An obvious choice in most of the itineraries after Vienna is Bratislava. Being just about an hour away from Vienna, it can also be considered as a one day return option. In this post, I will be sharing some interesting facts about Bratislava. I will also tell you about our experiences at a few places there.
Click on the topic to know about specific information in the Contents below.
Most of the buses, be it from Budapest or Vienna, stop at the Most SNP Bus Station as well as the Main Bus Station. If you plan to see all the places on your own or are not a part of any group tour, the best option for you is to get down at the Most SNP Bus station rather than the Main Station. Most SNP Bus station is at a walking distance from the old town.
Facts about Bratislava to know as a tourist
- Bratislava is safe enough to travel solo. If you are a solo girl traveler, avoid going away from the city center in the late evenings or nights as the roads are pretty vacant around that time. Take the regular traveler precautions and you should be safe.
- Bratislava is the largest city in Slovakia.
- You can try Slovak wine or Slivovitz which is a type of fruit brandy in Bratislava. You might also want to try Tatratea which is a strong alcoholic tea-based liquor.
- Corn husk dolls, embroidered clothing and crosses are popular souvenirs from Bratislava.
- Slovak is their official language.
- Slovakia is a part of the Schengen zone.
- The city is pretty small and you can walk to most of the places mentioned below if you are fit enough. Trams are also available.
- The currency is Euros.
- Certain bus stops are in the Wi-Fi zone. If you face any mobile network issues, you can try connecting to the Wi-Fi on certain bus stops or stations. Tip – Always download offline maps before you visit any new place.
Best Time to Visit Bratislava
The best time to visit Bratislava is between the months of April to September. We visited around the start of September but were surprised with how heavily it rained. We were so not prepared!
Tip – Always check the weather report a day in advance and prepare accordingly.
Since we faced some issues when it came to public transport, I decided to include this point in this post. In Bratislava, you should approximately know the amount of time that will be required to reach to your destination.
You can buy tickets which are valid for 15, 30, 60 minutes or 24 hours. The prices vary according to the ticket validity time.
For example, it takes about 20 minutes to reach Devin’s Castle from the Most SNP station. For this, you can opt for the 30 minutes ticket which costs 90 cents. Don’t forget to buy another 30 minutes ticket for the return journey.
You must validate the ticket at the nearest ticket marker immediately after getting on the bus. The marking devices are located by every door of the public transport.
Since many ticket machines are not in the English language, we recommend you to study the transport system well. If you are clueless, ask the bus driver or anyone around for help. Taking these precautions will save you from whopping fines.
Places to visit in Bratislava
Bratislava Castle is one of the most visited places of Bratislava. The Bratislava Castle is also the main castle of Bratislava. Although the GPS misguided us a bit and we had to walk a little more than expected, we managed to walk up to the Bratislava castle. If you are fit enough, you will be able to walk to the Bratislava castle from the Most SNP Station.
While walking up, you can see the city from the bird’s eye view.
The castle is huge. You would end up spending a lot of time inside if you love history. Inside the castle is a gallery which displays the jewelry and wealth of that time. You have an access to the major rooms of the castle.
There is a huge garden outside the castle. A restaurant is also there in the castle area.
City Center/Old Town
If you are in Bratislava and apart from just visiting places, you also love to shop and are a foodie, the old town is a perfect choice for you. It has many eateries, cafes, restaurants and places to shop at. Some popular tourist destinations are at a walking distance from here.
Michael’s Gate was built in the 14th century. The roof of the Gothic tower was modified in the 17th century to give it its baroque style. The tower is 51 meters tall and has seven floors.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
St. Martin’s Cathedral is one of the largest and oldest churches in the Slovakian capital. It served as the coronation church for Hungarian kings and their consorts between 1563 and 1830.
Čumil translates to “the watcher” .Even though on the road pavement, this statue almost instantly catches your attention while walking in the Bratislava city center. There would be people queuing up near the statue of Cumil, the sewer worker to pose with him. Click a picture with Cumil and continue moving towards the city centre for a lot more of Bratislava.
Bratislava Ice Bar/ Tesla Cafe Bar
We were wandering through the streets of the city centre in Bratislava when we saw this place. We had not read about it before going there. The Bratislava Ice Bar board caught our attention and we decided to visit it. The entry for one person to visit the Ice Bar was 10 Euros for 20 minutes inside the bar and it included a Vodka Shot. It was really cold inside, -9 degrees we were told. We were provided with jackets to beat the cold.
Post the Ice Bar downstairs, we decided to grab some drinks in Tesla. They had a Winter special menu in Cocktails. We had the Irish Mule and Pyrat Choice. Loved how Pyrat choice tasted. It was perfect for the cold weather.
We ended up visiting Multium Gallery in the evening. One of the interesting things to do in the evening in Bratislava when many places and tourist attractions are shut is to visit this gallery. The entry fee was 5 Euros per person. There were 6 rooms with mirrors placed such that it looked like an infinity space. Each room provided a different kind of experience of “infinity in a finite space”. You would end up spending about 45 mins here. It is on the way to the Bratislava castle.
Except for the Devins Castle which is around half an hour away from the Most SNP Bus Station, all of the other attractions are pretty much at a walkable distance from each other. For the Devins Castle though, you need to take bus 29/ bus 129 from the Most SNP Novy station. It takes about 30 minutes and costs about 90 cents. Tickets can be taken on the station itself. It is a little complicated to figure out the tickets part since no instructions are available in English. Refer to the link in the public transport section above to know the details.
Devin’s Castle was probably the best place we saw in Bratislava. The view from the castle ruins was incredible. We couldn’t reach the very top since it was thundering and there were sudden heavy showers again.
Other Things to do in Bratislava which we missed
Due to a major toss in the weather condition and super heavy rains, we had to skip a few places which were on our itinerary. If we get a chance to visit Bratislava again, we would love to see the Blue Church, UFO Observation Deck and visit couple of popular clubs there.
The Blue Church is located in the eastern part of the Old Town in Bratislava. It is a little far away from the other places mentioned above.
UFO Observation Deck
The UFO Observation Deck is located high above, over the highway. People visit the Deck for a breathtaking view.
The view from the UFO Observation Deck is what we regret missing out on.
Click on the map for directions.
All in all, we loved our experience in Bratislava. We recommend spending 2 nights somewhere near the city center if you plan to see all the places on this list.
PS – Bratislava Food Updates on Instagram
If you are interested in knowing about the food there, you might want to check my Instagram.