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Posted by on Jan 15, 2017 | 100 comments

14 Things to See in Bratislava

 

This post gives suggestions on 10 things to see in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.  In addition it provides 4 ideas on what to do in the city.

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When you are visiting a city like Vienna, your mind is bombarded with a lot of choices. How should I use my time in one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world? Should I stay put and absorb all the glorious beauty or should I go out and embrace a different place?

In the end, I think we achieved a decent balance between our two lines of thought.  We spent two days seeing the main sights, used another day to cruise the Wachau Valley and the last day, we decided to venture out to Bratislava.

Bratislava is the capital and largest city of Slovakia.  The city is one of the four European capitals cut by the legendary Danube River. In addition, the city occupies the left bank of the Morava River.

The city has been affiliated to the Kingdom of Hungary, the Austrian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia and other entities. Slovakia became an independent country in 1993.

Since the city was under Habsburg rule for centuries, the architecture is similar to other cities you will find in Central and Eastern Europe.  However, there is a certain quirkiness and uniqueness that distinguishes Bratislava.  I found the city regal and fun at the same time.

Let’s take look at what can seen and done around the city.

Things to See in Bratislava

Trinitarian Church

Most of the sights in this guide are within the realm of the Old City.  This area can be reached from the train station by bus.  The visitor’s center assistants will tell you to get down from the bus at the third stop. I recommend you get out at the second stop (Staromestska and Kozia).

A short walk will take you to the beautiful Trinitarian Church.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Michael’s Gate

Now, remember I told you to get down the bus at the second stop? I recommend this since you want to enter the Old Town in the best way possible.

You are going to get that “wow” feeling when you pass throughout Michael’s Gate. This is the only preserved gate of the city’s original fortification system, dating back to the 14th century. The upper terrace of its 51 meters high tower provides an enchanting view of Old Town (and its terracotta roofs).  The tower houses the Museum of Arms.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Keep walking down the street and get prepared to enjoy Bratislava’s charms. By the way, you are walking part of the coronation route.

Old Town Hall and Main Plaza

Turn right on Biela Street and you are going to hit a big plaza with a fountain.  This is where the former seat of the city government stands (yellow building).  Today, it serves as the Bratislava City Museum, the oldest museum in Slovakia.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

The plaza is full of cafes and restaurants. It is a nice place to sit down and people watch.  Red booths selling all sorts of crafts and souvenirs are located in one side of the plaza.  Check them out if you are interested taking home something unique.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Streets of Old Town

The stately architecture of the city deserves its own mention.  Walk the streets and admire your surroundings.  The area within the old walls is compact and be can easily seen in a couple of hours.  Pay attention to the little details that give the city its inimitable character.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Primate’s Palace

Behind the Old Town Hall, this Classicist palace was built in the 18th century. This is where the Peace of Pressburg was signed after Napoleaon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz between representatives of French and Austrian emperors.

The Palace houses a gallery containing a unique collection of six English tapestries from the 17th century and also serves as the seat of the mayor of Bratislava.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

St. Martin’s Cathedral

This three nave Gothic church is considered one of the most important in the country because it was the coronation church.  A gilded replica of the coronation crown fixed on the top of the cathedral tower reminds residents and visitors of the glorious past of the country.

The open spaces surrounding the cathedral are colorful and full of life.  Take your time to sit around and relax.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovak National Theater

Actually, this is the historic building of the National Theater.  A new building was finished in 2007 (it took 21 years to be completed).

The original building was constructed during the Austro-Hungarian rule by Viennese architects.  It used to consist of three ensembles: opera, ballet and drama.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

The theater is located in Hviezdoslav Square which is famous for its history, hotel, embassies, restaurants and cafes.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Blue Church

This church is within walking distance of Old Town.  It is a little bit out there but I urge you to stop by.  The church’s official name is St Elizabeth and it was built in an Art Nouveau style. You will love this little building!

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava Castle

I saved the best for last.  After an entire day of walking, I took a depth breath and climbed the stairs to the Bratislava Castle, the former seat of the rulers and the symbol of the city.

The castle building includes four towers (one on each corner) and a courtyard with an 80 m (260 ft) deep water well. The largest and tallest tower is the Crown Tower on the southwest corner. The 47 m (154 ft) tower dates from the 13th century and for approximately 200 years beginning in the mid-1500s housed the crown jewels of Hungary. The massive rectangular building sits at the top an isolated rocky hill above the Danube River.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Views from the Castle

The castle is made of very simple lines and therefore, not everybody will be a fan of it.  But, irregardless of how you feel about the castle, you should make the journey up because the views from up there are astonishing (for real!)

To one side, you are going to see the UFO Bridge and the Danube.  On the other side, you get a full view of Old Town.  Austrian and Hungarian lands are can be seen from there too.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

End your sightseeing tour by re-entering the Old Town by crossing one of the reconstructed walls.  You will recognize the coronation church and will be able to trace your steps back to the main plaza.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to Do in Bratislava

Buy local / artisan products

The city is full of products made by local artisans and crafters.  Since residents are very proud of what they produce, they will let you sample their goods.  Look for honey, mead, candles, soap and other personal care products.  Artists thrive in here too.  Look for paintings, mosaics, tiles and wood sculptures.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Have some hearty food

It is very easy to have some delicious food in Bratislava.  We ate at a traditional restaurant and ordered garlic soup (served in a bread bowl), dumplings stuffed with pork and beef goulash with bread dumplings.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Find the city’s characteristic statues

These statues are among the most photograph attractions in the city.  They include a guy peeking from a manhole, a soldier of Napoleon’s army, a fancy character with a cane and top hat and a statue of Hans Christian Andersen.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Embrace the city’s quirkiness

While walking the streets of Bratislava, you are going to see some things that seem out of place.  You are going to think, “What is that doing there?” But don’t get puzzled that seem to come out of nowhere.  Embrace the craziness around you because somebody wants to have fun and paint a smile on your face.

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Do you have any suggestions on things to see in Bratislava?

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Ready to pin? Let’s do this!

This post gives suggestions on 10 things to see in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. In addition it provides 4 ideas on what to do in the city.

100 Comments

    • That sounds like a great idea. I wish I had more time there.

    • We are in the same page because I felt I was in a photographer’s paradise. I was discovering new things even thought I walked for the second time on a street.

  1. What amazing architecture and lovely photos.

  2. i was there last year and loved it!

    • Oh great! When do you visited?

  3. Interesting and informative post. You should write for a travel guide. Great photos of the buildings. They are quite fascinating.

    • Liz, thanks for the idea. I may write a travel guide. I am looking into writing more comprehensive posts.

    • You are right! Bratislava is located between two heavy weight cities. However, I think it is worth a visit (at least to see something different).

    • Sue, I am glad you enjoyed the post. Cheers to a future visit!

  4. Bratislava looks so beautiful and we wanted to go when we visited Vienna, but didn’t make it as we were only there for a weekend. I REALLY want to see that Blue Church! I’ve had that pinned forever! #CityTripping

    • Well, you have to go back to the area and stop by Bratislava. The city is cute and interesting. Because of it, I want to learn more about Slovakia.

  5. So much charm, oozing with culture. Thanks to your wonderful photos, many have put this on their bucket list (me included).

    • Ahhhhh, thanks a lot! I love to inspire other to travel!

  6. Funnily enough, we went to Bratislava in the summer and I’m all set to write about it this week! We thought that it was a beautiful place!

    • Nice! I would love to read your account. Glad you found the city beautiful!

  7. Hi Ruth, I’m loving your post and am going to bookmark it for future reference. Pardon my ignorance but I didn’t know that there are so many places to visit in Bratislava! The Blue Church is extraordinary; I remember reading a travel post about the city’s statues 🙂 Bratislava sounds like a great place to explore. Cheers! #citytripping
    Kat recently posted..Wayang Kulit (Shadow Play) MalaysiaMy Profile

    • Thanks Kat! I am glad you found this post interesting. There is way more things to see and do in Bratislava. There is another castle located nearby and I didn’t have time to explore the cafe and food culture. Would like to go back.

  8. Really like your photos here and especial the blue church!

    • Thanks Birgitta! The Blue Church was super cute!

    • I didn’t have the opportunity to go up. Another thing to do on a future visit.

  9. I’ve never been but this post makes me want to go #citytripping

    • That sounds good! This city is good bucket list material.

    • Ok, that sounds fair. I am sure a ride around the river would be more natural.

  10. I absolutely LOVED Bratislava. I actually prefer it to Vienna. We had two amazing tour guides… and I just loved roaming through the old city. The Christmas markets and the ice rink was magical, too! 😉

    • Really? That is fascinating. I would like to visit during the end of the year.

    • Cool Bryna! Hope you can visit soon.

    • The statues are cool! I wonder who came up with the idea of installing them around.

    • Agree with you! Would like to visit other places int he country.

  11. You captured so much beautiful architecture in Bratislava. I went a few years ago on a trip where I also visited Vienna and Budapest and I didn’t have any idea about what to expect in Bratislava so this post would have been so helpful! 🙂

    • Glad you found it to be helpful. When you are visiting big cities, I think you tend to research the big cities better than the small ones. Stopping by the visitor’s center helped me a lot.

  12. Beautiful tour of the place. Very colourful.

  13. I love your photos – I went to Bratislava about 20 years ago and didn’t have the best experience. As a result, I don’t actually remember too much about the city attractions. Time to try again I think… thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted..City Tripping #60My Profile

    • I imagine things have changed a lot in 20 years. It would be nice to visit again.

  14. Bratislava has been coming up in my research about Vienna, but I didn’t know anything about it. Great post! I love the quirky, surprising things!

    • Well, if you are going to stay several days in Vienna, I think this is a neat experience. But, I would choose the Wachau Valley if I would have time only for one day trip.

  15. The old town reminds me a lot about Riga! I absolutely love this kind of architecture and those alleys!

    • Mmmmm, that sounds like a nice comparison. Have to check out Riga then.

  16. We were in Czechoslovakia (when it was still one country) but I don’t think we have visited Bratislava. Austria is beautiful but, Czech. is one of the East. Eur. countries I think is beautiful!

    • Yes, the Czech Republic is very beautiful but Slovakia has some stunning places too.

  17. Bratislava looks so beautiful – it has an almost magical, toy-town vibe about it – maybe it’s the blue church!

    • I can see what you are saying!

  18. Such an interesting city. I could easily lose myself here for a few days. My favourite is the blue church.

    • Everybody seems to love the blue church!

  19. It looks fantastic. You certainly saw and photographed a lot. I think you managed your time well on your visit to Vienna.

    • Thanks Jan. I tried to make the most of my time.

    • I like to capture snippets like the one you mention. I have several from each location I have visited but include only some on my posts.

  20. Bratislava looks like a really interesting and quirky city. The blue church is definitely different – I think I would be happiest in the old part of the city.

    • That makes sense! The Old Town is the place to be!

  21. There is some absolutely incredible architecture in Bratislava! Particularly love the views from the castle and the delicious looking food. Thanks for linking to #MondayEscapes
    Lisa (Travel Loving Family) recently posted..Monday Escapes #51My Profile

    • You picked my two favorite experiences! I am all for views from above and good food.

  22. Oh I love this post Ruth, the architecture there looks gorgeous! I especially love the Blue Church, how pretty. I think that would be top of my list for visiting. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! – Tasha

    • Thanks Tasha! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  23. The Old Town and the castle are always the best parts! 😀

    I’ve never heard of Bratislava. Thanks for the great tour! 😀

    • Now that you have heard about Bratislava, you have to visit. It is a must in Eastern Europe.

  24. What an interesting post. I’ve never been so great to get an insight. The blue church is really unusual and the views from the castle are incredible. Another one to add to the list #citytripping

    • Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by. This is a great city to add to a bucket list.

    • Anisa, I think you would really like this place!

  25. This city has such a beautiful architecture! And when you think I grew up so close to it and never got to visit. Those metal statues remind me a lot about the citadel of Alba Iulia in Romania. #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • Wow! So nice you found some resemblances between Bratislava and your home country. I am sure you will enjoy a visit.

  26. I’ve been reading such great things about Slovenia and its really inspiring me to move it up my list. Your list of 14 has all the things I like to see – old gateways (very cool!), churches, castles, historic parts of town, and eating super yummy food. Thanks so much for sharing. Pinned! #WeekendWanderlust

    • Just to clarify, Bratislava is in Slovakia not Slovenia. The two countries are confused often.

  27. Great pictures. It looks like such a beautiful place. I like that it’s also full of quirkiness. As a girl whose is a bit quirky, I think I’ll have to add it to my list of places to visit.

    • Well, this will be a place perfect for you. I have way too many quirky photos but had to include only a few here.

  28. Great rundown on what to see in Bratislava Ruth and very thorough. I totally agree that a day trip from Vienna is worth your time. The Primate Palace, the tiles on the Old Town Hall and the views from the Castle are my favourite spots. I’m pretty sure the guy down the manhole actually gets moved around as I found him in a totally different spot the last time I visited. #wkendtravelinspiration
    David recently posted..Embracing the Estonian Seaside in PärnuMy Profile

    • Well, it is weird that the guy in the manhole gets moved but that kind of go with the character of the city.

    • Oh, that is cool! Hope you have a great time!

  29. Exciting to see the Blue Church in the style of Art Nouveau. I haven’t seen a church with that kind of design. I also admire your thoughts on just experiencing some of Bratislava’s quirkiness, it’s good to be reminded to enjoy what’s around you rather than thinking you have to understand or see it all.
    Brooke of Passport Couture recently posted..Road Trip on Route 66My Profile

    • Have to admit the Blue Church is very unique, even when compared to other Art Nouveau buildings.

  30. The blue church looks intriguing, as does the food. #wkndtravelinspiration

    • Thanks Ahila! The food was delicious.

  31. We spent the day in Bratislava on a day trip from Vienna and absolutely loved it. We found it really easy to get around and found it very quiet in comparison to the larger cities.
    Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe recently posted..Doing the blockMy Profile

    • That is a good point. Places like this are so quiet in comparison to big and bustling cities.

  32. This looks like such an interesting place to visit. Love the colours in your pictures, and all the different architecture.

    • Ruth, glad you enjoy all the architectural features and the colors!

  33. That sounds like a great day just wandering through Bratislava! Love the Blue Church, and you’re right about those views from the Castle. We had not thought about adding this to a stay in Vienna, but that does seem like a great idea. Thanks for the tip! #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Rob recently posted..This Week in Travel News: 20 January 2017My Profile

    • This is a great option for a day trip if you are in Vienna. It is worth to take it into consideration.

  34. I’ve not been to Bratislava and would love to visit. The orange-tiled roofs remind me of Prague. Who can resist a European castle? Thanks for co-hosting this week. #TPThursday

    • I see what you mean. I want to stop by a castle every time I spot one. They tend to be strategically positioned, so, the views from them are great.

    • I think you would like the city. It has a lot of interesting places to visit and can even be used as a base to explore the area. Cheaper than Vienna for sure.

    • The charm of this town is in the details. I saw so many little things that I liked! I was eager to see what I was going to spot next.

  35. We met the nicest surfers from Bratislava, in Canggu in Bali of all places. They spoke so beautifully of their home that we have wanted to visit for a while. You have reassured this feeling.

    • Wow! That is odd! But, nice to know they had beautiful things to say about their city and country. I like when those encounters happen.

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