Though city tours offer a delightful drive-through experience, the true charm of Bratislava is best experienced when explored on foot! So lace up those comfortable shoes and prepare for an adventurous day viewing medieval architecture, stunning panoramic views, enriching museums and intriguing tales of local history, all just steps from your river boat. In this article, we’ve curated a list of engaging areas to enjoy the charm of Bratislava, one step at a time!
This cobblestone town square offers a beautiful mix of old and new. Shops, museums, palaces, statues, medieval walls, churches and Starbucks provide an eclectic mix for your wanderings. Sit by the fountains or one of the many statues while enjoying some local cuisine and people watching.
Bratislava’s Old Town Hall is a striking historic building in the main square of old town, but what often goes unnoticed is a cannonball stuck in the tower wall. It has been there since 1809, when Bratislava was bombarded by Napoleon Bonaparte. The old town hall houses the city’s oldest museum, the Bratislava City Museum. In the center of the square we’ll find the Maximilian Fountain (also known as Roland’s Fountain). The old town hall was not only used as a town hall but also as a mint, occasionally a prison.
Cumil statue. Čumil is the work of Slovak sculptor Viktor Hulík. The sculptures. name is Čumil, the Slovak word that means “watcher”. The statue is of a man peeking out from under a manhole cover. Because it is so low to the ground, pedestrians have tripped on it and vehicles have run over it. ]After the statue had lost its head twice due to inattentive drivers, it was decided to place a road sign next to it.
St. Michael’s Gate is the last preserved gate of the medieval city fortification. For a small fee, you can purchase a ticket and climb the tower. The tower offers magnificent views of the Old Town and the surrounding area. The tower is also home to the Museum of Arms, which houses weaponry artifacts & historical exhibits on the city’s defenses.
St. Martin’s gothic church is located between the Bratislava castle and old town. This three-nave Gothic cathedral is built on the site of a previous, Romanesque church and is integrated with some of the remaining medieval city walls and courtyards. Wander around the city walls and read the signs with some of the city history written in Slovak and English or explore the ruins, including a quiet courtyard covered with green ivy or visit the interior of the church. This is the largest church in Bratislava and is an active cathedral. If you would like to visit the interior, please be courteous of worshippers and aware of the visiting hours.
The Slovak National Theater historical building, which opened in 1886, is Bratislava’s opera house. The busts of famous musical composers in openings in the façade, as well as figures of children symbolizing tragedy and comedy.
Ganymede’s Fountain stands at the entrance to the theatre. Until the 1950s it was home to drama, opera and ballet performances. In Slovak, the theater is called the Slovenské národné divadlo and is abbreviated SND. When the permanent stage for the SND Drama Company opened, the Historic Building became exclusively dedicated to Opera and Ballet.
Brave the multiple staircases and enjoy the beautiful grounds of the Bratislava Castle. Meander through the picturesque baroque gardens, enter the court of honor and see the panoramic view of the Danube river, then enter the main castle courtyard and see the 4 towers and an 80 meter deep, water well. If you would like to enter the treasure room, filled with goldsmith and silversmith works, you will need to purchase a ticket.
The UFO. It’s an observation tower. It’s a restaurant. It’s a skywalk! The observation tower, 95 meters tall, offers beautiful panoramic views with a line of sight up to 100 km. The restaurant serves a delicious combination of Asian-Mediterranean cuisine offered a la carte or within an 8-course tasting menu with ingredients obtained within 30 kilometers from Bratislava.
Bring out your inner daredevil and try the skywalk! This 360 degree walk around the outside of the observation deck offers plenty of views and thrills! The UFO Skywalk is a unique seasonal (April-October) attraction.