I feel that Bratislava is often overlooked, the neighbouring cities of Prague, Budapest and Vienna seem to gain more attention on the tourist trail.
Yet Bratislava is still blessed with the Danube and is emerging fast in terms of Eastern European city breaks.
These are my suggestions of must see things to see and do in Bratislava...
1. The Old Town
Bratislava's historical centre is charming with it's cobbled streets and pastel coloured medieval buildings.
Walking through the town you'll come across the main square (Hlavne Nam) sprinkled with quaint cafe's and bars.
If you visit in the summer time, try and seek out one of the many ice-cream stands set around the Old Town. (Special shout out for the homemade blueberry ice-cream)
2. St. Michael's Gate
This gate is one of the oldest buildings in the town, and you have the opportunity to climb this medieval tower. The area is pedestrianised and the surrounding lanes have street vendors selling souvenirs and you'll likely come across live musicians too.
Inside the tower, there is the Museum of Arms and weapons, and you'll learn all about the city and it's fortifications.
Entrance is 4.50 Euros
3. Bratislava's statues
Dotted around the city are a few bronze statues. One of the best ones to keep an eye out for is "Cumil the peeper". The story goes that he's representing a typical man who is working on the underground sewers - now it's for you to decide if he's taking a well earned break or.. peeking under the women's skirts. This 1997 statues creates quite a commotion and has become a symbol of Bratislava.
Another one that I came across was outside the Eurovea shopping centre. This shopping centre has over 20 restaurants to eat from and free WiFi.
4. The Danube
The Danube runs through a few central European countries, until it reaches the Black Sea. Along the banks of the river there are accessible paths and benches in which to walk along on a fine summer's evening.
There are numerous bridges that cross the river, just be wary of the oncoming traffic.
Or consider taking one of the many river cruises available, if you have the time you can take a trip on the river all the way to Vienna or Budapest. Be aware that there are boat companies that specialise in "stag party" cruises, with bars on board and uber friendly strippers. (Keep me posted on how those boat parties are..)
5. The UFO (Most SNP Bridge)
Situated on one end of the SNP Bridge (Bridge of the Slovak National uprising) The UFO is an observatory deck which also hosts a high end restaurant. To get up to the top deck take an elevator up 312 feet to marvel at the panoramic views across the city. You'll see the glory that is Bratislava Castle, the Old Town and St.Martin's Cathedral. On one side of the river you'll see remains of some Soviet architecture and directly straight ahead you'll see the Apollo bridge over the blue Danube.
Plan your visit for around sunset, and once the sun goes down the city and castle will be illuminated.
Entrance into the UFO is 7.40 Euros/Students 4.95 Euros.
6. Bratislava Castle
Perched high above Bratislava, you can't miss this castle. First referenced in Slovak history way back in 9th Century. It's distinctive because of the newly renewed clean white walls, and unique silhouette. Inside the castle there is the Slovak National Museum of History, which holds a collection of bronze aged items up to the present day.
Due to the placement of the castle, there is quite a bit of walking up to see it. There are numerous pathways up to the top but rest assured the view from the top is magnificent. If you want to take the public bus, look out for the 203 or 207 to the "Hrad" - (Castle)
Admission into the castle is 6 Euros and 3 Euros for students.
There we have it, some of the highlights from this great city.
The transport links around Bratislava are good and the airport connection takes around 15 minutes by bus. (Bus 61) - Always remember to validate your ticket. Or a taxi direct into the city will set you back around 15-20 Euros.
If you are a budget traveller like me, it's worth investing in the Bratislava Card which allows unlimited travel within the city, admission to 12 museums, a free 1 hour walking tour and over 120 attraction discounts.
I feel that if your time allows, spend time outside of Bratislava to also experience Slovakia and what it has to offer.
UFO Observation deck:
Slovak National Muesum:
Ice-cream shops in Bratislava:
Slovak bus company: