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31 Things to do in Bratislava

Bratislava. Cityscape image of Bratislava, capital city of Slovakia during sunset.

Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia and home to many beautiful things. The city is a great place to visit and has many things to do. It is the perfect place for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation. There are many attractions in Bratislava, such as the Old Town, St Martin’s Cathedral and much more. The city has a lot of historical attractions, such as the Bratislava Castle. The city also has many parks and gardens where you can relax and enjoy nature. If you want to see more of Slovakia than just the capital, take a day trip to one of its beautiful nearby towns. There are many places to visit in Bratislava, so get started and take a look at some of the best things to do here.

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1. Bratislava Castle

The Bratislava Castle is a dominant feature of the city’s skyline, and it is no wonder why. With its massive four towers and colossal walls, it sits atop a rocky hill of the Little Carpathians, directly above the Danube river.

Over time it has undergone many changes including being significantly damaged during World War II, which meant the castle required serious reconstruction and renovation. Today though it stands tall as a national cultural monument with museums inside displaying artifacts from Slovak history such as medieval furniture and costumes, visual arts, clocks, ceramics, and silver in the following exhibitions: Historical Furniture and Equipment, The Jewelry of Slovakia’s Distant Past and The Silver Treasure.

Historical Bratislava Castle at sunny day in Slovakia.

2. Slovak National Theatre

The Slovak National Theatre is a stage for opera, ballet and drama. It was established in 1920 and has been one of the leading theatres in central Europe ever since. The companies of the Slovak National Theatre operate out of two buildings: the SND Historic Building in Hviezdoslav Square, near the old Town and the SND New Building, near the Eurovea shopping centre.

The Slovak National Theatre is a repertory theatre. The performances on all stages are held during the theatre season usually every day (Opera and Ballet) except Monday (Drama). The theatre season lasts from early September until late June. If you are into theatre and the arts, this is definitely the place for you. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants located around the area, which are well worth a visit.

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA he Slovak National Theater is the oldest professional theatre in Slovakia, consisting of three ensembles: opera, ballet, and drama. Its history begins shortly after the establishment of the first Czechoslovak Republi

3. St Martin’s Cathedral

If you are looking for a place to visit in Bratislava, St Martin’s Cathedral is recommended. It is the second most popular tourist location in Bratislava. It is the largest church in Slovakia and also the oldest building in Bratislava and it is where Queen Maria Theresa was crowned. The 85 m high spire dominates the Old Town’s skyline. Make sure you visit its underground crypt with catacombs, of which there are several, although only two are open to the public. Here lie the remains of archbishops, cardinals and members of heritable families.

The cathedral is made up of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture styles—it looks like it has been around forever! It is most famous for its role as the coronation place of Hungary’s kings and queens between 1563 and 1830. Nineteen coronations took place during that period, with Queen Maria Theresa (ruled: 1740–1780) being one of the crowned monarchs. An interesting fact: Beethoven’s Missa solemnis was played for the very first time in this church.

View of Bratislava old town with St Martin's Cathedral from Castle rock, Slovakia

4. Primate’s Palace

The palace, built in the 1770s and held by the same family until 1996, was constructed in an imperious Neoclassical style for the Archbishop of Esztergom. Tours highlight its Hall of Mirrors, a sequence of five salons, each named after their decor’s corresponding colour – green, brown, blue, red and gold. The Treaty of Pressburg which ended Napoleon’s victorious campaign against the Third Coalition was signed in December 1805 in the Hall of Mirrors.

The palace’s inner courtyard contains a magnificent fountain with a statue of St George slaying the dragon. According to legend the figure of St George represents the archbishop, and his fight with the dragon symbolizes the efforts of the Catholic Church to banish the Reformation from the city. There are also a set of 17th-century Mortlake tapestries on display, which were only rediscovered during a reconstruction in 1903, and are undoubtedly worth a visit.

BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA - tourists near Primate's Palace at Primacialne namestie (Primate's square). The Palace was built from 1778 to 1781 for Archbishop Jozsef Batthyany.

5. Devín Castle

Sitting atop a cliff, 212 meters above the ground, Devin castle is a well-preserved ruin offering terrific panoramic views over the Danube and Morava rivers. The castle serves as a museum with several interesting exhibits. The building was once part of a frontier system that protected Bratislava during the Great Moravian era; today it stands as a symbol of Slavic fellowship and unity.

The ancient name of this castle (Dowina) comes from the Slavic word deva (girl). The watchtower, now known as the Maiden Tower, serves as a basis for legends about beautiful virgins, who having been imprisoned in the tower, eventually jumped to their deaths.

Devin Castle is located 20km from Bratislava and is near the town of Devin. You can easily catch a bus from Bratislava. There are many hiking and biking trails near the castle, which means that visitors have a chance to enjoy the rich wildlife in this region.

ruins of Devin Castle, Slovakia

6. National Gallery – Slovak National Gallery

The Slovak National Gallery is the country’s most important museum and it is worth a visit if you have got time to spare. The collection includes over 18,000 paintings, sculptures and other pieces of art from the 15th century to today. Do not miss its impressive permanent collection of works by Slovak artists such as Martin Benka and Vojtech Preissig; there are also temporary exhibitions by international artists hosted on its second floor.

BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA - Interior of Slovak national gallery in Bratislava

7. Slavín War Memorial

The Slavín War Memorial is a monument and military cemetery to the almost 7,000 Soviet soldiers who fell during World War II while liberating the city in April 1945. The main monument stands in the middle of the cemetery, with the central obelisk 39.1 m high, with an 11 m high sculpture of a Soviet soldier holding a flag at the top. For visitors, the memorial’s main attribute is its panoramic views: they are spectacular and stretch across the city. The area around Slavin is also a pleasant place to go for a walk.

Aerial view of Slavin War Memorial in Bratislava, Slovakia

8. Historical City Centre of Bratislava

If you are visiting Bratislava, make sure the city centre should be at the top of your list. You can let idle curiosity take over and be led along sunny streets lined with palatial buildings. The Old Town’s compact design makes getting lost fairly unlikely. You will see historical monuments, baroque places, as well as buildings of historical importance. Along the way, there are many cafes, bars, restaurants and gelato shops where you can have a rest and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Aerial view of Bratislava old town: Bratislava Castle, Main Square and St. Martin's Cathedral

9. Blue Church of St Elizabeth

The Blue Church, also known as St. Elizabeth’s Church, is a famous landmark and was named after Elizabeth of Hungary. On the altar, there is an illustration of St Elizabeth, depicted giving alms to the poor.

The architect Ödön Lechner designed the church in a style that combined elements of secession and oriental architecture and is often referred to as the Hungarian Gaudí. The ground floor of the church is oval. In the foreground is a 36.8 metre-high cylindrical church tower, with a hip roof at the top. The building’s main and side entrances are surrounded by Romanesque pillars that give the structure an Eastern feel.

The façade was originally painted with light pastel colours, only later, did the church acquire the characteristic blue when a line of blue tiles and wave-strip encircled it. A large golden cross stands atop the building, a symbol of Christianity in Slovakia.

The Blue Church or The Church of St. Elizabeth or Modry Kostol Svatej Alzbety in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia. Blue Church is a Hungarian Secessionist Catholic cathedral.

10. Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall is a set of buildings in Bratislava’s main square. The building has been standing since the 15th century and represents the city’s history over time. It is the oldest city hall in Slovakia and also one of the city’s oldest remaining stone buildings, although it has been reconstructed several times since its original construction, with the tower being built approximately in 1370.

The building houses the Bratislava City Museum, founded in 1868, which presents a visual account of the city’s history. If you are interested in learning more about local lore, make sure to stop here. And if you want grand views of the Old Town itself, climb to the top of the tower to check them out for yourself!

BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA - Bratislava Old Town Hall is a complex of buildings in the Old Town of Bratislava Slovakia. Old Town Hall is the oldest city hall in the Slovakia.

11. UFO Bridge

The UFO Bridge goes over the Danube river and is also called the New Bridge (Nový most) or the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising, it just takes a few minutes to walk from the Old Town.

The bridge is known as the UFO bridge because of its unusual shape: it looks like a giant UFO ready to take flight! It is the seventh-largest hanging bridge in the world. The bridge is 431.8 m in length and 21 m in width with two floors. The upper floor of the bridge carries traffic, whilst the lower level is a pedestrian walkway. It was designed by architects A. Tesar and J. Lacko. Despite its modern design, the bridge was officially opened as the second bridge over the Danube in 1972 and has served as an inspiration for many other bridges.

SNP bridge over Danube river (also known as New Bridge and UFO Bridge), Bratislava, Slovakia

12. UFO Observation Deck and Restaurant

The UFO part of the bridge, at the top, is actually an observation deck, which offers a fabulous panoramic view. To get up to the top, you need to take an elevator, which is located in one of the tower’s legs. The ride takes 45 seconds. The entry fee for the UFO sightseeing deck is 9.90 € but you can avoid paying the entry fee if you dine at the restaurant. Do not forget to bring your camera! The restaurant offers a unique setting to enjoy a fabulous view while enjoying some delicious food or fancy cocktails—or both! If you time your visit accordingly, you can catch the sunset from this stunning location.

13. Skywalk

The UFO Skywalk is a unique seasonal (April-October) attraction for those of you who are into adrenaline activities. You will get to experience the UFO observation tower from a completely different perspective.

You will be accompanied by a professional instructor, where, if you have the nerve, you can step out of the windows of the observation tower, onto a sill that goes around the outside of the dome. You will be able to look back into the restaurant and experience what it feels like to look in from the outside, whilst being close to the clouds and 85 m above the ground. Once you master walking on the windowsill, you will be ready for the walk around the dome with an amazing panoramic view of Bratislava.

14. Michael’s Gate and Tower

A Gothic gate built in the first half of the 14th century, it consists of a square tower above the gate with its green copper roof, with a walkway on the ground floor. After the reconstruction of the tower in 1960-61, weapons were placed on display there by the Town Museum. Michael’s Gate is the only remaining city gate of Bratislava’s medieval fortifications, and it is one of the oldest town buildings in that city.

Empty Michalska Street in Bratislava Old Town During Coronavirus Pandemic with Michael's Tower (Michalska Brana) in Background in Slovakia

15. Eurovea

Bratislava’s former industrial district has been totally revitalized. The symbol of this new era is Eurovea, a large mixed-use development combining homes, shopping and entertainment. The Eurovea Galleria Mall opened in 2010, together with a casino, cinema, pool and gym. If you are looking for big brand shopping, you have the choice of mid-market and luxury names like H&M, Lacoste, Armani, Adidas and Mango.

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA Galleria Eurovea shopping centre.

16. Chatam Sofer Memorial

The Jewish Cemetery (Koziarovce) is at the western foot of Bratislava Castle. It is the burial place of Rabbi Moses Sofer, who was one of Europe’s most prominent Orthodox rabbis in the 19th century and a noted anti-reform voice. He opened a yeshiva in Pressburg that became the leading one in Europe, educating dozens of Jewish spiritual leaders. The cemetery in which Chatam Sofer was buried was damaged during World War II, but it has since been restored and a modern memorial erected around the grave. The Bratislava Jewish community must be contacted in advance to arrange visits.

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - Tombstones in the old Jewish cemetery, Bratislava, Slovakia

17. Transport Museum

The transport museum is located on Šancová Street, within the hall of Bratislava’s first railway station and next to the city’s main transport hub. The station’s original tracks and platforms have been preserved, as well as an early-19th-century steam locomotive.

There is an exciting relic from the Soviet era in the form of a ZIL-115 limousine, which was used by communist elites during the 70s and 80s. The collection boasts vintage Czech-made cars, including Pragas, Tatras and Škodas. The core of the motorbike exhibition dates back to the 1920s and 30’s, including Indian, BMW, Ogars, and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Bratislava, Slovakia - Museum of Transport.

18. Komin

The picturesque surroundings of the Ružinovský Brewery in Komín attract many a beer taster, curious gastronomic tourist and ordinary beer lover to the capital city. This brewery restaurant first opened it is doors in 2015. Here you can enjoy top and bottom fermented beer and sample some traditional dishes from Slovak-Czech-Hungarian cuisine. If you are a beer lover, then this brewery will offer you lots of different beers to try!

19. Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum

The name of this museum comes from the river that surrounds it and its sponsor—the Dutch collector and art patron, Gerard H. Meulensteen. The museum is housed in a building designed to evoke the shape of a Roman galley, floating near shore. Its great hall hosts international art shows, which alternate with exhibits from the museum of contemporary arts on its ground floor. In the park surrounding it are a range of sculpture works.

BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA - Interior of museum Danubiana in city Bratislava

20. Bratislava Zoo

Bratislava Zoo is a natural Zoo at the foot of the Lesser Carpathians with an area of ​​96 ha, where a deciduous forest, a meadow, a cool valley and natural lakes meet. There are 1168 animals from 175 species in the zoo’s care. The rarest inhabitants include the Nubian adax, Visayan wild boar, Sumatran orangutan, Turkmen kulan, golden-faced gibbon, Liberian hippopotamus and Ceylon leopard. This is the only Zoo in Slovakia where you can find chimpanzees, giraffes and rhinos.

Pygmy hippopotamus in ZOO - close up view

21. Old Town Statues

There are a series of statues in the centre of Bratislava in unexpected places. One of these is Cumil, which can be found at the junction of Laurinská and Panská Streets. He is a sewer worker, seen poking out of a manhole, with his chin resting on his arms and he is one of the most photographed statues, yet it is not explained why he is located here.

Another is a friendly Napoleonic soldier who is leaning over a bench. You can find him in the main square beneath the Old Town Hall. There is also Schone Naci, over on Sedlárska Street. He represents Ignác Lamár, who was inspired to bring happiness to the streets of the city. He walked around the Old Town and greeted women with the words, “I kiss your hand” in German, Hungarian and Slovak.

Bratislava, Slovakia - The Schone Naci, silver, bronze statue in Bratislava's old town, Slovakia

22. Botel Dunajsky Pivovar

Situated on a ship on the Danube river, you will find the Dunaj brewery and restaurant, which has a capacity of over 500 seats. The bar is located on the ground floor and the first floor, while there is more of an intimate atmosphere below the deck. The main part of the restaurant consists predominantly of a long corridor with a wood-furnished interior—which also houses the beer tanks.

Patrón, the exclusive beer of Dunajsky Pivovar, is produced in a private brewery and served at the restaurant and bar with nice views of Bratislava Castle. This boat has 19 rooms, which are spread over 3 floors and named after important places connected to the Danube. On the sun deck, you can listen to a DJ while sipping on drinks and taking in the vibrant atmosphere.

23. Bratislava Vineyards

Bratislava is known for its wine culture, and Rača is the perfect place to immerse yourself in it. From wineries with excellent wines to vineyards in beautiful settings on the edge of town, tastings are plentiful here. The Rača Wine Trail is highly recommended.

The Račanská Lokálka is a tourist train on wheels that has its home in the borough of Rača, located about eight kilometers from Bratislava’s city centre. The region is home to hundreds of vineyards, wineries and wine cellars. Račanská Lokálka offers a one-of-a-kind exploration of the secrets that lie within this popular wine region.

Rows of vines to sunrise in Bratislava

24. Kafe Scherz

The Kafe Scherz can be found at Palisady, in a building that once served as an Evangelical hospital and maternity unit between 1912-14. Over time the building was also used as an orphanage, nursing home and chapel. The cafe is named after a priest known for his charity work and philanthropy. The locals love this cafe and if you stay in Bratislava long enough, you will naturally visit it—if only for the interesting events that are held there.

25. Kontajner Riviera

This unusual restaurant is located in a shipping container! You can get great coffee (from 9 Grams Coffee, roasted in Slovakia), fresh drinks and healthy meals or desserts—all served up within this one-of-a-kind setting. Why not come and take a look?

26. Tree House

Have you ever wanted to get away from it all, go back to basics and sleep in a tree house? Well now is your chance to really switch off and immerse yourself in nature. Located just 15 minutes away from Bratislava centre in Železná studnička, you will find your own private tree house. There is no electricity so don’t forget to pack your flashlight and the water is cold. There is an outside dry toilet and a barbeque firepit ready for your use. If you are looking for a romantic, quiet getaway, where you can see the stars and listen to the woodland sounds around you, then why not give this place a go?

27. Maximilian’s Fountain

The Main Square is home to another of Bratislava’s most spectacular monuments. The Roland fountain (as it is also known) can be found opposite the Old Town Hall and was commissioned by the King of Hungary, Maximilian II in 1572 as a water supply for Pressburg’s citizens.

The central column is topped by a statue of the knight in battle armour. Some people believe this represents Roland, an ancient defender of Pressburg’s rights; others say it is Maximilian himself. The legend goes that the knight on top of the fountain always faces toward the town hall. However, once a year at the stroke of midnight at New Year, he turns and bows towards the former town hall—honouring the twelve councillors, who in past centuries gave their lives in order to save the city.

BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA - A view of buildings and Maximilian's Fountain in Old Town Bratislava at night. People and the outside of restaurants can be seen.

28. Christmas Markets

In old Bratislava, people considered the Christmas tree a symbol of human fellowship—a central message of the holiday. A Christmas tree is raised in the Main Square, where the citywide market dedicated to Christmas is also being held. There will be concerts on Fridays and Saturdays, and on Sundays, you can enjoy a programme for families with children. There is also a Christmas Forest that you can walk through set up in Primate’s Square. Come and see the lights and enjoy the festivities with your family.

BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA - Stara radnica and Bratislava Christmas Market at night. The Blur of people can be seen.

29. Street Food Park

Once a month, Street Food Park brings a four-day food market to the Old Town in Bratislava. During the four days from Wednesday to Saturday, between noon to 10 pm, you will find a number of different vendors selling burgers and hot dogs, Slovak “párance” and stuffed “trdelník” spit cakes, gluten-free meals, “lepenec” cheeses, coffee, apple cider or Svätý Jur wines for the wine lovers. Soak up the music and atmosphere whilst sampling some local delicacies.

Bratislava. Slovakia. Diner on wheels at the park. Old blue bus converted into a food truck.

30. Kamzik TV Tower

You can see the television tower from most places in Bratislava. The 196 m high-tech behemoth was erected in 1975. At 70 m high, there is an observation deck and two restaurants, one casual and one more upmarket. Both offer a fantastic panorama of the city and you can also see Austria, Hungary and even as far as the Czech Republic from this height.

Kamzik TV transmission tower in Bratislava. Meadow and cottage house in the foreground

31. Bratislava Nightlife

There are plenty of things to do in Bratislava at night. Whether you are looking for fine dining with a glass of wine, a few drinks with your friends or looking to dance the night away in a club, you will definitely find something that suits you, as Bratislava really comes alive once the sun goes down. It is rumoured that visitors from Vienna often cross the border for a night on the town in Bratislava, where drinking holes can be found scattered across Michalská, Obchodná and Ventúrska streets as well as Hviezdoslavovo and SNP squares.

BRATISLAVA - Tourists are chilling in cafe on Main Square in city downtown in Bratislava. Recently the biggest in slovakia internatioanl cha-cha contest took place here on Main Square.

Conclusion

Bratislava has many beautiful monuments and buildings to visit. It is also a great place for shopping, restaurants and nightlife. If you are looking for something more relaxing then Bratislava offers beautiful parks, riverside walks and gardens where you can enjoy some peace and quiet or take a short break from sightseeing all day long! So what are you waiting for? Let’s go exploring!

Recommended tours in Bratislava

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31 Things to do in Bratislava 31 Things to do in Bratislava 31 Things to do in Bratislava

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!