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A day in Bratislava: All you need to know

Updated: Aug 10, 2023



Image of blog authors Gunner and Reeka with caption 'Gunner and Reeka in Bratislava'

Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, is a great addition to your Central European itinerary, if you have not included it already. This is mainly because of its perfect location. Located around two and a half hours away from Budapest by train, it is the perfect city to break your journey if you are travelling from Budapest to Prague, as we were. If you are visiting Vienna, Bratislava is located only about an hour away by train, making it a great place for a day trip as well.


How long should you spend in Bratislava


We made a 1 night stop at Bratislava, on our way from Budapest to Prague. We arrived at around 3 PM, and left the next morning right after breakfast. We felt that 1 day in Bratislava is just enough to explore the most picturesque part of the city, the Old Town, making it ideal for a day trip. However, if you do want to spend more time visiting museums, doing tours, and exploring areas outside the Old Town (which we did not), you would need to add at least another day.


Getting Around

icon of IDS BK app

Getting public transport tickets is convenient using the ids bk app. There are two main options for you to purchase tickets, the Basic Tickets or the Day Tickets. If you are only spending a day or two and visiting the Old Town in Bratislava, chances are you will stay within the 100+101 zones.

Screenshot of IDS BK app on the 'Day Tickets' page

The Day Tickets, as seen on the left, allow you to buy a single ticket valid for multiple rides in the given time period.

Screenshot of IDS BK app on the Basic tickets page

A 24-hour ticket purchased via the app will cost you 3.70 EUR, which is what we purchased. However, we found that the Bratislava Old Town was small enough for us to cover entirely on foot, and the only time we actually used the pass was to and from the main train station.


A basic ticket, as seen on the right, for 30 minutes would have only cost us 0.81 EUR, so it was not worth it for us to get the 24 hour pass.


Here's what we recommend: If you want to explore places beyond the Old Town, and plan to spend at least a full 24 hours in Bratislava, then consider the 24-hour ticket. If you have less than 24 hours in Bratislava and mainly want to spend time in the Old Town, and are comfortable with walking to most places, then the 24-hour ticket probably won't be worth it.

To understand more about the public transport system in detail, click here.


Things To Do


Here are some of the main things we spent our day doing:


1. Visit Michalska Brana (St. Michael’s Tower), a beautiful tower and gate on a picturesque street.

Image of St. Michael's Gate, a tower
St. Michael's Tower

2. Spend time in the Main Square and look for statues of Socha Napoleona and Cumil. This is a nice place to grab a bite or a coffee.


Statue of Cumil, a man emerging from a drain on the street
Statue of Cumil

3. Visit the Bratislava Castle and Gardens. This can be a bit of an inclined walk, but the castle gardens are beautiful and pleasant to relax in. You can also get a great view of the rest of the city from the viewpoint near the Castle.


Image of Bratislava castle and gardens
Bratislava Castle and Gardens

4. Try an authentic Slovakian meal. We went to a joint called Slovak Pub, known for its traditional Slovakian cuisine.


Garlic and Cheese soup, served in a bread bowl
Garlic and Cheese soup, served in a bread bowl

Here are some other things that you could do, that we did not have time to fit into our day:

  1. Visit the Blue Church, a stunning church located a bit further out from the Old Town.

  2. Visit St. Martin’s Cathedral, located in the Old Town.

  3. Visit the UFO Observation deck, on the bridge across the river.


Where To Stay: Our Accommodation Review


We would recommend staying in the Old Town, especially if you are only spending a day, as everything is a walkable distance away. Here is our review of our accommodation for the night:


BlueBell Hotel (address: Paulínyho 156/14, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia) - Visit their website


Location 5/5: This place has a great location. It is only a walking distance away from most of the attractions in the Old Town, and very close to the river and Bratislava Castle. It is also well connected to the main station where we arrived and departed from, with a direct line tram. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby.

Google  maps screenshot showing the train route from the main station to the Bluebell hotel
Route from Train Station to BlueBell Hotel

Comfort 4.5/5: Given that this is a budget-friendly accommodation, we were very happy with how spacious, clean and comfortable the room was. There are amenities such as a kettle, coffee and tea, provided in the rooms. However we did have a problem with the air-conditioning not working during our stay. Also note that there are no elevators in the hotel, as with many older European buildings, so you would need to climb one or two flights of stairs to get to your room. Do also note that parking may be an issue if you are arriving by car.


Final Thoughts


Overall, Bratislava is a pretty city with a lovely vibe, and is a great way to spend a day. While we probably wouldn't go out of our way to visit Bratislava, it is a destination worth including in your Central European itinerary, even if just for a day trip.

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