Is Bratislava Worth Visiting Pin 1

Bratislava is worth visiting for its majestic Old Town, lip-smacking food and beer, and peculiar bronze statues all over the city. The eye-catching Blue Church, the mighty Danube River, the unusual UFO Bridge, and the jaw-dropping Devin Castle all make Bratislava a great place to visit.

In this article, you’ll discover 33 top reasons to explore Bratislava.

From quaint quarters to magnificent river meanders, and from medieval squares to quirky architecture, we bet you’ll stop wondering whether you should travel to Bratislava.

Buckle up and let’s discover!

Start Planning Your Trip to Bratislava with Our BEST Recommendations:

Top Tours in Bratislava

📍 Private Walking Tour of Bratislava – learn the secrets of the Slovak capital.

📍 Visit Devin Castle on a Private Tour – explore the impressive Devin Castle and admire the views of the confluence of the majestic Danube and Morava rivers.

Best Accommodations in Bratislava

🏨 LOFT Hotel Bratislava – pamper yourself with modern amenities and top service.

🏨 Wilson Palace – this historical lodging will surpass your wildest expectations.

Easiest Transportation Options in Bratislava

🚍 Omio – check out the available transport modes to and from Bratislava.

🚍 Discover Cars – compare and find the best rates for car rentals.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. In case you purchase something through one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping us keep creating the free content on this website!

Go to Bratislava for Its Captivating Landmarks

Bratislava Bronze Figures
The quirky bronze figures scattered around the center make Bratislava a great place to visit

One of the best things to do in Bratislava is admiring its gorgeous attractions. Explore a list of the most charming in the section below.

  1. Cumil, the Sewer Worker. Bratislava is known for its statues. Some of the most popular ones are the Paparazzi, the Napoleon Soldier, and Cumil, the Sewer Worker. The last one is a must-see. It was built in 1997 and represents the worker Cumil who peeps out from a sewer. The unusual location of the statue has caused it some harm. That’s why, to prevent people from accidentally tripping over it, the city council placed a sign, indicating the statue’s exact place.
  2. The UFO Bridge. The name of the bridge “Most Slovenského národného povstania” translates to The Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising. Locals simply call it The UFO Bridge. Erected in 1972, the construction still hosts an extraordinary restaurant that resembles a flying saucer. The view from the top reveals a heart-stopping panorama of Bratislava and the mighty Danube River.
  3. Michael’s Gate. Towers and walls besieged Bratislava in the 13th century. But there’s only one gate left from that period – Michael’s Gate. Over time, it experienced numerous reconstructions, together with the addition of two statues in 1758 – those of St. Michael and the Dragon. When you enter Michael’s Gate, you can see the exhibition devoted to the city walls, and marvel at the Old City views. You can also stroll a part of the defense walls near St. Martin’s Cathedral.
  4. The Fountain of Union. Revealed back in 1980, this gigantic construction has an eye-catching design shaped like one of the symbols of Slavic mythology – the linden flower. Because of high restoration costs, the Fountain of Union isn’t functioning currently, but its historical importance and bizarre shapes make it worth seeing.
  5. The Slovak National Theatre. This cultural institution has two different buildings. The first one is the old opera house on Hviezdoslav Square, which was built in the 1890s by the famous architectural duo Fellner & Helmer. The house still features the splendid Thalia statue made by Theodor Friedl. The second building of the Slovak National Theatre is the new hall, which is close to the Danube River. In both buildings, you can enjoy superb ballet, opera, and theatre performances.
St Elizabeth - the Blue Church Bratislava
The gorgeous Blue Church is one of the top reasons to visit Bratislava

  1. St. Elizabeth’s Church (The Blue Church). You can discover this astonishing, 100-year-old Art Nouveau church near the east part of Bratislava’s Old Town. At first, authorities had plans for TheBlue Church to be a chapel for a grammar school. But it eventually turned into one of the most iconic symbols of Slovakia. When outside, notice the magnificent blend of Baroque and Oriental elements, as well as the glazed blue tiles that give the building its magical appearance.
  2. The Old Town Hall. The first town hall of Bratislava originates in the 1200s. Later, the Slovak capital purchased the surrounding building because it needed more space. That’s why today, the Old Town Hall comprises four houses in very different styles. These include a well-preserved Gothic-style tower from Tuscany. The complex also features a fabulous Renaissance courtyard with an arcade and a gallery.
  3. Maximilian’s Fountain. Just across the Old Town Hall, you’ll discover one of Bratislava’s most visited monuments. The King of Hungary – Maximilian II – ordered the construction of the fountain in 1572. Legend has it that each New Year’s Eve, the statue at Maximilian’s Fountain turns its head toward the Old Town Hall. After that, it bows to commemorate the 12 councilors who died during the defense of Bratislava.
  4. Kamzík TV Tower. This unattractive tower is visible from almost any spot in the city. The 643-ft. (196-m) Kamzík TV Tower sits on Kamzik Hill and opened to the public in 1975. In the tower, you’ll find two restaurants that offer sweeping views of Bratislava. However, the thick glass prevents you from snapping good shots.
  5. St. Martin’s Cathedral. Bratislava is worth visiting for exploring the 15th-century St. Martin’s Cathedral. Once functioning as a bastion, the rich history of this Gothic cathedral as a coronation place goes back to 1563. During that period, Bratislava was the legislative center of the Kingdom of Hungary, and the cathedral was the major coronation site. In fact, 19 kings and queens were crowned there. An intricate gold-plated reproduction of St. Stephen’s crown sits on top of the church’s tower to honor that fact.
  6. Devin Castle. The Danube and Morava rivers confluence five miles outside the city center. That’s exactly where you’ll find the striking Devín Castle perched on a 695-ft. (212-m) cliff. Once, the castle was controlling all the trade on the Danube River, including parts of the Amber Road. Interestingly, the history of the landmark stems way back to the 5th century. Napoleon destroyed a huge part of the fortification at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, locals have restored most of it. On a clear day, you can easily spot Austria from the castle.
  7. Bratislava Castle. One of the most attention-grabbing attractions in the Slovak capital is the Bratislava Castle. For centuries, it served as a significant defense point and a lookout. Peculiarly, the Hungarian crown jewels were kept there for over two centuries. During World War I, the castle suffered substantial damage, but it was successfully reconstructed. Inside, you can explore exhibitions devoted to the interesting history of Slovakia.

The Museums and Galleries That Make Bratislava Worth Visiting

Primate’s Palace Bratislava
The Primatial Palace is one of the best places to visit in Bratislava

If you like culture, you shouldn’t miss the museums and galleries that dot the Slovak capital. Discover the most notable ones in the following section.

  1. Bratislava Transport Museum. If you don’t know what to do next in Bratislava, visit the city’s first train terminal located on Šancová Street. Today, it functions as the Bratislava Transport Museum. In addition to the original steam locomotive, which arrived at the station for the first time in 1848, you can also explore retro Soviet vehicles and a remarkable collection of motorcycles, including BMWs, Indians, and Harley-Davidsons.
  2. Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum. Situated just outside of Bratislava, the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum will astound you with its scenic setting. Inside the museum, you’ll find a fantastic selection of works by well-known artists, including Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Jill Moser, Karel Appel, Hans de Bovenkamp, and many more.
  3. Primatial Palace. The palace was built in the late 1770s as a home to the Archbishop of Esztergom, but it subsequently served as the president of Slovakia’s main residence. Today, Primatial Palace is a famous tourist spot and a significant historical site. Aside from the lovely courtyard and the 17th-century Mortlake tapestries exhibited inside, you mustn’t miss the Hall of Mirrors. That’s where Austria and France signed the 1805 Treaty of Pressburg, following Napoleon’s conquests at Ulm and Austerlitz.
  4. Slovak National Gallery. This former 18th-century mansion should be at the top of your cultural itinerary when you visit Bratislava. Numerous Baroque and Gothic artifacts are now on display inside the Slovak National Gallery. Some of them are close to 800 years old. This incredible selection of Slovak artwork includes odd 1960s pieces and the bizarre busts created by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
  5. Galéria Nedbalka (Nedbalka Gallery). The gallery’s modest Baroque exterior cannot adequately prepare you for what awaits you inside. Four floors full of Slovak paintings and sculptures from various periods are accessible through a stunning atrium. Along with works made by the Galana Group, the collection also contains pieces by Ľudovít Fulla and Ladislav Medňanský. The former is a collection of contemporary painters who were active in the middle of the 20th century.
  6. Flat Gallery. Most likely you’ve never seen a gallery that is inside a flat. On Baštová Street, you can find the unique Flat Gallery that was influenced by some of the top Berlin art centers. The owner knows the artists in person and is able to describe the individual stories behind each work of art.

The Foods and Drinks That Make Bratislava Worth Visiting

Garlic Soup at a Pub in Bratislava
When visiting Bratislava, you have to try the garlic soup

Bratislava might be 4.5x smaller than Vienna, but it packs a delicious punch of lip-smacking foods and drinks. Find a list of the must-tries below.

  1. Bryndzové halušky. Slovaks love their potatoes. So, it’s no wonder the national dish of Slovakia contains halušky (boiled lumps of potato dough – similar to gnocchi in Italy). Bryndzove halušky also epitomizes bryndza (soft sheep cheese). Locals might sprinkle the dish with chives, spring onions, sour cream, or cooked bits of bacon or smoked pork fat.
  2. Potato pancakes. We told you Slovaks love potatoes, right? You can order zemiakové placky (potato pancakes) as a side dish. They’re great for dipping in soups. If you like meat, then don’t miss balkanska pochúťka, which is a pork stew where the meat is wrapped in potato pancakes and topped with cheese. Delectable!
  3. Creamy garlic soup. If you don’t like garlic, you won’t get along with Svet ;). But if you do, you’ll be in for a treat in Bratislava. Krémová cesnaková polievka is a lip-smacking creamy garlic soup that locals serve in a bread roll. Don’t be misled by the “soup” in the name because it’s quite hearty. If you’d like to keep your carbs down, you can also order it in a bowl with a few croutons.
  4. Kapustnica. If you’re visiting Bratislava around Christmas, you’ll find kapustnica everywhere because that’s when locals usually prepare it. The soup revolves around sauerkraut, sausages, smoked ham, mushrooms, and various spices like caraway, paprika, and bay leaf. Meat is optional but highly recommended.
  5. Gulaš. Goulash might have its origins in Budapest, but it’s equally popular in Bratislava and Slovakia as a whole. Of course, you can find different variations of this hearty meat stew all over the country. However, most of them combine pork, paprika, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. As you might have guessed, the standard side is some form of potatoes – usually dumplings.
  6. Poppy seed pastries. If you have some space in your belly from all the filling meals, and you love desserts, then you mustn’t miss the Bratislava poppy seed pastries. This is among the most decadent sweets both of us have ever tried. And the best part? You can find them in every supermarket for less than a dollar.
  7. The beer. Much like Prague is worth visiting for the beer, the same applies to Bratislava as well. If you’re a fan of the golden beverage, the Slovak capital will surprise you with its rich variety. One of our best Bratislava travel tips is that almost every big restaurant in the city center has its own brewery. We recommend you ask for their special ales.
  8. Fruit brandies. If you’re visiting Bratislava in the cold winter months, or you just prefer to taste something stronger, go for the fruit brandies. These are high-alcohol drinks that have fruit flavors. The most popular ones include slivovica (plum brandy), hruškovica (made from pears), čerešňovica (cherry brandy), marhuľovica (made from apricots), and even repovica (beetroot brandy). For the ultimate seduction, try Borovička made from juniper berries and tasting like gin.
  9. Wine. Slovakia prides itself on many wine regions. In Bratislava, you’ll have plenty of regular wine choices at your disposal, but if you wanna try something different, go for medovina. You can find this mead-like honey wine served hot at the Christmas markets around Bratislava.

The Crazy Facts That Make Bratislava Worth Visiting

Danube River and Morava River at Devin Castle Bratislava
The confluence of the mighty Danube River and the Morava River at Devin Castle, Bratislava

Every city has its fair share of peculiar facts. The Slovak capital is no exception. Let’s explore the most bizarre facts that make Bratislava worth visiting.

  1. One of Europe’s biggest restaurants is in Bratislava. This must be among the most peculiar facts about Bratislava. Interestingly, it’s not the only unique feature of this traditional restaurant. The Flag Ship is located in a lavish theater, but you realize this after entering inside and walking through several passageways. The gigantic restaurant can host more than 1,000 folks.
  2. It’s the world’s only capital city that shares borders with two independent nations. The city limits of Bratislava share borders with not one but two sovereign countries – Hungary and Austria. The vicinity of the Slovak capital makes visiting Budapest and Vienna a cool idea for day trips from Bratislava.
  3. The city receives over 1 million visitors every year. This is almost 2.5 times more than its population. For comparison, the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, welcomes close to 20 million tourists. This fact is one of the top reasons to visit Bratislava.
  4. Bratislava sits on two mighty rivers. You might know that the gorgeous Danube River passes through the Slovak capital. However, you might not be aware that the Danube River meets with the Morava River in the Devín district in the northwestern part of Bratislava.
  5. Bratislava’s first university worked for only 25 years. In 1465, the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus founded Universitas Istropolitana on the territory of present-day Bratislava. Sadly, after the king passed away in 1490, they closed the university.
  6. The shortest international flight was between two capital cities. One of them is Bratislava. The other one is Vienna. Several years ago, FlyNiki – an airline based in Vienna – operated the world’s shortest international air service. The air trip from the Austrian capital to Bratislava was just 30 mi (48 km). However, after some time, the company decided to discontinue the flight. Why? Well, because if you decide to do a day trip from Bratislava to Vienna, a much faster way to travel will be by train, bus, or car.

Is Bratislava Worth Visiting – Now You Know the Answer

Things to Do in Bratislava
Now you know why is Bratislava worth visiting

There you have it – the top 33 reasons to visit Bratislava.

The small yet stunning Slovak capital is one of the most charming cities in Europe.

Most people either skip it or spend half a day there, but that’s a mistake. Bratislava is chock-full of peculiar landmarks, fantastic eateries, and captivating museums.

For that reason, we believe you’ll have a blast in Slovakia’s largest city.

Start Planning Your Trip to Bratislava with Our BEST Recommendations:

Top Tours in Bratislava

📍 Private Walking Tour of Bratislava – learn the secrets of the Slovak capital.

📍 Visit Devin Castle on a Private Tour – explore the impressive Devin Castle and admire the views of the confluence of the majestic Danube and Morava rivers.

Best Accommodations in Bratislava

🏨 LOFT Hotel Bratislava – pamper yourself with modern amenities and top service.

🏨 Wilson Palace – this historical lodging will surpass your wildest expectations.

Easiest Transportation Options in Bratislava

🚍 Omio – check out the available transport modes to and from Bratislava.

🚍 Discover Cars – compare and find the best rates for car rentals.

Now, we’d like to hear from you:

Have you been to the Slovak capital? Do you think Bratislava was worth the trip?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Svet

Svet has lived on three continents. He graduated from his Master’s in Belgium, did a Work & Travel program in the USA, and in 2015, spent several months working, traveling, and exploring the Chinese culture. As a result, he found how challenging yet fun it is for a Westerner to live in China. Fun fact: Svet loves doing push-ups in public places and has a crush on tractors.

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