Hostelworld Guide for Bratislava

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A small city with a bubbly personality, Bratislava is one of the most attractive and welcoming cities to be found along the Danube. Each year it attracts huge numbers of visitors thanks to its myriad of attractions and its friendly residents. Visitors to the city run the gamut from culture vultures looking to enjoy all that the city's historical centre has to offer, to the partygoers who come to Bratislava to sample its far from insubstantial nightlife. Throughout the city you'll come across a number of great sights including Bratislava Castle, St. Martin's Cathedral and a plethora of museums and art galleries. Shopaholics are well catered for too, with a number of large shopping centres to be explored. When the sun goes down, you won't believe the sheer number of options this city boasts. Whether you fancy a leisurely dinner, some live music or an all-night dance party, you'll find it here. Home to close to half a million people, the Slovakian capital is a worthy stop on any trip to Eastern Europe.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Bratislava is served by the R. Stefánik Airport, which is located 9km from the city centre. To get into the city centre, you can hop on one of the inexpensive buses departing from outside the terminal. A taxi to the city centre will cost between €15-€20 but make sure you use official taxis as there are others who will rip you off and charge you up to €50.

By train: Bratislava's main railway station is about 10 minutes walk from the city centre. Services from all over the country, as well as from Hungary, Germany, Austria and more, terminate here.

By bus: Bus services from across Europe operate through Slovakia, with many services terminating at Bratislava's Central Bus Station at Mlynské nivy.

Getting Around

On foot: Many of the city's main attractions are in and around the Old Town area and are reachable on foot; however, you will need to use public transport at some stage during your stay.

By bus: Bratislava's extensive bus network runs on approximately 60 routes each day, with around 18 routes served during the night.

By tram: Trams run across Bratislava on 13 different lines and are a very popular way of getting around the city.

 Useful Phrases

Hello: Dobrý deň
Goodbye: Dovidenia
Please: Prosím
Thank you: Dakujem
You're welcome: Nie je zač
Yes: Áno
No: Nie
Of course: Iste
Excuse me: Prepáčte mi
How are you?: Ako sa máš?
Open: Otvorené
Closed: Zatvorené
What is your name?: Ako sa voláš?
My name is...: Volám sa...
How much?: Koľko?
May I have the bill?: Prosím si účet?

As a result of its continental climate, Bratislava usually sees four distinct seasons over the course of a year. Summers are warm, with July being the warmest month and seeing temperatures of around 21şC. These summers can also be quite wet, and July gets the most rainfall at an average of 73mm. January and February tend to be the coldest months, with temperatures sometimes dropping below zero. In terms of sunshine, the months of May to August typically get 9 hours every day.

 Good to know...

Language: Slovak
Currency: Euro
Electricity: 220V, AC/50Hz
Area code: +421 (Slovakia), 02 (Bratislava)
Emergency codes: Ambulance 112, Fire 112/150, Police 112/158
Time Zone: Central European Time (GMT +1)
Central Post Office: Namestie SNP 35
Main Tourist Office: Main Tourist Information Office, Klobučnicka ul 2

Embassies and Consulates

UK: +421 (0)2 5998 2000
USA: +421 (0)2 5443 0861
Canada: +421 (0)2 5920 4031
Australia: +43 (0)1 506 740*
New Zealand: +49 (0)30 206 210**
South Africa: +421 (0)2 2077 1025***
Ireland: +421 (0)2 5930 9611
Germany: +421 (0)2 5920 4400
Spain: +421 (0)2 5441 5724
Italy: +421 (0)2 5464 0067
France: +421 (0)2 5934 7111

*Embassy in Vienna
**Embassy in Berlin
***Consulate in Bratislava

Hostelworld Guide for Bratislava

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Bagel and Coffee Story, Stúrova 13, Old Town This top-notch bagel shop is the place to go if you're looking for quick service and reasonable prices. It offers breakfast bagels, as well as a whole range of other fillings including salmon, tuna, ham and cheese, vegetarian and much more. Coffees, milkshakes and virgin cocktails round off the menu. Open Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 9am-5pm, closed Sun.

 And the Verdict is...

Verdict, Panská 6, Old Town Perfect for a cheap and tasty lunch, Verdict offers outdoor seating on a shaded deck area. Prompt service is provided by friendly staff. Slovakian specialities such as 'bryndzové pirohy', a type of dumpling (pictured), are available. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri & Sat 11am-1am.

Sole Mio, Grösslingova 31, Ruzinov A stone's throw from the beautiful Blue Church, this restaurant boasts a great view from its outdoor seating area. Very good value, Sole Mio offers tasty food prepared quickly. Daily specials on pizzas and pasta dishes are available, so check it out for a relaxed meal in a great location. Open Mon-Fri 7.30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am & 10pm.

Medusa, Michalská 21, Old Town Medusa serves up everything from steaks to salads, along with pasta, soups, risotto and much more. This funky restaurant and bar boasts reasonable prices and a friendly air. A great spot to relax with a meal in one of the wicker chairs outside. Open Mon-Thurs 11am-1am, Fri & Sat 11am-3am, Sun 11am-12am.

Bella Napoli, Drevená 10, Old Town Offering a huge range of Italian dishes, it's no surprise that Bella Napoli is a very popular restaurant. The low prices offered also help. You should be able to get a table easily as there are lots both inside and outside. A relaxed yet lively atmosphere completes this eatery's appeal. Open daily 9am-11pm.

Aligator, Laurinská 7, Old Town Perfect for rock fans, this dark gem of a bar is reached by heading down a flight of stairs under the watchful eye of, you guessed it, an alligator. Not a live one, of course, just a pretty cool statue. Once inside the bar you can sample the extensive drinks menu, find some space on the floor to mosh along to the music, or catch one of the many live performances. Open Tues-Sat 6pm-3am, closed Sun and Mon.

The Slovak Pub, Obchodná 62, Old Town Beloved by both the local students and the visiting hordes of backpackers, the Slovak Pub serves up a slew of cheap drinks. Spirits, beers, cocktails and wines are all available here are rock-bottom prices so make sure you check it out. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-12am, Fri-Sat 10am-2am, Sun 12pm-12am; free WiFi available.

Downtown, Klariská 8, Old Town With its chic interior and outdoor seating, this bar offers lots of different options depending on what you want from your night. You can sit outside and watch people pass by as the sun sets, or sip your drinks inside surrounded by a buzz of conversation. The bar area is narrow but quite long, and features a big screen TV and a substantial stereo system. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri-Sat 11am & 3am.

 Gay/Lesbian Bratislava

Despite its relatively small size, the gay scene in Bratislava is pretty lively with a number of bars and clubs to check out across the city. The city's oldest gay club is the Apollon on Panenská 24. Other top venues include 4Pinks (Zupné nám 3) and Spider (Jedikova 9).

Café Viki, Banskobystrická 18 Away from the main nightlife areas, this relaxed bar is a great place for a quiet drink during the day after visiting Grassalkovich. It also has internet access, if you feel the need to check your email. Everything from whiskeys to fruit juices can be found on the drinks menu, and prices couldn't be any more reasonable. Open Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 4pm-10pm.

Castum Pub, Obchodná 36, Old Town Head up the stairs and cross Castum's outdoor deck area to reach the long bar area inside. Bright and airy, it stretches back a long way and is filled with chattering locals and visitors alike. Cheap beer, cocktails, spirits and more are all available from the prompt bar staff. Open Mon-Thurs 8am-12am, Fri 8am-1am, Sat & Sun 11am-12pm.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

 Gone to the garden

Grassalkovich Garden, Hodzovo nám, Old Town Found behind the Grassalkovich Presidential Palace, this large garden area was opened in 1919. Today it's filled with colourful flowerbeds, tall trees and well-kept expanses of grass. Open daily, Nov-Feb 10am-6pm, Mar 10am-7pm, Apr-May 8am-8pm, June-Sept 8am-9pm, Oct 10am-8pm; admission free.

Bratislava City Gallery, Pálffy Palace, Panská 19, Old Town Probably the most interesting thing about this gallery is the 'Passage' exhibit, an intriguing corridor of mirrors, giving the effect that you're standing between endless walls of stacked books. Housed inside a 19th century building, the gallery also boasts Gothic paintings and sculptures. Open Tues-Sun 11am-6pm, closed Mon; admission €3.50.

Natural Science Museum, Vajanskeho nabrezie 2, Old Town Housed over four floors, this natural history museum hosts lots of interesting displays. You'll see animals of both national and international origin, including birds, fish, insects, mammals and more. Open Tues-Sun 9am-5pm, closed Mon; admission €3.50.

Devín Castle, Muránska ul., Devín This fortress was constructed in the 13th century, with other buildings added later. Make sure to check out the exhibits covering the castle's history, along with the castle well. Open Apr-Oct Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, May-Sept Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm; admission €3.

St. Martin's Cathedral, Rudnayovo nám 1, Old Town Built in the early part of the 13th century, this Gothic Cathedral is one of the city's most important houses of worship. The largely stone interior is enhanced by stunning stained glass windows. Open Mon-Sat 9am-11.30am & 1pm-5pm, Sun 1.30pm-4.30pm; admission €2.

April - Bratislava for Everyone Over the course of one weekend in April, both locals and visitors have the chance to visit important buildings which are usually closed to the public.

May - Night of Museums and Galleries Each year on this day many of Bratislava's numerous museums and art galleries open their doors to the public late into the night.

June - Children's Day An annual event, Children's Day celebrates Slovakia's young people. A wide variety of events, exhibits and competitions are all part of the festival.

August - Organ Music Days During this popular festival the history of organ music is celebrated. Performances by local and international artists can be heard over the course of the event.

September - Coronation Festivities Throughout this celebration which remembers the Austro-Hungarian monarchs crowned here, actors dress up in period costumes and perform reenactments. Parades and fireworks are also part of the festivities.

October - Bratislava Jazz Days Initially started in 1975, this hugely successful festival of jazz boasts performances from top-class musicians from around the world.

November-December - Bratislava Music Festival Now in its 45th year, this annual event is a celebration of classical music and is hosted by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. Over 2 weeks the event features performances by national and international musicians.

November-December - Christmas Market Held in and around the Old Town's main square, this event sees 100 different stalls setting up shop. These offer everything from traditional foods to crafts to handmade jewellery and more. This market attracts a large number of visitors to the city.

December - Next Music Festival On the go since the year 2000, this is a popular alternative music event. Throughout the festivities, numerous musical performances, video events and more take place.

December - International Film Festival Heading into its 11th edition, the International Film Festival sees national and international feature films and short movies screened across the city.

Hostelworld Guide for Bratislava

 Neighbourhood Watch

 Retail Therapy

'Staré Mesto' or 'Old Town' Bratislava's Old Town area is where visitors usually spend most of their time. That's due to the high concentration of attractions here, including everything from the Bratislava City Gallery to St. Martin's Cathedral. The Slovak National Theatre, along with a large number of bars and restaurants can also be found here.

'Nové Mesto' or 'New Town' 'Nové Mesto', Bratislava's New Town, is easily reachable by tram. Here you'll find plenty to occupy your time. Shopping fiends will delight in the expansive selection at Polus City Center, while the more outdoorsy types will love the Bratislava Forest Park. This park covers over 27 kilometres, and is home to various things to see and do, including a chairlift.

Petrzalka Across the river from the Old Town area, this section of Bratislava boasts lots of things to tempt visitors into crossing the Danube. While in Petrzalka, you can walk through the beautiful expanse of the Sad Janka Kral'a, shop at the huge AuPark shopping centre or even check out the UFO-like structure at the top of the New Bridge.

Cunovo Located a mere 20 kilometres from Bratislava's city centre, Cunovo is well-worth the trip. Not only boasting cultural attractions such as the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, it is also home to the Water Sports Centre Cunovo. This centre has its own artificial white-water slalom which is popular with visitors, and it also hosts a number of water sports events.

 The Castle's village

Devín While Devín Castle is without a doubt the main attraction in this village, there are also other things to tempt visitors here. Only around 20 minutes by bus from Bratislava city centre, Devín boasts pretty walks along the Morava River, as well as various places to sample some of the local food and drink.

 Stalls and all

Jedlíkova Open-Air Market, Obchodná, Old Town Beneath the Castum Pub, this market is comprised of numerous stalls offering everything from shades to shoes. Prices are reasonable, making this a great spot to pick up some extra clothes during your trip. Open Mon-Fri 9am-6.30pm, Sat 8.30am-2pm, closed Sun.

AuPark, Einsteinova ul. 18, Petrzalka Stretching over three floors, the AuPark shopping centre provides a smorgasbord of local and international brand names for avid shoppers to feast upon. Some well-known brands on offer here include Esprit, Benneton, Mango, H&M, C&A, and Swarovski, among others. Open Mon-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat & Sun 9am-9pm.

Polus City Center, Vajnorská 100, Nové Mesto A short trip by tram will bring you from the city centre to this shopping behemoth. From the main, domed atrium various avenues branch off and these are filled with shops of all sizes. A staggering range of goods is available, from clothing to electronics and much more, with both local and international brands well-represented. Open daily 9am-9pm.

Main Square Market Stalls, Hlavné nám, Old Town Lining two sides of Bratislava's historic main square, these stalls are a popular stop with visitors to the city. As well as offering the usual souvenirs, you'll also come across an interesting collection of crafts, handmade jewellery, tin soldiers and more. Open daily 9am-7pm.

Obchodná, Old Town Bratislava's main shopping street is home to numerous shops, with local brands the most prominent. Various boutiques, electronics stores, gift shops and more can all be found along this busy stretch. Some globally recognisable brands are also evident here, including New Yorker, Intimissi and a number of others.

 Bratislava for Free

 A Day in Bratislava...

Walk across the 'Novy most' or 'New Bridge' Spanning the Danube, this bridge was completed in 1972 and carries both road and foot traffic across the river. As you cross you'll be afforded great views of the Danube and Old Town. You'll also be able to get a good look at the UFO-esque construct at the top of the bridge's 84-metre tall tower.

Visit the Slavín Monument An important monument, Slavín was built to honour the almost 6,900 Soviet soldiers who were killed in Bratislava during WWII. A visit here is a solemn experience, as you'll see many soldiers' graves surrounding the towering 39.5-metre tall monument.

Stroll through Sad Janka Kral'a Park Calm and peaceful, this is the place to go if you're looking to unwind. A walk through this beautiful, open park will take you past colourful flowers, funky free-standing art, a large fountain and more. Locals can often be seen enjoying a respite from city life here, whether that's playing frisbee on the grass or just lounging under the shade of one of the many trees.

Wander along Hviezdoslavovo námestie From its collection of fountains to its variety of interesting artworks and statues, Hviezdoslavovo nám is a must while in Bratislava. Reaching from the Slovak National Theatre to the New Bridge, it offers shade under tall leafy trees. Numerous cafés line one side of this well-loved stretch.

 Hey blue, here's a song for you

Marvel at the Blue Church A visually stunning structure, the Blue Church or 'Modry kostolik' exterior is painted in a variety of pretty blue hues. Inside, the church also features bright blue pews. Colourful stained glass windows hanging chandeliers and a number of interesting statues increase the appeal of the peaceful interior. Open daily 7am-6pm.

Start the day with a tasty breakfast bagel at the Bagel and Coffee Story on Stúrova in the city's Old Town area.

From here it's a short walk to the intriguing Natural Science Museum. Here you can learn more about animals from around the world thanks to the numerous exhibits.

Cross the New Bridge (below) enjoying the view. Then exercise your wallet at the AuPark shopping centre, before taking a walk through Sad Janka Kral'a Park.

new bridge pic

Return to the Old Town Area, stopping for lunch at one of the many restaurants along Laurinská or Panská.

Visit the intriguing Bratislava City Gallery, home to 'the Passage', which is housed inside the 19th century Pálffy Palace.

Walk through the Main Square, having a look at the various stalls that set up shop there. You can also sit by Maximilian's Fountain.

Check out the Grassalkovich Presidential Palace with its impressive fountain out front. Don't forget to have a wander through the lovely gardens behind the Palace too.

Enjoy a delicious and very reasonably priced meal from the extensive selection of dishes offered by Bella Napoli on Drevená.

Climb the stairs to go have a few drinks in the Castum Pub, a popular spot just above Obchodná's market.

Spend the rest of the night sipping cocktails and enjoying the music at Cocoloco on Nam. SNP.

Hostelworld Guide for Bratislava