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    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.