Situated right on the border with Austria and Hungary, it’s popular to visit Bratislava on a day trip. But if you have the time, Slovakia’s capital city deserves more time than that!
With a vibrant old town jam-packed with cozy cafes and restaurants, lined with pastel-colored Baroque and Gothic buildings it’s hard not to fall in love with the city.
Add a renovated Baroque-style castle overlooking the city and the busy Danube River and it’s not hard to imagine there are lots of fun things to do in Bratislava.
To make the best of your time in the city and make sure you don’t miss out on the top things to do in Bratislava, I’ve made this list for you so that all you have to do is to get out there and explore!
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Top things to do in Bratislava
Now, let’s have a look at the top things to do in Bratislava to enjoy the city the most. Whether you spend one day in Bratislava or you stay a week, make sure you have comfortable walking shoes, though. There will be a lot of walking!
Bratislava Castle is one of the most prominent places to visit in Bratislava. Towering above the city on a hilltop, the 9th Century white castle can be seen from different places in the city.
If you want to visit the castle, its museum, and art galleries, you can get a ticket at the booth in front of the entrance. The regular fee for an adult is 10 Euros.
Bratislava Castle has a long and intriguing history. In 1811 it burned down and after World War II it was rebuilt to what you see today.
You can walk around the castle and enjoy beautiful city views and views of the Danube River. Behind the castle, you can marvel at the beautiful gardens.
Stroll around Bratislava Old Town
Bratislava Old Town is full of charm with cobblestoned streets winding through pastel houses. Discover the quaint squares hiding restaurants and cafes with local food delicacies.
Many of the main attractions in Bratislava are situated in or around the Old Town so you’ll most likely stumble across a few of them as you wander around.
In the old town of Bratislava, things to do are never-ending, but the most important is to take time to relax at the many restaurants and cafes with food and drinks.
The nightlife in Bratislava is also pretty awesome and staying out until late will give you a completely different view of the vibrant historical center.
Visit Slavín War Memorial
Slavín War Memorial is a memorial site for the Soviet soldiers that lost their lives during World War II and for the Red Army and its fight for liberation. There are nearly 7000 soldiers buried at the site.
The statue on top of the 39-meter tall obelisk is a Soviet soldier holding a flag up high in victory.
Situated on top of a hill, the memorial has incredible views of the city and even of Bratislava Castle. If you’re looking for a nice spot to take in the sunset, Slavín War Memorial is a good place.
This is still a very sensitive site for many locals.
Visit the Blue Church (St. Elizabeth’s Church)
Looking for a fairytale church taken straight out of Disney? Then the Blue Church in Bratislava is a must-visit.
This is hands-on the cutest church I’ve ever seen with its baby blue color and round shapes. While you might expect Rapunzel to look out of the clock tower at any time, this is actually a Hungarian Secessionist Catholic church and not just a tourist attraction.
Make sure you respect this if you choose to visit the inside of the church.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
St. Martin’s Cathedral is the one landmark in Bratislava, other than the castle, that you won’t miss out on. Whether you’re walking to the castle or wandering around the old town, you’re quite sure to bump into this massive Gothic church.
It was built in the same place as an ancient Romanesque church. In the late 1200s, the church served as a defense tower as part of the city walls before it returned to being a place of worship in 1452.
Between 1563 and 1830 the church was the coronation place for a number of Hungarian kings and queens.
Every September, a coronation ceremony is created to commemorate and celebrate the importance of the cathedral’s importance.
Within the historical center of Bratislava, the Primate’s Palace is situated on a spacious square with benches. The neoclassical palace dates back to the second part of the 1700s.
Inside, you can admire a large collection of tapestries that they found during the reconstruction of the palace, a series of portraits of former Hungarian rulers, and the impressive Hall of Mirrors.
The entry fee is 3 Euros.
Michael’s Gate is the only remaining city gate and one of the oldest structures in Bratislava, originally built in 1300. It was given a facelift in the mid-1700s when it got its Baroque look and the statue of St. Michael was placed on top.
The gate is part of the old town and historic center. In 2021 reconstruction work is being made, so unfortunately, the whole gate is wrapped up and you won’t see any of its beauty.
Slovak National Theater
You find the impressive Slovak National Theater in the heart of Bratislava, at the Hviezdoslavovo square. Founded in 1920, it’s one of the oldest professional theaters in Slovakia.
The theater can seat 1000 people and if you have the time, it’s quite a unique experience to go on a show. There are daily performances of opera, ballet, or drama, and tickets can be bought at the entrance.
You can check out the upcoming performances here.
Stroll along Danube River
The Danube River is the most important river in Central Europe, flowing from The Black Forest in Germany, through a total of seven countries, and into the Black Sea.
For Bratislava, it has been important in protecting the city throughout history. Today, you can enjoy a boat trip along the river or just walk on the footpaths along the riverbank.
Take in the glittering water and watch the boats go by. Cruises to Vienna and Budapest pass here and after a few long days of city touring, it’s always good to unwind with a little bit of green space combined with a river.
Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Bratislava and the oldest town hall in Slovakia. Situated on one of the cozy squares in the old town, you can climb the clock tower for views or browse through the museum. And you shouldn’t be surprised to know that this is the oldest museum in Bratislava too.
Have dinner at the UFO at the Most SNP
The UFO (tower to the left on the picture below) has become a famous landmark in Bratislava. With a restaurant that without a doubt boasts the city’s best views, this is one of the top things to do in Bratislava.
Sunset is the best time to go as you’ll be treated with a play of colors over the skyline reflecting into the Danube River.
You should book a table in advance to make sure you get a spot!
If you just want to go for the view, it’s possible to get a ticket for the observation deck only. You can find all the information you need to visit the UFO here.
Take selfies with the funny Bratislava statues
Among the really cool things to see in Bratislava are the many random statues around the city. They are everywhere, so don’t forget to look up and down.
Especially famous is the bronze statue called “Man at work”. You won’t see him unless you look down on the ground, or like me – wondering what the heck all those people were posing for.
Grassalkovich Palace is also known as the White House of Slovakia as it’s the residence of the Slovak president.
Before that, the palace used to hold a variety of concerts as well as aristocratic society events. Today, the public can enjoy the immense French garden surrounding the palace which is one of Bratislava’s most used green areas.
The fountain in front of the palace featuring a globe is a symbol of freedom. An important symbol for Slovakia as a country.
Devin Castle is one of the oldest castles in Slovakia and was mentioned in written sources already in 864. The castle remains are situated 12 kilometers outside the city center but can easily be reached by bus or boat and is one of the most popular day trips from Bratislava after Vienna.
The no. 29 bus to Devin Castle leaves regularly from the bus stop below the castle under the UFO Bridge.
The ticket includes the castle and the museum. But you can walk on the riverbank on a footpath and see it from outside if you don’t want to enter.
It’s pretty cool if you’re into old ruins and castles!
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