In this post I’ll walk you through what we did in 24 hours in Bratislava. When I told people I was going to Slovakia, Bratislava I kinda of got this weird look but I quickly realized this was because people hadn’t really heard of the city nor knew anything about it. I have to admit until I booked flights there I didn’t really know much either. Bratislava is a city located near the middle of Europe, it’s not western but it’s not really eastern either and because of this it has a bit of a different feel. It’s still packed with beautiful architecture, fantastic eateries and plenty of pubs but you’ll find less of the hipster vibe and more of the traditional vibe. At least it means beer is cheap…
A Bratislava City Break
Arriving in to Bratislava by plane is pretty straight forward, the airport is relatively small so there’s only one terminal to worry about. To get to the city you have a few options, taxi if you don’t mind spending a bit or the local buses which are super cheap. You can catch these outside of the terminal to the right. You’ll want the 61 bus and this will take you straight to the main train station. At the bus stop you can purchase a 30 minute ticket and don’t forget to get the 15 minute luggage ticket if you have a big suitcase, these also need validating once you get on the bus. Depending on your accommodation location you may need to catch another bus or walk around 20 minutes like we did.
Accommodation | Park Inn Danube
We chose to stay in this centrally located spot along the river, however, in hindsight having a spot closer to the train station would have been easier. Still the room was nice, the facilities better than basic and the location meant we were within easy walking distance of all the main attractions. The hotel did also have a spa and pool but we didn’t end up with enough time to check that out.
Your 24 Hours in Bratislava
We arrived in the early afternoon and used the bus to get into the city, we were so excited to be back in Europe that we pulled out suitcase through the old town to our hotel so we could start exploring straight away.
Wander the Old Town
Take some time to initially wander around the old town and get your bearings. This part of the city was my favourite and easily the prettiest. Start at Michael’s Gate and wander down the main street and then off to the left towards the main square. The old town isn’t huge so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights without having to wander at break neck pace. If you want to do any shopping, this point would be a good time to wander around the cute shops.
Climb Michael’s Gate Tower
Once you’ve got a feel for the old town it’s time to head up and look out across the rest of the city. The entrance for this tower is a little tricky to find but the door is to the right and labelled as the Museum of Arms. It’s only a couple of flights of stairs to climb and on each level is a little display about different battle amour etc. From the top you can see a 360 degree view across the city and it’s fully open to the elements which means no glass or wire to restrict photos.
COST | €5 for adults, €3 for students
Alternatively you could climb the clock tower of the Town Hall in the main square we we opted not to do this as we’d done the gate tower.
Dinner & Drinks at Slovak Pub
This not so little spot was a complete surprise to us. It felt as I imagined a beer hall in Munich would and it had a fantastic menu. We’d already had dinner by this point but judging by the menu and food we saw I’d save yourself for this spot. Their beer was homemade and delicious too. It’s located a little out of the old town but will only take around 10 minutes to walk there.
Visit the Blue Church
This is the perfect end to the day and not far from the Slovak Pub. It has to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and at sunset looks amazing against the sky. If you’re visiting in winter you may need to adjust the timings of your visit or you’ll be arriving here in the dark.
The Next Day
Morning Run (or walk) along the Danube
We like to get in a little exercise even when on holiday and there was no better place for a run than along the river. We ran in both directions as the path to the east wasn’t very long. As we did so there were plenty of overnight river boats with passengers waking up and enjoying and morning coffee while the sun was already high in the sky.
Breakfast at Urban Bistro
After that exercise we felt like we deserved a decent breakfast. We opted not to have it at the hotel at €15 each! Instead we headed for this little spot I’d seen recommended on a blog. It’s located right by Michael’s Gate so has prime views and their breakfast menu is amazing. I would have had every dish if I could. They are also open for lunch and dinner with seating both in and outside.
Visit St. Martin’s Cathedral
This cathedral was located not far from our hotel and is certainly worth a visit. The streets around it are cute and quiet while the cathedral itself is grand and impressive, especially inside. You won’t need long here and visits are free of charge.
Climb Castle Hill
You can’t really miss the castle towering over the city so we we made this our last stop during our 24 hours. To walk up you’ll wander through some cute cobbled streets and then climb several steps to reach the top, quite a feat in 30+ temps! Once you reach the top you can do a loop walk around the castle or head inside and explore. We chose the former because we were running out of time until our train but you could go inside if you had time.
Ascend the UFO
And one final thing, although we didn’t have time for this. If you cross over the bridge once you come down from Castle Hill and head over to the UFO building. This is another viewpoint over the city and I’d imagine a pretty cool perspective from this side of the river. I believe you can also get drinks up here.
And that concludes your 24 hours in Bratislava, it was a city that I had no expectations for and was pleasantly surprised by what we saw. It is a city that is a little rough and ready around the edges, we saw a lot of homeless people at the train station but it also has a huge charm. Bratislava is also only an hour train ride away from Vienna so it’s perfect for pairing the two together just like we did.