The highlight of Bratislava Christmas 2023 was its atmosphere
Nearly 600 respondents joined the survey of satisfaction with the Bratislava Christmas carried out by the Bratislava Cultural and Information Centre (BKIS) as its main organiser. How did the visitors feel about Christmas in Bratislava? The reasons why people visit Christmas markets have not changed since 2022. What they find particularly appealing is the atmosphere, meeting with loved ones and the food and drink on offer. In the BKIS survey 73% of respondents cited the atmosphere as the main reason for visiting . This trend was also confirmed by a survey conducted among visitors on the spot at the Main Christmas Market, which was completed by more than 260 respondents. People appreciated the extending of the markets, the cleanliness and the option of card payment.
For the first time in its history, Bratislava Christmas lasted up to New Year's Eve. People appreciated the opportunity to visit the market between the holidays; the attendance was also high during the New Year celebrations. "I would welcome an extension of the markets right up to Three Kings Day," a 39-year-old Petržalka resident said in the survey. BKIS also recorded positive reactions to the cleanliness. "I have a great deal of praise for the people who were in charge of cleaning," a 30-year-old visitor from Senec shared in the survey. Visitors also noticed the connection between the Main and Old Town Christmas Markets and the introduction of the same standards for waste-sorting and reusable cups. "I am very happy about the level of the Christmas markets in Bratislava at the moment. A friendly and clean setting," responded a 34-year-old man from Bratislava's New Town. A 43-year-old lady from Senec joined in the praise: "This year, Christmas in Bratislava is really nice. I appreciate the card payment option everywhere." Payment terminals for each stall were provided by Slovenská sporiteľňa.
Saturday was the peak day Bratislava Christmas 2023 attracted most visitors from Friday (40%) to Sunday (32%). Saturday was the peak day (49%). As many as 94% of respondents said that they visit Christmas markets in Bratislava regularly or occasionally. In terms of the programme and the possibilities offered by this year's Bratislava Christmas, the new Friendly Zone on the Primate's Square was the most popular choice, reported by 25% of visitors. It was a wheelchair-accessible covered zone where people could relax and sit, away from the rush of the Main Christmas Market. BKIS collaborated with IKEA on it.
Markets are mainly a social affair As in 2022, in 2023 people visited Bratislava Christmas mainly with friends (49%) or with their spouse or partner (42%). The third most frequent answer was visiting the markets with colleagues from work (24% of respondents), followed by visits with children (21%), alone (21%) or with the whole family (18%). "I and my granddaughter really liked this year's children's zone with wooden houses, slide, tree labyrinth - a great idea," said a 70-year-old market visitor from Bratislava in the survey. The Family Zone was a new addition to the Old Town Christmas Market on Hviezdoslav Square, which was organised by the Old Town city district.
People are concerned about the crowds and prices, would welcome an ice rink If people did not attend Bratislava Christmas 2023 for some reason, it was mainly because they were bothered by the event being over-crowded (25%). This is the same main reason they reported in 2022. In the future, they would like to see an improvement in the food (26%) and the merchandise (25%) on offer at the stalls. The survey cited inflated prices or parking issues. “The rent really has a negligible impact on the prices in the stalls. They are largely determined by the widespread increase in the prices of food, energy and manpower," says Katarína Hulíková, Director of (BKIS). People also often mentioned an ice rink in the survey. It is difficult to operate due to the high energy prices, and even large cities are abandoning it. "If we can find a partner to share the operational costs this year, we would love to give visitors the experience of skating in the city centre," adds Hulíková.
Bratislava Christmas in the city districts too In addition to a number of city organisations, all seventeen Bratislava districts joined the Bratislava Christmas in 2023 for the first time. They organised markets, Advent concerts and a St Nicholas programme. In the BKIS survey, the respondents reported that, apart from the Old Town, they also attended Christmas events in Petržalka or Ružinov to a greater extent.
Christmas tree re-used The twelve-metre-tall blue spruce had been growing in the garden of a private house in Karlova Ves for 34 years. As a Christmas tree, it was enjoyed by the people of Bratislava for a total of 70 days. However, its journey did not end on the Main Square - the Alpine ibex, camels, takins, bison, deer and mouflons from the Bratislava Zoo feasted on it. A part of the trunk was returned to the donor - Jozef Zajac. He plans to use it to make garden furniture as a memento of the tree he planted himself.
A total of 268 respondents took part in the survey directly at the Main Christmas Market. In the larger BKIS online survey, 592 respondents completed the survey.
The Bratislava Cultural and Information Centre (BKIS) is the city’s contributory organisation that implements and dramaturgically covers important city-wide cultural and social events (Bratislava Christmas, Bratislava City Days, Bratislava Cultural Summer, etc.). It creates the conditions for organising cultural events through open calls. BKIS also covers the oldest Tourism Guide Training Course in Slovakia, devoted to Bratislava. It organises a series of thematic guided walks, the Rendezvous with the City, and makes a podcast of the same name. It manages the Klarisky concert and exhibition hall and is responsible for restoration of the former Zora cinema and other premises on Biela 6.