A city on a human scale (430 inhabitants) crossed by the Danube, the capital of Slovakia seduces with its provincial airs, its southern atmosphere and its old town resembling Prague. Art and history museums, lively nightlife, castles perched on the surrounding hills… Follow the guide!
The pearls of the old town
Small colorful alleys twist around one another, as in a fairy-tale village ... With its cobbled plots, pastel-colored houses and baroque churches, the old center of the Slovak capital has something to seduce the visitor .
First monument to discover: the bratislava castle, imposing but partly burnt down in a fire in 1811 and never restored since. From the top of the building, there is a beautiful view of the Danube.
A few meters further, rises thePoor Clares Church Klariska, with its five-sided bell tower, Gothic style, desecrated by the religious authorities after the suicide of its parish priest. On the other hand, the St. Martin's Cathedral, where eleven kings and eight queens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were crowned, remains an important place of worship.
Right next door, the Michel door, topped by a beautiful onion bell tower, is a vestige of the ancient fortifications that surrounded the city. Across the city, we notice unusual bronze statues: a man tilting his head out of the sewers to watch the pretty women go by, a Frenchman wearing a Napoleon hat (facing the French embassy), or another paparazzi strafing tourists.
And then, a little away from the old center, our favorite monument is undoubtedly theSt. Elisabeth Church. Art Nouveau style, shrouded in bluish hues, its dreamlike shapes suggest the magic of fairy tales.
The museum tour
This artistic vein flourishes in the myriad of museums that dot the city. Besides an anthology of Slovak religious works and Italian paintings, the Slovak National Galleries allow you to discover the pictorial tradition of the country, from the Middle Ages to the XNUMXth century.
Straddling the Mirbach Palace and palffy palace Bratislava City Gallery offers to see an anthology of paintings, sculptures and engravings of Slovak and European art, and houses the only national collection of modern and contemporary art.
For those curious eager to discover the history of Bratislava, the Metské múzeum is a place of choice. Archaeological treasures, religious goldsmith's or even manuscripts are presented in a splendid setting.
Under the castle hill, the Museum of the History of Slovakia has two beautiful parts, historical and archaeological, as well as a museum dedicated to the culture of the Carpathians.
Bratislava by night
Even tired by these visits, you will not escape the crazy Slovak nights! For several years, Bratislava has hosted a vibrant cultural and nightlife. Beats from the Balkans, photographic exhibitions or rock'n'roll nights: the Kulturni centrum Dunaj is one of the hotspots of young and contemporary culture.
More intimate, the bar Pod Kammennym stronom, just a few steps from the central square, is a cozy and relaxed place, with walls lined with paintings by young Slovak artists.
For the thirstiest, along Michalska Ulica et Venturska Ulica A succession of lively bars stretches out, in an area also known as "Slovak Broadway". Do not hesitate to browse in the backyards, you risk unearthing nuggets: many nocturnal places are hidden in passages or cellars ...
The surrounding area: castles and vineyards
The next day, after having feasted as it should be, set off to explore the surroundings of Bratislava.
First must-see attraction: the Devin castle, located west of the Slovak capital. The collapsed ruins of this fortress, destroyed by Napoleon Bonaparte, constitute one of the archaeological treasures of the country. At the confluence of the Danube and the Morava, they have withstood the assaults of the invaders for centuries.
Further northeast rises the narcotic Pierre-Rouge castle (Cerveny Kamen). One of the most beautiful monuments in Slovakia, it was built in the middle of the XNUMXth century, on a rocky outcrop of the Lesser Carpathians. It houses impressive cellars, built after the model of Albrecht Dürer.
Finally, take the road again to zigzag through the vines that dot the region. By stopping in one of the towns that line the road to the capital, like Pezinok ou Blue, you will have the pleasure of drinking glasses with the villagers, tasting delicious Slovak wine. Cheers !
To prepare for your stay, see our Slovakia sheet.
Slovakia Tourist Board
How to get there ?
Ryanair serves Bratislava from Paris-Beauvais.
For more choices, go through Vienna Airport, located 45 km away, which is connected to the Slovak capital by regular shuttles.
Several daily direct flights between Paris CDG, Nice, Lyon, Toulouse, Basel and Vienna with Austrian and Air France
Where to sleep ?
Find your hotel in Bratislava
Where to eat ? Where to have a drink?
- Prasna Basta: Zalmonicka, 11. In a passage, near Porte Michel, fine Slovak cuisine for one of the best value for money in the city. Main course € 5-10.
Along Michalska Ulica et Venturska Ulica A succession of lively bars stretches out, in an area also known as "Slovak Broadway".
- The 17's Bar: Hviezdoslavovo nam 17. The meeting place for die-hard night owls.
- Pod Kammennym Stronom: Sedlarska, 10. Just a few steps from the central square, is a cozy and relaxed place, with walls lined with paintings by young Slovak artists.
- Kulturni centrum Dunaj: Nedbalova 3. Bar and cultural center with an interesting program, to discover Bratislava on the move.