As I currently live in Bratislava, I’ve just recently realized that I’m being asked the same question by people who want to visit Bratislava. What can I do and see there in one day? Honestly, I think this question is rather difficult to answer, especially if the asker has no clue what he wants. Me, the askee, is left with the advice to do the traditional things – see few churches and walk in the old town. I figured you can’t go wrong with it, can you? Then, few months ago I was couchsurfing and I had a perfect host who was really passionate about his city. He gave me and few other couchsurfers a tour and it was amazing. We visited such places we wouldn’t be able to find or to get to on our own. After the tour we felt like we knew the city from a different angle than other tourists who didn’t have the chance to be shown around by such an amazing guide. This made me start thinking about Bratislava and the places that are hidden in front of the curious eyes of the tourists. I created a Day in Bratislava for those who are pressed for time but still want to see the most and most importantly, get the feel of local life.
Start your day at the market Mileticka where you can enjoy the buzz of locals selling and buying all kinds of goods from early morning. It’s also a perfect place where you can enjoy a vibe of every day life in Bratislava. Not to mention that you can get really good deal on fresh fruits and vegetables and also local delicacies which you can’t buy in supermarkets.
Apollo bridge and Eurovea
After you soaked up enough of the market atmosphere and you’re ready to move on, take a bus no. 68 from Trhovisko stop and get off at Apollo bridge stop. This bridge gives you a perfect view of the Danube river and the castle and the opportunity to take a few snaps. Continue your walk exiting the bridge towards the shopping centre Eurovea where you find heaps of cafe and restaurants places located on a river bank. if the weather is nice, this spot is very popular with locals who you can find sitting on grass while enjoying their coffees or lunch. And there is nothing stopping to join them!
Old Town highlights
From here, you can easily walk to the Old town just by following the river for about 15 min until you reach Namestie L. Stura which will lead you directly to the Old town where you will join other tourists. Start at Hviezdoslavovo namestie and Slovak National theatre building. Few metres from there is the one of the most famous statues known as Cumil which is always surrounded by crowds of tourists posing for pictures. There are other highlights to be found in the Old city, such as Michal’s gate, the main square, Old Town Hall or Primate’s palace. If you feel like learning more information about these places, it might be a good idea to join free walking tour with knowledgeable guides that operates twice a day and it’s based on tips.
Presidential Palace and Slavin
And let’s move on! Head to Hodzovo namestie where you will find the Presidential palace and a fountain designed by Tibor Bartfay, a famous Slovak sculptor. Also from here, you can take a bus no. 147 and go directly to Slavin, a war memorial situated on a top of the hill and also a cemetery of Russian soldiers who died here during the WW2. It’s also gives you an opportunity for few great snaps of the city view which you can see from the top of the hill.
Now, it’s getting closer to the sunset which is a perfect time to visit the castle. It’s not far from Slavin, you can take a 20 min stroll or hop on the bus 147 which ends at the stop Budkova and then change to the trams no. 203 or 207 which go directly to the castle. There is nothing more beautiful than to watch the dusk above the river and the city diving into the night with such an amazing view. Also, at this hour there are not as many tourists as during the day and you can easily find a peaceful spot from which you can watch the sunset.
End of Day
To finish off your day in Bratislava, there are several options you can choose from. You can either enjoy a nice Slovak dish with a glass of local wine or you can hit the bars and nightclubs to party wild. There are several places which I think are worth visiting and these are few of them:
KC Dunaj – a bar located in the heart of Old Town view a view of the castle
Drink in gallery Andy – a bar / pub located under the castle, a popular spot for locals to hang out. This bar is designed as the interior of Bratislava tram which is definitely worth seeing.
U Zlateho bazanta – a very spacious pub located just few minutes from the Old town
Flagship restaurant – an old theater building rebuilt and changed to a restaurant offering local brews and dishes.
If you are looking for more localish places, than check out these places.: Restaurant U Deda, Mamut, Budvar, Mestiansky pivovar, Bastion or a cosy wine bar Viecha, all easily accessible from the city center by a tram or a bus.
So, I guess there is one last thing to say. Have a great day in Bratislava, enjoy your halusky and nazdravie!
If you have other tips what to see and do in Bratislava, let us know =) Looking forward to hearing your experience!