Top Things To See and Do In Bratislava, Slovakia
While Johann Strauss’ “The Blue Danube” may conjure up the vision of a beautiful waltz in Vienna, another hidden gem lies along the Danube River in Slovakia. While the Danube is not actually blue and Vienna is 80km west, there is good reason to add Bratislava, Slovakia to your itinerary. Bordering the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Ukraine, Slovakia is easily accessible as a member of the European Union, the Eurozone and the Schengen Area.
From Prague, we booked two Business Class seats on Omio for Regiojet’s High Speed Train to Bratislava. The 4h50m trip passed quickly through beautiful landscapes and small villages. RegioJet’s Business Class seating cost 24,40€ per person and provides a private cabin with only four seats, free snacks and drinks, as well as wi-fi. Economy Class seating starts as low as 16€.
For many years, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were combined as Czechoslovakia, a part of the Soviet Union’s Eastern Bloc. However, in 1989 the two countries ended the communist rule during the Velvet Revolution and peacefully dissolved Czechoslovakia. Slovakia became an independent state (officially called the Slovak Republic) with Bratislava as its capital. A popular tourist attraction steeped in history, Bratislava is filled with a myriad of things to see and do! Here are just a few …
Tour The Bratislava Castle
Overlooking the City and situated high above the Danube River, the Bratislava Castle was built in the 9th century. The site for the crowning of eleven kings and eight queens, the Castle is a popular attraction for not only its spectacular views of the city below but for its exhibitions from the various Slovak National Museums as well.
Stroll Along Bratislava’s Old Town Square
Bratislava’s Old Town Square dates back to the 13th century. Today, it is the site of festivals, concerts and the annual Christmas Market. In the center of the Square is the Maximilian Fountain surrounded by the Old Town Hall that houses the Bratislava City Museum featuring the interior and original furnishings from the municipal court.
Enjoy An Opera, Ballet or Performance At Bratislava’s Slovak National Theatre
The Slovak National Theatre is the oldest professional theatre in Slovakia. Opened in 1886 as the City Theatre, it was originally illuminated by 800 gas lamps and a 645-light chandelier. It continues to host opera, ballet and drama performances in both the original building and a new theatre completed in 2007.
Take A Moment At Bratislava’s Primatial Palace
The pale pink color of the Primatial Palace adds to its Baroque-classicist architecture. Completed in 1781 for the Archbishop József Batthyány, it is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Bratislava. It is here that in 1805 Napoleon signed ‘The Peace of Pressburg’, treaty settling the territorial claims between Bohemia and Hungary. Today, the Palace serves as Bratislava’s City Hall housing the Mayor and City Council. (Prior to 1919, Bratislava was known as “Pressburg”)
Shop Along Bratislava’s Saint Michael’s Gate
The 51m high tower of Saint Michael’s Gate is the last preserved gate of the Bratislava medieval city fortification. The Gate’s foundation was laid some 700 years ago and once served as an entry into the city. The statue of St. Michael and the Dragon sits on top of the Tower. Surrounded by shops and restaurants, the Tower features the Museum of Weapons and City Fortification, an exhibition from the Bratislava City Museum.
Visit Bratislava’s Blue Church (The Church of Saint Elizabeth)
Opened in 1908, The Church of Saint Elizabeth, commonly known as Blue Church, is a Hungarian Secessionist Catholic Church consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary. The art nouveau building is a popular tourist attraction for its sky blue facade and mosaics.
Explore Bratislava’s Sculptures & Statues
Walking around Bratislava, you will encounter numerous sculptures and statues – some historical and some quite whimsical!
View Bratislava From The Top Of The UFO Bridge
Spanning the River Danube, the 431 meter Slovak National Uprising Bridge (often referred to as Most SNP or the UFO Bridge) was the first asymmetrical suspension bridge constructed in the world.
At the top of the bridge, some 95 meters above and looking like a spacecraft, is the UFO Bar & Restaurant and Observation Deck that provides a 360° panoramic of the city below.
Have Lunch At Bratislava’s Restaurant Parlament
Situated between the Bratislava Castle and the National Council of Slovak Republic, the Restaurant Parlament offers one of the most beautiful views in the city. This stylish, modern restaurant offers exceptional service and an affordable menu.
And don’t forget to take a moment to visit the men’s toilet if for nothing else than a … well, unusual experience!
With its whimsical statues, historic monuments and Baroque architecture, Bratislava is truly a fun city to explore! If you’ve visited or live in Bratislava, share your experiences in the comments section below.
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