Bratislava is often overlooked by tourists when visiting Eastern Europe, but the city has a lot to offer.
From beautiful architecture and old town squares to countless restaurants and bars, there are many reasons why you should consider spending at least two days in this city.
This itinerary will help you make the most of both days while also providing tips on what else you should see during your stay in Bratislava.
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Best time of Year to Visit Bratislava
July and August are typically the warmest on average in Bratislava, but you will generally get good weather through May, June, July, August and September. The winter months can still be a lovely time to visit though if you do not mind colder weather.
Where to Stay in Bratislava for 48 hours
From budget to luxury accommodation, you will find no shortage of places to stay in Bratislava during your 48 hour trip, from cute boutique hotels to staying in an Airbnb. The Old town would be the best location so that you are close by to the main attractions.
48 Hours in Bratislava
Day 1 in Bratislava
You have arrived in Bratislava and want to see as much as possible in the two days you have. If that sounds like you, this itinerary is for you. Use it as a guide so that when your friends ask what you did on your trip to Slovakia, they can be impressed with your knowledge of the city’s highlights.
St Michael’s Gate
To start the day, grab breakfast at one of the local cafes such as Urban Bistro or Mondieu Panska. You will find lots of options that suit your needs when it comes to finding somewhere for breakfast as you will see. There are also plenty of bakeries and coffee shops that you can check out if you want something more traditional.
Next up, it is time to head into the Old Town! To get there, walk through Michael’s Gate. Michael’s Gate is the main entrance to the Old Town and was built in the early 14th century. The gate was named after the Archangel Michael, who is considered a protector of Bratislava.
It consists of a square tower above the gate with its green copper roof, with a walkway on the ground floor. The Town Museum has a series of weapons on display there. Michael’s Gate is the only surviving city gate from medieval Bratislava, making it one of the city’s oldest buildings.
Old Town Hall & The Bratislava City Museum
The Old Town Hall is a set of buildings in Bratislava’s main square. The structures date back to the 15th century and represent the city’s long history.
The building is the oldest city hall in Slovakia and one of its oldest remaining stone structures, although it has been reconstructed several times since its original construction—with the tower built approximately in 1370.
The Bratislava City Museum is housed in the Old Town Hall, which was founded in 1868. If you are interested in learning more about local history, this is the place to be. The museum displays exhibits of Pressburg’s history, such as antique weapons, armour, paintings and the old dungeons.
In the summer months, cultural programmes and concerts are held in the beautiful renaissance courtyard. If you want an even better perspective on the Old Town, climb to the top of its tower and enjoy the view!
The Bratislava Castle, with its four towers and colossal walls, is a dominating feature of the city’s skyline. Situated atop a hill directly above the Danube river, it commands an imposing presence over Slovakia’s capital.
The castle has changed over time, in the 15th century the castle was in a Gothic style, in the 16th century King Ferdinand ordered the castle to rebuilt in the Renaissance style, then in the 17th century, it was rebuilt in the Baroque style, then in World War II, it suffered significant damage that required reconstruction and renovation.
A national cultural monument, the castle now houses artefacts in the Slovak National Museum from Slovak histories such as medieval furniture and costumes, visual arts, clocks and ceramics.
All of these can be seen in the following exhibitions: Historical Furniture and Equipment, The Jewellery of Slovakia’s Distant Past and The Silver Treasure.
Lunch in the Historical City Centre
In the city centre, idle curiosity can lead to a stroll down sun-filled streets lined with palatial buildings. The Old Town’s compact design makes getting lost fairly unlikely.
There are many historical monuments, baroque places, and buildings of historical importance to see along the way.
Along these streets, there are plenty of cafes, bars and gelato shops where you can enjoy a rest in order to relax from all the walking! Why not enjoy some lunch in the old town, some great restaurants include Koliba Kamzik and Bistro Soho.
There are a series of statues in the centre of Bratislava, and one can find ‘Cumil’ 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.
He is one of the most photographed statues—and yet no explanation exists as to why he is located here. There is also a friendly Napoleonic soldier you can find in the main square beneath the Old Town Hall.
St Martin’s Cathedral
To begin your afternoon, head over to St. Martin’s Cathedral. This building is the second most popular tourist location in Bratislava. The church is the largest in Slovakia and also the oldest building in Bratislava—it was where Queen Maria Theresa was crowned. The 85-meter high spire dominates the city’s skyline.
Whilst here, visiting the underground crypt, with its catacombs (there are several), is a must. Here lie the remains of archbishops and cardinals from bygone eras as well as members of heritable families.
The cathedral is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture styles—old but impressive! It has been around for a long time, serving as the coronation place for Hungary’s kings from 1563 to 1830. It was in this church that Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis had its first performance.
Blue Church of St. Elizabeth
About a 10-15 min walk out of the town you will find The Blue Church, also known as St. Elizabeth’s Church, which is a famous landmark and was named after Elizabeth of Hungary in honour of her charity work. On the altar, there is an illustration depicting Saint Elizabeth giving alms to the poor.
In his design of the church, architect Ödön Lechner fused elements of secessionist and oriental styles to create what is often referred to as the Hungarian Gaudí. The ground floor of the church has an oval shape.
In the foreground is a 36.8 metre-high cylindrical tower—with a hip roof at the top—surrounded by Romanesque pillars that give it an Eastern feel. The church’s main and side entrances are surrounded by these same pillars.
It is thought that the original façade of St. James’s Church was painted in light pastels, only later acquiring its 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.
UFO Observation Deck & Restaurant
To finish your first day in Bratislava, spend your evening at the UFO Observation Deck & Restaurant. There is an observation deck at the top of the UFO bridge, (the top of the bridge looks like a spaceship, hence the UFO term), which offers a fabulous panoramic view. In order to reach the top, you must take an elevator located in one of the tower’s legs.
The ride takes approximately 45 seconds. There is an entry fee for the sightseeing deck but you can avoid paying this 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. Make sure you book in advance if you want to eat at the restaurant to ensure you can get a table.
Day 2 in Bratislava
The second day of your weekend in Bratislava will consist of lots more sightseeing and visiting tourist attractions. This day will be jam-packed with things to do, so make sure you are prepared!
The first activity on the itinerary is Devin Castle. Located roughly 10 km from Bratislava, it is near the town of Devin. It is a 10-minute drive from the Old town or you can easily catch a bus from Bratislava or take a guided tour.
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 is now a museum filled with interesting exhibits.
At one time it served as part of the frontier system that protected Bratislava during what we know today as the Great Moravian era; later on, it stood—and still continues to stand—as a symbol of Slavic fellowship and unity.
The name of this castle (Dowina) comes from the Slavic word deva, meaning “girl.” The watchtower that now bears the name Maiden Tower has served as a basis for legends about beautiful virgins imprisoned within it—some of whom jumped to their deaths.
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.
Slavin War Memorial
The Slavín War Memorial is a monument dedicated to the nearly 7,000 Soviet soldiers who died during World War II while liberating the city in April 1945.
The main monument, an obelisk 39.1 meters in height and 11 meters up at its peak stands in the middle of the cemetery with a sculpture of a Soviet soldier holding aloft his flag standing proud on top.
The main attraction for visitors is the panoramic view: it is spectacular and stretches across the city. Slavin itself is also a pleasant place to go for a walk.
Lunch at Bratislavsky Mestiansky pivovar
There are two locations to choose from to visit Bratislavsky Mestiansky pivovar. If you like beer and cheese, then this is definitely the place for you (although there are plenty of options for those of you who do not like cheese).
Come and try the different beers from this brewery, along with traditional Slovak food on the menu.
The Presidential Palace, also known as Grassalkovich Palace, serves as the official seat of Slovakia’s president and is a must-see for any visitor to Bratislava. The palace is located in Hodžovo Square, between the Old Town and the train station and just a few minutes from St Michael’s Gate.
There is a large fountain in the shape of The Earth in front of the palace, which symbolizes freedom. There is a presidential garden at the back of the palace, which is now a public park, with lovely paths to stroll around.
If the weather is nice it is a lovely place to play with your children or just enjoy some sunbathing. This attraction is open from April to September from 9 am – 9 pm and then from October to March from 10 am – 6 pm.
Slovak National Gallery
If you have the time, it is worth visiting The Slovak National Gallery, which is the country’s most important museum and its collection includes 18,000 paintings, sculptures and other pieces of art from the 15th century to today.
The permanent collection of works by Slovak artists like Martin Benka and Vojtech Preissig is impressive, but do not miss the temporary exhibitions hosted on its second floor; these feature international artists.
Dinner and Drinks at the Sky Bar
The Sky Bar is located over two floors, on the 7th floor of the building you will find a bar and restaurant, while the 8th floor hosts a patio divided into three areas.
The restaurant, a cocktail lounge and a summer terrace for great views of the old town’s historical centre. This restaurant is great for a romantic evening of drinks and dinner. The Sky Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 pm – Midnight.
There are plenty of things to do in Bratislava at night. So if you are feeling like carrying the night on, Bratislava offers a wide variety of nightlife, so there is something for everyone.
Whether you are looking to have a couple of drinks with friends in a bar or looking to celebrate until the early morning hours in one of its clubs, Bratislava has what it takes to get your blood pumping at night!
Tour Ideas to do in Bratislava
If you prefer not to take your own route around the city, there are numerous tour options if you prefer a guide to follow such as a Private 2-hour walking tour or if you do not want to walk everywhere, why not try a Panoramic tour in an open-sided vehicle.
If you want to add that extra edge to your tour, there are party bike tours available that feature lots of beer and prosecco such as this Beer Ride 30.
We hope this itinerary helped you get a feel for things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia. There are so many great sights to see and things to do – it is hard to narrow it down!
On top of the above itinerary, there are more activities to explore such as the Transport Museum, Kamzik TV Tower, Botanical Gardens or the Slovak National Theatre.
We know that it can be difficult when planning a trip, especially if you do not know much about the city beforehand. But now that we have shared our favourite sightseeing and activities with you, hopefully, all those worries have melted away!
Recommended tours in Bratislava
- Bratislava Foodie Tour
- Top customized walking tour with bonus + castle
- Grand City Tour of Bratislava
- Bratislava by speedboat
- Wine Tasting with Sommelier in Bratislava
- Bratislava Traditional Food Tour
- Nearly All of Bratislava in 6 hours