Are you thinking about visiting Bratislava, Slovakia? The beautiful Slovak capital has a fascinating mix of old European charm and post-Communist growth, and it is a perfect destination for a European weekend getaway, with unique attractions and an ever-growing food scene. Bratislava has grown as a tourist destination in the past few decades, and you can explore classic Bratislava attractions like the hilltop Castle before walking over to the eye-catching UFO tower or grabbing lunch at a trendy cafe. In this article, I’ll cover the basics you need to know before you visit, and the top attractions to visit at any time of the year, plus information about the Bratislava Card!
This blog post was sponsored by Visit Bratislava, but all opinions and thoughts are my own, as aways.
Things to Know Before Visiting Bratislava
Let’s break down the basics you’ll need to know before visiting Bratislava. Getting to the city is pretty simple. There is one main airport, BTS, and it is located a 15-20 minute car ride from the center of the city. If you’re staying in the Old Town, almost every attraction is within walking distance, but public transport is easy enough to use if you’d rather take the tram or a bus. Taxis in Bratislava can sometimes overcharge tourists, so I recommend using the HOPIN app if you need a cab. Slovakia is in the Eurozone, so the Euro is the standard currency here. People in Slovakia speak the Slovak language, which is similar to Czech. However, lots of people in Bratislava can speak English, so don’t worry if you don’t know the language. I was visiting Bratislava alone this December, and I felt pretty safe walking through the Old Town, even at night, but I’d recommend watching out for petty theft and pickpockets, as you would in any major European city.
Check out my latest post about traditional Slovak food and the best Bratislava restaurants for the best places to eat and dishes to try in the Slovak capital.
Bratislava Attractions You Must Visit
Now that you know a little about what to expect when visiting Bratislava, here are the top things to see and do in the city. I didn’t have time to see everything when I was there for the weekend, and if I go back, I’d love to check out the Nedbalka Gallery and the Devin Castle, but these are the top Bratislava attractions I visited when I was in Slovakia.
Most of the these Bratislava attractions are free or discounted if you buy a Bratislava Card. The Bratislava Card starts at just 15 euros for 1 day, and it includes attractions like the Old Town Hall as well as a free tour and free public transport.
Bratislava Old Town: When visiting Bratislava, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself wandering through the Old Town in the center of the city. This area is full of beautiful, historic buildings and lots of shopping and restaurants. The Main Square of the Old Town is the most picturesque area in the city, and it’s a must visit in Bratislava.
Bratislava Castle: Towering over the Old Town is Bratislava Castle, recognizable with its tall white walls and red turrets. This is one of the most popular attractions in the city. The castle was originally built in the 9th century, but it was fully rebuilt and restored throughout the past few decades. Today, it is home to the Slovak National Museums. The castle is closed on Mondays, and standard admission to the exhibitions and treasury costs 10 euros, but you can get a 20% discount with the Bratislava Card.
UFO Tower: The UFO Tower is perhaps the most unique attraction in Bratislava, with its extraterrestrial structure rising high above the Danube River. The UFO Tower is part of a bridge that crosses over the river, and it is named for the odd shape of the observation deck. From the top, you can get great panoramic views of the city. There is also a bar at the top of the tower, where you can get food and drinks with a stunning view. Tickets to get to the top cost 7.40 Euros, and you can get a 25% discount with the Bratislvaa Card.
Blue Church: The Church of St. Elisabeth, also known as the Blue Church, is another unique attraction in Bratislava. This is an operating church, famous for its light blue exterior. I didn’t go inside, but it was fun to see from the outside when I was visiting Bratislava.
Museum of City History / Old Town Hall: Located in the Main Square, the Museum of City History displays artifacts from throughout Bratislava’s storied history. I love visiting the Old Town Hall Tower, which is part of this museum, for its great views of the Main Square and Bratislava castle. Admission to the museum is 5 Euros, and it is free with the Bratislava Card. The museum is closed on Monday.
St. Martin’s Cathedral: St. Martin’s Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in Bratislava, and it is located in the Old Town near the UFO bridge. The church is free to enter, and it is open every day.
Slovak National Collection of Wines: Next to the Old Town Hall is the Museum of Viticulture and the Slovak National Collection of Wines. Slovakia has several wine regions and lots of vineyards, so I was excited to try some local wines when visiting Bratislava. This was one of my favorites of all the Bratislava attractions I went to because I got to learn more about the country’s history and try 4 of their locally produced wines. Every year, they choose 100 local wines to display here, and they offer tastings. Prices vary depending on the length of your tasting, but I thought it was very affordabl- you can taste 8 wines for 12 euros. You can also get a 10% discount with the Bratislava Card. The Slovak National Collection of Wines is closed on Sunday and Monday.
Bratislava Old Market: I love visiting markets when I travel, so I knew I had to visit the Old Market in Bratislava. There were so many different things for sale at this market, including baked goods, cheese, produce, and more. The market is open every Saturday from 9-3.
Take a Tour: I recommend taking a tour when visiting Bratislava so you can get a better idea about the city’s history. I took the free tour that was included with the Bratislava Card, but there are several other options available.
Visiting Bratislava, a Beautiful European Capital
I really enjoyed my visit to Bratislava, Slovakia, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a unique European city break. I flew out of London on Friday morning and back into London on Sunday evening, so it’s an easy weekend trip if you live in the UK. I thought the city itself was really interesting, and I loved that it had a small town feel and that everything was centrally located in the Old Town. I visited the Slovak capital in December, which I would highly recommend visiting Bratislava during that time of year because I got to explore the lovely Christmas markets as well as all the year-round Bratislava attractions!
Check out my post all about Christmastime in Bratislava for more holiday travel inspiration.