Europe Travel

One Day in Bratislava Slovakia

Location: Bratislava Slovakia

The tiny medieval town of Bratislava is often a stop on Danube river cruises. It’s an easy town to wander on your own, or take an organized tour. It’s also a very easy day trip from Vienna – which is how we we visited and spent One Day in Bratislava Slovakia.

Bratislava Castle

Day Trip

We visited as a day trip from Vienna, where we had spent a week (Visiting Vienna Austria). There are a couple of options for getting to Bratislava. Twin City Liner is a hydrofoil option, you can book direct or go on a guided tour. The full-day tour leaves from Vienna and gives you several hours to wander Bratislava as well as enjoy the beautiful Danube. This service is only in available in the summer.

Since we were in Vienna in late April, we missed the start of the Twin City Liner season by just a week. So, instead we took a bus. We did Flixbus, with multiple daily round-trip options on a beautiful and comfortable coach for under $20 each. By taking Flixbus, we were on our own in Bratislava to make our own choices. But you can also do a guided tour, leaving from Vienna Opera House using Get Your Guide.


The hour and a half bus ride from Vienna to Bratislava was super easy. We arrived in Bratislava refreshed and ready to walk around. The weather was lovely. We had booked a walking tour at noon, but we had more than an hour to get our bearings. First thing we noticed was so many different gelato stands. Well, 10:30 isn’t too early for gelato! Savoring our treat we walked around the tree-lined pedestrian walkway, admiring the Bratislava Old Town Hviezdoslav Square. This gathering place is home to one of the cities most beautiful buildings, The National Theater, and a statue of Poet Pavol Országh – a famous Slovak.

Gelato at 10:30 in the morning
Beautiful tree-lined pedestrian streets
Slovakia National Theatre

Walking Tour

Next we wandered through the pedestrian streets lined with shops and restaurants to admire Saint Michael’s Gate. Completed in the 14th century this beautiful medieval gate is the last from the fortified city. Be sure not to miss it.

Saint Michael’s Gate

Now it was time for our walking tour. As always, I promote a walking tour in any and every city we visit. Walking with a local, we were guided to some of the hidden spaces of Bratislava. We started learning about history and culture at the meeting point of Fransiscan Square – home to the 13th century Franciscan Church. Our guide was wonderful with a great grasp on both the old and new of Bratislava. We visited Primates Square where the Parliament is and visited the statue of Saint George.

Franciscan Square
Primates Square
Saint George

On our way to the famous Blue Church (mostly famous just because it’s blue) we passed by a former location of another gate to the old city. Next we heard a very interesting account of the Bratislava 1989 student uprisings that would eventually bring down communism. In 1992 Slovakia declared itself a sovereign state from the Czech Republic. Czeckolslovakia became two independent nations.

Blue Church
Tanks vs People in Student Uprising


We finished our interesting walking tour by walking out onto Stary Most bridge, a recently rebuilt bridge across the Danube for pedestrians, cyclists and trams. From the bridge we enjoyed seeing all the river cruise boats in port and the beautiful view of the castle up on the hill.

River boats passing under Stary Most Bridge
View from Stary Most Bridge

Let’s Eat

The national dish of Slovakia is potato dumplings with sheep’s cheese and bacon. So of course I had to try it. Many places in Bratislava serve traditional dishes, but on the suggestion of our walking tour guide we ended up at Meanto and enjoyed sitting outside on the cobbled street. We had cabbage dumplings as well, fried potatoes and garlic soup. It was a delicious meal.

Dumplings, dumplings, dumplings
Potato Pancakes
Garlic Soup

Bratislava Castle

Our final stop on our day in Bratislava was the castle, standing sentry atop the hill overlooking the city.

There is evidence of a settlement here as far back as the 600-500 BC. Coins have been found from the Moravian Empire but in the 12th century the castle began to change. The towers were added in the 13th century and further renovations occurred in the 15th century. The last large scale reconstruction occurred under the reign of Maria Teresa in the late 1700’s.

Bratislava Castle
The Gardens

But in 1811 a devastating fire took the majority of the ancient building down. It sat in ruins for more than 100 years, until reconstruction began in 1953. Today the castle is home to the Slovak National Museum. The grounds and gardens are a lovely place for families to gather and picnic and it is a must visit when in Bratislava.

The view of the Danube from the Bratislava Castle

Back to Vienna

After a full day trip to Bratislava it was time for our return bus to Vienna. Once again the comfy bus safely returned us, with a very brief stop at the border where a border agent glanced at passports before flagging us on.

One Day in Bratislava Slovakia

I definitely recommend One Day in Bratislava Slovakia and you should do a walking tour to get the most of your visit. It was a wonderful way to see a new city and a new country for me.

Thank you for reading my post One Day in Bratislava Slovakia. Be sure to read last week’s post Mad About Madagascar here. You might also enjoy Visiting Vienna Austria here.

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  • Reply Hannah

    Bratislava looks like such a beautiful city! It wasn’t even on my radar before reading your guide but now I really want to go! I love how pretty all the colourful buildings are. Starting a visit with a walking tour sounds like a brilliant idea! Thanks for the great guide!

    June 15, 2024 at 6:48 am
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    We were very surprised when we visited Bratislava at how much we enjoyed wandering in the city. And we found the best food. We figured we needed to return one day and see far more of the country. Some good suggestions for a return visit we have this fall on a river cruise.

    June 15, 2024 at 9:13 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Fall would be lovely.

      June 15, 2024 at 10:33 pm
  • Reply Terri

    I am also a huge fan of walking tours. I like to schedule for the first day when I arrive in a new city. This way you get a local’s recommendations on things to do and places to eat.

    June 15, 2024 at 10:45 am
  • Reply Sara Essop

    I visited Bratislava a few months ago by train from Vienna. We stayed 2 nights though. Your post brought back great memories.

    June 15, 2024 at 10:54 am
  • Reply Jasmina

    I visited Bratislava a few years ago, but the weather was really bad and I didn’t see the city in the light it deserved. If I ever get the chance, I will definitely go back to Bratislava. But I ate some really great food there!

    June 15, 2024 at 11:31 am
    • Reply Laureen

      We lucked out with great weather.

      June 15, 2024 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply Sonia

    I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Zilina, but have only driven past Bratislava. I like the idea of a walking tour on a return trip to Slovakia, to see the highlights and learn more about the history.

    June 15, 2024 at 12:07 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      I always live a walking tour!

      June 15, 2024 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply Anna Schaeffer

    Honestly Slovakia has never been on my radar, but it looks BEAUTIFUL! The food looks so good too! And I love anywhere with castles <3

    June 16, 2024 at 7:23 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Definitely worth a visit

      June 16, 2024 at 8:03 pm
  • Reply Jolaynen

    Beautiful! And gelato is acceptable at any time of the day!

    June 18, 2024 at 8:11 am
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