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Although you should find Bratislava fairly easy to navigate and explore in a fairly short time, here’s our What to Do in Bratislava bucket list:
Considered by most to mark the centre of the city, Hlavne Namestie literally translates to Main Square, although the square has changed its name many times over the long history of Bratislava. Check out the Old Town Hall, Roland Fountain and if you’re lucky enough to be visiting in winter, from late November until Christmas the square hosts Bratislava’s fabulous Christmas Market.
St Elizabeth’s, the Blue Church
St Elizabeth’s was built in 1907 and (as you might guess from the name) is famous for its light blue walls, dome and interior. You’ll find this Catholic church in the east part of the Old Town.
Originally built in 1300, Michael’s Gate is the only one of the four medieval gates of the Old Town still intact. It had a baroque revamp in 1758 and is one of the oldest buildings in Bratislava. Today the gate is host to some of the most exclusive shops such as Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior and Luis Vuitton.
Bratislava Castle is a huge rectangular building set high up above the Danube river on a rocky hill top. The castle has stood here for thousands of years, thanks to its strategic position in Central Europe, but has been razed to the ground a rebuilt countless times throughout history. It is still under construction now in fact, but it’s well worth the trek up there as the castle gives you fantastic views over Bratislava to Austria and on good days even to Hungary.
This War memorial is on the site of a war cemetery where thousands of Soviet Army soldiers and Slovak troops lay buried. The monument was constructed between 1957 and 1960 and was opened to commemorate 15 years of the city’s liberation from the German Wehrmacht units. The memorial’s position allows for some of the most beautiful views over Bratislava.
The Museum of Jewish Culture is a state-managed institution, a branch of the Slovak National Museum and its main exhibition is located in the only surviving house of the former Bratislava Jewish neighborhood, the Zsigray Mansion. Although Jews were expelled from the city on many occasions, they were for periods allowed to reside in the city, in certain districts, electing their own major while still paying taxes to the king.
One of the most beautiful things about Bratislava is its vicinity to nature. It’s a mere 20 minute tram ride out of town before you can get your hiking boots on or your bikinis out and enjoy the fantastic countryside that this country has to offer. So once you’ve seen the sights that the city centre has to offer, have a look at what to do in Bratislava!
Zlaté piesky is a lake resort just north east of the city centre. Locals come here to escape the summer heat and to try out some of the water sports on offer. You can hire rowing boats and pedalos, play a bit of volleyball or tennis or even try your hand a wakeboarding. The name Zlaté piesky literally means golden sands, and the lake is surrounded by sandy banks where people strip off and enjoy the lovely Slovakian summers.
Hire a Bike
Locals love to ride, and you’ll see this throughout the city of Bratislava where hundreds of bikes are locked up outside the cafes and even the nightclubs of the city. You can quite easily see the city on foot but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous then hire a bike and head out of town to the picnic spot Železná studienka. You can take a cable car up there and if you feel like it, it’s an exhilarating ride back down to the bottom.
Take a Tour on the Danube
Bratislava was built on the banks of one of Europe’s most famous and beautiful rivers, the Danube. River Tours will take you past and under Bratislava’s five famous bridges. If you feel like taking a longer day trip, then Vienna is also reachable by ferry, or in the summer months a trip to Devin Castle is well worth it.
If anywhere in the world is going to make you feel Christmassy then it is Bratislava in December. The main squares of the city are filled with stands selling gifts and winter warmer treats and the atmosphere is winter wonderland. The markets run from the last week in November until a couple of days before the big day and crowds arrive from throughout Europe to taste sausage and drink the wine on offer.