The capital of Slovakia offers its visitors some really fantastic sights and attractions. Especially in the old town there is a lot to discover. In this article, we’ll show you the best places to visit in Bratislava to see that you definitely shouldn’t miss. Perfect for your next city trip.
During a trip through the city, you can enjoy numerous brilliant viewpoints, stroll along the beautiful Danube promenade and make some cosy stops at one of the many trendy cafés and bars.
Along the way, you’re sure to come across a famous bronze statue or two, such as the “Gaffer” cheekily peering out of a manhole cover. One thing is clear: the city on the banks of the Danube, with its many interesting sights, is sure to inspire you.
Best places to visit in Bratislava
1. Primacial Palace
- Location: Primaciálne námestie 2, 811 01 Bratislava
- Opening: 10 am – 5 pm
- Admission: 2,40 euros, discount with Bratislava Card City & Region 20%.
The 18th century classicist palace, where after Napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz the representatives of the French and Austrian emperors signed an agreement, entered history as the Peace of Bratislava.
Today, there is an exhibition gallery with a unique collection of 6 English tapestries from the 17th century and the seat of the mayor of the capital of the Slovak Republic.
With its unique pale pink hue, the Primatial Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city and an absolute eye-catcher. This view can also be seen from the inside, as the first floor has been opened to the public as a museum.
It is worth seeing the magnificent rooms, the hall of mirrors and the impressive paintings in the palace, as well as the beautiful fountain in the inner courtyard.
2. Main square and Old town hall
The Hlavné námestie or Main Square is the nerve centre of the Slovak capital and, therefore, one of the essential things to see in Bratislava. As well as being surrounded by impressive and colourful buildings, including the Old Town Hall of Bratislava or Stara Radnica, it is also home to the Maximilian Fountain, the oldest fountain in the city.
The town hall is one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. It was first mentioned in 1370. Until 1868 it was the seat of the city administration. Since then, it has housed the Bratislava City Museum. In winter, the annual Christmas market is also held here. A visit to these two attractions is highly recommended.
You can visit the museum for a entrance fee is €7, free for Bratislava Card holders. In the historical rooms, historical objects are exhibited and you can learn a lot about the history of the city. The highlight of the tour is the climb up the 45-metre high town hall tower. Once at the top, you walk around the outside of the tower and have the old town below you.
Did you know: The Bratislava City Museum is the oldest museum in Slovakia.
3. Bratislava Castle
- Location: Hrad, 811 06 Bratislava
- Duration of the tour:
Outdoor facilities: 1.5 hours
Bratislava Castle: 1,5 hours
Full tour: €10
Only for the treasury: 3€.
The white Bratislava Castle is the most famous monument in the city, situated on a hill and can be easily reached on foot from the Old Town. Once at the top, the beautiful castle garden with its fantastic view over the rooftops of the city invites you to linger. Without a doubt, the castle is one of Bratislava’s main tourist attractions and should not be missed.
Although the original structure dates back to the 10th century, what you see today is the result of an arduous reconstruction work that was completed in 1968. The current design was inspired by an earlier 18th-century building whose four towers with red domes, now the emblem of Bratislava, stand out.
Visiting this castle is one of the must-do things to do in Bratislava for several reasons. Because it is a place with a lot of history, since, among many other events, the constitution of Slovakia as an independent country was signed here on 3 September 1992. It is home to the Bratislava History Museum, the Treasury Chamber and the official residence of the President of the Republic. As if that were not enough, from this point you can get wonderful views of the city and the Danube flowing past it.
4. The statues of Bratislava
There is another incentive to visit Bratislava, and that is the amusing bronze statues scattered around the city. Although some of the statues have disappeared, these remain:
- Čumil: also known as “the working man”, this is one of the most photographed statues in Bratislava and depicts a worker climbing out of a manhole.
- Schöne Náci: Ignaz was a Bratislava resident who greeted everyone by taking off his top hat.
- Napoleonic soldier: He rests quietly behind a bench on the Main Square, providing a nice photo opportunity.
- Hans Christian Andersen: this is a statue in honour of this famous writer.
- The Witch: in honour of the innocent people who were drowned in the Danube because they were considered witches.
The most famous bronze figure is Cumil, which means “gaffer”. The canal worker watches the hustle and bustle of the city from the ravine. You would almost think that he wants to look down women’s skirts.
Cumil has been part of the city’s inventory since 1997. As one of the landmarks, it therefore belongs to my top sights of Bratislava. It is also fun to see what tourists do with it and how they bend it.
By the way: whoever touches Cumil’s helmet gets a free wish.
5. UFO Observation Deck
- Location: Most SNP 1, 851 01 Petržalka
- Opening: 10 am – 11 pm
The 432-metre long bridge, built in 1972 to commemorate the Slovak resistance against the German invasion, already looks a bit futuristic. Today, the bridge connects the old town of Bratislava with the new development area on the other side of the Danube.
You can cross this bridge on foot, as there is a pedestrian footbridge on either side. The view from the other side of the Danube towards the old town is really beautiful. But on the other side there is another highlight of Bratislava.
Directly on the bridge is the 95-metre high Observation Tower, which resembles a UFO. You can take the lift up and enjoy the view of the Danube, the countryside and the city from up there. Enjoy the view from the observation deck or have a drink at the bar (one floor below).
6. Michael’s Gate
- Location: Michalská ulica 22 806/24, 811 03 Staré Mesto
- Opening: 10am – 6pm
- Duration of visit: 30 minutes
- Entrance fee: 4,50 Euro
This unique 14th-century St. Michael’s Gate is undoubtedly one of the best sights in Bratislava. The 51-metre-high tower terrace is also a must-see, because from the top you have an enchanting view of the castle and the old town.
By the way: the Michaelertor is the only remaining part of the medieval fortification.
7. St. Martin’s Cathedral
- Location: Rudnayovo námestie 1, 811 01 Bratislava
- Opening: 7.30 am – 6 pm
- Admission: free, except for a separate exhibition
The impressive 85-metre tower of the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, with its beautiful turquoise roof, dominates Bratislava’s cityscape. It is conveniently located on the road between the castle and the Old Town. The best view of the cathedral is from Bratislava Castle Park.
It is the largest sacred building in the city. During the occupation of the Hungarian capital by the Ottomans, the church played a special role: it became the coronation church.
8. Slovak National Theatre
Located in Hviezdoslav Square, it is a neo-Renaissance building inaugurated in 1886 and designed by the Viennese architects Fellner and Helmer. In its early days, 1,000 spectators could watch the performances and 800 gas lamps were used to illuminate it. It was renovated in 1972 and, in addition to spectacular murals, its chandelier with 2,532 bulbs is a highlight.
In front of the opera you can also admire the beautiful Ganymede Fountain from 1888.
9. The Blue Church – Church of St. Elizabeth
- Location: Alžbety, Bezručova 2, 811 09 Bratislava
- Opening: 06:30 am – 07:30 am, 5:30pm – 7 pm
- Admission: free
We are sure that this church will not leave you indifferent. Designed by Ödön Lechner and inaugurated in 1913, you will quickly understand why this architect is known as the “Hungarian Gaudí”.
Although it is not located in the centre, St. Elisabeth’s Church is one of the most interesting places to see in Bratislava and deserves a small detour from your route. As its name suggests, it is painted blue, but it is also a beautiful example of art nouveau style. If you find it open, be sure to go inside, it’s also blue on the inside!
10. Stary Most Bridge
- Location: 811 02 Bratislava
A walk along the banks of the Danube is really beautiful and recommended. From the bridges, you have a fantastic view of the Danube and the various sights of the city. Many tourists cross the Novy Most Bridge to get to the UFO. However, you can enjoy an even more beautiful view from the Stary Most Bridge, which is located along the promenade a little further down.
11. Grassalkovich Palace
- Location: Hodžovo námestie 2978/1, 811 06 Bratislava
- Opening: 8am – 3pm
Another interesting sight is the Grassalkovich Palace, often referred to as the “Presidential Palace”. It was built around 1760 and is now the residence of the President of Slovakia. It is especially pleasant to visit in summer, when the gardens invite you to linger. This is a summer palace built in late Baroque and Rococo styles with a beautiful French garden.
Although it is not possible to visit the interior, we recommend that you visit it to admire the façade and take a stroll through the garden, which is accessible.
12. Slavin War Memorial
- Location: Pažického, 811 04 Staré Mesto
- Free of charge.
Although it is not located in the centre, we consider it important to include this place on the list of things to do in Bratislava in one day because of historical significance. The Slavín is a memorial to the soldiers of the Soviet army who died during World War II, specifically in April 1945 while liberating Bratislava from German occupation.
It is a construction of clearly Stalinist architecture with a 39.5-metre-high obelisk on which rests an 11-metre-high sculpture of a Soviet soldier. You will also find the cemetery where the bodies of the 6,845 soldiers who died are laid to rest.
The Slavín is located on a hill about 30 minutes’ walk from the centre of Bratislava, so you get a great view of the city. If you don’t have much time or don’t feel like walking, you can take bus number 147 in the direction of Búdková from the Zochova stop, very close to St. Michael’s Gate. In just 5 minutes you will be at the base of the stairs leading up to the monument.
Tourist Attractions near Bratislava
13. Thebes Castle (Devin)
- Location: 10 Muránská 1050, 841 10 Bratislava-Devín
- Opening: 10am – 4pm
If you are in Bratislava, you should plan some time to go to Devin (Thebes) Castle. Geographical position has made it a very attractive place for various civilisations since Neolithic times. Although it was almost entirely destroyed after the order of Napoleon Bonaparte but a part was rebuilt during the 20th century. The castle is only 13 kilometres from Bratislava, so it can be easily reached by bus, boat or excursion.
In the castle ruins the Slovaks see their roots as a nation and therefore the castle is of great importance to them. It is also one of the most important archaeological sites in Central Europe. But not only the castle ruins themselves are a highlight, also the view and the surrounding landscape are beautiful to see and offer space to enjoy.
14. Mala Fatra National Park
The Malá Fatra National Park is located in the northwestern part of the Western Carpathians. The territory of the National Park itself covers the whole orographic unit of Krivanská Mala Fatra. It is the last westernmost national park of the Carpathian Mountains with a permanent presence of large carnivores (bear, wolf, lynx) and original and relatively well-preserved ecosystems in which the basic ecological and evolutionary processes are still maintained.
The waterfall Šútovský vodopád, Vratna Valley, Horné Diery and Dolné Diery and the tops like Malý Rozsutec, Veľký Rozsutec or Veľký Fatranský Kriváň are the popular destinations of tourist.
15. Wine tour and Červený Kameň Castle
For those interested in getting a more rounded impression of the country, this day trip from Bratislava takes you into the Trnava wine region, visiting the ancient royal towns of Svätý Jur, Pezinok and Modra and the beautiful Červený Kameň Castle.
This list of the best places to visit in Bratislava must-see is what you need to design trip to the Slovak capital. Although it cannot compete in majesty with other nearby cities such as Vienna, Budapest or Prague but visiting one of the smallest capitals on the European continent, is a pleasure thanks to its compact historic centre on the banks of the Danube, which is full of charming and charming cobbled streets that will make your visit an unforgettable memory.
In addition to all this, Bratislava is an inexpensive city with a lively nightlife and plenty of museums and galleries for culture lovers to enjoy.