Bratislava is the capital of Ukraine and is seriously under-rated. It’s a good alternative to Prague and other more popular European capitals. If you’ve never considered visiting before then hopefully this article will convince you otherwise. It’s an awesome capital and deserves recognition god damn it!
Read on for the top 7 things to do in Bratislava!
If you’re a fan of Europe as a whole and are looking for other places to visit then why not take a look at my Barcelona travel guide
Sitting in the centre of the city, the Bratislava castle is symbolic to the resident’s of the capital of Slovakia. Sitting above everything else like a trophy in a showcase it’s understandable why the people of the city are proud of their heritage when they look up to this magnificent castle.
The castle has been around since the mid 16th century but was burnt down in 1811 and then rebuilt in the 60’s. There are still works being done to this day but are still accessible to the public.
There isn’t exactly a right whole lot in the actual castle itself, the occasional art display, a few historical displays dotted about but other than that very bare. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing but the idea is to let the castle and it’s architecture speak for itself without the aide of other resources. It’s a clever way to get people actually looking around properly without distractions.
opening times and accessibility
The castle is open to the public from 10 am until 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday and is easily accessed by bus or by walking. The whole city can be viewed from the top so boasts impressive panoramic views. There are no lifts so bare this in mind if you’re planning on visiting. It does get rather busy with the tourists so you may wan’t to consider going early morning to beat the crowds.
There are three gates when accessed by foot, Sigmund, Vienna and Nicholas gates. All entrances contain steps up to the castle but are worth it when you get to the top for the views. If you do decide to access the site by car there is a nearby car park called the Hrad, the parking here is a bit expensive though but gets cheaper the more hours to purchase parking for.
Admission starts from about 10 euros
Bratislava Old town
Charming streets filled with history and quaint buildings laid out alongside cobbled streets. This slice of history is exactly how Bratislava should be viewed.
While strolling around this beautiful section of the city make sure to take in as many of the sights as you can. Make extra time to go to old town hall. It is home to one of the oldest museums in Bratislava so is worth a visit.. The old town hall is set amongst a square of other equally beautiful buildings from the 14th century.
Whilst here remember to take time to walk around the shops and take in the local culture. There’s a fantastic little bar and restaurant called the Lemontree that you should check out!
While you are in Bratislava’s old town you may want to go check out the nearby shopping mall Eurovea. It is one of Bratislava’s most visited shopping malls attracting tens of thousands of people yearly.
The shopping centre consists of two main buildings separated by a small square with a nice little fountain that overlooks the Danube river. If you visit on a warmer day there’s a lovely little cafe which does ice cream.
There are over 180 shops, restaurants and bars in this place so there is something for everyone here, you should really give it a visit.
UFO Observation deck
Do you believe in aliens? How about a good view?
Come and hang out in the UFO observation deck and get awesome views of the whole of Bratislava in this interestingly designed piece of architecture. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Boasting views of up to a distance of 100km! This attraction needs to be on your travel list of
things to do and gives great views of the Danube river. The entry fee costs just under 8 euros and although isn’t an all day attraction is still definately worth it in my opinion.
If you want to make an evening out of it how about going for dinner? The observation deck includes a bar and restaurant. One awesome thing about this is that if you decide to have dinner here the entry fee is waived! There also always seems to be a deal on that offers a free drink too! A top tip from us is to visit around about sunset, you can get beautiful views of the sun setting over the city followed by fantastic views of the city at night, which is spectacular.
Pretty much the closest thing to a local celebrity you’ll get. Meet Cumil, Bratislava’s laziest sewer worker.
This bronze statue was installed in 1997 as a way to bring more ‘decoration’ to the area. It worked, it’s certainly got popular over the years and is one of Bratislava’s most visited attractions. So i know your not going to be spending all day at this one but it’s still worth going and taking a look.
Some people think it’s lucky to rub his head, i’m not so sure how lucky he really is though. He has been involved in quite a few accidents over the years. More than just a couple of reckless drivers have been left with dents in their motors over the years after clipping the bronze man who is placed somewhat precariously on the corner of the street.
Dangerous or not this little bronze man is sure worth a visit, just be careful not to trip over him!
Danubiana Art Museum
If you’re an art fan then i strongly suggest you give this next one a visit. This art museum is situated ON the Danube river. The museums focus is on modern art with a permanent collection on display from artists from Slovakia and further afield.
Due to it’s location you can take in beautiful views whilst taking a walk through their extensive park. There is even a roof terrace to enjoy if you so wish. Located south of the city centre, about 15 kilometres away this location is probably best accessed by car. If this isn’t possible though there is a bus which goes there. It’s about a 40 minute journey. You can even access the site by boat if you fancy.
Tickets to the site start of at a reasonable 5 euros for children and 10 for adults. There is also an option for a family ticket at 20 euros which can save some money. The opening times for the site can vary but typically are open from 10 am to 6 pm. It is worth checking out the time before your visit which is on the main page of the Danubiana Art website
They always have different events going on so it’s worth planning your visit to coincide with these days if possible to make the most of your money.
St. Martins Cathedral
One of the oldest churches in Bratislava? Check!
85 metre high spire? Check!
Underground crypt with catacombs? Double Check! Wait… what???
Yeah you read right, catacombs. But we will get more into that soon. Located in the centre of Bratislava just minutes away from the Danube river this Gothic style cathedral has been rebuilt over the years but the current church was consecrated in 1452
so i think it’s fair to say this one is sticking around!
The church’s spire sits an impressive 279ft in the air and takes up the skyline in Bratislava’s old town. The site is open from 09:00 – 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 13:30 – 16:00 on Sunday so there is plenty of time to visit this beautiful heritage site.
In the church there are stairs leading underground to a series of tunnels and crypts, only a few of which are accessible to the public. It’s a bit creepy down there but worth the visit. If you are visiting on a nice day there’s a nice park style area surrounding the site with cafes and restaurants dotted about. If its a sunny day its truly a beautiful area to just sit in and watch the world go by. Enjoy a nice coffee or a refreshing glass of wine and take in the beautiful sites in this beautiful area of Bratislava.
Cafes and bars
If there’s one thing that Bratislava knows how to do right, it’s bars and cafes. Its one of the things that this place is known for, so what better way to round of the best things to do in Bratislava than with this.
Sorry if this isn’t your cup of tea! (see what i did there?)
Obviously this place is only going to appeal to you if you’re a fan of bars and cafes, i for one am. There’s something about sitting down in a quaint and interesting little cafe and taking in the atmosphere all while enjoying a lovely cup of coffee. Each place is as unique as the last and is just so damn interesting in my opinion.
There’s a couple of fantastic places you should try out:
Underground Tea Room
So its a tea room, located underground! what more do i have to say really? This place is actually a bomb shelter, how cool is that? they serve over 100 different types of tea so there is something to meet everyone’s taste buds. The atmosphere is fantastic and the price and service is brilliant too, this one is a must!
I forgot to mention, they also do a range of cakes which is great for someone with a sweet tooth.
The blue church is a perfect example of an Art Nouveau church located just east of Bratislava’s old town. The blue church, which is formally known as St Elizabeth’s church was erected in 1913 as a chapel for a grammar school. It has since become a bit of a tourist attraction and it is easy to see why.
The church was designed by Odon Lecher and has been fashioned with pale blue both internally and externally with even the roof featuring blue ceramics. The entrance to this church is free and i strongly suggest going inside. It is just as spectacular as the outside if not more so! This one truly is a gem of the city.
There are just a few places that i suggest you try out, there are plenty more about. Specialist bars are also about as well as different tea rooms if that’s your thing.
Those were just our top seven things that we suggest doing, but there’s no better way to explore than just going out there and taking a wander and trying it for yourself. If you’re planning on going backpacking then be sure to check out my backpacking checklist article or if you like the lists then why not give the top things to do in Bandung a read
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