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Things to do in Bratislava

Things to do in  Bratislava

Welcome to Bratislava

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a riverside gem that combines medieval monuments with Communist history and world-class wineries. The cobbled streets of Bratislava Old Town (Stary Mesto)—home to the Slovak National Theatre and the Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral—lend themselves well to walking tours, while the recently renovated Bratislava Castle and the futuristic UFO Observation Deck are also must-see sights. History buffs can take a boat trip to the Devin Castle ruins, a Roman fortress that clings to the side of a limestone cliff, whereas outdoors enthusiasts will get their thrills on a hiking or biking day trip to the Tatra or Small Carpathian Mountains. If exploring through your taste buds is on the menu, focus on Bratislava’s culinary culture during a cooking workshop or candy-shop walking tour; or—if you fancy yourself more of a oenophile—sample the products of the Carpathian wine region on tasting tours of Modra’s and Pezinok’s vineyards and wine cellars. For visitors with time to explore Slovakia and beyond, day trips to UNESCO World Heritage Site Banska Stiavnica, the forest-shrouded Red Stone Castle, and the Hungarian capital of Budapest or Austrian capital of Vienna are popular choices, and typically only involve a few hours on a train.

Top 10 attractions in Bratislava

Bratislava Old Town (Stare Mesto)

Bratislava Old Town (Stare Mesto)

The Old Town (Stare Mesto) of Bratislava is the historic heart of the Slovakian capital. The neighborhood consists of a medieval castle, restored buildings, cobblestoned alleyways, and beautiful palaces. This small district is also packed with history, nightlife, eateries, and shopping for visitors to explore and discover.More
Bratislava Castle (Bratislavsky Hrad)

Bratislava Castle (Bratislavsky Hrad)

Perched atop a forested hill on the north bank of the Danube River, overlooking the Old Town (Stary Mesto), Bratislava Castle(Bratislavsky Hrad) is the city’s most distinctive landmark. Visible from all over the city, the grand Renaissance palace dates back to the 16th century and now houses the Museum of History, part of the Slovak National Museum.More
Slovak National Theatre (Slovenské Národné Divadlo)

Slovak National Theatre (Slovenské Národné Divadlo)

The architectural focus of the eastern flank of Hviezdoslavovo namestie (one of the two Baroque main squares gracing Bratislava’s Old Town), the Slovak National Theatre (Slovenské Národné Divadlo or SND for short) is a splendid Neo-Renaissance building. Created by Viennese theater designers Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner, the SND was completed in 1886 in a time when the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire was thriving and its elaborate pillared, colonnaded façade is encrusted with busts of playwrights such as Shakespeare and Goethe.Seating for just over 600 in the plush, red velvet and gilded auditorium is in banks of boxes, and the season runs from September to July. The repertoire features a full program of opera, ballet and drama, including such old favorites such as Mozart’s Magic Flute, as well as contemporary performances by the Dragon Kungfu Dance Company.An innovative new adjunct to the Slovak National Theatre opened in 2007 on the banks of the Danube; the seven-story SND New Building is of gleaming glass and marble, seating 1,677 in its three auditoriums.More
St. Martin's Cathedral (Dóm Sv. Martina)

St. Martin's Cathedral (Dóm Sv. Martina)

Like many Bratislava churches, St. Martin’s Cathedral (Dóm Sv. Martina) was built over the remains of an earlier Romanesque basilica on the edge of the Starý Mesto (Old Town). Today’s three-naved Gothic cathedral (Dóm Svätého Martina in full) was consecrated in 1452, and between 1563 and 1830, 11 Hungarian monarchs—including the much-loved Empress Marie Therese—and their spouses were crowned here, a fact celebrated by the placement of a replica coronation crown on the top of the 279-foot (85-meter) Gothic spire.The church’s interior is awash with Gothic detailing, from the soaring wooden altarpiece found in St Anne’s Chapel, which depicts the Crucifixion, to the vaulted ceilings in the presbytery, while other ornamentation in the cathedral is variously Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque in style. Along with the vivid colors of the 19th-century Viennese stained-glass windows, highlights include the vibrant equine statue dedicated to St. Martin, plus the extravagantly Baroque side chapel of St John the Almsgiver. Below, the cathedral, crypts and burial grounds are being excavated; currently only one is open to explore.More
Devin Castle (Devinsky Hrad)

Devin Castle (Devinsky Hrad)

Just outside Bratislava, Devin Castle (Devinsky Hrad) shows Slovakia’s oldest traces of Slavic settlement, from the ninth century. The castle changed hands many times and was renovated until it was blown up during the 19th-century Napoleonic wars. The castle remains are now a Slovak national symbol and feature stunning panoramic views from the towers.More
Primate's Palace (Primaciálny Palác)

Primate's Palace (Primaciálny Palác)

Right in the heart of Bratislava is the neoclassical Primate's Palace (Primaciálny Palác), with its pink facade. What was once the archbishop’s residence now serves as the seat of Bratislava’s mayor and hosts the city council. This architectural jewel is where Napoleon signed the Peace of Pressburg in 1805 after the Battle of Austerlitz.More
Grassalkovich Palace (Grasalkovicov Palac)

Grassalkovich Palace (Grasalkovicov Palac)

The low-slung, white-washed Baroque Grassalkovich Palace (Grasalkovicov Palac) sits on Hodžovo námestie on the northern edge of Bratislava’s Starý Mesto (Old Town) and was built in 1760 as the private residence of a wealthy adviser to Empress Marie Therese. Anton Grassalkovich surrounded himself by beauty and music in his elegant residence; composer Joseph Haydn and elite members of the Hungarian nobility were frequent visitors to his salon.The palace has played a considerable part in Slovakian history, as it was here that Habsburg Archduke Franz Ferdinand met his wife; in 1914 they were assassinated in Sarajevo and their deaths led to the outbreak of World War I. After World War II, the palace became home to Josef Tiso, first President of the new Slovak Republic, but during Soviet times the building was used as a day center for children. It was renovated following the Velvet Revolution in 1989, when it once more became residence of the Slovakian president.The colorful Changing of the Guard takes place outside at 1 p.m. daily, and although the palace itself is not open to the public, the surrounding formal French gardens are, and they make a perfect picnic spot on summer days among a cluster of madcap modern fountains.More
UFO Observation Deck

UFO Observation Deck

Bratislava’s UFO Observation Deck isn’t quite as it seems: rather than a place to spot visitors from outer space, it’s a restaurant and observation deck on top of the New Bridge (Nový Most spanning the Danube River. Its circular design, though, does in fact resemble a UFO.More
Bratislava Old Town Hall (Stara Radnica)

Bratislava Old Town Hall (Stara Radnica)

Stara Radnica is the Old Town Hall in the center of Bratislava, Slovakia. It is in the city's Old Town, and aside from serving as the town hall from the 15th through the 19th centuries, it was also used as a prison, a mint, an arsenal depository, a municipal archive, and it was a place of trade and celebrations. It is the country's oldest town hall building and one of the oldest stone buildings still standing in Bratislava. The building has gone through several renovations giving it characteristics of Renaissance, Baroque, and Neo-Renaissance styles. Today it serves as the Bratislava City Museum.Visitors can see displays in the museum that tell of the city's history starting with the Middle Ages and the feudal justice system. Items include torture instruments, dungeons, antique weapons, armor, paintings, and much more. You can also climb the tower to reach the viewing platform at the top where you'll be rewarded with great views of the main square and city.More
Michael's Gate (Michalska Brana)

Michael's Gate (Michalska Brana)

Now the only remaining fortified gate—of the original four—in Bratislava’s double ring of medieval fortified walls, Michael’s Gate (Michalska Brana) is a Gothic tower that has its beginnings in the 14th century and was commonly used by fishermen bringing their catch into the Starý Mesto (Old Town) from the River Danube. In the 1750s, the gate's Baroque copper cupola and a statue of St Michael slaying a dragon were added, bringing the tower’s height up to 167 feet (51 meters).It was at Michael’s Gate that newly crowned Habsburg Austro-Hungarian kings would stop to pay their respects to the Archbishop of Bratislava. Today it is a landmark on the skyline, reached via the teeming restaurants, cafés and stores of narrow Michalská, and looming high over the Old Town. A circular viewing terrace on the sixth floor gives panoramic views across the red roofs and cobbled alleyways of central Bratislava. The diminutive Museum of Arms and City Fortifications breaks the journey up the steep steps to the top of the tower.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Bratislava

Great little tour to meet Bratislava without getting bored
Veronika_N, Apr 2022
Bratislava Castle Tour by Presporacik
Great little tour to see Bratislava City centre and the castle and to make a few great pictures.
Exactly what we had in mind!
Lee_S, Mar 2022
Private Bratislava Grand City Tour
It was such a pleasure to see Bratislava from her eyes.
Best tour guide!
Suzanne_G, Jul 2019
Nearly All of Bratislava in 6 hours
Excellent English - very knowledgeable about Bratislava and the history of the town and the country.
What a great tour. Our guide Robert...
Michael T, Dec 2017
Bratislava Post-Communism Tour
We wanted to see the parts of Bratislava that the usual tours miss out.
Excellent value
Fares_M, Nov 2021
Bratislava Castle Tour by Presporacik
You get down for 20 minutes to visit the main castle with wonderful views of the city below.
Great private tour in and around the city
Jo_C, Feb 2020
Bratislava Post-Communism Tour
We saw places in and around Bratislava that we wouldn’t have ordinarily got to see on a city break.
Robert_N, Dec 2019
Taxi City Tour Bratislava
The Taxi City Tour is a great way to see Bratislava!
Excellent range of venues & heaps of useful information
ANGELA_H, Oct 2019
Bratislava Foodie Tour
Great way to see the sites of Bratislava too!
Fantastic private tour!!
Chelsea Z, Jul 2019
Lol But it was all very worth it and we really felt like we got to see all of Bratislava and Devin Castle.
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