Bratislava may be little as far as capitals go—Slovaks often describe it as “a small metropolis”—but it has a big city feel. In Slovakia’s capital you can experience big-city bustle against the backdrop of provincial-town ambience. There are a lot of things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia. Let’s start with these 99.

***This article is a work in progress.***

Bratislava Attractions – Old Town*

Walk Around Old Town Without a Map

Sure you could follow a tour guide’s plaque or umbrella, or stare at your smartphone, but what would be the fun in that?

Wander around Bratislava’s Old Town blindly and let yourself be carried away by her charm.

Put a Crown on it at St. Martin’s Cathedral

St. Martin’s Cathedral is Bratislava’s main church, completed in 1452. During the period of Ottoman occupation between 1563 and 1830, Bratislava was the capital of Hungary and the king was coronated at St. Martin’s.

See the golden crown in place of the cross at the top of the tower and go to the annual Coronation Days celebration, in June, to evoke those golden days.

Bratislava Points of Interest - St Martins Church

Left: St. Martin’s overlooking the Staromestská Highway near the city wall; St. Martin’s Church from Rudnay Square

Stroll with Priests on Kapitulská Street

The Roman Catholic Church occupies a number of buildings on Kapitulská Street, facing the main entrance to St. Martin’s Cathedral. The street has, therefore, not been overrun by commerce and is probably the quietest one in Old Town.

You may find yourself strolling alongside priests there.

Conquer the Fortifications

Like every other important medieval city Bratislava was surrounded by a protective wall. Only a small portion of the city wall remains, stretching along the Staromestská highway from St. Martin’s where you can climb a short flight of stairs and walk on it (you can also enter from Židovská or Prepoštská Streets).

Admire Other Gothic Churches

St. Martin’s isn’t the only Gothic church in Bratislava. Go to a classical-music concert at the Klarisky Church in Old Town or visit  the Franciscan Church, especially the St. John Evangelist Chapel, to admire some of the greatest Gothic treasures in Slovakia.

Walk Through Michalská Gate/Tower in Silence

Michael’s Gate is the only surviving of four medieval city gates. Built in the early 15th century and completed with the tower in the 18th, the Gate/Tower hosts the statue of Archangel Michael slaying a dragon — and the spirit of the municipal executioner. Walk through the Michalská Gate in silence so as not to awaken him!

If you are a student, the stakes are even higher. A related superstition says that only those students who walk through the gate without a word will pass their exams.

Bratislava Old Town - Michalska Gate

Michalská (Michael) Gate in Bratislava Old Town by day and by night. Photos, from left, CC-BY Pedro and CC-BY-NC-ND BMclvr

Never Forget the Plague at Holy Trinity Column

Like every city or town in Slovakia, Bratislava, too was hit by the 18th century plague, brought here during the Charles III coronation. In gratitude for the plague’s retreat in 1713, the denizens had the Holy Trinity Column built on Rybné (Fish) Square. It may look out of place next to Danube Hotel and the highway across the Danube, but if you circle it, you’ll face each of the plague protectors — St. Roch, St. Andrew, and St. Charles Bartholomew.

Imagine the Jewish Quarter

Most of the Jewish Quarter was razed in the 1960s when the Staromestská Highway was built, piercing Bratislava’s heart like a Communist rapier. Few buildings remain, but on Rudnay Square, next to the Holocaust Memorial, a replica of the demolished Synagogue and helps visitors picture the way things were.

Climb the Town Hall Steps

The Old Town Hall houses the museum of municipal history. Part of the self-guided tour is an optional ascent to the tower, well worth a visit if you need a bit of air amidst all the information and an alternative to the Michael’s Gate.

Old Town Hall Bratislava

Old Town Hall, from left: view from the Main Square; the tower from the courtyard; view from the top of the tower

Shake Hands with Old Town Statues

The statue of Čumil, or Working Man, leaning out of a sewage drain was intended as a tourist attraction and it fulfills his purpose with gusto. But don’t miss Old Town’s many other Instagrammable statues including Schöne Naci, Napoleon’s Soldier (this one intended to be photographer with Institute Francais in the background), Paparazzi, or The Taunter, a tiny old statue predating tourism, peeking out from a building wall on Panonská Street.

The best one of all: the statue of Pavol Orságh Hviezdoslav, a great Slovak national poet, deep in thought on the eponymous square, opposite the Slovak National Theater.

Admire Rococo Palaces

As a royal city, Bratislava underwent a building boom in the 18th century, when a number of beautiful Rococo (or Late Baroque) palaces were built here. Admire Aponi, Kutscherfeld, Erdody, Grassalkovich (Presidential), and Mirbach palaces on your stroll through Old Town to appreciate the city’s long-ago splendor.

Promenade Along the Danube

The Danube River may not be blue, but begin your walk around sunset, have a drink at one of Bratislava’s many floating bars, and you won’t care. Whether you walk downriver on the left (northern) bank or upriver on the right (southern) bank, promenading along the Danube is one of the chillest things to do in Bratislava.

See Slovak Art at the National Gallery

Whether you’re an art buff or not, at the Slovak National Gallery you can learn about Slovakia through her art. The SNG has multiple locations, in Bratislava and around the country, but the one on the Danube’s embankment is the most interesting, if not the ugliest. (Currently under renovation.)

Learn About Drugs at the Pharmacy Museum

The historic, 16th century Red Crawfish Pharmacy is now the headquarters of the Pharmacy Museum. Equipment, 2,880 books (including the original, 1574 edition of Paracelsus’s works), and furniture comprise one of the most interesting specialty museums in the country.

Check the Time at the Clock Museum

Bratislava’s other specialty museum is the Museum of Clocks housed in the narrow, Rococo-style Good Shepherd House. A visit here makes for a timely, 30-45 minute detour on your way up to the Castle.

Sit on a Fountain

Relax, don’t worry, sit on one of Bratislava’s fountains. The best fountains in Bratislava to relax on include

  • Roland Fountain on the Main Square, right at the heart of the city where you can watch tourists mill around; and
  • Planet of Peace Fountain on Hodžovo namestie (Hodža Square), in front of the Presidential Palace, where you can watch locals meet up and traffic criss-cross the intersection.

Hike Up to Bratislava Castle

The Castle is Bratislava’s most famous landmark, appearing in the tourist board’s logo and many other brands. Though you can take a public transit or a tour bus up to the Bratislava Castle, you can get a better sense of its location on the Carpathian Mountains range’s first hill by hiking up to it.

While you’re up at the Castle, visit the museum inside, stroll around the ruins of a 9th century, Great Moravian Empire basilica, and admire the view of the Danube and Petržalka panelák city beyond on the background of the splendid Gothic, 15th century Sigismond Gate.

Castle Bratislava

Take a Secret Path Through the Hills

From the Castle, walk through the adjacent hilly neighborhood, perhaps following the secret path we recently shared with the readers of our pals at Welcome to Bratislava.

Go on a Treasure Hunt Through Old Town

If you are traveling in a larger group, join an organized treasure hunt through the streets of Old Town. Find sights, overcome obstacles, beat the other teams…game on!

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Bratislava Attractions – City Center Outside of Old Town

Visit the Presidential Palace

A fine example of Rococo architecture (see above), Grassalkovich Palace is also the seat of Slovakia’s president (the building is sometimes also called the Presidential Palace). One day a year, on June 15 during the Open Doors Day, you can go in and walk in the president’s footsteps.

Places to visit in Bratislava - Grassalkovich Palace

Grassalkovich AKA Presidential Palace behind the Planet of Peace Fountain. Photo CC-BY Pedro

Get Married in Slovakia’s Most Romantic Church

The Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary is commonly called the Little Blue Church due to its compact size and blue color. Though the locally-born, 13th century saint herself “only” turned roses into bread, walking through the church is like walking inside a cake.

Bratislava must see - Blue Church

The Blue Church. Photos, from left, CC-BY cat_collector and CC-BY-NC-ND Jakob Huerner

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Other Things to See in Bratislava

There are plenty of things to see and do in Bratislava outside of Old Town and the city center.

Remember Fallen Soviet Soldiers at Slavín

You can’t miss the Slavín Memorial from anywhere in Bratislava and you shouldn’t miss visiting it. The 1960 memorial comprising a ceremonial hall and a pylon with a victory sculpture punctuates the cemetery containing the remains of 6,845 Red Army soldiers who died during the liberation of Bratislava in 1945.

Things to see in Bratislava - Slavin

Slavín Memorial. Photo CC-BY-NC-ND Miroslav Petrasko

Tour the Gems of Brutalism

Having survived 40 years under Community Party rule, Bratislava is chockful of buildings representing the best (or worst, depending on your worldview) of the architectural style called Brutalism. From the INCHEBA trade fair complex to Hotel Kyjev to the Slovak National Radio building, seeing these reminders of the recent future is sure to send a chill down your spine.

See One of the Ugliest Buildings in the World

The ever-so-opinionated Telegraph newspaper has included the Slovak National Radio building, the so-called Upside-Down Pyramid, on its list of the ugliest buildings in the world. Judge for yourself when you walk by on your Bratislava tour of Brutalist architecture.

From left, Slovak National Radio building, (former) Hotel Kyjev. Photos, from left, CC-BY-NC-ND G D and CC-BY Grisei

Go Underground (and Back in Time) at a Military Bunker

A number of WWII and Cold War military bunkers are scattered around Bratislava-Petržalka. You can visit some of them with a group of enthusiasts working to restore them.

Take a Bus Through Panelák Jungle

From the city center, take buses #83, 84, 88, 93, or 94 for a cheap tour of the infamous panelák jungle Petržalka.

Bratislava places to visit - Petrzalka

Petržalka as seen from the Bratislava Castle. Photo CC-BY-NC-SA Mark Turner

See the Oldest Panelák in the Country

Petržalka may be the most famous panelák neighborhood in Bratislava, but the oldest such building in the country (as well as in former Czechoslovakia) stands at the edge of downtown, on Kmeťova Street. The 1955 building delights architecture buffs to this day.

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Things to Do in Bratislava: Culture and History

See Old Cars at a Transportation Museum

Whether you like cars or trains, the Transportation Museum has got you covered. Located in the first Bratislava train station, just down the street and around the corner from the Main Train Station, the museum features a collection of cars and other wheeled vehicles (the Slovak car-makers’ prototypes are particularly interesting), and a selection of engines as well as cargo and people-moving train cars.

Lob into the Tennis Museum

Fun fact: the world’s biggest collection of wooden tennis rackets is in Bratislava. The Tennis Museum also features the unofficial Slovak tennis hall of fame. What a racket!

Admire Street Art

Like many world cities, you can find a lot of cool graffiti around the city. More and more art gets added during the Bratislava Street Art Festival and Graffiti Jams, coloring the city’s infamous grayness.

Graffiti near Bratislava train station

Graffiti near Bratislava train station

Learn About Local Non-Slovak Cultures

Ethnic/national minorities comprise about 20 percent of Slovakia’s population. The annual festival Cultural Summer of Minorities features music, dance, and other performances from Slovakia’s Hungarian, Ruthenian/Rusin, Jewish, and Roma communities. Concerts take place on the Hviezdoslav Square in the second week of August.

Get Crafty at Craftsmen Days

Learn Slovak at the University Summer School

Listen to Jazz

Experience Culture at a Defunct Factory

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Eat and Drink in Bratislava

Have a Drink at the UFO Tower

Most people know the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising as UFO Bridge, thanks to the shape of the restaurant sitting atop its idiosyncratic tower. Take the elevator or the stairs up to UFO Restaurant for a drink and a spectacular view of Bratislava (you can also visit just the UFO Observation Deck above).

Bratislava things to do - View from UFO Bridge

View of Danube’s left bank from the UFO Bridge Observation Deck

Have an Espresso in a Medieval Basement

Yes, you could have your classic Central European espresso at a tourist-trap cafe on the Main Square. Or you could hide in the brick-walled, medieval basement under Green Tree Cafe a block away and sip your espresso in quiet, cool, secluded space.

Eat at the Biggest Picnic in Town

Travel Back to Socialism at Major Zeman Bar

Sample Craft Beer at Local Microbreweries

Five microbreweries call Bratislava their home, serving some of the best Slovak beer you’ll taste in the country. The Zámocký Pivovar (Chateaux Brewery) and Meštiansky Pivovar (Burgher Brewery) have the most convenient locations, Richtár Jakub (Reeve Jacob) the most interesting beer.

Eat in a Moat

Eat at a Street Food Park

Try the National Dish Far from the Mountains

Have Takeout Buchty

Get a Dressed Up Trdelník

Have a Beer at a 125-Year Old Garden Pub

People-Watch in Street Cafes

Go on a Pub Crawl with Bratislavans

Get Produce at a Street Farmers Market

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Things to Do in Bratislava: Nature and the Outdoors

Frolic in Baroque Gardens

Today’s public parks, the Grassalkovich and Medical Gardens, were built in late 18th century as residential gardens appended to nobles’ palaces. Stroll around to admire the fountains and public statues, and stay a while to watch life go by.

Hike the Carpathian Mountains

Hike Around an Urban Forest

Have a Snack at a Gamekeeper’s Chalet

Go Whitewater Rafting

Take a Chairlift to a Hill

Make a Prayer at a Quarry Chapel

Go Inline Skating with the Locals

Suntan at a Sand Beach

Learn the Trees at the Botanical Garden

See the Region from a TV Tower

Bike Across the Chuck Norris Freedom Bridge

Take a Speedboat Cruise

Run the Bratislava Marathon


Swim at Golden Sands

Tour Defunct Ships at a Port

Fan of rust? The 19th century “winter port” has a number of old ships and port machinery to make for a quick side trip to the industrial side of Bratislava. Stroll through the sizable property to relive the golden days of river transport.

Canoodle in Central Europe’s Oldest Public Park

Located between the Old and New Bridges, Sad Janka Kráľa (Janko Kráľ Orchard) is the oldest public park in Central Europe containing a number of rare trees. The park, named after a Romantic poet, makes for a lovely spot for a romantic sit-down on a bench or a stroll along the Danube with views of the Castle and Old Town.

Explore Steam Engines at an Old Depot

On the edge of Bratislava there stands an old steam engine depot. Engines, train cars, and a WWII German military train car share the space with a number of model train sets. If you come in mid-June during a historic train vehicle meetup, you can ride them olde trains too.

Urbex at a Hospital or Bunkers

Have a Picnic in the Hills

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Bratislava Events

See a Play at the Old National Theater

See a Movie Outside

Party with Students

Be a King or Queen at Coronation Days

Things to do in Bratislava Slovakia - Coronation Route

Symbol marking the Coronation Route. Photo CC-BY-NC Michael Gabelmann

See Children’s Book Illustration at Bibiana

Listen to Music at a Busking Festival

Check Out the Festival of Minorities (April)

Get Overwhelmed by Events During Cultural Summer

Get Chills Down Your Spine at Organ Festival (July-September)

Chill at Chamber Concerts in a Botanical Garden (July-August)

Remember Roman Times at Limes Day (September)

Run Up to UFO Restaurant (September)

Attend a Grape Harvest (September)

Go to the Festival of Chamber Music

Volunteer with the Locals

See Illuminated Art at White Night (September)

Cheer the Hockey Team

Get Caffeinated at the Coffee Fest

See a Photograph Exhibit a Day (November)

If you visit Bratislava in November, you can see a different photography exhibit every day. Part of the Month of Photography (Mesiac fotografie), exhibits are scattered around Old Town and beyond, making for a neat, culture-laden walking tour.

Taste Wine at St. Martin Days (November)


Drink Mulled Wine at the Christmas Market (December)

The Old Town Christmas Market in Old Town Bratislava is the biggest holiday market in Slovakia. Some 100 booths and kiosks sell (or even make) traditional holiday wares and, more importantly, serve up food and drink. Walking around the Market with a mug of mulled wine will warm both your hands and heart.

Ride the Christmas Tram

If you can’t ride the sleigh, you can ride the Christmas tram, designated in 2017 as one of the most beautiful in Central Europe. Decked with Christmas lights and a fireplace, the free tram loops around town to the tune of carols piped through the PA system. Brrring, brrring, merry, merry!

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Bratislava Hotels

Deciding where to stay in Bratislava can be a bit of a chore, as quite a few hotels and penzions vie for the visitors’ attention and wallet. The best places to stay in Bratislava are, in fact, not your traditional hotels at all.

Sleep on the Danube

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Other Bratislava Activities

Learn a Language While Working Out

Live like a Student

Browse Modern Art on a Dam

Visit a Roman Military Camp

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Day Trips from Bratislava

You can get pretty far from Bratislava on a day trip (Slovakia is a small country). But you don’t have to travel far from Bratislava to enjoy a cool day trip.

The following destinations around Slovakia’s capital are all accessible by municipal public transit.

See an Epic Confluence and Castle…

Take bus #28 or #29 to Devín, a former independent village west of the city. There, the ruins of the medieval Devín Castle, one of the most epic castles in Slovakia, oversee the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. Down below, the Gate of Freedom monument commemorates the victims of communism, many of whom died trying to cross the river to Austria.

Devin Castle near Bratislava

Devín Castle towers above the Morava and Danube Rivers confluence

…and a Nature Preserve

From Devín, hike up to the nearby Devínska Kobyla, at 514 meters / 1,686 feet the highest point in Bratislava and a nature preserve. In addition to splendid views and rare steppe-type vegetation, including 25 protected plants, enjoy the paleontologist’s paradise Sandberg, a sandstone hill where hundreds of fossils have been found.

Places to visit near Bratislava - Sandberg


Visit a Fairy Tale Castle

Booze at a Wine Harvest Festival

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* By Old Town we mean the historic center of Bratislava and the Castle area, rather than the administrative unit Old Town, which is much bigger.