Bratislava is nestled beside the Danube river, among lush vineyards and skirted by the Little Carpathian Mountains. Slovakia’s capital breeds a fusion where new meets old, east meets west and green spaces meet urban locales.

    Discover dramatic architecture as you weave through the pedestrianised Old Town or be enchanted by a wealth of history and culture in the city’s many museums. Get outdoors to make the most of numerous hiking and biking trails crisscrossed throughout nearby forests, with the Little Carpathian mountains and Danubian lowlands within easy reach.


    Bratislava Castle

    Explore the building that dominates the city’s skyline

    • History
    • Photo

    Bratislava Castle is the centrepiece of the city. Head up to the imposing rectangular building that overlooks the Danube from an isolated hill of the Little Carpathians to join the stream of visitors at the Slovak National Museum. Here, you’ll learn about the country’s history from the Middle Ages to now.

    The real hero of this area, though, is the Treasury. Once the nation's financial heart, it's now home to gold and silver works from the region. Often missed by visitors, you can enjoy your time browsing with just a few other guests.

    Location: Hrad, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (9 am to 5 pm in winter)


    photo by Erik Cleves Kristensen (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Old Town

    Take things slow through the pedestrian streets

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo

    Drink in the tranquil atmosphere as you meander the cobblestoned pedestrian streets of the Old Town, where souvenir merchants and musicians spill onto the passages. Dip into stores selling local wares or examine the intricacy of the colourful facades.

    Admire the contrasting architecture to find Gothic cathedrals sat among classicist-style facades and occasional baroque features. The city is known for the quirky statues sprinkled throughout its streets. A favourite among visitors is Man at work, the most photographed of them all.


    photo by Jorge Láscar (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Main Square

    Grab a coffee by Roland’s Fountain in Hlavné námestie

    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Trimmed by lofty buildings in pastel-shaded hues, Main Square is home to Roland’s Fountain. Pop into Zeppelin Café in Hlavné námestie for a caffeine boost before circumnavigating the square to take in the sights. The Town Hall is worth a visit as it houses an exhibition on ancient torture devices at the Bratislava City Museum... if you’re into that kind of thing.

    Tap into local folklore at Roland’s Fountain. A legend suggests the knight set atop the central column comes to life and bows in the direction of the old Town Hall, so keep an eye on him while you’re doing your morning people-watching.

    Location: Hlavné námestie, 811 01 Staré Mesto, Slovakia


    See the city from Michael’s Gate

    Check out the museum, too

    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Serving as an entryway into Bratislava’s Old Town, St Michael’s Gate is a great example of Baroque architecture. It’s the only one of the original 4 medieval gates still standing, and once protected the eastern fortifications of the city. As you pass under the gate, take note of the zero kilometre plate that lists the distance of 29 capital cities from Bratislava.

    Familiarise yourself with exceptional views over the Slovakian capital from the upper terrace, which rises 51 metres above the streets below. Then head inside to explore the Museum of Arms collection of weaponry, including the documentation of the development of firearms.

    Location: Michalská ulica 22 806/24, 811 03 Bratislava, Slovakia

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, weekends from 11 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)


    photo by Jorge Láscar (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Primate’s Palace

    Marvel at the neoclassical elegance

    • History
    • Photo

    Exploring Primate’s Palace is one of the best things to do in Bratislava because it's one of the best-preserved and most charming classicist buildings in the city. Mostly used for council meetings now, much of the 2nd floor is open to visitors. Showcasing a number of 17th- and 18th-century tapestries, the palace holds a rich history that shouldn’t be missed.

    Be fascinated by the detail inside the Hall of Mirrors, which is dressed in gold, or plan your visit for one of the concerts. The hall has epic high ceilings, large chandeliers and tall golden mirrors.

    Location: Primaciálne námestie. 494 2, 811 01 Staré Mesto, Slovakia

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)


    photo by Smuconlaw (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Church of St Elisabeth

    A church that’s a little different from the rest

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo
    • Unusual

    A masterpiece of Art Nouveau design, the Church of St Elisabeth looks like it’s been pulled right from a whimsical children’s fairytale. More commonly known as the ‘Blue Church’ (for obvious reasons), even the roof is dressed in blue-glazed ceramics.

    Built in the early 20th century and consecrated in October 1913, the Blue Church is smaller than most European churches. Step inside for more sapphire shades in one of the city's most notable buildings. The 36.8-metre round tower is certainly an iconic addition to the skyline.

    Location: Alžbety, Bezručova 2, 811 09 Bratislava, Slovakia


    photo by Vesna Middelkoop (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Devínska Kobyla

    Get back to nature

    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Pull on your hiking shoes for a relaxing journey along the 4-km Educational Nature Trail in Devinska Kobyla. Reconnect with some of Slovakia’s best nature routes, showcasing the rich history of the area and scarcity of the natural flora throughout the Little Carpathians. Be sure to check out the Sandberg area, where you can see the fossils of sea life from around 15 million years ago.

    Up for something more challenging? Hit the Dubravka to Devinska Kobyla circuit for a 350-metre-elevation route through the nature reserve, all within reach of the city.


    photo by Bernhard Böhm (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Devín Castle

    Explore medieval ruins over the Danube

    • History
    • Photo

    Set atop a craggy cliff overlooking the junction of the Danube and the Morava rivers, the ancient ruins of Devín Castle offer spectacular views across Austria, with the Alps in the distance. Just 10 km from Bratislava’s centre, the journey here is half of the experience. Either relax by taking it all in with a cruise along the Danube, catch local transport or enjoy a scenic bike ride.

    History buffs can check out rich archaeological finds and a biography of the castle in the permanent exhibition or simply enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the surrounding area.

    Location: Muránská 1050/10, 841 10 Devín, Slovakia

    Open: April–September: daily from 10 am to 7 pm. October: daily 10 am to 5 pm. November–March: daily 10 am to 4 pm


    Mestiansky Pivovar

    The Bryndza is a must-try

    • Food

    Get a taste of homemade Slovakian cooking at Mestiansky Pivovar – a restaurant-cum-brewery just a short walk from the Danube waterfront. Brewing since 1752, it was once the local watering hole for poets, painters and newspaper editors, but now serves hearty dishes and locally made brews to locals and visitors alike.

    Don’t miss sampling Bryndzové Halušky, which is a dish of small potato dumplings coated in sheep’s cheese and bacon. It's a truly Slovakian experience, which you can round off with a sample of the house brew – a slightly smokey dark beer.

    Location: Dunajská 21, 811 08 Staré Mesto, Slovakia

    Open: Monday–Thursday and Saturday from 11 am to midnight, Friday from 11 am to 1 am, Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +421 (0)948 710 888


    UFO Bridge

    Enjoy panoramic views across Bratislava

    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Food

    Take the lift 84.6 metres up to the open-air observation deck of the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising (Most SNP) – also known as the UFO bridge – for panoramic views across Bratislava. The iconic and distinctive structure was considered an engineering marvel when it opened in 1972.

    Unwind from the day’s adventures with a drink and a meal at the innovative international restaurant that floats above the pillar of the Most SNP. While there is a small fee to get to the observation deck, it's deducted from your bill if you eat in the restaurant.

    Location: Most SNP, 851 01 Petržalka, Slovakia

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +421 (0)2 6252 0300

    Kiri Nowak | Contributing Writer

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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