Tasting world-class beer. Discovering quaint neighborhoods. Marveling at majestic river meanders.
These are just some of the cool things to do in Bratislava.
The charming Little Big City sits in the heart of Europe, and straddles two breathtaking rivers – the Danube and the Morava.
People often overlook the Slovak capital for its neighbors (like Vienna and Budapest). For that reason, Bratislava is usually just a one-day stop on a longer journey. But that’s not near enough to explore all of its alluring charm.
In this guide, you’ll find 33 amazing things to do that will show you Bratislava offers more than you have imagined.
Let’s jump in!
Bratislava’s Enchanting Landmarks
Among the best things to do in Bratislava is exploring the city’s fascinating attractions. Find a list of the most captivating below:
- Take a selfie with Cumil, the Sewer Worker. Bratislava is famous for statues such as the Paparazzi and the Napoleon Soldier. But Cumil, the Sewer Worker is the one you need to see first. Since 1997, the curious statue peeks from the sewer. Due to its odd positioning, Cumil has suffered some damage. For that reason, the city council even put a sign indicating the statue’s exact location so nobody would trip over it and fall.
- Explore Michael’s Gate. Don’t miss the chance to discover the only city gate left from the 13th-century towers and walls that used to surround Bratislava. Michael’s Gate underwent several reconstructions over a few centuries, including the addition of the St. Michael and the Dragon statue, mounted in 1758. You can enter Michael’s Gate, check out the exhibition dedicated to the city walls, and enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Old City. Tip: You can walk a portion of the fortification walls near St. Martin’s Cathedral.
- Admire the Fountain of Union, the biggest in Slovakia. The enormous creation, unveiled back in 1980, features a clever design resembling a linden flower. The symbol is part of Slavic mythology. The fountain is currently non-operational due to the high repair costs. It’s still worth seeing because of its historical significance and unexpected lines.
- Visit the famous Most SNP (the UFO bridge). The so-called Most Slovenského národného povstania, which translates as Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising, is known simply as the UFO bridge. The impressive structure built in 1972 still features a flying saucer-shaped restaurant on top of it. The incredible panoramic view from the eatery is worth the visit.
- Admire the Slavín war memorial. The large 130 ft. (40 m) tall obelisk stands on the site where 6,845 fighters lost their lives while liberating Bratislava from German occupation. Slavín is one of the biggest WWII memorials on the Old Continent and is currently a National Cultural Monument. You’ll love the views of the city from the surrounding area as well.
- Walk around Bratislava’s most popular meeting point – Hviezdoslav Square. The 1,000-year-old Hviezdoslavovo námestie is one of Bratislava’s must-visit locations. Named after the Slovak poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, the square is a preferred meeting point by many tourists and locals. It features a few fountains and a podium which becomes the scene of various events. The annual Christmas market also takes place at Hviezdoslav Square.
- Take a stroll around the marvelous Eurovea area. The once industrial area located in the southeastern part of the city is now a completely new district. And Eurovea is its very heart. The large complex features housing, shopping, and entertainment facilities. The impressive architecture and the nearby Danube River create modern city views worth checking out.
- Discover the magic of opera and ballet at the Slovak National Theatre. It occupies two separate buildings. The old opera house on Hviezdoslav Square dates back to the 1890s. The new hall is located near the Danube River. Both become scenes of various ballet, opera, and theatre events everyone should see. The old hall’s architecture created by the famous duo Fellner & Helmer still features Thalia – a magnificent statue crafted by Theodor Friedl.
- Marvel at the quirky UFO of Bratislava. In the very heart of the Medzijarky area, a mid-70s UFO-shaped creation still stands on top of a small hill. Designed by Juraj Hovorka, the 15 ft. (4.5 m) tall monument is a typical Soviet-era structure. You’ll find the UFO in the Medzijarky Park, surrounded by residential buildings and shops.
- Become addicted to the views from the Kamzík TV Tower. You can spot the tower from almost every corner of Bratislava. Located on Kamzik hill, the 643-ft. (196-m) structure officially opened its doors in 1975. It hosts two restaurants, offering views of the city. Unfortunately, the thick glass doesn’t allow you to take good photos.
- Stop by the gorgeous Maximilian’s Fountain. One of the most visited monuments in Bratislava sits just across the Old Town Hall. Maximilian II, King of Hungary, commissioned the fountain back in 1572, hence the name. There is a legend suggesting that every New Year’s Eve the statue turns its head towards the Old Town Hall and takes a bow to honor the 12 councilors who lost their lives during Bratislava’s defense.
- Don’t miss the chance to see the amazing St. Martin’s Cathedral. Visiting this 15th-century Gothic cathedral is among the most interesting things to do in Bratislava. Once used as a bastion, the rich history of the cathedral as a coronation church can be traced back to 1563. That was when Bratislava served as a legislative center of the Hungarian Kingdom, and the cathedral – as a major coronation site. In fact, 19 kings and queens received their crown there. The gold-plated reproduction of the Crown of St. Stephen mounted on the top of the tower honors that fact.
- Take time to see the beautiful St. Elizabeth’s Church (the Blue Church). The Art Nouveau church located near the east part of Bratislava’s old town is over a century old. Originally planned to be the grammar school’s (Gamča gymnasium) chapel, it eventually became one of Slovakia’s most famous symbols. Designed by the “Hungarian Gaudi” – Ödön Lechner, the enchanting blend of Baroque and Oriental elements and the glazed blue tiles create a fairy tale scene.
- Visit the curious Old Town Hall. Bratislava’s first town hall dates back to the 1200s. Eventually, the city bought the surrounding buildings as well due to the need for more space. As a result, the Old Town Hall now consists of four differently styled houses. These include a Renaissance courtyard complete with a gallery and an arcade. The complex also features a well-preserved Tuscan Gothic-styled tower.
- Admire the wonderful architecture of Bratislava Castle. The site of the castle allows for great views of Bratislava. Its location was fortified for centuries, being a great lookout and an important defense point. This is where the Hungarian crown jewels were stored for more than 200 years. The castle was reconstructed after it suffered substantial damage during WWI. Inside, you’ll find exhibitions dedicated to the rich Slovak history, after which you can admire the views from the terrace.
- Feel like a knight at Devin Castle. About five miles outside Bratislava, you’ll discover a beautiful ruin on top of a 695-ft. (212-m) cliff, just where the Danube and Morava rivers merge. Once, the Devín Castle controlled all trade on the Danube River, as well as part of the Amber Road. The landmark’s history goes back to the 5th century. Napoleon’s troops demolished most of it in 1809. Unless it’s foggy, you can easily see Austria from the cliff. Tip: Visiting Devin Castle was one of our favorite day trips from Bratislava.
- Discover the beautiful Slovak Philharmonic building (Reduta). The Slovak Philharmonic has occupied the structure since 1949, but the building has a curious past. One of the most notable structures in old Bratislava, Reduta was a granary back in Maria Theresa’s heyday. More than a century later, the premises were overhauled in Neo-Baroque style, including Art-Nouveau details. Its full renovation ended in 1919.
- Be amazed by the Slovak Radio building. The Slovak “Building of the Century” is a striking structure shaped like an upside-down pyramid. There is a second pyramid incorporated in its interior design. It houses a recording studio and an impressive concert hall. In the latter, you’ll find 523 seats and a massive organ with 6,300 pipes – one of the biggest in Europe. Witnessing a Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra concert in the hall is an indescribable experience thanks to the excellent acoustics.
Bratislava’s Curious Museums and Galleries
The Slovak capital packs a ton of museums and galleries that are worth your traveler’s attention. Discover them in the section below:
- Enjoy fine Slovak art at Galéria Nedbalka (Nedbalka Gallery). The subtle Baroque façade of the gallery can’t prepare you for what’s inside. A gorgeous atrium leads to four floors packed with Slovak paintings and sculptures from different eras. The collection includes artworks from Ľudovít Fulla and Ladislav Medňanský, as well as pieces created by the Galana Group. The latter is a group of modern artists who worked in the mid-20th century.
- Meet different eras at the Slovak National Gallery. Of all the things to do and see in Bratislava, the National Gallery should be high on your itinerary. This former 18th-century palace is now home to countless Baroque and Gothic exhibits. Several of them are nearly eight centuries old. Curious works of art from the 1960s and the bizarre busts created by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt are a small part of this amazing collection of Slovak art.
- Feast your eyes on contemporary art at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum. Located just outside of Bratislava, the fabulous museum will surprise you with its picturesque location. Inside, you’ll discover a superb collection of creations by world-famous artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Jill Moser, Karel Appel, Hans de Bovenkamp, and many others.
- Explore motoring history at Bratislava Transport Museum. If you can’t decide what to do in Bratislava next, consider paying a visit to the city’s first railway station. You’ll find it on Šancová Street. Nowadays, it houses a transport museum. Apart from the original steam locomotive that arrived at the station for the first time in 1848, you’ll have the chance to see vintage Soviet-era vehicles and an impressive collection of motorcycles such as Harley-Davidsons, BMWs, and Indians.
- Check out the one and only Flat Gallery. Chances are you’ve never seen a gallery that’s part of a flat’s interior before. You’ll find this unique place inspired by some of the best Berlin galleries on Baštová Street. The owner knows the artists personally and can tell each piece’s unique story first-hand.
Bratislava’s Surprising Eateries and Cafés
Bratislava packs a delicious punch of traditional and international pubs and restaurants. The eclectic mix of cuisines will live up to your wildest expectations, especially when you add the divine Slovak beers and spirits.
- Feel like a president at the Primatial Palace. Designed to be the home of the Archbishop of Esztergom in the late 1770s, the palace later became the primary residence of the Slovak president. Today, Primate’s Palace is a popular tourist attraction and an important piece of history. Apart from the beautiful courtyard and the 17th-century Mortlake tapestries displayed inside, you need to see the Hall of Mirrors. That’s where the 1805 Treaty of Pressburg was signed by Austria and France after Napoleon’s victories at Ulm and Austerlitz.
- Learn about the Slovaks’ beer brewing traditions at Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar craft brewery. Although Slovakia offers the perfect wine region climate, the country has rich beer brewing traditions as well. You can taste quality brands such as Šariš, Zlatý Bažant, and Urpiner in every pub, but you’re better off visiting this popular craft brewery. The establishment’s history began in 1752 and continues to this day. There are two locations you can choose from, both in Bratislava’s center. The first one is on 21 Dunajská. The second one is on 575/8 Drevená.
- Visit a former slaughterhouse turned into a brewery (Komin). Another must-visit attraction in the Ružinov municipality has a curious history. Komin (which literally translates as chimney) is part of the Miletičova market. You’ll immediately recognize it by its towering chimney. The place offers delicious Slovak, Hungarian, and Czech meals, not to mention the variety of quality beers.
- Dine at a shipping container (Kontajner Riviera). Eating inside a shipping container is surely one of the most unforgettable things to do in Bratislava. The curious concept of a restaurant crammed in a container is a total success. It stands out from other eateries not only because of its design but also thanks to its fine selection of meals, desserts, and coffee drinks.
- Enjoy a beer at a former public toilet location (Steinplatz). It sounds kind of gross at first, but Steinplatz pub is an amazing place to visit. You wouldn’t believe it is the same place where the public toilets of SNP Square once used to be. The exquisite selection of fine beers and the location are the main factors for Steinplatz’s popularity.
- Taste traditional Slovak cuisine at Bokovka. Once a supermarket nested in the heart of Ružinov district, today Bokovska is an extremely popular beer pub. The eatery was created with a passion for delicious food which is prepared with locally sourced ingredients using traditional recipes. Make sure you wash down your delectable dish with a copious amount of draught beer.
- Sip on delicious coffee at a former hospital (Kafe Scherz). This former Evangelical hospital complete with a maternity unit, opened in 1914, is now a café. The curious architecture of the building used to incorporate a chapel as well. This explains why it is currently named after Karol Scherz de Vasoja – a priest and philanthropist famous for his charity work. The façade still hides details revealing the location’s history. Diving in Kafe Scherz’s atmosphere is something both locals and tourists enjoy.
- Treat yourself to a selfieccino at Five Points. Want to have a cup of cappuccino with your image on it? Five Points is the place to be, then. The café is the only place in Slovakia that offers this special drink. The baristas use a printer to create selfieccinos using a mixture of cocoa, coffee powder, and cinnamon. Five Points also features a stunning modern interior that will play with your senses.
- Spend the night on a boat (Botel Dunajsky Pivovar). If you fancy spending a night on a boat, Bratislava offers that kind of accommodation – Botel Dunajsky Pivovar is the place to be! The impressive vessel floating over the Danube River features 19 individual cabins. All of them are named after locations and landmarks related to the river. The stylish interior and the unique atmosphere of the premises will make your stay unforgettable.
- Let Hotel Galeria mess with your eyesight (the Butterfly House). There hardly is a more distinctive and colorful building in Bratislava than Hotel Galeria. The façade is out of this world, but the real magic happens inside. No two rooms are the same, and the combinations of colors and design elements are indescribably cool. It’s not far from the city’s central train station, so it could easily become part of your itinerary.
Which Are Your Favorite Things to Do in Bratislava?
If you’ve thought Bratislava is worth just half a day, we hope this guide convinced you otherwise.
Armed with these 33 great things to do in Bratislava, we bet you’ll have plenty to explore in the Slovak capital.
If you’re curious to know more about this charming city, check these fun facts about Bratislava.
Now, we’re curious:
What would be first thing you’d do when you visit Bratislava?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.