One day in Bratislava itinerary – the most complete new itinerary on what to do in Bratislava in 1 day.
Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia. Although it’s the biggest city in 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 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, the capital city of Slovakia 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.
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 the city 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.
Danubia Gate Hotel – Best for families
Perfect hotel, close to everything but in a quiet area.
9.2/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,150+ guest reviews
Marrol’s Boutique Hotel – Best for couples
Charming hotel right in the Historic Centre.
9.4/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,890+ guest reviews
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.
One Day in Bratislava Itinerary
Follow this itinerary to get the best of Bratislava in a day.
08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start this Bratislava itinerary with 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.
St. Michael’s Gate
09:30 AM – 09:45 AM
During the medieval times, the city was heavily fortified. St. Michael’s Gate (Michalská brána) 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.
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.
St Martin’s Cathedral
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
St Martin’s Cathedral (Katedrála svätého Martina) is the oldest and largest church in the city. 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.
10:45 AM – 12:30 PM
The castle (Bratislavský hrad) 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 the city and Danube.
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.
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 the capital of Slovakia.
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.
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.
03:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Primate’s Palace (Primaciálny palác) 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.
04:15 PM – 04:45 PM
The Blue Church (Modrý kostolík) is the most unique church in the city. With its eye-catching architecture in Art Nouveau style, it’s easily spotted among the boring buildings that surround it.
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.
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 burgers at Roxor.
What to do in Bratislava in one day – more ideas
Learn more about the city’s Communist past
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.
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 (Grasalkovičov palác) is the official residence of the President of Slovakia.
If you’re visiting the city 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).
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 on 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 more self-guided walking tours and historical insights in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Slovak Republic.
Visitors often combine Bratislava with:
- Vienna – it’s close enough for a day trip. 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 (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. Check out these hotels in the Old Town – it’s the most convenient area to stay.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.