Are you visiting Bratislava for the first time? You have no idea what to see or where to go? We have a great solution for you.
Just keep reading the article! 🙂
Bratislava is one of the smaller European capital cities but it has a lot to offer to all its visitors. We have taken a tour around the city with Elephant Free Walking Tour. We discovered that we knew so little about the city we are living in! The tour was funny, refreshing and we found out a lot of new things. It lasted around 3 hours and based on it we bring you a beginner’s guide to Bratislava.
As most tours even this one starts in the centre. After a quick introduction you will get immediately down to business. The tourist guide will give you a brief history of the city and the tour can start.
We’re gonna give you everything you need to know about this tour.But first, we want a little help from you: click here and like our Facebook page!
Where to stay
Bratislava has a wide selection of hostels and hotels. However, we must admit that the prices are not so low as you may think.
Check our Travel Resources page to find your accommodation in Bratislava.
The best hostel is probably Elephant. In the very heart of the Old Town, it has good prices and friendly staff. Sleep there and wake up with their Free Walking Tour!
Bratislava, Pressburg or Poszony?
One of the biggest advantages of Bratislava is its position. It is situated near the borders of four different countries: Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. You can imagine that this caused mixing of a lot of different cultures.
In the Middle Ages a big group of German and Hungarian settlers came to Bratislava and there was also a significant Jewish, Italian and Balkan community. This is a reason why Bratislava is known under many different names: Poszony, Posonium or Prešporok.
A guide to Bratislava: the Historical city center
The tour starts in the Main Square, called Hlavne Namestie. You will immediately get a lot of info on the things that are not so easy to spot. The streets of the the historical center are full of bizarre statues: Napoleon leaning against the bench, Čumil (the guy who stares) or Schone Naci (a famous Slovak gentleman). These are just a few examples of what you will come across.
After the Main Square you will explore another beautiful square. The Hviezdoslavovo Square starts with the historical opera building and ends with the monument dedicated to the victims of the plague from 1712. In the summer there is always something going on here: markets, music and dance performances or photo expositions.
Behind the city walls
A very important part of the beginner’s guide to Bratislava is a visit to the Old Town walls. You will get a picture of how big the city was in the past. One of the advantages of the tour is that once in a while your guide will ask you questions on the things around you. Just by using your intuition you can answer them and understand even more about the city.
Once you leave the historical atmosphere of the Old Town you will see the Jewish part of the city and then walk towards the castle. Right under the castle you will find a few favorite gathering places of local young people. The pubs there offer great beers and there is an underground bar called Subclub. Many legendary stories from Bratislava end in this very club :).
To the castle and back
The next stop on your tour is the dominant of the city: the majestic castle of Bratislava. The inside of the castle is not that interesting but the court is a great panoramic point. You can observe the other part of the Danube. The tourists usually avoiding crossing the river since the endless blocks of flats look a little threatening. That area is called Petrzalka and there are not so many things to see.
At this point your guide will also reveal the sad socialist past of the city (and the country). You will find out more about what was going on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain and you probably won’t like it. After that you will visit the Cat Cafe or a local brewery, and return to the Old Town.
Other interesting spots
A guide to Bratislava cannot exclude its churches. There are so many of them, but we’ve chosen to list the two most beautiful ones:
- St. Martin’s Cathedral: Situated in the old town on the way to the Castle, it is the largest and one of the oldest churches in Bratislava. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, it has been the coronation church of the Kingdom of Hungary. It’s almost always open so just go there and check it by yourself.
- The Blue Church: The official name is Church of St. Elizabeth, but everyone calls it “the blue church”. Why? because it’s actually blue! The walls and the interiors are beautifully decorated with various shades of blue. It’s our favorite church in the city, so make sure not to miss it. You will find it in Bezručova Street, 10′ walk from the main square.
There are plenty of other points of interest in Bratislava. They are less famous and touristic, but equally worth the trip. We are not going to reveal them right now, they’ll be published in the next post about the city.
Let us know in the comments what you think about this guide to Bratislava. If you liked the post, share it with your friends!