DestinationsSlovakiaTravel Tips

Bratislava – are we in Central Europe?

When we arrived in Bratislava it was an incredibly foggy morning, but that didn’t stop us appreciating this picturesque city. With it’s winding cobbled streets, colourful 18th century buildings, grand palaces and retro trams it’s a truly charming place!

You’d be forgiven for thinking Bratislava is a quintessential Eastern European city, but don’t get your geography twisted, it’s actually in Central Europe. Since my geographical knowledge is not that great, I’ll take the Slovaks’ word for it haha!

Although this is a cliche, the best way to enjoy the city is by wandering around. Bratislava is much quieter than other capital cities and with everything in easy walking distance it really is great to explore on foot (even in the cold).

Bratislava Castle

We headed straight up to Bratislava Castle which dominates the skyline standing 85 meters above the city. Today the castle is mainly a reconstruction, as the original building was destroyed by a fire in the 1800s.

If you are not interested in checking out the castle, you must take the walk up for the incredible views over Bratislava, the Danube River and the neighbouring country of Austria.

The Blue ChurchΒ 

St Elizabeth’s church, also known as The Blue Church (for obvious reasons) is one of the most interesting buildings in the city. It is painted a bold blue colour and really stands out against its grey and rather dull surroundings.

Old Town Hall

The old town hall is a complex of some of the oldest buildings in the city and home to the Bratislava City Museum, which holds a lot of interesting artefacts from the city’s history.

A weird, but true fact, is that the tower still has a cannon ball from Napoleon in one of it’s walls!

Of course, the view over the town from the top of the tower is reason enough to visit.

Primate’s Palace

Located at the centre of the Old Town, with a pastel pink exterior Primate’s Palace is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings.

The neoclassical Palace has equally impressive decor, although there is not a great deal to see and be warned – if you do try and take a picture inside, you face the wrath of the little old lady mafia who run this place haha.

Post Socialist city tour

We met Brano who invited us on a Post Socialist City Tour with Authentic Slovakia.

He met us in a really cool retro car – 70s Czechoslovak Skoda, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it because it was an insanely cold and windy day and we wanted to be inside the car most of the time. But here is a picture from their website, incase (like me) you’re not a car person and have no idea what a 70’s Skoda would look like.

The tour focuses on the recent history of the city when there were a lot of political and social changes. It’s a really interesting insight and certainly learn more about Bratislava than staying in the centre of the city.

We visited the first socialist apartment block which was built in 1955 and also learned about the history of the UFO bridge which actually destroyed the Jewish district of the city when it was built.

Visiting the Slavin memorial was really interesting. It is a huge Soviet monument dedicated to the thousands of Russian soldiers who liberated the city from the Germans in 1945. It also offers incredible views over the city and is a very peaceful place to visit.

Where to Eat?

Mondieu

Whilst wandering around, we discovered this little cafe which boasts a wonderful atmosphere, great food and incredibly affordable prices. It’s the perfect spot for breakfast with so many delicious dishes to choose from.

It’s also the perfect place to stop for a coffee and dessert. If you’re a chocolate love, this place is the dream. I can definitely recommend the chocolate cappuccino!

UFO Observatory

We headed up the UFO Observatory for dinner and it was incredible. We had a panoramic view over the city and mountains during sunset! The restaurant is perfectly designed to ensure you have great views whilst you’re eating.

The food and cocktails were great, obviously you pay a premium compared with other restaurants in the city, but it’s totally worth it for the experience!

Where to Stay?Β 

Of course, in my opinion when visiting Bratislava you must stay in the Old Town, as you will be perfectly located to explore the city.

We stayed in Hotel Art William which is located at the historic centre of the city. The rooms were very spacious and the highlight is definitely the zebra tiled bathroom!

This sign right outside of the building is a symbol showing it used to be a location of a gate to the city.

Have you ever visited Bratislava? What do you think of the city?Β 

xo Gemma

Disclaimer: The Slovak Tourist Board arranged our stay at Art Hotel William. However, all opinions and photography are my own.Β 

I'm Gemma, a travel blogger who is in love with exploring new places. Follow me for tips on how to achieve affordable luxury, travel inspiration and photographs from around the world.

21 Comments

  1. Ah, I do have a soft spot for these gorgeous and charming European towns. This is no exception with those 18th century buildings and cobblestone streets. That breakfast meal looks so inviting too! It’s the perfect fusion of great sights and delicious food, it seems!

  2. Such a pretty city. I still haven’t really explored eastern, sorry I mean central, Europe as yet but I did visit Prague and for obvious reasons Bratislava reminded me a little of there. I love small cafes so Mondieu looks perfect and being one to believe the UFO observatory should be interesting.

  3. Nice informative post about Bratislava. I’m a self-employed builder and like to look at the architecture of these beautiful European cities. The old town hall looks like an interesting building to explore. Nice post, thanks for sharing!

  4. Such a picturesque city.. Completely agree though it is a cliche but nothing like wandering around and finding hidden gems. I too love walking around or going for walking tours. Would love to visit his city someday.

  5. I have visited Bratislava, a couple of weeks ago. The weather was out of season being sunny and 12C, I was lucky. You guys got some brilliant pictures in the fog, I love the effect it gives. I missed the Slavin memorial so I’m a little jealous of that. The chocolate looks delicious at Mondieu.

  6. Even though it was foggy when you arrived, you certainly got great views of this beautiful European city. Interesting about the castle being mainly a reconstruction. How sad that it was destroyed in a fire in the 1800’s. The observatory looks beautiful! I love seeing skylines at night – so magical.

  7. Whenever I travel to Europe, I usually stick to only visiting countries located in the Western part… but this post definitely makes me want to explore Eastern Europe next time I go! Bratislava looks very lovely… so many beautiful buildings and architecture. I will definitely be sure to keep your post in mind when I begin planning my next European trip!

  8. Beautiful post! I totally agree – it does look a bit like Eastern Europe. It actually reminds me a bit of Prague! It looks like a gorgeous spot, I hope to visit someday. Thanks for sharing!

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