Bratislava: a home to some, a tourist destination for others, and to others still, a business spot. This enchanting capital city of Slovakia offers it all and undoubtedly deserves to be visited by every Slovak citizen at least once in their lifetime. Bratislava is historical but also takes a leap into the future with advanced technology. From historic sights to magnificent shopping centers, Bratislava not only appeals to the domestic eye, but to the foreign one also.
Here are a few places you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting the city:
Bratislava castle, located on top of the hill above the Old Town, is considered to be the landmark of the city and its majestic presence overlooking the city will undoubtedly charm every visitor. Its authentic appearance has even inspired quite a lot of stories about how the castle came to be. There’s a legend, in which the castle’s purpose was to serve as a stool for a giant, who flipped the castle upside down during the night in order to sit on it, so he could repose himself.
Not only does the castle offer beautiful panoramic sceneries of the whole city, but it also entails other segments such as the main courtyard, the Yard of Honor, Baroque gardens, and many others, which can take you back in time to when the castle served as a residence of the former rules such as Maria Teresa.
The entry into the castle’s premises is for free. You will be charged though if you decide to explore the historic museum. The standard entry fee for adults is 10 €, but they also offer various discounts for students and other groups.
If you want to know more about the castle’s history, you can book a tour guide who will lead you throughout the castle’s premises. The tour guide is available in three languages – Slovak, English, and German. The price ranges from 10 to 15 € depending on the choice of language (foreign languages are more expensive).
I have visited the castle quite a few times now, whether it was from a school field trip or with my family. There are two ways to get to the castle. You can either get there from the Old Town, which is a few minutes walk or you can drive up there and park in a garage, which is located right next to the castle. The views are truly fascinating and you can see all the famous sights from there. You can even see all the way to Austria. The last time I was there, I got the chance to walk around the Baroque garden and I have to say that is my second favorite part of the castle after the beautiful sceneries. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to visit the museum, but will definitely do that the next time I’m there.
Slavin is a memorial monument with a military cemetery built in the 1960s as a tribute to the fallen Soviet Army during World War 2. It was designed by a Slovak sculptor and architect Jan Svetlik. A few years later, it was declared a National Cultural Monument.
The monument became a very popular tourist spot thanks to its location – situated on a hill amidst a rich villa quarter in Bratislava. It’s the perfect place to go for a stroll as you take in the beautiful panoramic views of the entire city and walk around the area with sculptures laid out across the place. The entry is for free.
I have visited Slavin only once and I definitely recommend visiting this place if you want to see Bratislava from a different point of view. The views are remarkable. When I visited the place, we drove up there and then walked from the parking lot which only took a few minutes.
Bridge SNP and UFO Observation deck
Have you ever wondered how Bratislava looks from the top? If you have, then you should definitely put bridge SNP with UFO Observation deck on your list.
As one of the main bridges built over the river Dunaj connecting the two parts of the city, Bridge SNP is a frequently visited and quite a hectic place used by hundreds of commuters daily.
On top of the bridge is an observation deck in the shape of a UFO. From this point, you can see all the famous sights of Bratislava including Bratislava castle, the House of Parliament, Bratislava’s Old Town, or the river Dunaj and even enjoy a beautiful sunset.
A part of the viewpoint is a restaurant offering various foods, including not only the Slovak typical dishes that cannot be found anywhere else but also international dishes.
The entry fee ranges from 7 to 9 €, depending on if you’re a child, student, or an adult. If you know beforehand you’re going to stop at the restaurant, the entry is for free.
The Old Town
The Old Town: an insight look into the fascinating history of Bratislava. If you are an enthusiast for history, this is the place to be. Filled with medieval architecture, exceptional restaurants, cafés, and prominent sights, the Old Town ensures to make your trip nothing short of exceptional. It is also the place where tourists domestic and international come together to meet and create the lovely atmosphere that radiates from the capital’s center. Touring Bratislava will undeniably not get any better than exploring its heart, filled with the city’s pinpoints such as the National Theater, Old Town Hall, and the Cathedral of St. Martin.
The Old Town is my favorite place in the whole city. I’ve been here hundreds of times and I always visit it whenever I’m in the city. During summer, we always go to a restaurant called Luculus where they sell amazing ice cream.
The Presidential palace
The Presidential palace located in Hodza’s square is 1,5 km away from the main train station. Even though the palace was formerly named after an aristocrat called Anton Grassalkovich, most people call it the presidential palace, because it’s the official residence of the president of the Slovak Republic.
The palace isn’t open to the public for most days of the year with the exception of an open day on the 15th of June. Behind the palace is a presidential garden open to the public every day, where you can enjoy a nice walk. The garden includes benches to sit on, lots of flowers and plants, a fountain, and various statues. The garden connects the palace with the archbishop palace, where the Ministry of the Slovak Republic is situated.
Palace is guarded with guards, who change every hour.
For fans of shopping, the city has multiple shopping centers such as Aupark, Eurovea, Avion, and Ikea with various famous brands.