Bratislava, the capital and largest city of Slovakia, is one of the most important historical and touristic cities in Central Europe. Some might think that there is not much to see in Bratislava, but in fact there are plenty of tourist attractions in Bratislava, which is a perfect from neighbor cities like Vienna and Prague.
If you are thinking of visiting the capital of Slovakia shortly and wondering what to see in Bratislava, we will guide you through the best things to see in and around Bratislava that shouldn’t be missed!
Nestled on the hill and elegantly dressed in white and orange tiles, Bratislava Castle is the symbol of the city. Bratislava Castle is a historical castle built for defense in the 9th century. This castle and its surroundings were badly damaged in the fire that broke out in 1811. Bratislava Castle, which was rebuilt after World War II, is the main castle of the city. Currently, the castle has been converted into a museum, where you can discover the exhibition of the Slovak National Museum, the Treasury Chamber, the National Council of the Slovak Republic and even a concert hall. A new baroque garden behind the castle was opened in June 2016.
Getting there is really easy as the castle is visible from every corner of Bratislava. From the historic center, you can follow the signs “Hrad” or “Castle” (“Hrad” means castle). The walk is quite pleasant and lasts a quarter of an hour. The visit to Bratislava Castle should not take you more than an hour, but we recommend it if you would like to discover the history of the country as well as admire great views of both the center of Bratislava and Danube River.
You can join Bratislava 2-Hour City Walking Tour with Castle Ticket to visit the important landmarks of Bratislava's historical city center before entering Bratislava Castle.
Hlavne Namestie Square
Hlavne Namestie is a nice square located in the Old Town. It can be considered the main square of Bratislava, just like its name says. The small size of the central square is filled with charm. You will find several cafes and restaurants to have a snack in front of the Maximilian fountain, built in honor of the first emperor who was crowned in Bratislava. The square faces an Art Nouveau building from the beginning of the 20th century, and stands alongside a Jesuit church and the Kutscherfeld Palace, where the French embassy is located today. Hlavne Namestie Square hosts lots of concerts, parties of all kinds and markets for craft products especially during Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Easter.
Old Town Hall
On one of the sides of the Hlavne Namestie Square you will see one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire city, Old Town Hall of Bratislava (or Stara Radnica). This elegant building dates from the 15th century and houses the Municipal Museum, where an exhibition on the history of Bratislava stands out. Even if you don't particularly want to visit the Municipal Museum, we would recommend going up to the top of the Clock Tower, where you will have a 360-degree view over the Old Town.
Saint Michael Gate
If you will be entering the Old Town from its north, you will not miss the Saint Michael Gate (Michalska brana in Slovak). Named after the statue of Saint Michael that crowns the tower in which it is located, Saint Michael Gate is the only door that remains from the old walls that surrounded the city of Bratislava in medieval times. At the base of this tower you can find a kind of Slovak zero point - the golden plate with the distance from that point to some of the main cities in the world measured. Saint Michael Gate houses an arms exhibition of the Bratislava City Museum that can be visited. You can also climb to the top of the tower and admire the views over the rooftops of the Old Town of Bratislava.
St. Martin's Cathedral
St. Martin's Cathedral (Katedrala sv Martina) is the tallest and oldest religious building in Bratislava. Although it is not particularly beautiful and its Gothic style architecture is not very elaborated, the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Martin remains inescapable. Eleven kings of Hungary have been crowned between 1563 and 1830 in this small 13th century cathedral. Cathedral of San Martín is not always open to the public, but if you are lucky enough to get in, do so.
Church of St. Elisabeth (Blue Church)
Church of St. Elisabeth, better known in Bratislava as the Blue Church, is one of the most attractive things to see in Bratislava. This church is located on the corner of Gajova and Bezrucova streets, a bit out from the Old Town. However, the various shades of blue and white decoration of this small and charming church are well worth the walk. The architecture is in Hungarian Art Nouveau style and the Hungarian influence can be seen through the structure. Right in front of the Blue Church you will find the ruins of an old hospital from the Soviet era.
Bratislava UFO Bridge (the Most SNP)
UFO Bridge, built in 1972 to connect the heart of the city to the Petrzalka suburb, is the most notable bridge in Bratislava because of the shape of a spaceship. At the highest part of the bridge, there is a trendy café-restaurant and a viewpoint. There you can sip a cocktail or cup of coffee while admiring an amazing view of all Bratislava, including the castle and a stunning view of Petrzalka. You can also take a unique walk on a windowsill of an observation tower, 85-meters above the Danube. This exterior walk on a windowsill of the UFO Tower will surely get your heart racing. Ticket to this Bratislava attraction can be booked here: Skywalk Bratislava with UFO Tower Entry Ticket.
Sculptures in Bratislava
Visiting Bratislava and not seeing its famous street sculptures is almost an impossible mission. Spread over the Old Town, these creative sculptures will ensure that you won’t be able to resist photographing yourself with each one of them.
Some of the best known are the impassive Napoleonic soldier and the soldier guarding the sentry box at Hlavne Namestie Square, the friendly Schöne Naci, who always took off his top hat to greet the ladies at the beginning of the 20th century on Rybárska brána Street, and the worker Čumil (Man at work), which appears from a sewer of Bratislava at the crossroad of Panska and Rybarska brana streets. Local legend says that he is looking under girls' skirts, although the official version says that he rests after cleaning pipes. There are many other statues to discover in Bratislava while strolling around the historic center of the city.
The Danube River flows peacefully along the edge of downtown Bratislava. If you have time, taking a stroll along the river will be really pleasant. The best way to start walking is by crossing the UFO Bridge. The trail runs along both sides and each side offers unique views of the city. One side offers the view of the city center, while the other offers a breathtaking view of Bratislava Castle. There are numerous barges and pleasant cafes or restaurants during the day, as well as nightclubs for the more night owls around.
To see Bratislava from another perspective, you can take Bratislava by Private Speedboat Tour. This sightseeing boat on the Danube River gives you the opportunity to enjoy the panorama of Bratislava right from the deck of a speedboat.
The Primate Palace
The Primate Palace is the neoclassical palace located next to the Old Town Hall and one of the most interesting places to see in Bratislava. This place is considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in Bratislava for its pale pink and white exterior. Originally the residence of Archbishop Jozsef Batthyany, today it is the office of the city's mayor. The Hall of Mirrors is a room not to be missed in this palace and you should also take a look at the fountain and the statue of Saint George in the courtyard. The Primates Palace is open every day, except of Mondays, from 10:00 to 17:00 and the entrance ticket costs 3 Euro per person.
About a ten-minute walk Northway from the historic center, the very attractive Grassalkovich Palace, built in the name of Count Anton Grassalkovich at the request of Maria Theresa in 1760, has today been transformed into the official residence of Slovakian president. Guards provide security in front of the palace and take over several times a day. Here you will find a globe-shaped fountain decorated with doves representing peace between peoples. The Empress Maria Theresa Statue and its surroundings in Hodzovo Square behind the palace are also worth seeing.
Devin Castle, a unique example of Late Antique and Byzantine architecture, was built between 863 and 870. Devin Castle, shaped by many different empires throughout history, is located 25 minutes from the city center. The castle, standing very close to the border with Austria, is located entirely on the side of Slovakia. Devin Castle is situated on the edge of a cliff where the Danube and Morova rivers meet, offering very impressive views. From November till March, Devin Castle may be closed due to snow/bad weather conditions.
You can take Devin Castle 3-Hour Private Guided Tour from Bratislava to explore the Devin Castle ruins and admire the views from its commanding position. During the tour you’ll also have a chance to taste local wine made from currants as well as other local products such as honey with ginger.