We recently traveled on the popular route from Budapest to Vienna in Central Europe! On the way, we stopped in the capital city of Bratislava for a quick one day tour. If your first thought is that one day isn’t enough to see any European city, you’re 100% right. However, Bratislava Slovakia is so small and compact that one day was actually the perfect introduction to this unexplored country. Join us as we take you through all the best things to do in Bratislava. From the beautiful Bratislava old town to the castle gardens, this will be an exciting day for any travel lover!
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Our Favorite Things to do in Bratislava Slovakia
Like mentioned, having one day in any city is tough. Yet, we felt it was the perfect amount of time to see Bratislava Slovakia! The first 3 things to do in Bratislava are absolute musts and then you can spread you time out from there around the capital. It is very walkable and there is plenty of great restaurants and cafes to stop at when you need a rest.
1. Explore Bratislava Old Town
Bratislava Old Town is small but full of life! The colorful streets are bursting with music which pulls you into the local food scene. We loved how you can walk around the entire town in 15 or 20 minutes, but also spend hours taking the sights in.
You’ll know you’re in the heart of old town when you see the St. Michael’s Tower as it’s the main entrance inside the walls. Make sure to walk under the tower and explore the streets further into Bratislava. However, you won’t need to venture far from the main strip which is dotted with bars, restaurants, and street food.
2. Sampling Local Specialties at the Slovak Pub
Ready for a traditional Slovakian dining experience? Located on Obchodná Street, the Slovak Pub has basically become a landmark of its own in Bratislava. When we first walked into the old restaurant it was bustling with people getting a taste of local food and Slovakian spirits.
We tried the potato dumplings with goat cheese and bratwurst which was delicious! Also, make sure to get the garlic soup if it’s not sold out already. It was awesome being surrounded by old relics and images from Slovakian history while enjoying our local meal!
3. Walk Up to Bratislava Castle
We had read beforehand that it’s quite a steep and difficult walk. However, we found it relatively easy as it only took us 15 minutes from Bratislava Old Town.
The large white castle lived up to the hype, and the sculptures surrounding it are equally as impressive. It may not be as incredible as other castles around Europe such as Neuschwanstein, or even Slovakia, but it’s still 100% worth a visit!
The museum was closed for whatever reason the day we were there, but we still had a lovely stroll through the royal gardens on the backside of the Bratislava Castle. Also, go take in the view of the oddly shaped “UFO Bridge” that hangs over the Danube River. If you’re ready for a beverage after there’s a nice strip of pubs on the way back into old town that runs parallel to the highway.
Plan to travel through Slovakia? Check out our post Kosice Old Town Guide: Best Things to do, Local Restaurants, and More!
More Things To Do In Bratislava Slovakia
Now that you know about our own experience we wanted to give you a quick breakdown of more of the best things to do in Bratislava. Most of these are either located in Bratislava Old Town or within walking distance. It might be tough to tackle all of this in one day, but hopefully this Bratislava travel list will help you make the most out of your stay.
4. Bratislava Castle: This stunning white castle which sits above the city is a must visit! Walk around and take in the panoramic views of Bratislava, and don’t miss out on the royal gardens or history museum.
5. Grassalkovich Palace: Located just outside of Bratislava Old Town, this Baroque style building was built in 1760 and is now home to the president of Slovakia. You won’t be able to enter the Presidential Palace, but be sure to walk through the french gardens outside.
6. Bratislava Cafes: One of the best things to do in Bratislava is hang at the many cafes in town. Each one has it’s own funky vibes and decor, and it’s the perfect place to take a break in between your adventures.
7. Museum of Arms: There’s plenty of art and history museums near Bratislava Old Town, but the most interesting is located inside St. Michaels Tower. Originally built in the 13th century, the tower acts as the entrance to old town and also showcases many medieval weapons.
8. The Blue Church: The church of St. Elisabeth is the most beautiful in Bratislava, and maybe all of Slovakia. If you think the exterior is unique, wait until you see the inside!
9. UFO Bridge: Speaking of seeing things… How about a bridge that looks like a UFO? From the Bratislava Castle you’ll have the perfect view of what’s otherwise known as Most SNP. You can also walk across it, and even dine up in the part that looks like an alien spacecraft.
10. Petrzalka Neighborhood: If you walk across the UFO bridge it will take you into the colorful Petrzalka neighborhood. The historic apartment blocks are one of the best examples of communist-era architecture you’ll ever see, and well worth the visit if you have time.
11. Devin Castle: Again, this is time sensitive depending on your Bratislava travel arrangements. Yet if you have a couple hours to see something outside of town then this should be it! The fortifications date back to the year 864, and it’s truly remarkable to explore this piece of European history.
Have any questions about Bratislava travel guide or other tips for how to spend one day in Bratislava? Please comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Bratislava Slovakia
Ultra Luxury (High End) – Roset Boutique Hotel – Impressive boutique hotel in the heart of Bratislava. Spacious suites, luxurious amenities, and just a 5 minute walk from the main square. Also features the trendy Tulip Cafe which is a great place to grab breakfast or lunch.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel – Set in a historic 13th century building and in close proximity to all the best things to do in Bratislava. Make sure to grab a drink at the famous Mirror Bar even if you don’t decide to stay at the Radisson!
Hostel Life (Budget) – DREAM Hostel Bratislava – Clean dorms and private rooms with a nice lounge area to meet other Bratislava travel friends. 24 hour reception, 4 restrooms on each floor, and close to the train station and Bratislava Old Town.
For more places to stay for one day in Bratislava you can explore the latest prices here!
Slovakia Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars for renting vehicles. A quick travel tip is to ask for a discounted weekly rate rather than booking 2-3 days.
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around the world. From food tours to skip the line entry passes!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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