10 things to do and see in Bratislava

A complete and detailed guide about 10 things to do and see in Bratislava in 1, 2 or 3 days

10 things to do and see in Bratislava
10 things to do and see in Bratislava

Bratislava is, perhaps,  one of the few cities in the world whose name was decided by a public competition. The residents didn’t like the German name Pressburg defined when it was capital of the Kingdom of Hungary.

The Slovak capital, is 60 km from Vienna, but also 200 km from Budapest and 300 km from Prague. It’s therefore a must see during the Est European cities tour. Nowadays the Slovak capital is the main destination for those seeking a nice little town, clean, quiet, full of things to see, so many young people and a nice night life. In this page we suggest you the 10 things to see and do during a trip to Bratislava.

If you are looking for a hotel in Bratislava, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 115 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com

The Castle of Bratislava

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The Castle dominates the town from a hill and you’ll see it in every tour in the city.

The Castle of Bratislava
The Castle of Bratislava

It was built in 913 on a place already inhabited during the Stone Age, but it was repeatedly damaged and rebuilt in Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance style and then was destroyed by a fire in the early 1800. It has been rebuilt and since 1993 is representativeseat of the Slovak parliament when the nation has become independent with the separation of Czechoslovakia. From the castle, taking the path Zidovska, you’ll  cross what remains of the Jewish Quarter largely destroyed to buil the New Bridge. In the district there is the “narrowest house in central Europe” in the Rococo style, which houses a Museum of Clocks.

When: On the hill of the Old Town
How to get there: by feet from the Old City or bus 203 and 207.
When – Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm . Never on Monday.
Tickets: Adults 2 €, children, teenagers and students € 1.33

The Old Town of Bratislava

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The Bratislava’s Old Town (Stare Mesto) is perfectly preserved and entirely pedestrian. It’s developed  all around the Main Square (Hlavné namestie) where for centuries there were  markets, riots and executions.

The Old Town of Bratislava
The Old Town of Bratislava

Nowadays there’s the Town Hall with the tower and above all restaurants and bars where Slovaks and tourists drink beers at any time of day every day of the year. According to legend, the statue of Maximilian II turns and starts to walk backwards!

The old town is a succession of well-preserved buildings, streets and squares, including the large Hviezdoslav Square which hosts the National and the Philharmonic Theatre. During the winter it becomes a huge ice rink and a giant chess during the summer. The old town is dominated by  the Church of San Martino, the most beautiful Gothic building in Bratislava. Don’t miss the bronze statues that appear from the most uncommon places including a photographer, a voyeur in a manhole, two girls on a mailbox and the soldier of Napoleon.

The Church of St. Martin in Bratislava

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St. Martin’s Cathedral is the most important church in Bratislava. Built in a Gothic style was for centuries the place of coronation of Hungarian kings (when the region belonged to the Hungarian Empire).

The Church of St. Martin in Bratislava
The Church of St. Martin in Bratislava

This feature is remembered by a reproduction of  300 kg of the Hungarian crown that is placed on a golden pillow 2 × 2 meters which is located at the top of the bell tower. The interior is divided into 3 aisles and you can admire the great portal in relief and the lead group of San Martino depicting the saint in the act to donate part of his cloak to a beggar. Don’t forget to visit the catacombs, which are under the church: a really exciting place.

Where: Rudnayovo námestie
How to get there: by feet in the old town center
When – Hours: From April to October: Monday to Saturday 9 -11.30  am and 1 -5 pm ; Sunday 1: 30- 4 pm. From November to March: Monday to Saturday 9 -11.30 am and 1 -4 pm; Sunday 1:30- 4 pm
Tickets: € 2

The Blue Church in Bratislava

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Actually this church is not much interesting from an architectural point of view but worth a visit for only one reason: the color of the walls, turquoise blue, which makes it looks more like a cake or a fabulous-looking house.

The Blue Church in Bratislava
The Blue Church in Bratislava

A choice certainly unusual for the church dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary who lived in the Bratislava Castle. The construction is recent, 1907, which explains the Art Nouveau style chosen by Hungarian designer Odon Lechner. The entire area surrounding the church is full of houses and buildings with Nouveau elements. You can arrive to the Blue  Church  walking from the Old Town or taking the tram number 13.

Where: Bezručova, in the eastern part of the Old Town
How to get there: by feet in the old town centre
When – Hours: every day from 11 am to 6 pm
Ticket: free entrance

The Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava

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No wonder the young Slovak Republic Presidency has headquarters in Grassalkovich Palace, the most beautiful one of Bratislava. It was built in 1760 in Baroque style as a summer residence for Count Anton Grassalkovich, an influential adviser of Queen Maria Theresa, Empress of the Empire Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava
The Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava

Inside you can admire the beautiful staircase and if you have time, hundreds of different rooms. The palace gardens are an oasis of tranquility in the already quiet Bratislava: lawns, trees, benches and a few statues of contemporary art to be admired. Admission until the sunset every day of the year

Where: Old town centre
How to get there: by feet
When – Hours: The palace is not open to visitors, but we recommend to watch the changing of the guard at 1:00 pm
The park’s opening hours: January to March: every day from 10:00 am  to 7:00 pm ; April-May: every day from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm ; June-September: daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm ; October to December: daily from 10:00 am -7: 00 pm

The picturesque statues of Bratislava

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For those who are not prepared to them, the bronze statues are scattered around the old town of Bratislava and represent a truly unexpected spectacle. So you could see appearing from a manhole “Cumil the voyeur” named in this way  by the inhabitants for obvious reasons.

The picturesque statues of Bratislava
The picturesque statues of Bratislava

On a nearby bench, a Napoleonic soldier waits for the return of his commander. Watch out to the photos of the “Paparazzi” or the “mocker” at the window. Even Andersen, the great writer of fables, was rewarded with a statue for writing in Bratislava “The Little Match Girl”. The Baron Munchausen, instead, is having a bad time sitting on a cannonball in the façade of a building. The Bratislava bronze statues are changing: every now and then someone appears. Everything was born as an inexpensive and fun way to revitalize the center after the fall of Communism. Today they have become one of the most important tourist attractions of the Slovak cities.

The New Bridge in Bratislava

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This futuristic bridge over the Danube is called the New Bridge (Nový Most) even though it was built over 30 years ago. You’ll have the impression of getting on a UFO spaceship (the inhabitants call it that way) suspended in Bratislava. The elevator that takes you up is super-fast so you can take a beer, eat at the restaurant (luxury but affordable) or simply admire the view from the platform.

The New Bridge in Bratislava
The New Bridge in Bratislava

The Jewish District was destroyed to build this bridge during the communist dictatorship, and the politicians of the time didn’t think twice to build the road of the bridge close to  the Cathedral San Martino, the city cathedral and crowning place of the Hungarian kings.

Night life in Bratislava

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Sitting at a table in a bar or a pub and drinking a beer (also 3 or 4) with some friends is the favorite sport of the inhabitants of Bratislava. This explains the large number of bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs in the Old City.

Night life in Bratislava
Night life in Bratislava

For the evening, then, you can choose: pubs with live music, some great nightclubs, jazz clubs, or, if the weather is nice, a walk along the Danube.

Things to eat in Bratislava

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We are sure of two things: when you return from Bratislava you will have a few extra pounds and you will not want to see gnocchi, sheep meat and cheese for a little bit. The first Slovakian dish is the gnocchi (halusky) or ravioli (pirohy) with sheep cheese (bryndza) or lekvarom (jam and walnuts). They are present in all menu sometimes with very classic goulash (beef, paprika, carrots, potatoes).

Things to eat in Bratislava
Things to eat in Bratislava

The Slovak soups are dense and hearty with the appearance of garlic soup, onion, potatoes, cabbage, lentils and so on. The Slovak wines are of great level, and then choose aTokai, a Traminer, Riesling or Müller-Thurgau. But don’t forget that we are here in the East and the beers are good and cheap. Costs for food are generally low (10-20 € for two). Among the restaurants the choice is wide: in the old town there are almost all friendly and generally the service is fast but never rude.

Where to sleep in Bratislava

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Bratislava offers a good choice of hotels of all categories with prices starting at 60 Euros.

Where to sleep in Bratislava
Where to sleep in Bratislava

Our suggestion is to choose a hotel in the Old Town or just outside the centre: don’t go visiting the suburbs where you could have problems with your connections and, above all, with safety. Prices start at around 60 Euros for a double room in a hotel with 2 or 3 stars but you could find also good opportunities for superior hotel in the center for the same price.

If you are looking for a hotel in Bratislava, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 115 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com