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Bratislava is typically skipped over when people are planning an Eastern Europe travel itinerary. It’s easy for it to get lost with all the other great cities in the area, but there are plenty of reasons to visit Bratislava and Sloavkia. If you choose to visit Bratislava, even if just for a day trip, this Bratislava Travel Guide will help you get the most out of the Slovakia capital.
How to Get to Bratislava
You can get to Bratislava by airport, train, bus, car, and even boat. Most visitors probably get to Bratislava by bus as it’s a very easy day trip from Vienna or Budapest. It’s only about an hour from Vienna and 2 hours from Budapest.
The bus is cheap and easy to use. Bratislava’s bus station is close to the city center, so you won’t have to waste time on public transit or pay for a taxi into the city center. Check out Flixbus for buses to Bratislava.
Where to Stay in Bratislava
Bratislava is fairly small, walkable, and easy to navigate. Therefore, when looking for where to stay in Bratislava, you really can’t pick a bad location, unless it’s super far from the center.
Accommodation in Bratislava is pretty cheap, especially when compared with nearby cities like Vienna, which is an easy day trip from Bratislava. Although, most people take a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava.
Depending on your travel budget and how you like to travel will determine what type of accommodation you want. Hostels are great for budget travelers and hotels are typically better for those with a bigger budget who want the amenities and comfort of a private room in a hotel. Airbnbs are generally somewhere in the middle as some are entire houses or apartments and others are a private room in a local’s house.
Your preferences will determine which one you want to book. If you’re feeling lost in planning your trip, we offer our Travel Planning Services to help you plan the trip of your dreams!
What to Do in Bratislava
Although it may be surprising to many, there are lots of things to do in Bratislava and because it’s a smaller city, you can probably do most of them in a day. This is good news to most people because they are most likely spending time traveling to other cities and may only have one day in Bratislava.
Blue Church of St. Elisabeth
The Church of St. Elizabeth is not some grand, exquisite, ornate cathedral like you see if other major cities in Europe, but rather it’s a smaller church with a unique architectural style. It’s more commonly referred to as ‘The Blue Church.’ It’s worth at least walking by this beautiful church during your time in Bratislava.
The Old Town of Bratislava is simply amazing. For a city that is often skipped over in Europe, Bratislava’s Old Town is a hidden treasure that is worth visiting.
If there’s one thing you must see while visiting Bratislava, it’s Old Town. It’s pretty small compared to that of other cities but for what it lacks in size, it makes up in beauty. Throughout the Old Town there are a couple things to look out for…
Throughout Bratislava’s Old Town there are numerous life-size sculptures or statues of people. Take a look at Welcome to Bratislava’s guide to the Bratislava Statues in Old Town.
St. Michael’s Gate
St. Michael’s Gate is the last of the city gates that originally protected the old city of Bratislava. Plus, it’s a pretty cool way to enter the city because you cross a bridge over the moat that used to surround the fortress of Bratislava.
Slavín (Slovak War Memorial)
While this was quite a hike from the Old Town, it is certainly an interesting thing to see in Bratislava. It takes about 30 minutes to get to because you have to go uphill for most of it. The streets wind up a hill, curving and twisting, until you finally get to the Slovak War Memorial.
The Slovak War Memorial, Slavín, was built as a memorial and cemetery to all the fallen Soviet soldiers who helped take back Bratislava from Nazi control in World War II. It’s a somber place, but an important part of history.
One of the most prominent structures in Bratislava is the UFO Bridge. It’s full name is Most Slovenského národného povstania, or MOST SNP, and it is a famous Soviet era bridge in Bratislava. However, it’s more commonly known as the UFO Bridge or UFO Tower because of it’s unique shape.
The bridge starts at the edge of the Old Town and crosses the Danube River. There’s a restaurant in the UFO itself and an observation deck on top of it. An elevator ride to the top is 7.40€ ($8.35), but you don’t have to pay the entry fee if you eat at the restaurant.
The Bratislava Castle sits above the rest of Bratislava looking down upon it. It’s pretty, but not as beautiful as other European castles.
It’s worth it to hike up to the Bratislava Castle for the view. It’s €7 ($8) to tour the Bratislava Castle if you are interested.
The Grassalkovich Palace is where the President of Bratislava lives. It’s just a few minutes walk out of the Old Town. It’s something to see in Bratislava, and the fountain in the front of it is a great photo op. It’s also open to the public once a year, so if you are lucky enough to visit Bratislava on that day, check it out!
Where to Eat in Bratislava
Slovak Pub is a great restaurant and pub in Bratislava. They have authentic local cuisine with a Slovak beer. This is somewhere you must eat in Bratislava.
If you are unsure of what to order, get the Slovenska misa pre 2 osoby (Slovak platter for 2). It includes dumplings and pierogis. It will give you a sampling of traditional Slovak food. Order up a couple local Slovak beers with it, and you’ll be good to go!
Urban House is a hip little cafe and restaurant that serves a delicious breakfast in Bratislava. They may not have traditional Slovak food, but the eggs benedict with lox and yogurt parfait with granola are really good. Their coffee is also very tasty. It’s also a relatively cheap place for breakfast if you want to eat out for breakfast in Bratislava.
Where to Drink in Bratislava
Grand Cru Wine Gallery
If there’s only one place to drink at in Bratislava, it would be the Grand Cru Wine Gallery. It’s hidden away on the corner of a small street in Old Town Bratislava, so you might pass it if you’re just walking the main drags.
Grand Cru is owned and operated by a Slovak family. They host themselves and will teach you about Slovak wines and pour you a ton of them! It’s a very personal wine tasting experience as they care about what your taste preferences are and will work with you to get you the best one that is personalized to your taste.
Stopping in and drinking at Grand Cru Wine Gallery is one of the top things to do in Bratislava.
Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaurant
Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaurant’s view offers the best view of any bar or restaurant in Bratislava. It’s a rooftop bar and restaurant, and while it doesn’t have a huge outdoor area, the view is pretty cool.
You will pay for it as the cocktails are more on the expensive side, but they are handcrafted. If you are looking for a great view of Bratislava at sunset, Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaurant is the place to go.
Hopefully, this Bratislava Travel Guide has helped you plan your trip to Bratislava and encouraged you to put it on your next Europe travel itinerary.
If you need more help with travel in general, check out our Travel Resources, and if you would like to work with us on planning a trip to get you an authentic cultural travel experience check out our Travel Planning Services.