“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” Gary Synder
I lived my childhood in a big city in Eastern Europe: Bucharest. There were different times, different pollution levels, different stress factors for our parents. But even though I lived in an apartment, I was as happy as it gets to go out, regardless of the weather, and play hide and seek, the ducks and the hunters, the leaf, 1-2-3-stop etc, mix up some fresh mud and turn it into pots for my dolls, eating fresh Mirabelle cherries (rom.:corcoduse), build snow “castles” while grouping girls vs boys to start a winter war of snow balls.
Our parents used to tricks us to come back home by saying: “your favorite cartoon is on TV, come quickly”, only to realize when we got in, that our parents wanted to feed us and there was no TV show.
I get nostalgic remembering how much I loved to go out, how much we enjoyed walking to school next to a high long pile of fresh snow, maybe it was not that high but at that time, it seemed like insurmountable for a tiny girl.
Communism fell, life changed, technology took a giant leap and so did our interests. I grew up and became a happy wife and mother. And I have these flashes in my mind, on what made me happy as a child and how I can bring, if not more at least the same happiness to our child. And so I realized, that without thinking about it, I did some changes in my life long before I even got married. And the biggest one of them is getting closer to nature. Fresh air. Calmness. Moving to Bratislava from the big over-populated extra-stressing polluted Bucharest was a wonderful step.
I don’t have a favorite season, only thing I can complain about is extreme weather: too hot, too cold, strong wind or heavy rain. Though I LOVE snow: let it snow can be the quote of my life. Let it snow all night, all day, the whole week if possible, there is never too much snow. And for each season, there are places in nature I turn to. And because we are all looking forward to spring 2017, I decided to make myself a list of places I can go with our little toddler.
Bratislava is indeed a small city. I was a bit sad at first to see that the parks are smaller here than what I was used to. But I later realized that Bratislava is not only a green city but it is surrounded by wonderful forests and hills. There is a park or a forest hike for each preference.
Let’s start with Bratislava’s favorite walks for us:
♥ Bratislava Forest Park or Železná Studnička
This is a true forest in the city, a natural and peaceful place for a walk, a hike, a picnic, or even meditation. It doesn’t look or feel like a city park, but as a real visit in the nature. It is officially our favorite place for long walks, and the opportunity to choose from many different footpaths, and fun time for Eva on the kids playground. In the winter, you can find many good stops for a warm soup or tea. And for this spring, it will definitely be THE place for a cool and refreshing morning run for me.
It is a very popular place for locals especially during summer months when there are many events organised, even sport activities as yoga in the weekends, and live music on Partizanska Luka every Thursday. And if you are a bike lover, this is a great place to take your bike and explore the nature.
This is truly one of the best nature places in Bratislava, regardless of the season.
♥ How to get there?
You can get the bus-stop Vojenská nemocnica 38, 43, 49, 211, 212-or by car, as there is a parking place available right at the entrance-this is the entrance towards Lamac. Is true that in the weekends the parking place can be very crowded, if not full, but it is worth a try. I understand there are more access points in the Bratislava Forest park, including from Pekna Cesta in Raca. Whatever suits you the best, give it a try.
♥ Sad Janka Krala
This is our second best location for a summer walk and relax time on a blanket. It is a medium sized park in the heart of the city, very close to the Danube.
Did you know it is the oldest public park in Central Europe? It was founded in the years 1774-76. It is very welled maintained and you can find here people of all ages relaxing or enjoying some sport activities. Also, in the summer months you can see it getting filled with people from the nearby office buildings, having a quick snack. As I was also working in the area, I remember how nice it was to go out with my colleagues and enjoy our packed lunch.
It is also a very good place for running, especially in the mornings when you will meet other running lovers.
The kids playground from the Aupark entrance is a very good place to meet other moms and let your children enjoy their time.
One other advantage of this park, is its location next to Aupark Shopping Centre: you can park, eat, shop, use restrooms there. Or just as a refuge from a sudden summer storm.
How to get there?
Either by car, parking in Aupark, by bus (bus. No 50, 80, 83, 84, 88, 91, 93, 94) or by tram (1 or 3), the possibilities are great.
♥ Horsky Park
Other green areas we have explored in Bratislava are Horsky Park, small Strkovec and Kuchayda.
While the last two are more of a residential area parks, on a small surface and very good for a family walk, I would like to add that Horsky Park is another small piece of forest in the city, up on the hill above the city. It is indeed our 3rd best park to have a walk in Bratislava. We love it for the calm and peaceful atmosphere you can find in this park. Even you are in the heart of the city, the silence makes you forget of all the traffic and noise of the city. And after you finished your walk, you can even stop for a coffee or a tea: at the entrance in the park you can find a small café called Horean.
During the summer months they organize a variety of events, and you can keep updated by checking their website.
How to get there?
If you decide to go by bus, look for no. 207. Or if you want to go by car, you can easily park on the side of the road.
This is our top 3 in Bratislava. On our list to explore in more detail this year are the Botanical garden, Koliba and Medical garden – Medicka zahrada. I have visited these places but not as a mom so I would like to refresh my memory this spring and come back to you with some feedback.
Until spring comes, I don’t forget: whenever I begin to feel stressed, overwhelmed, quick to anger, or anxious, the best thing to do is to go out and reconnect with nature. Have a long walk, enjoy the silence or the sound of children laughing while playing in the park. Take some time to breath in and out deeply, to get lost in my thoughts. Even when this means my dear child will be holding my hand, patiently waiting to start to play together.
♥ spending time in nature increases happiness
♥ walking in nature helps fight depression
♥ time in nature improves the ability to concentrate
♥ exposure to nature gives you a heightened sense of well-being
Enjoy Nature! It is our home…
Now tell us below in comments, which is your favorite park !? I would love to know your top 3 parks in Bratislava.
—An article by Doina Hrozany—