Slovakia, a small European country, is not on the radar of many tourists. While it is not a huge city, it has places like Staré Mesto, the Old Town of Bratislava is absolutely enchanting and well worth seeing.
Things to Do in Bratislava Old Town
Bratislava is home to a variety of locations that can easily be dubbed as tourist spots.
The Old Town in Bratislava is a historical masterpiece with many impressive attractions.
From the awe-inspiring UFO Bridge to the unique Blue Church, I can promise you that you will not be disappointed with a trip to Bratislava.
Are you up for the adventure? Then, charge up your cameras let’s plan your trip to Bratislava.
The UFO Bridge
The UFO Bratislava Bridge is arguably the most renowned bridge in all of Bratislava.
Also known as Most SNP (the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising) and Nový Most (New Bridge), this bridge has a tragic history.
It was constructed from around 1967 to 1972 as a tribute to the 1944 resistance movement against the Nazis.
However, sadly, a large part of the Old Town was destroyed in order to build it.
Interestingly, the bridge hangs above the Danube River by just a few cables. The UFO is held up with only one cable-stayed plane and one pylon.
At the top of the pylon lies the mystic UFO, which invites people to its fine restaurant and terrace. An elevator, in one of the pylon’s legs, will take you there.
The UFO Bridge deck and bar are open from 10:00am-11:00pm daily and the restaurant is open from 12:00pm-11:00pm.
To reach the observation deck there is a fee of €7.40 for adults and €3.95 for children under 15
Although, if you order from the restaurant (have to make reservations before visiting) you can enter the deck for free.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
Nestled at Rudnayovo Námestie (Rudnay Square) in Old Town, this gothic-styled church known as St. Martin’s Cathedral boasts a lot of history.
A lovely stroll in the narrow Baštová Street will take you to the back of the church. You can also visit the church by using trams or buses in Bratislava; the Nový Most bus stop is a good choice if you are interested to visit.
The Cathedral’s 85 m tall bell tower, contains at least 6 bells which can be seen from anywhere in the Old Town.
Interestingly, the church has 4 chapels – The Chapel of St John the Merciful, the Canons’ Chapel, the Chapel of Sophia of Bavaria and St Anne’s Chapel.
St. Martin’s Cathedral is well worthwhile seeing as it holds a rich history in Bratislava as least 11 Kings and 8 Queens were crowned there.
Don’t forget to venture to the crypt with the catacombs at the Church.
To visit St. Martin’s Cathedral there is a small entry fee of €2 to €2.50.
The church is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00am-11:30am and 1:00pm–5:00pm. On Sundays it is open from 1:30pm-4:00pm.
The church has two open periods: April to October and November to March.
Located in Bezručova 2 Street on the eastern side of the Old Town of Bratislava, lies our all time favourite thing to do in Bratislava – the Blue Church. **Cue love hearts in eyes**
The church wows people (us included) with its various shades of blue.
Also called St. Elizabeth Church, this cute dollhouse church was designed by architect Edmund Lechner in 1907 to honor the life and work of Saint Elizabeth.
Above the entrance door, the church even has a mosaic of her holding flowers, which were alms for the poor.
We love the Blue Church in Bratislava as it is a small but very unique church with only one nave and a 36.8 m high clock tower.
The interior boosts a gorgeous blue interlaced with stunning yellow trimmings. So pretty!
This distinctive building has Hungarian Art Nouveau written all over it. If you are a art lover then this is a building you simply must see!
The best part, you can enter this fairy tale church for free.
The Church is open from Monday to Saturday 7:00am-7:30am and 5:30pm-7:00pm. On Sundays it is open from 7:30am-12:00pm and 5:30pm-7:00pm.
Old Town Square
The main square in Bratislava called Hlavné Námestie is definitely one of the cutest old town squares in Europe.
Inside the Old Town which is constructed in a square shape there are beautiful buildings to admire like Old Town Hall.
In the square are many bars and restaurants serving traditional food.
If you are interested in history you can visit the Museum of the City of Bratislava in the Old Town Square.
It has an exhibition for the feudal justice system, along with other artifacts which tell the history of the people of Bratislava dating back from the Neolithic era until the end of the 1930s.
We love that you can view the most significant events in the history of Bratislava on a touch screen. This Museum may be old but it has very modern technology!
Old Town Hall
Old Town Hall is the oldest stone building in Bratislava with an ancient museum and a tower.
The hustle and bustle of city life is mostly centered around the Old Town Hall.
The inner courtyard is a popular spot for concerts, Christmas markets and festivals.
The Old Town Hall is open from Tuesday to Friday 10:00am–5:00pm and from Saturday to Sunday at 11:00am–6:00pm. It is closed on Monday.
There is a fee to enter the town hall but the view from the 45 m high tower is breathtaking.
The fee is €5 per person or €2.50 for children (6-14), students and pensioners. There is also an option for a family ticket (two adults and kids under 14).
At Zámocká Ulica, you will come face to face with the landmark that represents Bratislava the best – The Bratislava Castle.
Situated on the hill above Old Town and the Danube River, the Castle stands majestically tall.
The Castle is just as stunning on the inside as on the outside and has four wings and four towers – one in each wing.
Crown’s Tower, the highest one, has the most magnificent view of the City. You can reach the tower by following a restricted passage from the Castle Museum.
The Bratislava Castle is believed to have been created first around the Stone and Bronze age.
Over the centuries, it has been restored several times and even now is rehabilitated from time to time.
Inside the castle is the Museum of History which holds paintings, sculptures, crafts, and art exhibitions.One display is ‘The Witness of the Past’ which contains discoveries made at the Bratislava Castle.
There is a lot of very old furniture in the Castle and truth be told, we didn’t find it too interesting inside except for an amazing staircase which is the perfect backdrop for gorgeous Instagram photos.
If you wish to learn more about the restorations of the Castle, you can find everything you need to know on the ground floor.
The castle is open 9:00am–5:00pm. and from 1 April to 16 November from 10:00am–6:00pm. It is closed on Mondays.
There is a €7 per adult and €4 for students entry fee for the Museum. It is free to wander the outside of the castle
Tip: On the first Sunday of every month the inside of the castle is free!
Next to the Bratislava castle is the castle gardens, one of the prettiest gardens we have seen in all our travels of Europe.
Located in Namestie Alexandra Dubceka 1, these Royal Baroque Gardens will definitely brighten your day
The gardens are a recent restoration of the castle in 2016.
They were developed in Baroque style (as the gardens stood before the huge fire in 1811).
To make a perfect duplication of the Baroque Garden, Tree Substrate soil and Bratislava Roof Substrate Intensive were used, making the the conditions of the soil optimum for growth of vegetation.
The garden is small, clean and very well maintained.
You can visit this tranquil place when you drop by the Castle. It’s free of cost so come by for a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk.
The castle gardens is open daily from 9:00am–9:00pm.
Tip: On our most recent visit to Bratislava, we discovered a hidden gem in the garden. If you look closely, near the entrance there is a secret underground tunnel!
From Michael’s gate, you will either enter or leave the Old Town of Bratislava.
It’s the only gate remaining from the medieval fortifications that once encircled Bratislava.
In the northern part of the Michalska Street, the Michalská Brána – translated as Michael’s Gate – stands with its 51 m tall tower. Constructed around the 13 Century, the gate is one of the symbols of the city.
The modest Museum of Weapons and City Fortification can be found within the tower. It houses military equipment, firearms and various types of weapons.
You can visit this Museum to learn about the history of the fortifications of the city.
Tip: The observation deck at the top of the tower offers an awe-inspiring view of the Old Town.
Underneath the tower, you will find the golden compass which shows Bratislava’s distance from 29 other places.
At the Coronation Photo Video Point, you will find a 3D model that shows the path the coronation processions took in the city. You can also dress up like a royal and get your photo taken!
If you are interested to visit the museum, you can from Tuesday to Friday from 10:00am-5:00pm. On Saturday and Sunday, from 11:00am–6:00pm. On Mondays, it is closed.
There is a small entrance fee of €4.30 per adult to visit the museum.
Čumil – The Sewer Man!
At the intersection of the Laurinská and Panská Streets, around the corner of the Rybárska Brána (Fishermen’s gate), the sewer man is perhaps the quirkiest thing to see in Bratislava Old Town.
It was crafted by Viktor Hulík, a Slovak sculptor.
The statues given name is Čumil, which means ‘the watcher’.
Many theories have circulated around about his name. Some say he is trying to gaze beneath ladies’ skirts. Other suggest that he’s a communist-era worker who watches people a lot more than doing his job. Or maybe he’s relaxing after a day of hard work– cleaning the sewers.
The Sewer Man is one of the most photographed spots in the city. In fact you will have to line up to get a photo with the man in the hole.
As he is at the corner of the Rybárska Brána, his head has been knocked twice by drivers. To assure his safety, a warning sign was planted there, a red triangle on a pole, to remind drivers to be careful not to hit the man at work.
If you are in need of a bit of good luck or a wish granted be sure to touch Čumil’s head and make a wish!
The Slovak National Theater was erected in 1920 by two Viennese architects. They designed it in Neo-Renaissance style.
The massive theater is located in Hviezdoslav’s Square, a very charming place in itself with tree-lined streets.
The theater can seat about 1000 people.
If you have a desire to go then you can purchase the tickets from the box office; no need to buy them in advance.
This historical building showcases drama, opera and ballet. Plays on other genre like comedy and action can also sometimes be seen.
The opera is open from 8am – 7pm. If you are interested to see a show, tickets cost between €4 and €50.
Street Art of Bratislava
Every year, many artists paint the walls of Bratislava. Free legal zones have been made for street artists to do so legally.
ArtAttack, an avid supporter of street art in Slovakia, arranges Graffiti Jams. In the jams, artists light up the streets with their stunning designs.
Since 2011 the Bratislava Street Art Festival has also been occurring in Bratislava. Enthusiastic artists from all over Bratislava and Slovakia attend it, displaying their skills. At the end of it, public buildings are transformed into masterpieces of art.
Some famous spots for Street Art in Bratislava are the UFO Bridge, Apollo Bridge, Prístavný Bridge, Továrenská Street, Cvernovka and at the ruins close to Prístavná Street.
Similarly, Kamenné Square in Old Town features a humongous portrait of an orange fox sleeping snuggly.
Best Cafés in Bratislava Old Town
In the quirky lanes of the Old Town of Bratislava, there are a lot of good cafés and restaurants to try.
Here are our favourites:
Nestled in Sturova 8, this café mostly serves European Cuisine.
Praženica Madarská is a prized favorite thing to try at the cafe.
You can reserve a table or just go in and order. Free Wi-Fi is an added bonus. Moreover, the coffee and cappuccino are very good.
The cafe is open from 8:30 am–10:00 pm. On Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am-10:00pm.
This restaurant is located at Laurinská 14, in the center of Old Town.
The overall atmosphere at Urban House is very cozy. It’s a nice place for a late breakfast or an afternoon drink.
American pancake and the Egg Royal are some tasty treats served there. Likewise, the flavorful Vegan Thai Curry and Chicken Tikka Masala are absolutely delicious.
It is open on Friday and Saturday from 9:00am-2:00pm. On Sunday from 9:00am–11:00pm. Other days from 9:00am–12:00am.
Pan Cakes – Creperie
It’s probably the best breakfast and lunch café in all of Bratislava. Sweet, sour or spicy pancakes are all served here.
The crepes are really delicious; they compel you to come again and again.
The interior is clean with a good vibe but the staff is average at best.
It is open from 7:30am-9:30pm. On Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am-9:00pm.
Best Pubs/Clubs in Bratislava Old Town
The Old Town of Bratislava has some pubs worth visiting. Here are our favourites
In Obchodna 62 in the Old Town, the Slovak pub offers full a bar, scrumptious food and even television to watch.
They serve lunch, brunch, dinner and late-night meals.
The garlic soup, ribs, potato chips, roasted sausages, schnitzel, and blonde beer is highly recommended.
If you crave native Slovakian food, then you must visit this pub. The only downside is the slightly disagreeable staff.
It is open on Friday from 11:00am-12:00am. Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm-11:00pm. Rest of the week from 11:00 am-11:00 pm.
Based in one of the military storage bunkers used for emergencies, Subclub is an underground music club.
This is a cool place to visit in Bratislava for wild parties with interesting electro and techno music. The locals at the club are cordial so it is a pleasant experience
Tip: It is a great club to get cheap beer from in Bratislava Old Town.
The club is open on Friday and Saturday from 10:00pm-5:00am.
Old Fashioned Bar
At Laurinská 14 on the 1 Floor you will find yourself teleported 50 years in the past when you step into the Old Fashioned Bar cocktail lounge.
The bar is very elegant decorated with soft sofas.
One small tip to reserve a table before going because if you walk in without one, you will find most of the tables reserved.
The bar is open Wednesday to Saturday from 6:00pm-2:00am. Monday from 6:00pm-12:00am and on Tuesday from 6:00pm-1:00am. Closed on Sunday.
Where to stay in Bratislava?
We stayed at the Hilton In Bratislava and would highly recommend this hotel as it is comfortable and conveniently located.
To see more about the Hilton in Bratislava, see our blog posts here.
The Old Town of Bratislava is a historical center with many impressive monuments and magical places!!
Which of the above things to do in Bratislava Old Town are you most excited to do?