Planning a solo trip to Bratislava? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- Capital and largest city of Slovakia, with a population of about 430,000.
- Located in the south-west of the country, on the banks of the Danube and Morava.
- The political, cultural, business and economic center of the country.
- Nicknames: Beauty on the Danube, Little Big City.
- Currency: Euro (EUR).
- Spoken languages: Slovak (English, German and Hungarian spoken by foreigners).
- Best time to visit: from April to October (mild, continental climate with four seasons).
- Arriving via airport: Bratislava International Airport is located close to the city. Take bus #61, which will take you to the city center (Railway Station), or bus #96. You can also take a taxi to the city (Danube Airport or Breadis Taxi).
WHERE TO STAY
- Best hostel for solo travelers in Bratislava: Urban Elephant (18-34 age only). Lots of nightly party events hosted with the partner hostel (Wild Elephant); this one is just a bit more relaxed and less crazy. Great atmosphere, welcoming staff, and clean rooms. Excellent central location, close to all the key attractions.
- Most hotels are located on the right bank of the Danube. Prices are not as high as in other Western European capitals – visitors should be able to find an affordable hotel close to the city center.
- Some good hotels also are located close to the Technical University and near Michalska Tower.
- Bratislava has an excellent public transport system – with buses, trams and trolleybuses. All these use the same ticket system, making it convenient to hop around town.
- Tickets can be bought from newspaper kiosks or at automated (yellow) machines, located inside most stations. A ticket valid for 15 minutes (1 ride) costs €0.70, while a ticket valid for 1 hour (multiple rides) costs €1.50. An unlimited day-pass is €4.50 – tickets and passes are also available for multiple days.
- Note: tickets must be stamped immediately after boarding.
- Taxis are much cheaper than in other Western European capitals. There are over 20 companies, and it is usually cheaper to call for a taxi than flagging one down on the street.
- Drinking age is 18, no official last call (some clubs are open at night).
- During the tourist season, Bratislava is filled with live music and crowds of young people on the streets all through the night. There are plenty of pubs, clubs and discos to offer enough options for nightlife entertainment.
- Hip/local scene: in the narrow streets of the old town, and in the Hviezdoslavovo area (known to locals as the Korzo).
- Great bars: Kollarko, Meetnica (brewpub), Skupinová Terapia (day drinking), Bohéma Bar, and Bukowski Bar.
- Cool underground bar to check out: Goblins Pub.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Overlooking the city with its massive walls, the Bratislava Castle is hard to miss. Initially built in the Roman times, the castle has been modified over centuries – today, it houses the National Museum of Slovakia. Not to be missed.
- Devin Castle is one of the oldest historical landmarks of Slovakia, strategically located on a cliff overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers.
- The Grassalkovich Palace. Built as a summer residence back in 1760, this stylish palace is now home to the country’s President.
- No visit is complete without a look at the St. Martin Cathedral. Over 500 years old, this Gothic cathedral was built over an older Romanesque church. The cathedral has three naves, four chapels and many beautiful interior sculptures, paintings and decorations.
- The city’s museums will satisfy any history buff. Some notable museums include: the National Historical and Musical Museum (inside the Castle), Natural Science Museum, Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Clocks.
- Other unique landmarks include: Michaels Gate, Old Town Hall, Primatial Palace, the Parliament, Reduta, Slavin, the New Bridge, Franciscan Church and Monastery, Capuchin Church and Monastery, and Trinity Church.
- An architectural treat: take a walk through the traffic-free streets of the old town.
- Take a walk around the Bratislava Castle, taking in this massive landmark from every angle.
- Take a walk along the banks of the Danube, from the Sheraton Hotel to the Botanical Garden.
- On a good day, treat yourself to a cruise along the Danube – this is one of the best ways to see the city.
- Wake up like a local: start your day with a coffee at one of the many cafes located in the city center.
- Slovakia is renowned for its local breweries – try a beer while you’re in town! Want to try authentic Slovak food paired with great beer? Head to Bratislavský Meštiansky Pivovar or Centrálna Klubovňa.
- Great restaurants in Bratislava: Dolnozemská krčma ($$ – Slovak), Roxor ($$ – burgers), BeAbout ($$ – burgers), Góvinda reštaurácia (affordable vegetarian), Modrá Hviezda ($$$ – fine dining).
- Where to find good cheap eats: food is very affordable in Bratislava – look for small cafes and restaurants serving traditional Slovakian food. Don’t forget to sample the local wine. Looking for the best kebabs in town? Head to Musafer FAST FOOD.
- Dangerous areas: Bratislava is a very safe city. As a precaution, avoid the dark streets at night as well as the banks of the Danube.
Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days