Places to Visit in Bratislava, Slovakia

Traveling Slovakia seems underrated. I’m thinking maybe some assume it’s just a similar country from its neighbors like Czech Republic (which could make sense since they used to be as one before as Czechoslovakia). However, little do they know that Slovakia has its own flavor, which kicks spice to the whole Eastern / Central Europe backpacking adventure. 

Slovakia 101

When you check the map, Slovakia is a relatively small country in Europe. It’s located in Eastern / Central Europe, landlocked by countries like Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary. Slovak is the official language, Euro (€ EUR) is the main currency, and ice hockey is the national sport.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. For me, it presents such simplicity of life unlike other busy and bustling capitals in the world, which is why I enjoyed my stay there. Coming from the windy Budapest via 3-hour Flixbus ride, I arrived in Bratislava with a warmer temperature.
Many times, I just walked around since most points of interest are adjacent to each other. But when needed, Slovak public transportation was on point. I never really had a hard time even if it was my first time in this country.
To ride a public vehicle, you just have to buy the ticket in cash at any machine scattered in the city, usually located at the bus/tram stop. The validity of the ticket is usually timed, but can be used in all buses, trolley buses and trams within the city. The times, prices, and transfers are as follows:
  • 15 mins: €0.70 (no transfer)
  • 30 mins: €0.90 (transfers are allowed within 90 mins)
  • 60 mins: €1.20 (transfers are allowed within 90 mins)
  • 1-day: €3.50 (transfers are allowed for 24 hrs)
  • 3-day: €8 (transfers are allowed for 72 hrs)

If you’ll stay for a day (or more) in Bratislava, the 1-day or 3-day ticket is best recommended. Just don’t forget to validate the ticket by punching it through the validating machine inside the bus or tram. Doing so marks the first time you took the ride in case random check by the authorities would be done. 

What to see in Bratislava

While some only do a short day trip in Bratislava, I’d say 2 full days is the way to explore it in a relaxed paced manner. Overall, Bratislava is a beautiful city that deserves to be fully enjoyed. 

Old Town Bratislava

What’s common among most European countries is the existence of an old town, which I describe as generally with cobblestone paths, narrow alleys, old buildings, and possibly a river next to it. A perfect place for the local scene, old town has this ambiance that could time travel you back in time. 
The same goes for Bratislava, which has a small Old Town tucked in the center of the city. Straightforwardly speaking though, I found it a bit touristy where restaurants and shops tend to be more expensive. Since I noticed shops outside of Old Town offer better prices, I just spent time sight-seeing in Old Town. A few points of interest include: 

Michael’s Gate

Michael's Gate is a well-photographed spot in Bratislava as one of the oldest city gates preserved since the 13th century. During medieval times, towns were surrounded by walls. Michael's Gate is one of the four gates that served as protection from intruders since a moat and drawbridge were attached to the gates.

Entrance: Free

Old Town Hall

From the name itself, the Old Town Hall served its purpose back in the day. Today, it houses the Bratislava National Museum and the medieval-like exterior serves as one of the tourist spots in Old Town. 

Entrance: €5

Primate’s Palace

Photo from
Also inside Old Town, the Primate's Palace is a small but elegant-looking neoclassical palace. The most famous spot of the palace is called the Hall of Mirrors, which witnessed several historical events in Europe such as the signing of the fourth Peace of Pressburg by the prince of Liechtenstein. 

Entrance: €3

Man in the manhole

Slovakian art is well-expressed when going around Old Town. One of which shows this man in the manhole, Cumil, a sewer worker statue who's debated to be either just resting or naughtily peeping on women's skirts. Regardless, it's definitely one of the most popular statues in Old Town. 

Entrance: Free

Presidential Palace

A walking distance from Old Town is the Grassalkovich Palace or better known as the Presidential Palace. It’s the official seat of the president of Slovakia (though he doesn’t really live there). There’s a small park in front of it, and daily change of guards happens every 12PM on weekdays. Though the palace isn’t open to the public all year round, there’s a beautiful garden at the back that’s free of entrance.

St. Martin’s Cathedral

Aside from being a religious site, St. Martin’s Cathedral Bratislava holds historical significance, including coronations of past kings of Hungary in 1500s-1800s. This huge church is located at the end of Old Town in the west and close to the Bratislava Castle. 
Entrance to the cathedral is free, but follows a schedule for tourists: 
  • Monday-Friday: 9AM-11:30AM, 1PM-6PM
  • Saturday: 9AM-11:30AM
  • Sunday: 1:45PM-4:30PM

Blue Church

Popularized by its unique all-blue exterior, the St. Elizabeth Church or better known as the Blue Church is a beautiful Catholic church in Bratislava. It's located in the eastern part of Old Town, tucked in a quiet neighborhood.

Bratislava Castle

The Bratislava Castle is one of the main attractions in Bratislava. Built from 9th to 18th century, it’s known for its elegantly painted white walls and orange roofs with 4 towers at each corner. The castle is currently used as a museum, with several exhibitions that display archaeological artifacts and other national treasures of Slovakia. 
After seeing the castle and its spacious courtyard, stay there for a while to relax and enjoy the breathtaking view. The castle is seated on top of a hill and faces the Danube River. 

UFO Bridge

I define Bratislava as a place where the old meets the new. While there are areas where old structures have been kept, a sight like the UFO Bridge is a breath of modern art. Also called as Most SNP, it’s basically a cable bridge over the Danube River that connects Bratislava to other parts of Slovakia. 
Actually, the flying saucer part of the structure is accessible. There’s a high-end restaurant on top, called the UFO Bar and Restaurant, open to all diners to enjoy the observation deck. However, if you don’t intend to dine in, it’s still open to the public with an entrance fee of €7.40 for single entry and €9.90 for a 2-time pass to enjoy day and night entry.

Devin Castle 

Going to the Devin Castle is a great outdoor activity. Though most parts of the castle are ruins already, nature that surrounds it was the best experience for me. After passing through the castle’s entrance, there’s this vast land that presents a beautiful countryside atmosphere.
There were even a flock of sheep along the way!
There’s a small cave museum on the way that you can check out too.
The castle is surrounded by Morava and Danube rivers located on top of a cliff, which could take 20-30-minute trekking depending on your pace. The climb is very easy, and just make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water. In case you run out of water, there’s a deep well and faucet with potable freshwater (which tasted really good since it came from the mountains!). 
The area is really huge, so spend at least 3 hours to half a day to fully explore it. At the exit, there are several wine stands that offer free Slovak wine tasting and a few local restaurants for refreshment. 

How to go to Devin Castle

It’s located in Devin, a borough of Bratislava accessible by a 30-minute bus ride. To get there, just hop on a bus 29 at Most SNP station (located under the UFO Bridge) and go down at Štrbská station, which is the second to the last stop of the bus route. From there, you walk for 5 minutes to reach the foot of the castle. 
Entrance fee: €5
Operating hours: 
  • November-March: Monday-Sunday 10AM-4PM (last visit at 3:30PM)
  • April and October: Monday-Sunday 10AM-5PM (last visit at 4:30PM)
  • May-September: Monday-Friday: 10AM-6PM (last visit at 5:30PM), Saturday-Sunday: 10AM-7PM (last visit at 6:30PM)

Where to stay in Bratislava

Honestly, of all the dorms or backpacker hostels I’ve been to, the Hostel Folks has got to be my favorite. Just look at how modern-looking every portion of the hostel is. The common area is so spacious. I usually stayed there for hours with other hostel guests, including that night of the 2019 World Championship ice hockey finals (Finland vs. Canada). 
Though they don’t have inclusive breakfast or a restaurant inside, there were complementary food like apples, biscuits, and coffee / tea. A small but fully functional kitchen is also available, which makes the stay more cost-friendly, with me not really minding to cook and prepare food instead of dining in a restaurant all the time. 

Do you find Bratislava worth visiting? Which one is your favorite among the spots I featured?

Places to Visit in Bratislava, Slovakia Places to Visit in Bratislava, Slovakia Reviewed by Shelly Viajera Travel on 1.8.19 Rating: 5

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