What To Do in Bratislava in One Day

1 day in Bratislava itinerary

1 day in Bratislava itinerary – a full guide to what to do in Bratislava in one day.

1 day in Bratislava itinerary

Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia. Although it’s the biggest city of the country, Bratislava is one of the smallest European capitals. Located on the banks of Danube river, the city is a unique mixture of Soviet architecture and old elegant buildings.

Is Bratislava worth visiting

Is Bratislava worth a visit? Absolutely!

The Old Town of Bratislava is small but full of charming winding alleyways, historic buildings and cafés. Not to forget the quirky sculptures, the 9th-century castle and the UFO tower rising above the town.

It’s a perfect city for a leisurely stroll with a bit of history. If you’re not into museums, tour the Old Town and then enjoy a cup of coffee or wine in any of the numerous cafés and bars.

How many days in Bratislava

How many days to spend in Bratislava? You won’t need much time. 1 day is enough to see almost everything.

In fact, Bratislava is a great option for a day trip from Vienna. You can get there by train, bus or a by taking a boat cruise from Vienna.

How much time I spent

I spent less than a day in Bratislava. Yet, I had enough time to tour the castle, Primate’s Palace and explore the Old Town.

I visited Bratislava on a day trip from Vienna. It’s super easy to reach the city. There are regular trains from Vienna Central train station and the journey is about an hour.

Where to stay in Bratislava for sightseeing

Mid-range – Danubia Gate Hotel – a perfect hotel, close to everything but in a quiet area.
9.2/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,150+ guest reviews


Luxury option – Marrol’s Boutique Hotel – a 5-star boutique hotel right in the Historic Centre.
9.4/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,890+ guest reviews


Apartments – VIP Apartments – luxury apartments at a reasonable price.
9.3/10 Rating – See apartment images and 1,440+ guest reviews


Check out more awesome hotels in where to stay in Bratislava.

1 Day in Bratislava Itinerary

Follow this itinerary to get the best of Bratislava in a day. To learn more about the history of the city, take a walking tour of Bratislava.

Morning – Tour the Castle

Breakfast

08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start this Bratislava itinerary with a breakfast at Pán Cakes or Foxford. Foxford is a hipster coffee shop, housed in a bookstore. They offer great coffee and delicious cakes and sandwiches. For some tasty crepes and hot chocolate, go to Pán Cakes.

Pán Cakes

St. Michael’s Gate (Michalská brána)

09:30 AM – 09:45 AM
During the medieval times, Bratislava was heavily fortified. St. Michael’s Gate is the only preserved gate from these fortifications. It was possible to enter the city only through here or the other three gates that existed during that time.

Today, St. Michael’s Gate houses a museum with an exhibition of weapons. Also, you can walk up to the top of the tower for some panoramic views of the Old Town.

St. Michael's Gate

Right under the gate, there is a golden circle. The latter is known as Kilometer Zero and it marks the distances from Bratislava to 29 other capitals.

Kilometer Zero

St Martin’s Cathedral (Katedrála svätého Martina)

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
St Martin’s Cathedral is the oldest and largest church in Bratislava. Before its construction in the 13th century, the worship services were held at Bratislava Castle. St Martin’s Cathedral is also the place where the kings of Hungary were crowned between 1563 and 1830.

St Martin's Cathedral

St Martin's Cathedral

Bratislava Castle (Bratislavský hrad)

10:45 AM – 12:30 PM
Bratislava Castle is one of the must-see landmarks. Built in the 9th century, this massive rectangular building dominates the city’s skylines. During the centuries the castle was rebuilt several times in different styles.

Nowadays, the castle houses the National Museum of History. However, the grounds and the gardens are free to roam. So make sure to check the castle up close and to enjoy some panoramic views of Bratislava and Danube.

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle

Lunch

12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Stop for a lunch at Modrá Hviezda or Mondieu. For traditional Slovak food go to Modrá Hviezda. For a more casual bite and yummy desserts, visit Mon Dieu.

Afternoon – Explore the Old Town

Bratislava Statues – Čumil Statue, Schöne Náci Statue and Napoleon’s Army Soldier Statue

02:30 PM – 03:00 PM
As you walk through the Old Town, you’ll notice a lot of human-size bronze sculptures. These statues add some liveliness to the communist-era architecture. The most popular ones are Čumil, Schöne Náci and Napoleon’s Army Soldier.

You’ll find Čumil peeping out of the manhole. His name literally means “the watcher”. In fact, this is the most iconic statue of Bratislava.

Čumil

Schöne Náci Statue doesn’t have anything in common with the Nazis as you may think initially. At least, I did. The statue represents a man that holds his hat and greets people. Schöne Náci Statue is based on a real person who lived here in the 20 century. He used to wander on the city streets, all dressed-up and to greet the women with the words, “I kiss your hand” in German, Hungarian and Slovak.

Schöne Náci Statue

Napoleon’s Army Soldier Statue is right on the main square in the Old Town. The statue represents a soldier from the Napoleon’s Army, who fell in love with a local girl. Instead of continuing with his military service, he stayed in Bratislava and became a producer of sparkling wine.

Primate’s Palace (Primaciálny palác)

03:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Primate’s Palace was built for Archbishop József Batthyány in the 18th century. In 1805 Napoleon signed the fourth Peace of Pressburg here at the Hall of Mirrors. This treaty put an end to the Holy Roman Empire.

Today, the palace is the seat of Mayor of Bratislava. However, it’s open for visitors and you can tour the splendid rooms on the first floor.

Primate's Palace

Primate's Palace

Blue Church (Modrý kostolík)

04:15 PM – 04:45 PM
The Blue Church is the most unique church in Bratislava. With its eye-catching architecture in Art Nouveau style, it’s easily spotted among the boring buildings that surround it.

Blue Church

On your way to UFO Observation Deck, stop for some mouth-watering doughnuts at La Donuteria.

UFO Observation Deck

05:15 PM – 18:15 PM
For truly stunning panoramic views of the city and the castle, go to UFO Observation Deck. It’s called in this way because it resembles a flying saucer. There is a viewing area, reachable by an elevator. Besides, a restaurant is available on site. The best time to get here is at sunset.

Another option to see the best of the city is by taking a walking tour of Bratislava at night.

UFO Observation Deck

Dinner

Finish this lovely one day in Bratislava with a dinner at Prašná bašta or Urban Bistro. For traditional Slovak cuisine visit Prašná bašta. However, if you look for more modern vibes, Urban Bistro is the better option. If you’re a burger lover, you can try the best burgers in Bratislava at Roxor.

What to do in Bratislava in one day (more ideas)

Learn more about the Communist past of Bratislava

Explore Bratislava on board of a retro Škoda vehicle. Discover landmarks off the beaten path such as Slavín Soviet Monument, the former Iron Curtain border zone and abandoned factories.

Take a wine tasting tour

Take a day trip to Modra to try some of Slovakia’s finest wines. Modra is an old royal city that is known for centuries for its wine production and quality ceramics.

Take a day trip to Banská Štiavnica

Take a day tour to Banská Štiavnica, a historical town hidden in the Štiavnica Mountains. Explore the charming Old and New Castle and try some tasty Slovak food and beer.

Grassalkovich Palace (Grasalkovičov palác)

The Hungarian aristocrat Antal Grassalkovich commissioned the construction of the palace in 1760. As Grassalkovich was a close friend to Empress Maria Theresa, this palace regularly housed balls of the Habsburg royal court. Nowadays, Grassalkovich Palace is the official residence of the President of Slovakia.

Grassalkovich Palace

Christmas markets

If you’re visiting Bratislava in December don’t miss the Christmas markets. There are two main markets at Hviezdoslav square and Hlavné námestie. Besides, there is a petting zoo in the courtyard of the castle (with very cute sheep and goats).

Also, you can take a day trip and explore the fairytale Christmas markets in Vienna.

Bratislava Christmas markets

Bratislava Christmas markets

Bratislava Christmas markets owl

petting zoo at Bratislava Castle

Getting around Bratislava

The main tourist area, the Old Town, is pretty small and walkable. Yet, as the castle is located on a hill, prepare for a little hiking. You can also take the Bratislava sightseeing bus, that shows the most popular landmarks. Plus, you have a walking tour included in your ticket.

If you’re coming with a train from Vienna, the Central train station (Hlavná stanica) is about 1.5km from the Old Town. In this case, you can take tram 1 from Hlavná stanica to Námestie SNP.

Find a detailed map of this 1-day itinerary here.

Further reading for your trip

Find more self-guided walking tours and historical insights in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Slovak Republic.

If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.

Visitors often combine Bratislava with:

  • Vienna – it’s close enough for a day trip from Bratislava. However, I strongly recommend spending at least 2-3 days. There is so much to see! Check out how to spend 3 days in Vienna.
  • Budapest – it’s about a 2-hour drive from Bratislava (almost 3 hours by train), so spend at least one night in Budapest. Check out what to see in Budapest in 3 days.
  • Prague – it’s more than a 3-hour journey by car. Better include Prague as the next destination in your itinerary.

How would you spend 1 day in Bratislava?
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what to do in bratislava in one day

 
About the author
Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

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