The capital city of Slovakia lies alongside the Danube and Morava river banks, and bordering two countries, Hungary and Austria, Bratislava is an experience in its own right. Boasting countless museums and galleries among its most notable attractions, the city of Bratislava is set to swallow you whole and steal your heart.
Top Attractions in Bratislava
Hrad sits on a hilltop peacefully overlooking the great city. What was once a Roman Frontier post, this castle dates back to the 9th century, but was reconstructed in the mid 1900’s after a devastating fire. Don’t let the exterior (drab looking) fool you; inside you’ll find an amazing museum and some of the most breathtaking views over the city. Make sure you check out the History Museum and the National Museum inside the castle, boasting more than 3500 paintings, statues and prints. There are also rooms that showcase Slovakian glassware, carved wooden furniture and armory which is bound to keep you entertained.
This is what you would call Bratislava’s White House since it’s the home of Slovakia’s president, but in olden times this was a meeting place for members of the Austro-Hungarian and Hapsburg aristocracy. Built during the 1760’s, this is the place where inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen was said to have released a lot of his marvels like the speaking machine. The beautiful Baroque Garden in the palace’s massive open park is open to the public daily and is a sight that cannot be missed.
St. Elizabeth’s Church
Standing proud as one of the world’s most beautiful pieces of Art Nouveau architectural marvels, the Second Church of St. Elizabeth is an iconic landmark. Also known as the Blue Little Church, the building was erected during 1907 and 1913 and is now home to a high school and a rectory. With its bright and bold blue Modra majolica tiles as décor, the church stands out as one of the most notable features in Bratislava’s Main Street area.
St Martin’s Cathedral
On the edge of Old Town Bratislava, St. Martin’s Cathedral stands proud as the city’s foremost Gothic structure. The church was originally built in the 13th century and consecrated in 1452 and has a long line of renovation history en-tow. During the 19th century the church was where Hungarian Emperors were crowned and the cathedral was built into the town’s outer walls as part of its fortification. Make sure you see the statue of St. Martin and the Beggar, St. Stephen’s Crown and the Gothic relief depicting the Holy Trinity over the cathedral’s portal. The stair-styled courtyard, the working seminary and the cobblestone side streets that surround the cathedral on the outside are also well worth seeing.
Old Town Hall
What was once the site of a towered house back in the 14th century, the Old Town Hall of Bratislava dates back to the 15th century, albeit it was reconstructed after the earthquake of 1599 and again in 1912. With its rich historical importance and preserved architecture, the hall is a must see place in Bratislava and it’s also home to the Municipal Museum.
St. Michael’s Street
St. Michael’s Street and the St. Michael’s Gate are popular sights in Bratislava, and it doesn’t intend on letting visitors down any time soon. The quaint street with its shops and restaurants is a touristic hotspot, even more so during the summer months when street bands keep the party going all night long. Most old buildings here date back to the 18th century and are remarkably preserved. The gate itself is the only remaining fortification of the old city.
As one of the 3 oldest castles in Slovakia, Devin Castle’s oldest terraces date back to the 5th century B.C and it has been a National Cultural Monument since 1961, serving as a museum today. The castle is open to the public annually from May to October from Tuesdays to Fridays.
One of Bratislava’s most beautiful buildings is the Primatial Palace that was built in 1778 in Old Town Bratislava. With its pale pink and white exterior, various marble statues and the impressive cast iron cardinal’s hat, this palace is a noteworthy site. The vast amount of art collections is very impressive, but do make sure you swing by the Hall of Mirrors, which was built as a replica to the one you’ll find in Versailles. The Palace Fountain and the St. George Statue are also very popular sights that can be found in the courtyard near the St. Ladislaus Chapel.
Novy Most and Observation Deck
For some truly spectacular views of the city and its castle, head up to the observation deck of Bratislava’s Novy Most Bridge. Better yet make sure you boo ahead and enjoy dinner with a view from the popular Restaurant UFO.