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11 Things to See, Do, and Eat in Bratislava, Slovakia

Restaurants + Bars Museums Insider Guides Art + Architecture
by Matador Creators Jan 26, 2023

Bratislava probably isn’t the first European capital on most travelers’ bucket lists, but that’s only because most travelers probably don’t know how fun the Slovakian capital truly is. Like many of the most popular European cities, it has incredible architecture, thriving beer and cafe cultures, and a beautiful riverside location on the Danube — and Bratislava is an easy city to see on a budget to boot. If you’re sold on the idea of visiting Slovakia’s grandest city but don’t know where to start, here are 11 memorable things to do in Bratislava.

Presidential Palace

Bratislava’s presidential palace — officially Grassalkovich Palace and colloquially Slovakia’s White House — is an impressive baroque building dating to 1760. Once a concert venue and gathering place for aristocrats, Grassalkovich Palace is now the seat of the president of Slovakia, although its large French garden serves as a public park as well. The palace is located in Hodžovo Square on the edge of Bratislava’s Old Town.

Old Town

Bratislava’s Old Town is a stunning cultural and historical destination, with winding side streets, sculptures and statues, and architectural landmarks such as Bratislava Castle, Michael’s Gate, the Blue Church, St. Martin’s Cathedral. After cafe hopping and immersing in the bustle of the main square, Hlavné Námestie, head to the Slovak National Theater for an evening opera.

The Blue Church

Located in Old Town, the Blue Church is Bratislava’s standout attraction, if only because of its striking baby blue hue. Officially named the Church of St. Elizabeth, the 20th-century Art Nouveau holy site is famous for its many altarpieces, mosaics, and majolicas, which are a type of decorative tin-glazed earthenware that was popularized during the Italian Renaissance.

Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar

Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar is a large brewery located on historic Dunajská street a few minutes from Bratislava’s Old Town. Its origins can be traced back to the 15th century when beer brewing first took off in Bratislava, then Prešpork. The brewery locals and visitors alike flock to today was built in 2010 and specializes in pilsners. Traditional Slovakian food — heavy on red meat, dumplings, and seasonal vegetables — is also served on site.

Drink in Gallery Andy

A stone’s throw from Bratislava Castle in the Old Town is a funky little bar called Drink in Gallery Andy that was created in the image of a traditional Slovakian tram. The intimate interior is filled with cool rotating artworks, and you can get small bites like sandwiches and french fries along with coffee, beer, wine, bubbly, and a variety of elaborate and colorful cocktails.

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle is the most imposing structure in the Slovakian capital, watching over Old Town from its hilltop perch. Written records of the castle date as far back as the ninth century when it was originally constructed, although it was rebuilt multiple times, most recently in the mid-20th century. Today, visitors can not only admire the castle from many points within the city but also tour the Slovak National Museum-Historical Museum located inside.

Primate’s Palace

A must-see for history buffs, Primate’s Palace is not an ornate zoo but a stunning classical building that’s filled with impressive collections, including a portrait gallery, hall of mirrors, tapestry collection, and array of rooftop statues, vases, and a coat of arms. Once belonging to a Hungarian archbishop, the palace now serves as the mayor’s office as well as a concert hall.

UFO Tower

At more than 300 feet tall, UFO Tower is one of Bratislava’s most skyline-defining landmarks, so named because it resembles an alien spacecraft. It was built in 1972 on top of the New Bridge, one of the largest hanging bridges in the world, offering 360-degree views of the Danuve below. Inside, there’s a restaurant and cafe, as well as an observation deck on top of the dome.

Rooftop by Regal

Everybody loves a rooftop bar. This rooftop bar in Bratislava’s Old Town is no exception. The 2,000-plus-square-foot terrace not only provides guests with wine, beer, cocktails, specialty lemonades, and American-style eats like burgers and fries but also stages concerts and events during the summer. Have no fear if you’re visiting Bratislava during the chilly winter, though. Rooftop by Regal is outfitted with igloo-style tents to keep guests warm in a cool ambiance.

Antique American Bar

Numerous travelers have written online reviews attesting to the fact that Antique American Bar serves the best cocktails in Bratislava. The exterior and outside seating is what you might expect of a European cafe while the inviting interior looks like it could pass for an Old Hollywood hotel bar, with black-and-white photos on the wall and a small but striking chandelier hanging overhead. Note that there’s limited seating inside, so reservations are recommended.

Roxor Burger

Roxor Burger is a popular burger joint located in Bratislava’s New Town about 20 minutes northeast of Old Town on foot. The menu is simple: a variety of excellent burgers using beef sourced from local farms (with the exception of the one veggie burger on the menu), fresh french fries made every day, homemade accouterments from the buns to the sauces, a handful of sides and sweets, and beer from small breweries.

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