Bratislava, the Slovak capital, has a unique location- to the south of Hungary and the west of Austria, Vienna lies just within a half an hour’s drive. These cities are the closest capitals in the world. Bratislava is a cosmopolitan city and the best starting point for your European travel. Because of this proximity to other ‘favourite’ tourist attractions, it is often overlooked. Let’s discover together the cultural and historic attractions that this city has to offer.
10. The Novy Most Bridge
From 95 meters above the ground, standing on the New Bridge (Novy Most), the bridge tower offers the most beautiful sight of Bratislava and shows the way that you need to follow to discover this city. Another impressive city view is from the Television Tower, which is far from the city centre. This road bridge passes over the Danube and is the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane. For a unique panorama of the city, you should enter the UFO restaurant, a special attraction shaped as a flying saucer – on the bridge’s pylon. In this stylish restaurant, you can enter for lunch or dinner or pay a fee and admire the view over the city.
9. The Old Town Square
Located in the heart of Bratislava, the square is the best-known square in the city. Moreover, it is home to one of the city’s important landmarks, the Roland Fountain. The fountain’s construction was ordered by Maximilian II, the king of Royal Hungary, in 1572 with the purpose of providing water for public supply. Now the visitors can admire his statue on top of the fountain.
8. Old Town Hall
Placed in the Old Town Square, the Old town Hall is a complex of buildings from the 14th century, thus the oldest town hall in Slovakia. If you climb the stairs from the city tower, you will have a view over the square and the inner yard from the top. The most beautiful Slovak museum is in part of the building and can be visited in order to find out more about the city’s history. From 1370 to 1850, some of the rooms hosted a dungeon, so the torture devices are put on display, reminding of the prisoner’s sufferings.
7. Slovak Parliament
On top of a hill overlooking the city, near the Bratislava Castle can be found the Slovak Parliament. The building of Slovak parliament is a new building that was reconstructed in the beginning of the 19th years of the 20th century. There is no entry fee for visiting the Parliament. Tours are organized daily at 2:00 PM. If you go on one, make sure you take a photograph of yourself standing on the podium, from which the Parliament is addressed.
6. The Slovak National Theater
The Slovak National Theater was built in Neo-Renaissance style in 1885–1886 during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The building was home for the National Theater since 1920, but currently it only for opera and ballet ensembles. It was restored in 1980s, when a new building was added to the complex. In front of this beautiful yellow building, is a fountain, depicting Ganymede, borne by an eagle to Olympus, where he shall serve Zeus. As a reward, he gains eternal youth, which to this day radiates from the boy’s joyful face.
5. ZOO Bratislava
The ZOO opened in 1960 and currently there are over 1.000 specimens of around 150 species, making the ZOO as popular destination for both adults and children. It offers several facilities such as a children’s playground, several possibilities of refreshments and a shop. What makes it special is the fact that it offers a variety of educational programs for schools, by making use of children paleontological playground and a 3D cinema.
4. Blue Church
Officially known as the Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary, this astonishingly blue church is an extravagant piece of Art Nouveau architecture. This landmark is visited by many foreigners, which often describe it as a candy-coloured or fairy tale, as both the interior, the exterior and the roof are painted in a variety of blue shades.
3. St. Martin’s Cathedral
This impressive Gothic cathedral served as a coronation place, as 11 Hungarian kings and 8 royal wives were crowned here between 1563 and 1830. The interior is almost 70 m long and 23 meters wide and features 3 naves. The 85 m high tower originally served as town’s fortifications, built as it was into the city’s defensive walls. One can also visit the underground crypts and the collections from the church treasury.
2. Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle, is the city landmark, attracting tourist from all the corners of the world. The castle’s history is believed to date back to the Iron Age, around 500 – 600 BC. The buildings have Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural elements. Here you can visit the treasury room, Knights room and a permanent exhibition and castle gallery.
1. Primate’s Palace
Currently the mayor’s seat, the Primate’s Palace, is a neoclassical palace in the OldTown. The palace and its most famous chamber, the Hall of Mirrors, created by linking several rooms lined with mirrors and damask carpets. Moreover, the Palace is open for visitors. Palace hosts today a large part of the city art collection.
As our journey through Bratislava comes to a close, we are left with an indelible impression of a city that effortlessly blends tradition and modernity, history and innovation. With its remarkable landmarks, charming neighbourhoods, and welcoming atmosphere, Bratislava stands as a true gem in the heart of Europe. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking an authentic cultural experience, this captivating city offers many delights worth a visit. If you have visited any of these locations, or have a differant place to suggets do let us know in the comments below.