Bratislava, Slovakia is the ultimate medieval capital, with baroque palaces, a renaissance castle, narrow cobblestone streets and towers overlooking the Old Town. This travel guide to Bratislava has everything you need to know to plan a trip to this charming and idyllic Central European destination. Follow along as we go over the top things to do in Bratislava!
Top Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia
Visit Michael’s Gate
The first thing you’ll come across while entering the Old Town of Bratislava is Michael’s Gate. Built in 1300, Michael’s Gate is the last standing medieval gate in the city. Walk under it to admire its grand presence or climb up the stairs to the tower’s lookout point for a panoramic view of Bratislava. The entrance to the tower can be overlooked and as a result not many tourists know how to enter. To find the door walk under Michael’s Gate from outside the Old Town. To the left of the Gate’s archway there is a big, wooden door right next to Zbrojnoš Pub which leads up to the tower.
Entry fee: 5€ for adults and 3€ for children 6-14
Open Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday-Friday: 10AM – 5PM
Saturday-Sunday: 11AM – 6PM
Try a Chimney Cake
Upon your visit at Michael’s Gate, take a left to reach a narrow little alley where you’ll find Chimney Friends. A visit to central Europe isn’t complete without trying a chimney cake at least once! You have the option to personalize your chimney cake with various fillings and toppings as well.
Wander Bratislava’s Old Town
There is no better way to get acquainted with Bratislava than to wander through its Old Town. Bratislava is not usually people’s first choice of destination, however once they enter the city’s historic down town they quickly fall in love with this charming old city. Get lost in the narrow alleys, admire the preserved architecture or walk around the main square, Hlavne Namestie or the old town hall, Stara Radnica. You can walk from one side of the Old Town to the other in less than 15 minutes or you can spend others exploring every shop, street or café – the choice is yours!
Visit St. Martin’s Cathedral
The St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava is located on the western border of the Old Town right below the Bratislava Castle. Make a stop at the largest and one of the oldest churches of the capital to admire its sheer beauty. Be caution as this is still an operating church and when the priest is conducting a liturgy you can not walk around the church.
Visit the Bratislava Castle
Bratislava wouldn’t be a central European city without an impressive castle overlooking the city. Indeed, the Bratislava Castle with its impressive gardens is definitely worth the walk up from the Old Town. I recommend visiting St. Martin’s Cathedral first then walking up to the castle via Zidovská Street to admire the narrow House of the Good Shepherd along the way. The castle is mainly empty and not as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. Nevertheless if you choose to go inside the entry fee is 10€. Otherwise just walking around the premises and wandering through the garden is worth your while.
Entry fee: 10€, basic admission, 4€, seniors, students and children
Opening Hours: Winter season from November 1st – March 31st: Tuesday-Sunday: 9AM-5PM
Summer season from April 1st – October 31st: Tuesday-Sunday: 10AM-6PM
Walk through Kapitulska Street
Kapitulska Street is a charming and picturesque alley just a minute away from St. Martin’s Cathedral worth exploring. This spot is a treat for photographers because few people walk past here. Enjoy admiring this quaint medieval street before reaching the next must-see attraction of Bratislava.
Visit the UFO Tower
Unlike the Old Town of Bratislava, the new part of town has a modern and futurist feel to it, especially the UFO Tower, found on the southern bank of the Danube River. The scenic view of the city is worth making your way up to the tower. Indeed on clear days you can even see Austria and Hungary from its viewing docks.
Entry fee for the UFO Tower observation deck: 7.40 € (free if you eat at the restaurant)
Open Hours: Observation Desk: 10AM-11PM, Restaurant: 12PM-11PM, Bar: 10AM-11PM
Day trip to Budapest or Vienna
Bratislava is the only national capital in the world to border two countries, Austria and Hungary. Indeed, due to their close proximity, a day trip to Vienna or Budapest from Bratislava is a great way to see more than one destination during your trip. You can read the complete travel guide to Budapest here to learn about the top things to do there.
Related Post: A Complete Travel Guide to Budapest, Hungary
Enjoy Bratislava’s Coffee Scene
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Bratislava had one of the best coffee scene we’ve ever seen. You’ll find warm and wholeheartedly welcoming cafes, with good coffee and food throughout the Old Town but our top choices are Urban Bistro and Urban House.
Find the statues of Bratislava
Scattered throughout the city center are unique steel statues that are fun to spot. Most notable is the Cumil statue, also known as the Man at Work. He is located on the corner of Panska and Rybarska brana Street. Be aware that due to its popularity you might have to wait a few minutes to secure a photo in front of it. Other famous statues of Bratislava include the Schone Naci, Napolean’s Army Soldier and Hans Christian Andersen.
More things to do and see in Bratislava:
- Visit the Blue Church, also known as the Church of St. Elisabeth
- Visit The Grassalkovich Palace
- Climb the tower of the Old Town Hall
- Visit the Slavin Memorial
- Visit the Old Slovak National Theater
- Visit the Hviezdoslavovo Square
- Visit the Primatial Palace
Basic Information on Bratislava, Slovakia
How to get to Bratislava, Slovakia
Slovakia’s largest airport, M. R. Štefánik Airport, more commonly known as Bratislava Airport has daily flights to and from several European cities. Regular flights are made with Ryanair, Wizz Air, and Smartwings.
To get to the city center from the airport you can hire a private taxi or take the public bus.
If you are traveling to Bratislava from a nearby city such as Vienna or Budapest there are daily trains that can take you to the city’s central train station, Bratislava Hlavná Stanica. For more information click here. Once you arrive at the train station you can take the public bus to the city center or a private taxi.
There are many buses that connect Bratislava with other European cities. The best company to find cheap bus tickets is FlixBus.
Getting around Bratislava
Bratislava is a small and walkable city. Cars are not allowed in the Old Town, however you can go pretty much anywhere by foot. To use public transportation you can look up schedules, tickets and maps here.
The Bratislava Card is a tourist card for unlimited use of public transportation, free entry into 16 museums and galleries, a one-hour walking tour of the Old Town of Bratislava and discounts of up to 50% on over 100 other attractions.
The price of the Bratislava Card is:
One Day Card: 18 €
Two Days Card: 22 €
Three Days Card: 25 €
Where to buy the Bratislava Card:
You can buy the card online, at one of the Tourist Information Centers or through one of their partners. For more information on where to buy the card click here.
If you are interested in checking off many museums from your bucket list, taking a walking tour and using public transportation throughout your trip then investing in the Bratislava Card will save you a lot of money. However if you are only visiting Bratislava for a day or only planning on visiting a few attractions than the card is not worth it.
Other Useful Information About Bratislava, Slovakia
Slovakia is in the European Union and thus their official currency is the Euro.
Language spoken in Slovakia
Slovakian is the official language of Slovakia however everyone in the tourism industry, including museums, hotels and restaurants can understand and speak English just fine.
How many days to stay in Bratislava
You can explore the whole city of Bratislava in a day or two however if you would like to combine day trips to Budapest, Vienna, or nearby mountains of Slovakia, 3-4 days in Bratislava is an ideal amount of time.
Best time of year to visit Bratislava
The best time of the year to visit Bratislava is during spring and autumn. Summer is too jam packed with tourists and winters are too dark and cold, which leaves the sunny and pleasant temperatures of spring and autumn to be the ideal months to visit. These two seasons are perfect for walking around the Old Town of Bratislava by foot and for enjoying a meal outside. Likewise, you can combine outdoor activities such as hiking the mountains of Slovakia during your trip. However if you do choose to visit Bratislava during the winter, their Christmas Market in December is one of Europe’s best holiday markets.
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