Set along the Danube River by the border with Austria and Hungary, Bratislava is surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian mountains, with hiking and cycling trails. 

The pedestrian-only, 18th-century old town is known for its lively bars and cafes. 

Bratislava  makes for a great escape from the summer heat and a fantastic choice for couples and young families

Must sees for free

Officially known as the Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary, it’s commonly referred to as the Blue Church and it is immediately apparent why. Beautifully ornate both inside and out, this active church has been wowing visitors for over 100 years, check  for mass times when you can go inside.

Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary

Known as the old town square, Hlavne Namestie is a lively and interesting part of the city with beautiful old buildings, shops and restaurants. 

The old town hall contrasts with the amusing modern ‘Man at Work’ sculpture (you’ll definitely want a photo) and there are also a couple of Napoleonic cannonballs still embedded in buildings. During the Christmas period you will find traditional markets here surrounding the central fountain.

Grassalkovich Palota is the official building of the president of Slovakia and it’s grounds and gardens are free to enter for the public. See the changing of the guard, statues and sculptures and the spectacular fountain at the centre.

Night Cityscape in Bratislava

Top sees for a fee

Old Town Trolley Tour in Bratislava is an easy and hassle-free way of exploring the Old Town and learning about the landmarks. Aboard the bright red trolleys headphones are provided in many languages to guide you through the town for around 35 minutes for £10.65 per adult.

Located a few miles west of Bratislava, Devín Castle ranks among the most important archeological sites in Central Europe.  Archeological research proves the area was settled about 7,000 years ago. Only 20 minutes by bus from the centre of Bratislava and only €2 to enter, the castle boasts incredible views over the Danube and offers visitors a detailed history of the area.

The building of the Nedbalka Gallery hides an impressive interior featuring an internal structure resembling the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Its four floors provide space for a permanent exhibition dedicated to the birth and development of modernism in Slovakia. He gallery is €5 to enter which includes a tea/coffee in the cafe.

Getting around

The Bratislava Card is the official tourist destination card that enables you to experience the best that the region has to offer. 

With one you get unlimited travel by public transportation across the Bratislava region as well as free access to 14 museums and galleries and discounts to many more.

It is €18 and can be bought in advance here

Devin Castle

Going out/eating out

For a very different kind of experience head to Virtual Reality Gin and Tonic Bar. 

Yes you read that right! 

With over 30 gins and 40 VR experiences, groups of four can enjoy stepping into another world with a refreshing tipple. Price per VR box (VR headset, playing area, sofa, large screen) is €33 per hour.

Another interesting watering hole is Drink in Gallery Andy, an art gallery that is also a bar! The small space is a great place to meet interesting people and discuss the art on display while enjoying craft beers and incredible cocktails.

Bratislava Old Town

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If you’re after a restaurant with a view, then look no further than the UFO tower, it’s restaurant sits 85 meters above the Danube, with spectacular views of the city skyline. A captivating blend of Mediterranean and Asian culinary techniques. Whether you choose soup, main course or dessert you will always get a dish worthy of gourmet with a view like no other in the city.

Slovakian food is a meat-heavy cuisine. The focal point of a meal is most often pork or game, complemented by a combination of dumplings, bread, cheese and cabbage. The Slovac national dish is bryndzové halušky, a potato-dough gnocchi smothered in salty sheep bryndza cheese, and topped with smoked bacon bits. Enjoy some at one of Europe’s largest restaurants, Frag Ship, the Bratislava restaurant.

Bryndzové halušky so slaninou (national dish of Slovakia)


Luxury:Grand Hotel River Park, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bratislava - The distinctive hotel, located directly on the banks of the Danube River – offers a captivating promenade area, a luxury spa consisting of 1,500 square meters of indulgent wellness and fitness area, including a swimming pool, two Jacuzzis and three saunas. The hotel is considered one of the best in Slovakia, with hi-tech and spacious rooms you are guaranteed a fabulous stay.

Dvorakovo nabrezie 6, from £106 - £183 per person, per night.

Mid-range:LOFT Hotel Bratislava - within walking distance to the historical old town, with an attractive view to the garden of the Presidential Palace, the Loft is the ideal place to rest up while exploring the city. The hotel’s restaurant has its own mini brewery as well as a summer sun terrace to enjoy a beer in the evening sun.

Stefanikova 4 Entrance From Street Spojna, from £67 - £172.

Budget:Old City Hotel - Providing an ideal mix of value, comfort and convenience, it offers a budget friendly setting with an array of amenities designed for travellers. Its traditionally decorated rooms offer a place of solace after a hard day’s exploring and it’s close proximity to restaurants and bars means you’ll never be stuck for something to do.

Michalska 2 81102, £37 - £57.

Fact file

Currency: Euros (£1 = €1.15)

Time zone: GMT +1

Flight time: 2hrs 30mins, from £31 return with Ryanair

Best time to visit: Lovely and warm from May to September, at the end of April the Bratislava City Days festival is a celebration of the city itself and many of the attractions open their doors for free. The city is a magical place to visit at Christmas and flights are cheapest in December.

Visas/injections/precautions: None.