Bratislava is the largest city and capital of Slovakia, located on the Danube coast. It is quite a densely populated city with a population of about 430.000 but in a quite advantageous geographical location as it is the only European capital located on the border of three other countries, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. It is undoubtedly a beautiful historic city with attractive sights, rich cultural life, excellent local gastronomy and quality wine. It is considered a cultural city that adores listening to quality music and that’s why they organise interesting events and festivals every year. So let’s see in detail some points of interest that make this destination ideal for the whole family.
What To See...
The most important sights of Bratislava’s historic center are the castle and the preserved medieval city center with many important historic buildings such as ministries, embassies, palaces and many churches. We were impressed by the huge and many pedestrian streets, with hundreds of shops, restaurants and cafes fully harmonized with the charming Baroque architecture.
Bratislava’s proud castle has been standing on the hill on the Danube banks since the 9th century. The size and location of the castle has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries, and around it the whole historic center of the city has developed. The castle was the seat of many kings and queens of all historical times. Today the building is mainly used as the National Museum of History of Slovakia where visitors can see huge collections of historical objects that prove the evolution over the centuries.
UFO Observation Deck
Bratislava has the 7th largest suspension bridge in the world, the Novy Most (New Bridge). At the edge of the bridge at about 95 meters high, a special UFO-like attraction has been built for tourists. It is an observation deck and a great restaurant-bar with panoramic views up to 100 km of Bratislava. Entry to the UFO costs about 8 euros. Certainly in the light of the day you will have a great view but we suggest you to visit it in the afternoon and enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life.
Michael’s Gate is the only gate of the city that has been preserved from medieval fortifications and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The historic gate was built around 1300, its current Baroque form due to the rebuilding took place in 1758, when the statue of St. Michael was placed on top. In medieval times the city was surrounded by fortified walls, where entry and exit was only possible through one of the four gates that the fortification had. At the Tower today there is a museum with exhibits relating to the medieval fortifications and weapons of Bratislava. On the sixth floor of the tower there is a balcony overlooking the Old Town, the Castle and the surrounding areas.
Slavin is a monument and military cemetery for about 7.000 Soviet soldiers who fell during the World War II while liberating the city in April 1945. The National and Cultural Monument is on a hill above the castle and offers panoramic views.
This palace is the official seat of the President of Slovakia. In the past, this building served as a venue for classy social events and concerts. The Grassalkovich Palace, also known as the Presidential Palace, is located on Hodžovo Square, between the Old Town and the main train station. It is easily accessible on foot, just a few minutes’ walk from Michael’s Gate. At the back of the palace there is the Presidential Garden, which was originally created as a French official garden but now operates as a public park.
As mentioned above, Bratislava is bordered by three beautiful countries, Austria, Hungary and Czech Republic. Fairly close to 80km about an hour’s drive, you will be in Vienna. In this, so rich of culture capital of Austria, you must to see and do a lot, so make sure you will arrive early enough and have a full day. Taking a short stroll before visiting a museum will impress the city’s backdrop of baroque buildings and aristocratic palaces. It is a charming city, with lush parks, luxury shops, shopping streets, theaters, museums, restaurants, coffee bars and much more.
Another alternative excursion is Budapest, which is about 250 km, about 2.5 hours drive from Bratislava. Budapest is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is a very pleasant city with a vibrant nightlife, well known for its natural thermal baths, but also for its architecture, from which it has been nicknamed “Paris of the East”.
What To Eat
Due to Slovakia’s central location in Europe and its complex history , its cuisine is quite similar to that of the surrounding countries. Bryndzové halušky is the national dish of Slovakia. It is a high quality, creamy cheese served over potato dumplings. This cheese is a traditional Slovak recipe, and they are very proud of this unique product.
Skalický trdelník is a traditional sweet we meet in Central European countries, and has become our favourite sweet treat in Bratislava. This is a rolled dough that is baked in a very special way and is usually served sprinkled with sugar. There are of course several variations to suit every taste, such as in the form of a cylindrical cone, sprinkled externally with grated coconut or biscuit and soft ice cream filling!
How to move
Bratislava’s public transport network is quite good, as it also covers sufficiently the historic center that tourists usually visit but also the rest of the city. For the city center we recommend taking trams because they are faster and with frequent trips. Daily there is heavy traffic so we would not recommend driving a car or taking the bus. For tourists a good combination of public transport and walking, is the best and most affordable option. Bratislava Airport is very close to the city center, 13 km away and there are several bus lines connecting the airport with the city center.
Where to stay
The ideal place to stay in Bratislava is the Old Town (Stare Mesto) as most of the sights of interest are in the historic center. So your access will be fast, without wasting time on transportations. The location is also ideal for nightlife due to the numerous bars, restaurants and cafes. Prices for accommodation in the historic center of Bratislava start from 40 euros up to 200, depending on the location and facilities of the hotel. You can make your bookings via Booking.com
Bratislava Through Our Eyes...
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