Bratislava has come into its own as the vibrant capital of Slovakia following the breakup of Czechoslovakia. It has a beautiful medieval center, complete with narrow, winding streets and a striking hilltop castle looking down on the Danube. The city has a long and proud history, from being the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Hungary to the fall of the Soviet era in the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
From Bratislava Castle and Bratislava Klarisky Convent to the modernist SNP Bridge and the vast communist-era housing schemes, Bratislava has some of the most striking architecture in Central Europe.
Bratislava has a compact city center based around two pretty squares: Hlavne namestie and Hviezdoslavovo namestie. The area has been extensively but tastefully renovated and is a wonderful place to walk or sit in the cafes and watch the world go by.
Bratislava is home to the renowned Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, who perform often in the beautiful Reduta Building. You can also take in ballet, opera and drama at the National Theatre.
Slovaks love to learn languages and hold lots of nightly informal events - such as the Bratislava Language Exchange Meeting and Bratislava Expat Meetup - in local bars. Turn up and get to know the locals.
Ice hockey is the national sport of Slovakia and you can catch a game featuring local favorites HC Slovan Bratislava at the Slovnaft Arena.
Situated directly above the Danube river at the heart of the Bratislava, the Bratislavsky hrad stands as the sole castle of Slovakia's capital. For centuries, it has been one of the city's dominant features, mainly because of its impressive size, architecture, and location. Enjoy spectacular views of Austria, Bratislava, and even Hungary when skies are clear from the castle's prime location high on a hill of the Little Carpathinans mountain range, where the city is located. When the sun is shining, enjoy a slow walk in the green gardens of the Bratislava Castle with the Gothic-constructed walls and foliage providing the perfect blend of nature and man-made beauty.
Spread across 1,434 ft (437m) of land on the Kamzík hill in Bratislava, the Televízna vea na Kamzíku (Kamzík TV Tower) is a transmission tower that measures exactly 196 meters. Designed by five architects and constructed in 1975, this impressive structure overlooks the city and the observation deck provides great views of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria. Its panorama restaurant Altitude allows visitors to enjoy scrumptious Mediterranean cuisine as they experience the 360-degreee view from the comfort of their seats.
Clearly visible from the country's capital, the Slavin War Memorial is a military cemetery and memorial monument established in 1960 in honor of the soldiers who died in the line of duty during the last weeks of World War II. Pay tribute to the 6,845 fallen soldiers who rest in this cemetery, which hosts a mix of individual and mixed graves. Situated in a rich villa quarter, its location is a sight to behold, offering breathtaking views of the city from all angles.
Built between 1909 and 1913, the Modrý kostolík stands tall on the eastern side of Bratislava. Its mosaics, blue-gazed roof, façade, and majolicas earned it the name The Little Blue Church, but it was actually originally painted in pastel colors, only to be redone in blue in the decades to come. Witness the Hungarian Secessionist-inspired beauty of this Catholic church come to life as it blends in seamlessly with the blue skies on a clear day. The altarpiece depicting St. Elizabeth in the interior of the church will leave you feeling as if you've stepped through the gates of heaven.
Stretching 1,413ft (430.8m) over the Danube in Bratislava, the UFO Bridge (Popularly referred to as 'Most SNP') is the earth's only cable-stayed bridge to have one cable-stayed plane and one pylon. Its construction took place between 1967 and 1972 and it officially opened on August 26, 1972. In the east pillar, the elevator will take you up to a flying-saucer-like structure at the pylon's peak, housing a restaurant with a crystal clear view of the entire city.
Bratislava has a temperate continental climate, with dry, warm summers. June-August is an ideal time to visit.
The City is served by Bratislava Milan Rastislav tefánik Airport, which has extensive international connections across Europe. The number 61 bus will take you into the city for EUR1.20 but you need to buy tickets at one of the vending machines in the arrivals hall before boarding. A taxi into town will cost around EUR20.
The main train station is Bratislava hlavná stanica, which has good international connections. A return from Vienna costs EUR16.
Bratislava is close to the borders of Austria and the Czech Republic, and it has excellent road connections. You need to buy a 'vignette' to use the motorways, which costs just EUR10 for 10 days.
There are frequent bus services from most Slovak destinations and international services from as far away as London and Paris. A single journey from Vienna costs EUR9.
The Patio Hostel on pitálska is a good budget option, with rooms from EUR11. Devín on Riečna is a lovely four-star traditional hotel right in the city center, with rooms from EUR100.
Stare Mesto - is the old town of Bratislava and is home to the well-preserved medieval center, Bratislava Castle, the two main city squares and a beautiful riverbank promenade.
Nové Mesto - is the new town to the northeast of Stare Mesto. It is home to the Kamzik TV Tower and Bratislava Forest Park.
Devin - is a former independent village at the joining of the Morava and Danube rivers. It has some important archaeological sites, including the ruins of Devin Castle.
Bratislava is served by a good network of trams and trolley buses, with fares from EUR0.70.
The starting fare for a taxi in Bratislava is EUR3.33 and you will then pay around EUR1.00 per mile.
Bratislava is easy to drive in, with good roads and extensive parking. Car rental is from EUR20 per day.
Bratislava has a number of good shopping malls, such as Aupark, Eurovea and Central, with the usual mix of fashion and department stores. Stare Mesto is better for souvenirs.
A quart of milk in Bratislava will cost around EUR0.70 and a dozen eggs are EUR1.71.
Zylinder cafe & restaurant on Hviezdoslavovo square has traditional dishes with a modern twist, with mains from EUR10. Praná bata on Zámočnícka has excellent local fare with a fixed price daily menu from EUR5.50.