5 must things to do in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia!

Welcome to Bratislava! Just at a stone’s throw from Vienna or Budapest ( 1 hour approximately), there’s an enchanting city which you shouldn’t miss! Plan your stopover to Bratislava ( it doesn’t take you so much time to visit it – 1 single day). But what’s so impressive about this city? The economic, cultural and touristic hub of Slovakia, Bratislava is visited by  a lot of foreign people among whom there are Czechs, Germans, English who come here by ship through the Danube (it’s one of the 4 capitals crossed by the Danube) or by car (so close to Vienna, Budapest) or by train. And  it’s obvoius that, during its history, it florished so much being ruled by  the Habsburg Empire or then by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You’ll be stroke by the very resemblances between it and Austria. Have I caught your attention regarding what and how to visit here? If so, I’m ready to give you  pieces of information because I’ve seen it 3 times.

BRATISLAVA general view

1.Visit the Bratislava Castle! The sight which will definitely attract your sight… Perched on a hill, the  XIX’th castle overlooks the borders of Danube and the entire city. Climb the hill and discover the  History Museum and the National Museum which are  worth  visiting.As an art lover,
I indulged my eyes with a large collection devoted to art – approximately 3500 paintings, statues, and prints by domestic and foreign artists grouped according to theme. But has the well-known empress Maria Theresa of Austria left her mark here? Of course yes, seeing her portraits displayed inside the castle. Other points of interested are the religious art, sculpture and modern art such as Julius Koller’s  canvas. There are  even copies of 15th century altarpieces and church statues done by Paul of Levoca. Furthermore, you should take advantage of the superb panorama offered by this imposing landmark.

Bratislava castle

2. Cross the UFO or the New Bridge! The road bridge designed for pedestrians and cars. Curiosities- It is the 32nd-tallest and the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane. A real feat of enginnering! But that’s not all. Take a break climbing to the  flying saucer-shaped structure housing a restaurant. Taste the best  dishes there (if you want to have a breathtaking view of the centre of Bratislava  go to  the East Bar or opt for the  West Bar which  rewards you with captivating views of  the Devin Castle and Danube river).  Aren’t you satisfied enough? Then, go to  UFO open-air observation deck situated above the restaurant and  enjoy a 360° view. (the structure was declared Slovakia’s building of the century).

the most important bridge in Bratislava-jon-berghoff

3. Go to St. Martin Cathedral ! This XIV’th Gothic building was the coronation church of  19 Hungarian Emperors (including Maria Theresia)  until the 19th century.  At the edge of the Old Centre,this is it. Don’t be dissapointed by its exterior which seems a bit common and let your steps get in where you’ll be impressed by every detail and where you’ll imagine what was a luxurious ceremony of coronation like. Apart from  a nice statue of St. Martin carved by sculptor Georg Rafael Donner, you can see golden, gothic style altars which you’ll find quite attractive. On the whole, the most important details are a Classic gothic nave, the vaulted arches and stain-glassed windows which strike every tourist. The final leg of your visit is climbing to the church’s tower where it is displayed  St. Stephen’s Crown, a 1m high copy of the Hungarian royal crown and other treasury things ( Beethoven has had a premiere here).

 St. Martin's Cathedral

Altarcopy of the Hungarian crown

4. It’s time to meet wonderful man-like statues!  Where? Just in the Old Centre. Don’t stare at a man getting out of an underground channel! Yes, you’ve heard it well.There’s a working man called Cumil who invites tourists to lean forward (to the ground) to be taken a photo with. He’s not filthy so don’t be afraid and give him a hug while saying cheese. Not far from this popular statue, it stands another one- the Paparazzi which is coming from the corner, holding a camera to snap photos of every passer-by. Feel like a star! Wasn’t it enough? No, it’s time to encounter the happiest “person” on Bratislava or Schone Naci, an older gentleman lifting his hat to greet you as you pass. Something like a famous clown who  gained local fame so don’t miss it! The last but not the least interesting statue is the Napoleon’s Army Solder one, leaning over  a park bench in the center of the square, just waiting for you to take a souvenir photo with “him”.

Cumil or man at work!

paparazzihappy clown

5. See a Middle Ages gate-the Michael’s Gate! Dig into history and discover one part of the historical legacy standing just in front of you. Walking around the city, you ‘ll surely have to walk through the gate to get from the main square back up toward the Presidential Palace area. Michael’s Gate is the only portion remaining of a Medieval fortification that once stood in Bratislava. Here’s also the narrowest house in Europe. Beware not to miss it! In my opinion,even though it’s an important landmark for the whole city, it  is worth seeing to be photographed.The gate continues with  a quaint street lined with many shops and restaurants. In the summertime, the Michalska Ulica is teeming with tourists, street bands, and locals. Can you go inside the gate? Yes! There’s an interesting museum inside the tower and  at the top of it you can experience the views of the old town.  Some metres away, you’ll see the museum of pharmacy with a lobster hanging up at the entrance and medicines showed in the stalls. Find out the history of pills, drugs if you are interested to…

St-Michaels-Gate-Bratislava

pharmacy museum

5. A stroll down the Old Centre will be perfect for you! In this paragarph, I’ll let you know about other worth seeing sights in Bratislava. I’ll begin with the Grassalkovich Palace,  the home to Slovakia’s President, a white-coloured building which is guarded 24 hours a day by a guard who can be seen marching in front of the castle by visitors. Moreover, Grassalkovich Palace is situated in a huge, open park with a Baroque garden that is open to the public, even when the President is in residence.  Next, head to the Neo-Renaissance Slovak National Theatre, built in 1885-1886, during the time of Austria-Hungary, based on a design created by the Viennese architects. Book your tickets (I’ve read that they are so cheap-13 E the best seats). From outside it’s an elegant building which is very appreciated by tourists. And not far from the statues I mentioned, there’s the  Renaissance  Old Town Hall with its  imposing Tower opened  to visitors ( look to that pretty tiled roof design). It overlooks the beautiful main square with its fountain in the middle and some interesting sculptures. It houses the Municipal museum, the oldest museum in Bratislava. If you visit it, you see the exhibition of the feudal justice system and history of the town.

Grassalkovich museumNationbal Theatre

bratislava-old_town_hall

                    I hope that my information is useful for your next visit of Bratislava. Thanks for stopping by and let me know of your impressions or suggestions!