Bratislava Old Town (Stare Mesto)
Since the 10th century Bratislava has been a center for commerce, sitting right on the banks of the extensive Danube River. At one end of the Old Town sits Bratislava Castle, near the Austrian border, while the famous St. Elizabeth’s Church, better known as the Blue Church, sits on the opposite edge of the historic center.
Most tours of the miniscule Old Town are walking tours that cover the history of the district and Slovakia. For a more in-depth experience, you can opt for a private tour and customize the itinerary to your interests. You can also explore Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna (which lies just over the border), Budapest, and even Prague.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Old Town Bratislava is a must for European history buffs and all first-time visitors to the city.
Many of the streets in the city center are cobblestoned, so wear comfortable shoes to walk around the uneven surfaces.
Tourist information is located adjacent to the Primatial Palace, on the corner of Primatial Square.
Old Town is accessible to wheelchair users but the uneven cobblestones can make getting around a bit challenging.
How to Get There
The best way to reach Bratislava’s Old Town is by public tram or city bus. Parking is limited in the area, as much of it is cordoned off as a pedestrian-only zone, though there are a few paid parking garages.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Bratislava is during between May and September, when temperatures are pleasant and there is less rain. For those who prefer the cold, Bratislava comes alive during the month of December with Christmas markets occupying many city squares, offering mulled wine, tasty snacks, and an array of tchotchkes to purchase.
Old Town Highlights
The Old Town is where Bratislava visitors spend most of their time, and for good reason. Explore the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, Old Town Hall, and Bratislava Castle to learn about the history of the city. Stroll through the ornate Primatial Palace and its gardens, and take in the views from the UFO Observation Deck. Bratislava is also home to a number of museums including the Slovak National Museum, which operates a number of institutions, and the Slovak National Gallery.
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- Grassalkovich Palace (Grasalkovicov Palac)
- Michael's Gate (Michalska Brana)
- Franciscan Square (Frantiskanske Namestie)
- Bratislava Old Town Hall (Stara Radnica)
- Primate's Palace (Primaciálny Palác)
- Hlavne Namestie
- St. Martin's Cathedral (Dóm Sv. Martina)
- Bratislava Castle (Bratislavsky Hrad)
- UFO Observation Deck
- Slovak National Theatre (Slovenské Národné Divadlo)
- Devin Castle (Devinsky Hrad)
- Open-Air Mining Museum (Slovenské Banské Múzeum)