionally less than their Western counterparts. For example, not all houses are air conditioned and dryers are not considered to be part of a furnished property. On the other hand, landlords are very flexible and additional equipment such as Internet connection and satellite can be arranged. A landlord may also be able to recommend a cleaning lady and a gardener.
Bratislava is divided into 5 districts. As it is not too large a city, you should not be worried about being too far from work or school. Driving from one end to the other will take you 30 minutes (if there is no major traffic).The most popular area for expatriates areas are Stare Mesto, Koliba, Horsky Park, Slavin (all located in Bratislava I) areas around international schools are also of interest to expats. Small towns closely neighboring Bratislava such as Devinska Nova Ves, Zahorska Bystrica or Svaty Jur are also attractive and there are a lot of new houses being built in such areas.
Families with children – If your children are attending one of the international schools, you may wish to consider properties in Bratislava IV, Karlova Ves, Dubravka, as well as Devin and Devinska Nova Ves. It is possible to find a house within walking distance of the schools. You should, however, not be concerned if you are unable to find something close by as schools can arrange for bus pickups and your child can be collected from any location within the greater Bratislava area.
Others - most single foreigners or couples without children prefer to live either in the very center of town – the Old Town area, as everything is walking distance. If you settle for the city center, you'll find that you'll only need to use your car for major shopping excursions or trips out of the city. Parking is not easy to find but almost in all cases, can be arranged.