If you are planning a trip to Slovakia´s capital and want to try something different from the classic places of interest – discover some of these cool and unusual spots.
1. Take a boat to Danubiana Gallery
This unique museum is strongly connected with the surrounding nature and the Danube river so a boat trip to this place is a truly memorable experience. You can enjoy not only the exposed paintings, artworks and sculptures but also the impressive architecture of the museum building and the fauna and the flora around. The roof of the museum with a beautiful park offers wonderful views, especially at sunset. The best way to get there is definitely by boat which leaves from Fajnorovo nábrežie in the center of Bratislava stays in Danubiana for three hours and then goes back.
2. Visit the Blue Church
Like from a fairy-tale, this impressive and picturesque art nouveau church got its name thanks to the blue roof tiles and walls. Even though it is mentioned in almost every travel guide visitors of Bratislava tend to skip it since it is located in the outskirts of the old town – but still just a 10-minute walk from the main square! Built at the beginning of 20th century by the architect Edmund Lechner, the blue church is definitely the most beautiful secessionist building in Bratislava. Before your visit make sure you check the opening hours since the interior part is opened just for a few hours a day.
3. Chill in one of the trendy cafés
Coffee is an important thing in Slovakia and Bratislava as the capital is a heaven for lovers of coffee. There are around 160 coffee places just around the main square in the old town offering something for everyone. Urban house on Laurínska street is a place where young artistic types gather with their laptops to have a cup of gingerbread latte. Dobre&Dobre on Nedbalova street, on the other hand, has a social mission – it gives work to people who were once homeless as waiters and baristas. Dot Espresso Bar is a gallery exhibiting works of young local artists and serving a great quality coffee. The lab is a co-working space with a creative environment, 3D printers, great café and lots of space to work on your project. You can find all kinds of coffee places in Bratislava so join the locals and hang out in on of them when you are around.
4. Try the local food
Delicious Slovak meals are served in most of the restaurants in Slovakia. However, the best place to try local food is in traditional places called ‘salaš’ or ‘koliba’. These restaurants usually work as farms as well so the products are local and always fresh. The most typical meal in Slovakia is bryndzové halušky which is basically potato dumplings with fresh sheep cheese sauce and smoked bacon. The best place to try Slovak food in the center of Bratislava is Slovak Pub at Obchodná street or Flag Ship Restaurant at SNP Square offering fresh and tasty Slovak dishes made of local ingredients from a bio farm close to Bratislava.
5. Walk to Slavín Monument
Slavín memorial is visible from almost every part of Bratislava. It memorizes the city´s liberation by the Red Army at the end of the Second World War. Except that it is also a cemetery for 6845 Soviet soldiers who died during the battle. The memorial brings mixed emotions to Slovaks since the liberation of Bratislava also brought communism to Slovakia but it remains one of the most popular places for a visit, among locals. The position of the monument is spectacular with breathtaking views of the city and the best way to get there is definitely by walk from the old town. On your way to Slavín, you can visit the Kozia brána cemetery with gravestones from the 19th century and a truly magical atmosphere. The road to Slavín leads through a wealthy neighborhood with villas from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This part of Bratislava with its unique historical architecture is one of the most beautiful so make sure to visit it.
6. Hang out by the river
Bratislava lies on the river Danube and the area around the river is definitely one of the favorite spots for locals. It is a place where we go for a walk, run or where we meet for a drink or dinner. What is better than running around the Danube at the sunset watching its reflection on the river? The riverbank is also a place with lots of restaurants, bars and coffee places where you can chill and enjoy your meal with a beautiful view. If you want something more hidden head to Mark Twain Club which is a tiny old ship which serves as a bar/music club in the summer months.
7. Take a cableway at Koliba hill
Koliba is a popular place to relax in nature, take a walk, do sports or to have a picnic or barbecue. It is a large area of woodland with roads and pathways for walkers or bikers. On top of the hill, there is a view tower and some pubs to have a drink or grab some snacks. Get a trolleybus number 203 from the old town and get out at the last stop ‘Koliba’ then continue walking up through the forest. The cableway from Koliba runs throughout the year from Tuesday to Sunday. There is a nice view over the city and it is a perfect way how to escape the city buzz and enjoy some peace in nature.
8. Shop at one of the authentic markets
Bratislava is a city with lots of options for shopping. The most atmospheric market is the Christmas Market which takes place in the Old Town every December. However, Bratislava offers many other markets that are opened all year long. If you want to explore the main market in the historical center you should definitely visit the Old Market Hall on a Saturday. Local food and drinks, cosmetics, used books, music performances and many more. ‘Stará Tržnica’ is a classic meeting spot among locals so make sure to stop by if you are visiting Bratislava on a Saturday. Another great place is Fresh Market – located in a large industrial space with restaurants on the first floor and shops on the ground floor. There are more than 50 shops offering something for everyone and 25 unique places to eat. If you want something even more authentic – Miletičova outdoor market is a perfect choice!
9. Explore the Soviet architecture
If you want to see something different than the classic tourist attractions in the historical center head to the outskirts and experience something special. Because of the communist past, there are many surviving Soviet-style buildings and monuments in Bratislava that can be interesting to explore. The most fascinating one is the UFO shape restaurant at the SNP bridge which is one of the main symbols of the city. Another unique building to visit is the Slovak Radio Building which is basically an upside-down pyramid. Breaking all the previous conventions and even the rules of physics it took 16 years to finish this building. If you want to learn more and visit these places with a guide you can try ‘The Post-Communist Bratislava Tour’ in a legendary 70´s Czechoslovak Škoda car through the off-beaten-track places.
10. Visit the ruins of Devín Castle
This castle is approximately 10 km from the center of Bratislava but it is worth the trip. It stands on a massive rock in a beautiful scenery and you can visit an interesting exhibition in the castle area. There are loads of hike paths and bike roads around the castle so you can easily spend the whole day here. The best part is definitely the stunning views from the highest part of the castle from where you can see till Austria as well as the Czech Republic. I also recommend a forest walk from Devín to Sandberg (a giant sand hill which was a bottom of the sea in the past) located just above the castle.
Updated: December 5, 2018