15 Best Things to Do in Bratislava (2023)
The beautiful city of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, offers its visitors some really amazing things to do. There is a lot to see, especially in the historic old town. On a city trip, you can enjoy numerous viewpoints, go sightseeing, stroll along the beautiful Danube waterfront and make a few cozy stops in some of the many hip cafés and bars. On the way, you will surely encounter one or the other famous bronze statues, such as the “Cumil”, which cheekily peeps out of a manhole cover. One thing is clear: Bratislava’s attractions and the many places to visit will definitely delight you!
In this travel guide, we will show you the top 15 things to do in Bratislava. Perfect for your next city trip to the capital of Slovakia.
Old Town Hall & Main Square
The Old Town Hall is the former seat of the city administration. Since 1868 it has been hosting Slovakia’s oldest museum. But not only is the exhibition worth seeing, also the viewpoint from the 45-meter tower is remarkably beautiful. From up there you have one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Bratislava castle and the main square of the old town. In that square in winter there is also the annual Christmas market. Climbing up the old town hall and enjoying the most incredible views is one of the best things to do in Bratislava and, therefore, a visit to these two attractions is highly recommended.
Primatial Palace is definitely one of the most beautiful attractions in Bratislava. It was built between 1778 and 1781 and served as the residence of the cardinal at that time. With its unique pale pink color, Primatialpalais is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city and an absolute eye-catcher. This palace can be visited from the inside because the first floor was opened to the public as a museum. Really amazing is the interior with all the old paintings and the exquisite furniture, which is really breathtaking. The highlight of the Primate’s Palace is the Hall of Mirrors, a grand chamber where concerts and conferences are being until today.
The white Bratislava Castle is the most famous sight of Bratislava and the landmark of the city. It was built in the 9th century, but in its history, it has been expanded and renovated again and again. Especially beautiful is also the location on an 85-meter-high city hill, which you can easily climb on foot from the old town. Once at the top, the picturesque castle garden with its fantastic view over the roofs of the city invites you to linger. The Bratislava Castle is worth seeing from the inside, however, where you can explore an interesting museum in the castle complex.
This unique Michael’s Gate, or Michael’s Gate Tower, from the 13th century, is definitely one of the best places to visit in Bratislava. In the past, this structure was actually the northern entrance to the fortified city, and even today it is an important connection into the old town. Not only a real highlight from the outside, you can also visit the tower from the inside. The highlight is definitely the terrace of the 51-meter-high tower because from the top you have an enchanting view of the castle and the old town.
UFO observation deck (Viewpoint)
The UFO is probably the most spectacular observation deck in the city, and a visit is certainly one of the highlights of any Bratislava city trip. The 360-degree panoramic view at a height of 95 meters is simply fantastic and offers most likely one of the best photo motifs of Bratislava Castle. One floor below the observation deck, directly in the “UFO”, there is another restaurant serving delicious cocktails and fine food. This futuristic tower is one of the top attractions of the city, and a visit belongs for many to the fixed program of every city trip.
The Statues of Bratislava
The statues of Bratislava are probably the most photographed attractions in town. These eye-catching sculptures are located all over the old town, and somehow you will always pass them. The most popular one is the “Cumil” – a man looking out of a manhole. Don’t miss taking a shot with this cheeky guy! Also look out for the “Schone Naci”, a happy appearance and the “Napoleon soldier”, who is leaning over a bench.
Stary Most Bridge
A walk on the banks of the Danube is really lovely and recommended. From the many bridges, you have a wonderful view over the Danube River and the various sights of the city. Many tourists cross the Novy Most Bridge to get to the UFO. An even nicer view offers the Stary Most Bridge, which is located a little further down along the waterfront.
Tip: Did you know that there is a Danube cycle path where you can go from Vienna to Bratislava by bike?
Slovak National Theater
Another highlight of Bratislava is the Slovak National Theater, usually known simply as the Opera House. Officially, it is known as the old building of the Slovak National Theater, which was opened in 1886 as a municipal theater. In front of the opera, you can also admire the beautiful Ganymede Fountain from 1888.
The Blue Church is a real insider tip in Bratislava, and certainly a sight that not everyone knows. The St. Elisabeth church, built in Art Nouveau style and with its light blue color, is an absolute eye-catcher. This extraordinary attraction is a popular photo motif and definitely worth a visit. If you would like to visit the blue church from the inside, you should get up early because the opening times are only in the morning from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. This impressive church is for sure one of the top places to visit in Bratislava!
Kapitulska Street & Clarissine Church
Kapitulska Street, one of the oldest streets in the city, is located in the western part of the historic old town of Bratislava. The narrow alley leads north from St. Martin’s Cathedral to the Clarissine Church. On a walk you will enjoy an original old town, a little away from the hustle and bustle. Also, the Clarissine Church is really worth seeing.
The St. Martins Cathedral from the 13th century is one of the most important sacral buildings in Bratislava. Most beautiful is the impressive 85-meter high tower of the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, which dominates the cityscape of Bratislava with its beautiful turquoise roof. The cathedral church is located on the way between the castle and the old town, and can be easily reached via a city walk! However, the best view of the cathedral is from Bratislava Castle Park.
The unique Devin Castle and the picturesque surroundings are somewhat reminiscent of Scotland. A visit to this ruin should be included in any Bratislava city break, even though it is located about 10 kilometers outside the city. The best way to reach Thebes Castle is by bus or boat. The ruin is definitely one of the best attractions in Bratislava and should not be missed on any city trip.
Another important attraction of the city is the Slavin War Memorial, about 52 meters high, which was built between 1957 and 1960 on the site of a Soviet cemetery of honor honoring the fallen soldiers of the Soviet army. It is located on a hill in the middle of the city and offers a wonderful view of the castle and part of the city center.
Another interesting attraction in Bratislava is the Grassalkovich Palace, often known as the “Presidential Palace” . This rococo-late baroque palace was built around 1760 and is now the residence of the President of Slovakia. A visit is especially beautiful in the summer when the baroque gardens invite you to linger.
Bratislava: City tours, Tickets & More
If you don’t want to explore Bratislava on your own, you can join a guided tour. On the online portal GetYourGuide you can find exciting city tours as well as cheap entrance tickets, cooking classes, wine tastings and unforgettable excursions in the region!
The reviews are also really great, and you can compare them before booking.
Where to stay in Bratislava
For a visit to Bratislava, you’ll find a great range of fantastic places to stay. From cheap backpacker hostels to stylish apartments, bed and breakfasts and hotels with pools, you’ll find it all. If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Bratislava, we can give you these tips… It’s worth a look!
- Hostel: The Hostel Folks is one of the best backpacker accommodations in the city. They offer drinks, coffee, tea, a nice common room and very clean rooms.
- Apartment: The Bratislava Castle Apartment is a beautiful new apartment in a very central location. Free parking spaces are included here!
- Hotel: The LOFT Hotel Bratislava convinces with great rooms, the delicious breakfast and the good location on the edge of the old town.
- 5-star hotel: The Grand Hotel River Park is the hotel for an exceptional stay. Here you will be spoiled with a huge breakfast buffet, and the spa area is also a miraculous.
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