Best part of visiting Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is that the town spreads across a small area and almost all the wonderful sightseeing spots are concentrated within that region. The old town of Bratislava has a rich history and plenty to offer to visitors. Its historical buildings are well-preserved monuments, some of which date back to the 12th century. The historical sites bear witness to centuries of influences from Hungarian, Austrian, and Czech cultures.
We made a quick one-day trip from Vienna to Bratislava, at a distance of 80 km, we covered in less than an hour. There were absolutely no hassles at the border crossing. The currency used in Bratislava is Euro, so there was no additional worry of currency conversion. Since we were self- driving things were under control. The only glitch was finding a parking space. It is important to arrive early to get those slots near the old town of Bratislava.
You can reach Bratislava by air too. Bratislava has its own international airport, officially known as M. R. Štefánik Airport (BTS). The airport is located approximately 9 km northeast of the city centre. Alternatively, you can take trains too. Bratislava is well-connected to neighbouring European cities like Vienna, Budapest, Prague, and Krakow. You can take a train to Bratislava's main train station, Bratislava Hlavná Stanica.
Once you arrive in Bratislava, you can use the city's public transportation system like trams, buses, and trolleybuses, to get around. During our Bratislava visit we preferred exploring on foot. Let me now take you virtually through the best things to do in Bratislava. I have you sorted with your query – what to see in Bratislava in just a short span of time. The following is my suggested list of top things to do in Bratislava.
Walk down to the Old Town (after we parked the car), towards the castle which was a short distance from the parking zone. Stroll through the narrow, picturesque streets – most of them are covered with colourful graffiti, and admire the colourful buildings.
It is better to start your day with a visit to Bratislava Castle, which offers panoramic views of the city and the Danube River. The castle tends to get crowded in peak seasons and times. Bratislava castle is also known by the name - Hrad Bratislava. Explore the castle grounds and the museum to learn about the city's history.
After the tour of the castle, walk towards Michael's Gate (Michalská brána) and the Old Town Hall. There is a popular legend associated with Michael's Gate in Bratislava. It is believed that if you speak while walking under the gate, you won’t get married. Those unmarried and hoping to get married please note.
Exit through this tower into Baštová Street. It is considered to be the thinnest and most romantic street in Bratislava. The best markets of Bratislava line this street.
While strolling through the Old Town of Bratislava you can engage in a very interesting activity of
spotting statues. They are scattered near the Main Square. These bronze statues add charm,
whimsy, and historical context to the streets and public spaces. Here are a few of the Bratislava
1. Čumil, the watcher, a bronze man peeping out of a manhole cover.
2. Napoleon's Soldier - commemorates Napoleon Bonaparte's army, which occupied Bratislava in the early 19th century. The bronze soldier is dressed in period attire and stands hunched over a bench in the city centre, near the Main Square.
3. Hans Christian Andersen in the Main Square, the statue depicts him sitting on a bench. It's a tribute to his visit to Bratislava in the 1840s.
4. Schöne Náci (Beautiful Ignatius), a well-known figure in Bratislava during the early 20th century. He was known for his dapper attire and cheerful demeanour. The bronze statue captures his elegance.
5. Ciferník is another bronze character located near the Main Square. He is portrayed as a man leaning out of a window and is known for his curious expression as he watches passers-by.
6. Chimney Sweep (Čertko), a bronze figure, can be seen emerging from a chimney. It is located near the Primate's Palace. 7. The Paparazzi statue depicts a photographer with an oversized camera and is located on Laurinská Street.
8. Sewer Worker (Vodárenská veža s robotníkom), this statue shows a sewer worker emerging from a manhole cover, highlighting the importance of Bratislava's underground infrastructure.
Visit the stunning St. Martin's Cathedral (Katedrála svätého Martina), a Gothic cathedral, which played a significant role in the coronation of Hungarian kings. The interior is impressive, and you can even climb the tower for more views.
By now you will be exhausted with forenoon activities. Head over for lunch to one of the many restaurants in the Old Town. Enjoy traditional Slovak cuisine in one of the many restaurants in the Old Town. Try dishes like bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings with sheep cheese) or goulash. Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous and have deep pockets you can head over to Nový Most, the UFO Tower of Bratislava (Most SNP). One of the legs of the tower has an elevator going right up to the restaurant and the observation deck. It offers a unique observation deck with a breath-taking 360-degree view of the city.
After lunch you may visit the Slovak National Museum. provide insights into the country's art, history, and archaeology. The Slovak National Museum includes a network of museums dealing with the culture of ethnic minorities, memorial museums, a public archive and scientific library. Slovakia Museum operates 18 specialized museums and hundreds of monuments. Make a good study of the list and fit in the monuments and museums to your itinerary of one day in Bratislava.
For graffiti and street art lovers, one of the best things to do in Bratislava would be to explore the city's street art scene, especially in the neighbourhood of Petržalka. There are colourful murals and graffiti that add vibrancy to the city.
We were done for the day and headed back to Vienna. But for those willing to spend more time and stay back in Bratislava there are more experiences.
Adventure enthusiasts can explore the nearby Carpathian Mountains or take a cruise on the Danube River.
In the evening, head back to the Old Town for dinner at a restaurant of your choice. There are plenty of options, from traditional Slovak to international cuisine. Afterwards, enjoy a drink at one of the bars or cafes in the city centre.
Night Walk in Old Town Bratislava - Take a final walk through the beautifully lit Old Town streets. The city has a cosy and romantic atmosphere in the evening, and you can soak in the ambiance. I am sure this long list of things to do in Bratislava is convincing enough that Bratislava in Slovakia is worth visiting. As Bratislava evolves with time, it will remain a treasure trove of history, culture, and charm waiting to be discovered by intrepid travellers seeking an authentic European experience.