With a population of 5.5 million, Slovakia lies between Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary. This geographical location gives the country a wide diversity.
Nestled in the middle of Central Europe and occupied mainly by mountain ranges, Slovakia is ahistorically rich country that has a lot to offer from a tourist point of view, and you won’t get bored thanks to the numerous best things to do in Bratislava.
History of Slovakia
The history of Slovakia is the history of a newly created country. From 1918, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic were one country under the name of Czechoslovakia.
Forseveral years Czechoslovakia followed a communist regime until 1989. The regained democracy then led to the disintegration of the normal state of Czechs and Slovaks and the birth of the Independent Slovak Republic on January 1, 1993.
Currency in Slovakia and Cost of Living
Unlike many of its neighbors, including Poland and Hungary, Slovakia adopts the Euro as itsnational currency. Concerning the cost of living is generally affordable in Slovakia, I adviseyou to plan on $ 50 to $ 70 per day.
The best period to visit Slovakia
The best period to visit Slovakia is in summer, from June to September. However, keep in mind that temperatures can be high in July and August, except at altitude.
Bratislava, Slovakia's gem
While visiting Slovakia, it is imperative to discover Bratislava, its capital, and its largest city. Bratislava has many influences which give it a diverse heritage.
Do not hesitate to visit thehistorical museum to discover the history of this new country. At the same time, take a long walk through the historic center of the capital to appreciate the country’s architecture, castles and churches.
Things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia
1) The Blue Church
Dedicated to Saint Elizabeth, The Blue Church was built between 1909 and 1913, accordingto plans of the famous architect Lechner Odön.
The Blue Church is arguably the prettiest in Bratislava. It was made with new materials like reinforced concrete and artificial stones. It is decorated outside with earthenware and motifs dear to Viennese Art Nouveau and all painted blue.
Additionally, depending on the sunlight, the colors change, and the church becomes genuinely mysterious. Visiting the Blue Church (St Elizabeth) is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bratislava.
2) Walking along the river at night
The night walk along the Danube is an important activity because it allows you to admire the capital’s beauty without being around numerous tourists. Therefore, I advise you to start your walk from Tyršákle beach to the Lafranconi Bridge in Tyršákle; you will find several entertainment and relaxation activities.
You will also have the opportunity to admire the famous Bratislava Castle, neo-Renaissance buildings, and the Gresham Palace. Additionally, you will have a great view of the Vigado Concert Hall, the Citadel, the Footwear Memorial, and Gellert Hill.
3) Konditorei Kormuth Cake Shop
One of the best things to do in Bratislava is to visit the famous Konditorei Kormuth Cake Shop. It is a trendy pastry shop in a luxury neighborhood near Bratislava Castle. Konditorei Kormuth Cake Shop takes its name from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
At that time, it was common to hear the German language and see german signs all over the capital. Konditorei Kormuth Cake Shop includes antique 19th-century furniture.
The architecture of the place follows the Renaissance style, which focuses on the history of Bratislava. In addition to having superb interior architecture, Konditorei Kormuth Cake Shop sells delicious cakes made according to Austro-Hungarian culinary habits.
4) Free Walk Tour
The Free Walk Tour in Bratislava covers the Old Town and the Bratislava Castle. It is an excellent opportunity to stay in shape by walking and discovering the capital’s best places.
You’ll have the chance to admire the famous square Hlavne Namestie, find the city’s street statues, the National Opera and the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and admire the old Parliament and Michael’s Gate.
The Free Walk Tour can last for a few hours, half-day or a full day, depending on your preferences and time. No matter what kind of program you chose, the Free Walk Tour is one of the best things to do in Bratislava.
5) Hlavné Namestie and Bratislava Old Town
Visiting the main square (Hlavné Namestie) and the Old Town is among the best things to do in Bratislava. It is delightful to walk around the Old Town of Bratislava.
The pedestrian center is relatively small, which makes it possible to appreciate all the beauty of the small alleys. Don’t hesitate to look up during your visit to observe the colorful roof tiles.
As you stroll through Bratislava, you will find many cafes and restaurants, as well as charming little shops.
Additionally, right in the heart of the Old Town, you will find Hlavné Namestie. An ideal place to feel a prevalent atmosphere. It is also where the most beautiful buildings in the city are located.
6) Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle is the emblem of the capital, and visiting this iconic place is one of the best things to do in Bratislava. The Castle can be seen from anywhere in town. Bratislava Castle underwent many works and changes before it got its current appearance.
Indeed, its construction began in the 10th century. In the 16th century, it was rebuilt in a Renaissance style. Then in the 17th century, it took on a more Baroque look.
In 1811, the Castle was destroyed by fire and then abandoned for about a century. It was between 1953 and 1968 that the Castle was rebuilt to its original form. Today, Bratislava Castle is open to the public and serves as a history museum.
7) Most SNP bridge
For those curious about architecture, exploring Most SNP is one of the top things to do in Bratislava. The saucer perched on top of a tower is the originality of Most SNP. You can climb inside and enjoy a panoramic view of the whole city.
In fact, on a clear day, you can even see Austria, a few kilometers away. Additionally, you will find a restaurant at the top of the tower.
However, if you are prone to vertigo, I advise you to stroll along the Danube and observe the bridge from the mainland.
8) Slavin Memorial
In Bratislava, do not hesitate to visit the Slavin Memorial. Out of the city center, it is a monument built in honor of the Soviet army and rests there 7,000 soldiers killed during the Second World War.
Access to the place is free, and it offers you a nice view of the capital and its Castle. Locals also appreciate the peacefulness and romance of the area, even though it is a cemetery.
9) Street Art
Discovering the Street artwork is one of the best things to do in Bratislava. Coming out of the communist era, humorous works flourished all over the capital. The most known is the Man At Work, which appeared in 1997 at Lauriska and Panska streets. It represents a man coming out of a hole. According to legend, the statue qualifies a communist worker resting. Also, according to legend, the figure can make wishes come true as long as they were kept secret forever.
When walking around Bratislava, be careful; the city has many statues that can be found in the streets, in squares, etc. Notably, Schone Naci’s statue in Hlavné Namestie was a well-known figure from Bratislava in the first half of the 20th century. He used to walk around the city center, always wearing a suit and a hat and bringing joy to passers-by by playing the clown.
Another street artwork not to miss in Bratislava is graffiti. The most popular one is the little foxy by the Hungarian Street Artist Fat Heat. If you want to admire it, head to the Old Town. Also, there are numerous zones in Bratislava where Street Artists can paint without limits. Additionally, the capital also has a Street Art Festival.
The Bratislava Street Art Festival is held annually and is the largest event of its kind in Slovakia. This festival aims to promote the culture of Street Art by allowing professional artists to show their talents.
10) The Yellow Church
Admiring the beauty and splendor of the Yellow Church is one of the best things to do in Bratislava.
Located on the outskirts of the capital’s old town, The Yellow Church was dedicated to Saint Stephen of Hungary.
Moreover, it houses a statue of the latter. The Yellow Church had belonged to the Capuchin Order since 1676. Additionally, its yellow hues and simple architecture distinguish this church.
11) The Danube Promenade
A walk along the Danube is one of Bratislava’s best things, especially when the sun goes down. As you walk along the Danube in Bratislava, you will have the opportunity to visit the various bridges and the Eurovea Shopping Center area.
At the same time, do not hesitate torest on the large lawn and even enjoy a good picnic. You will find several people with theirtowels sunbathing quietly.
Additionally, the Danube is a pleasant area to visit at night; you will find several bars with chairs and sofas to rest.
12) Michael’s Gate
Visiting Michael’s Gate with its tower and the blue dome is one of the best things to do in Bratislava. Michael’s Gate houses a museum on the weapons as well as the fortifications of the region.
By the way, Michael’s Gate is the main ancient fortification of Bratislava. This picturesque Gothic place overlooks the ditch crossed by a bridge adorned with Baroque sculptures.
Inside Michael’s Gate, splendid architecture awaits with a five-story museum for gun fanatics. They are all more unusual and extraordinary than the next and decorated with ivory and precious stones.
At the top of the Gate, you will have a 360° panoramic view of Bratislava.
13) Zlaté Piesky Lake
Zlaté Piesky Lake is the best-known capital and one of the best things to do in Bratislava. Zlaté Piesky Lake is a great place to practice water sports and cool off.
However, Lake Zlaté Piesky had a dark history due to the plane crash on July 28, 1976.
On that day, 70 of the 73 passengers lost their lives and six crew members. However, today Lake Zlaté Piesky has become a place of relaxation for the local population.
Moreover, several activities areavailable at the lake, such as jet skiing, kayaking, etc.
14) Devin Castle
Devin Castle is a little out of town but worth a visit. Devin Castle sits on a vast rockover looking the area at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers.
In terms of history and archeology, Devin Castle is a significant site in Slovakia. Devin Castle is a fortress destroyed by Napoleon and one of the three oldest castles in the country.
Today the ruins of the Castle can be visited as a museum. It is also here that the border between Slovakia and Austria is located; moreover, it is possible to cross it on foot.
15) Sd Janko Kral Park
Sd Janko Kráľ Park is one of the oldest municipal parks in Europe, and exploring this place is one of the best things to do in Bratislava.
Sd Janko Kráľ Park has been spread along the Danube bank since 1774. Initially, the municipal park followed a baroque-classical form. However, it was later changed into an English style.
After numerous modifications, Sd Janko Kráľ Park kept the same appearance since 1839. The main typical features of this municipal park are the small circular shape spaces decorated with zodiac elements. You’ll also find Gazebo Garden, which was a tower of the Franciscan Church.
Additionally, the municipal park houses a Statue of Janko Kráľ, a Slovak poet of the romanticism period after whom the park was named.
Slovakia may not necessarily be the first tourist destination that comes to mind when thinking about visiting a European capital. However, the country has tremendous natural, cultural and historical assets that make it a destination worth visiting.
One of Slovakia’s significant touristic assets is Bratislava, a city with a thousand and one facets, which will seduce many night owls and architecture lovers. I hope you appreciated the list of the best things to do in Bratislava. Do not hesitate to share with me your opinions about these beautiful activities and places.