If you have seen either of the movies “Euro Trip” or “Hostel” you will most definitely have the wrong impression of Bratislava. I can assure you that it is totally safe and nothing at all like it is portrayed.  Bratislava is laid back and the town oozes old world charm. It really should be included in your Eastern European travel plans and my Bratislava Travel Guide can help you plan a memorable trip.  I can promise that you won’t regret your visit.

I was in Budapest and found that Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city, is about 200 km away. It is also only 60 km from Vienna so it is easy to catch a bus to the Slovakian capital. It is a short trip of around about 2 and half hours from Budapest and about an hour from Vienna and you could easily do this as a day trip. I decided however that I wanted to spend more time exploring, so I stayed a couple of nights to make the most of this charming town.

I didn’t venture much beyond the city boundaries and spent most of my time in the Old Town and surrounds, but there is more than enough to do to keep you busy. Slovakia is gaining popularity on the tourist trail, but when I was there is was tranquil and not in the least crowded. It was a pleasure to wander somewhat aimlessly to discover the sights that are listed in no particular order in my Bratislava Travel Guide.

 

Beautiful window in Bratislava
Window Detail Bratislava

 

My Bratislava Travel Guide

 

 

Michael’s Gate

 

The best way to enter the town is through Michael’s gate. This is the only gate that still exists from the original fortifications which dates from the 14th century. The tower houses the Museum of Arms and also offers a fabulous view of the Old Town. At the top of the tower is a statue of the archangel Michael, slaying a dragon.

There is also a really quaint area in the moat below the tower . While you relax with a book you can enjoy the scenery.

 

St Michaels Gate Bratislava
St Michaels Gate

 

 

The Old Town

 

The number one drawcard for me is the Old Town. The buildings are a mixture of Gothic and Baroque styles and the cobbled streets are like a picture postcard. There are restaurants and cafes all over so choose one, have a drink and watch the world go by. The main area of the Old Town has been pedestrianized and it is a pleasure not to have to worry about traffic.

Walking down the main street you will in fact be walking along the coronation route. Keep your eyes open for the gold crowns dotted along the road. This is the route of the coronation processions of kings and queens between 1563 and 1830.  It is an easy to follow  route if you want to walk in the footsteps of the monarchs of a bygone era.

Meandering through the streets keep your eyes open, in case you miss the quirky statues that are dotted all over the town.

 

Old Town Bratislava Slovakia
Old Town Bratislava

 

 

Old Town Hall and Main Plaza

 

At the heart of the Old Town is the Town Hall and tower and  it is the oldest city hall in Slovakia. It is the home of the Bratislava City Museum documenting the city’s history. It also has a rather lovely roof.

 

Old Town Hall Bratislava
Town Hall Bratislava

 

 

St Martin’s Cathedral

 

St Martin’s Cathedral is where 19 royal coronations have taken place over the years. There is a gold crown on the top of the spire that signifies the royal connection. The 85 m high tower was built during the 13th and 14th centuries and originally formed part of the fortification of the town walls. The interior is beautiful and is worth a visit if you can spare the time. You will have to dress accordingly when you visit, so ladies, take a wrap or a scarf with you as a cover up.

 

 

St Martins Cathedral Bratislava
St Martins Cathedral

 

 

Bratislava Castle

 

The castle (Hrad) perches on top of the hill overlooking the old town and the Danube River. It was built in the 9th century and if you climb the hill you will enjoy an amazing view from the gardens. On a clear day you can see both Austria and Hungary.

 

Old Opera Building

 

There are 2 opera houses in Bratislava. The Old Opera Building is a gem and is located on Hviezdoslavovo Square near the Danube River. The first performance took place in 1920 two years after it was built. It is still in use today even though there is a newer modern opera house.

 

 

Old Opera House Bratislava
Opera House Bratislava

 

 

Cross the SNP Bridge

 

The Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising was built in 1967-1972. It looks a bit like a spaceship to me. There is also a restaurant at the top of it where you will have great views over the Danube and the city.

 

SNP Bridge Bratislava Slovakia
SNP Bridge Bratislava

 

 

The Blue Church

 

Although it is officially known as the Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary it is commonly called ‘the Blue Church’ . The church is art nouveau in style, which is also know as Hungarian Secession. It reminded me of a beautifully iced cake. I instantly fell in love with this building. The pastel shades are really pretty. Both the interior and exterior are beautiful shades of blue. Even the roof is glazed with blue ceramic tiles.

 

Blue Church Interior Bratislava
Blue Church Interior

 

 

Slovak Pub

 

The Slovak Pub was an excellent choice for local food. It is an old building with a maze of rooms all themed in styles reflecting the history of Slovakia. The food is delicious and the beer is chilled to perfection. If you try nothing else I recommend the dumplings followed by the strudel.  Total heaven!

 

Slovak Pub Bratislava
Slovak Pub

 

Bratislava is a treasure waiting to be discovered and until now is not too touristy. It has all you need and more for a city break and especially a romantic weekend away. You will step back in time to a slower pace of life and leave feeling rejuvenated.

 

 

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Wow.Reading your experience about The Old Town is sooo fun as well as the entire post. I wish I could visit these places too and have fun and learn new things like you did. 😁

  2. Bratislava is a very beautiful city with so many impressive historical buildings! Your pictures and descriptions capture the atmosphere of the town very well… Must be awesome to go there on a nice summer day and have a cold beer at the Slovak Pub!

  3. I took the road from Vienna to Bratislava. The old town is so full of quirky things. We had good time searching out the statues. I did miss a couple of sights from this list – the Blue Church and the Opera building.

  4. I love that your post on 2 counts: 1. It is an attempt to portray a destination in a positive light. I think you should visit India and talk about your experience here.
    2. Love the way you have covered the entire city effortlessly. On my next trip to East Europe and especially to Bratislava, I exactly know where to go and what to do.

  5. We have been working on an East European itinerary for some time now and Bratislava features in it. However the plan is still to see the light of day. The town looks so picturesque and has that typical old world charm that is the hallmark of many European towns and cities.

  6. The only time we passed through this country was while travelling from Budapest to Prague. We’ve also been intrigued by the said movies which have left an impression in our minds however, we love to watch movies for their entertainment value and not to leave ourselves judgmental. That said we’re happy you’ve written about bratislava and possibly helped so many more clear their misconceptions about this wonderful place.

    • I was told that Bratislava lost a lot of tourists because of those movies that were not even filmed there! It is such a pity because it is a beautiful city.

  7. Bratislava isn’t usually the kind of place you’d think of for a trip but after reading this article I think I’d love to visit. Your description of the Old Town kind of makes me think of Warsaw’s Old Town which is beautiful.

    • Good ! I am delighted! Many of the old towns in Eastern Europe have a similar feel, but each has a charm of its own.

  8. To be honest, Hostel. that movie gave me a very bad impression hahaha… But I’m glad to know that Bratislava is safe after all. I wonder where did the writer get the idea for that film. But even with the theme of the movie, I have always known this place to be beautiful and given a chance I would love to visit it myself and see all the places you mentioned.

  9. Bratislava is such an amazing place! I hope tourists would go gentle on this lovely spot in case they finally discover all the wonders to see. It is like walking in a European movie set. I’d love to go!!!

  10. It was my first time reading from a Slovakian place! The architecture itself is awesome! I will remember that name when looking for a tour in Europe Bratislava!

    • It is a beautiful town, very laid back and like a picture postcard. I hope that you have a chance to visit it in the future.

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