Back in 2019 I had spent a semester abroad in Bratislava and after writing several posts about Slovakia’s capital, I thought it was time to create an Ultimate Guide to Bratislava.
While I was living there I had done some sightseeing, discovered some cool restaurants and bars and travelled around for a bit. This guide, therefore, will include all the things you should know before traveling to Bratislava. Let’s get started!
Bratislava has a population of around 424 000 inhabitants and is located in southwestern Slovakia, bordering with Hungary and Austria. The national language is Slovak and the currency is Euro (€).
Table of Contents
- How to get to Bratislava
- What to do in Bratislava
- Where to Eat in Bratislava
- Where to go out in Bratislava
- Day Trips from Bratislava
- Solo Female Travel in Bratislava
- Onward Travel from Bratislava
How to get to Bratislava
Bratislava does have its own airport but a lot of people will actually fly to Vienna International Airport (VIE) instead. From there you can take a direct bus to the city centre of Bratislava for 5€.
It will take you less than an hour and is the most convenient way to get to Bratislava. If you fly into Bratislava Airport (BTS) it will still take you about an hour to get to the city centre on public transport busses.
If you arrive by train you will be arriving at Bratislava Hlavná Stanica. From there you can take a 5-minute bus into the city centre depending on where you are staying.
If you are arriving in Bratislava by long-distance bus you will most likely arrive at the Autobusová stanica, the central bus station. From there it is about a 10-minute bus ride into the old town.
What to do in Bratislava
The city is rather small and you can see most its highlights in just one day in Bratislava. But if you are staying for longer you can still discover something new every day. Here are just a few of many things to do in Bratislava.
Of course one thing that you have to do when you visit Bratislava is to pay a visit to the beautiful Bratislava Castle. In the summer times you can also visit the gardens in front of it. In the castle there is a museum and also from the top you can have stunning views of Bratislava and the UFO Bridge.
The Church of St. Elizabeth is also known as the Blue Church. It is located in the Eastern part of the old town. It is quite unique due to the church being completely blue.
ŠK Slovan Bratislava Football Game
If you are in the city during the football season, maybe you want to attend a football game. The team of Bratislava is called ŠK Slovan Bratislava. Football tickets are relatively cheap and I always find it interesting to see how football fans are different in different cities or countries.
If you love cats then don’t miss out on visiting Mačkafé. First I was a little skeptical but all the cat look like they are well taken care off and everybody was super friendly.
It is on the way up or down the castle if you want to stop over for a coffee for a little bit. Unlike the cat cafés in the Netherlands for example, they do not charge you a fee to get in and drink prices are still really cheap! Would highly recommend going there and all the cats are so precious.
Technically, Devin Castle is located a little bit outside of Bratislava but only a 20 minute bus ride away. It is pretty impressive and you can get some stunning views of the Danube river from the top.
Where to Eat in Bratislava
Slovak Pub: Here you will find cheap and authentic Slovak food such as Halušhky. This is Slovakia’s national dish: potato dumplings with sheep cheese and usually bacon sprinkled on top. There are so many different rooms in this restaurant that you can easily get lost.
Enjoy Bistro: This is one of my favourite cafés in Bratislava. Located right in the old town they have delicious breakfast options such as avocado toasts and healthy lunch options as well. And of course a big variety of different coffees. You can sit outside in the summer but also inside you will find a lot of space to enjoy your food.
Basilicò: This is a pizza place that has two locations in Bratislava and is pretty famous. From the study abroad people everybody was going there all the time. They have great pizza!
Pollito Cheesecake: Pollito is a cute café that mostly sells cheesecake. And therefore I had to include it because I absolutely love cheese cake. If you do, too, make sure to check out Pollito for a wide selection of different types of cheesecakes.
Where to go out in Bratislava
Bratislava is a cheap destination for a night out and if you know where to go, there are quite a few bars and clubs in Bratislava. Some can be a little hidden so it’s better to look up beforehand where to go unless you want to stay in the centre of the old town.
Bar On: I can not leave out Bar On in my Ultimate Guide to Bratislava. The place with probably the cheapest drinks in towns. Beer for 1€ and some basic shots for 1€ as well.
This place smells terrible due to everyone smoking inside but that is the case for most places in Bratislava. This bar still is one of the most popular ones and you can find Slovak people as well as most of the exchange students so a good mixture of internationals and locals.
Starter Pub: This place is located opposite of Bar On. You can go there when you are tired of Bar On or if it is too busy which does happen sometimes. This place also has quite cheap drinks.
Goblin’s Bar: This Irish bar can be hard to spot. As It is underground and you will have to take some stairs down to get there. The entrance is in the old town and drinks are still affordable. The location is what makes this place unique though.
Casey: This club has only opened at the beginning of 2020 after Unique club has closed down. (RIP Unique, we miss you!). It is not open every day but mostly where you can go to the student parties during the week. It’s a bit out of town but you can take public transportation there and just an Uber or Bolt back when you get home. Drinks are really cheap as well.
Masquerade: This club is right in the old town and hard to miss. The music is usually pretty good (lots of Latin music <3). It can get quite crowded though so don’t get there too late so you don’t have to queue outside. Drinks are pricey, make sure to drink enough beforehand.
Tanker Boat: Probably the coolest location of all the places in Bratislava. Tanker boat is on a boat on the Danube river. There are only events on specific dates and some of them are only for exchange students etc. but they do have public events at times I believe. Just have a look at their Facebook page before and see if there are events there while you are in Bratislava.
Day Trips from Bratislava
If you are spending some more time in Bratislava then you might want to visit some places nearby. It’s location makes it a great getaway to even visit neighbouring countries as part of a day trip. Here are some of the most popular day trips from Bratislava. There are also some great places to visit as part of a weekend trip from Bratislava.
Day Trip from Bratislava to Vienna
The most popular day trip from Bratislava is Vienna, the impressive capital city of Austria. From Bratislava you can reach Vienna in just an hour by bus. The easiest way to get there is just to get a bus from
Most SNP in the old town to Vienna Central Station. It is 5€ for the bus if you book it in advance and most of them go almost hourly.
In Vienna you can visit the beautiful Schönbrunn castle or discover the beautiful architecture in Vienna. You can definitely spent a lot more time in Vienna than just a day but it is way cheaper to stay in Bratislava so you can save some money for accommodation in Vienna.
Day Trip from Bratislava to Brno
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. You can easily reach it with a direct train from Bratislava Central Station within one and a half hours. While there might not be too much to do in Brno but it is a beautiful city with lots of beautiful buildings and lovely restaurants.
Day Trip from Bratislava to Trenčín
Trenčín is around two hours away from Bratislava and there is a direct train that connects the two. Like in Bratislava you can also find a castle in Trenčín which you can visit and from where you can get great views of the city and the surrounding nature.
Spend your day walking through the old town or having a craft beer or two.
Solo Female Travel in Bratislava
Bratislava is completely safe! I have been there for almost five months and probably walked around by myself at any time during the day at some point. I always felt a lot safer here actually than in some Western European countries.
There are a few hostels to stay at and it also isn’t too expensive. For safety precautions, I don’t really think there are any that you need to follow.
I would definitely recommend solo female travel in Bratislava but mostly if you combine it with a trip to some other neighbouring countries as Bratislava also is not the most interesting city to travel to by yourself.
For the rest of Slovakia I would not really recommend solo travel. Not because it is not safe but because it isn’t really well travelled so I imagine it could get a little boring or lonely at times. It’s all up to you of course!
Onward Travel from Bratislava
From Bratislava you can be in three different countries in less than an hour. Everything is pretty close and it is really easy to travel to neighbouring countries by train or long distance busses.
Bratislava to Austria: You can take a train or bus to Vienna that will just take you about an hour. The Austrian border in general is just a five minute drive away. A bus to Vienna will cost you five euros and there are several bus companies that travel to Vienna a couple of times a day. These are Flixbus, Regiojet and Slovak Lines.
Bratislava to Poland: From the Central bus station you can also take busses to Poland. It will take around 6 and a half hours to get to Krakow. That can cost you as little as 13 euros. It kind of depends of course which connection you will take and how late or early you book your bus connection.
Bratislava to Czech Republic: If you want to get to the Czech Republic, you can either take a bus or a train. There is a train that goes directly to Prague within 4 hours and stops at Brno, Breclav and some other places along the way. There are also busses that leave to the Czech Republic several times a a day as well.
Bratislava to Hungary: The easiest way to get to Hungary is to take a direct train from Hlavna Stanica, the central station, to this neighbouring country. The train leaves every two hours and will take you directly to Budapest in just two and a half hours.
Bratislava to Ukraine: Also the Ukraine is a neighbouring country of Slovakia but its border are on the Eastern side of the country. You can either cross the entire country first and take a train/bus to the boarder town in the Ukraine or all the way up to Lviv or Kiev. That will take you a lot of time though so flying would be the better option in most cases.
And I hope I covered most of the things that you should know before visiting Bratislava in my Bratislava Guide. If you have any more questions, drop them below and I am happy to answer them!
If you liked reading this Ultimate Guide to Bratislava and think it will be useful for someone, I always appreciate any comments or social shares 🙂
Talk to you later x
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