Bratislava, view of the castle from a back street
Short Trips from Vienna Slovakia

Weekend in Bratislava – a local’s amazing 2 days itinerary

15 April 2019

A tastefully restored, vibrant old town, countless modern building projects, the Danube right in the city center, good food, friendly people, are a few of the reasons why everybody falls in love with Bratislava at first sight.

While most people aim to visit Slovakia’s capital on a day trip from either Vienna or Budapest, we believe such an undertaking does not do it justice. We advise spending a weekend in Bratislava and we have therefore put together this two days itinerary. It covers Bratislava’s main sights and cultural attractions and it is suitable for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. 

Note: This article contains a few friendly affiliate links. Shall you make a purchase through any of them, we get a small commission at no extra cost for you! Thank you!

Weekend in Bratislava – where to stay?

Spending a weekend in Bratislava means you will need to find accommodation for at least one night. What we love about this city is that it provides great value for money in what hotels are concerned. A traveler’s favorite is the newly constructed, spacious LOFT Hotel Bratislava, Hotel Devin and the Sheraton coming in as close seconds.

If in search of luxury, the centrally located Roset Hotel & Residence is situated in a historic building in the heart of the city and offers spacious suites and a modern spa area with sauna and hot tub facilities.

For those who’d rather have an apartment, a great place to start is Apartments Bastova in the old town, an ideal location to explore the city on foot during your weekend in Bratislava.

Those on a tight budget will appreciate the comprehensive facilities and bright colors of Patio Hostel, a mere 10 minutes walk from the city center.

Day 1/Weekend in Bratislava 

Bratislava castle is rightfully the city’s most prominent landmark and it’s here that every tour should start, whether you are spending a few hours or a whole weekend in Bratislava.

It is perched on a rocky hill above the Danube, offering magnificent views of the city itself, Austria, and Hungary. It is a testimony to Bratislava’s unique position as the only capital in the world that borders two countries. Even better vistas are to be enjoyed from the highest of the four towers, the  “Crown Tower” in the Castle History Museum.

Historically, Bratislava was the seat of the Hungarian monarchy after the defeat of the Hungarians by the Turks at Mohacs and the capture of Buda in 1526. The Crown Tower is where the crown jewels of the Hungarian Monarchy were stored. The castle was beautifully restored and it also hosts several interesting exhibitions from the Slovak National Museum.

Weekend in Bratislava - start here: Bratislava castle overlooks the old town and the Danube bank.
Weekend in Bratislava itinerary: start here!
Bratislava castle overlooks the old town and the Danube bank (photo source pixabay)

Outdoor lovers can simply enjoy the green park that surrounds it, the newly opened Baroque garden, and the panoramic views from the “Yard of Honor”.  

For those bringing kids along, it is worthwhile to dig out some castle legends to share here. There’s one about a local princess imprisoned for falling in love with a Turkish warrior, one about a giant that used the castle as his breakfast table, and one about a white eagle, to name just a few. 

As you descend towards the center, do not miss the House at the Good Shepherd at the foot of the castle hill, the narrowest building in Europe and one of the few original houses in the area. It nowadays houses the Museum of Clocks that displays masterpieces of local clockmakers starting from the 17th century. The pub downstairs, together with its neighboring bars, is part of Bratislava’s “Bermuda Triangle”, worth a visit late in the evening especially during the summer months when outside seating is possible. 

Bratislava - house at the good shepherd
Weekend in Bratislava – remember to come back one evening at the city’s Bermuda Triangle.
The House at the Good Shepherd – Arguably Europe’s narrowest house

Across the street from the castle is Saint Martin’s Cathedral, a gothic edifice where eleven kings and eight queens of Hungary have been crowned after the capture of Buda by the Turks in the 16th century. Interestingly, its tower was actually part of the old town’s defensive walls (to be seen ascending up the street to the right) and the cathedral was originally built over a cemetery. It thus houses catacombs and crypts of unknown length underneath the church. The tower of St Martin’s cathedral is topped by a 150 kg replica of the Crown of St. Stephen, the holy crown of the Kingdom of Hungary, to recall the cathedral’s role as a coronation church between 1536 and 1830.

St Martin Cathedral should not be missed during a weekend in Bratislava.
Weekend in Bratislava: St Martin Cathedral was part of the defensive city wall
A series of crowns in the pavement in Bratislava, Slovakia mark the old coronation route for the kings of Hungary.
Follow these crowns in the pavement across town that mark the old coronation way

You can actually walk the former coronation route from the cathedral by following a series of golden crowns embedded in the pavement throughout the old town. We wholeheartedly recommend doing that if spending a weekend in Bratislava, as described in detail here

A fantastic place to stop for lunch/brunch or/and coffee is FACH BISTRO that serves freshly baked bread, healthy snacks, and signature specialty coffee drinks in a modern, warm atmosphere. We know of people who only ate here during their entire weekend in Bratislava!

Whether you decide to follow the old coronation route or not, take the afternoon to explore the city’s pedestrian area and walk the cobblestoned streets at leisure. It’s why we recommended spending a whole weekend in Bratislava in the first place! For those that decide to take our advice, there are many great places to stay in Bratislava!

Michael's Gate in Bratislava, Slovakia should not be missed during your weekend in Bratislava.
Weekend in Bratislava- enjoy the cobblestone streets of old town at leisure
here: Michael’s Gate in the Old Town

Make sure to check out the Main Square with the Old Town Hall, the Primate’s Palace – now seat of the town’s mayor – and the life-size statues scattered throughout town, as you walk your way towards Michael’s Gate (Michalska Brana). We recommend to only consider going up the tower of the gate if you are into narrow spaces, otherwise, simply throw in the towel and enjoy the small, authentic souvenir shops and another nice afternoon coffee break. 

Speaking of coffee, your best options are both on Michalska street: Nata Lisboa and Enjoy Coffee. Nata Lisboa is a Portuguese coffee shop where you can find deserts like the famous pastel de nata that pairs perfectly with a glass of galao (café latte) or a cup or bica (espresso). Enjoy Coffee has an atmosphere that reminds of a country house, the fresh décor with flowers and great coffee is for sure an ideal way to boost your energy in the afternoon.

 Bratislava's Main Square/ Old Town Hall should not be missed during a weekend in Bratislava.
Weekend in Bratislava: Bratislava’s Main Square/ Old Town Hall

Once your energy levels are restored, it is time to discover the Hviezdoslav’s Square in front of the Slovak National Theater. It actually resembles a  boulevard more than a square with its tree-shaded pedestrian area and it features souvenir stalls, outdoor restaurants, bars, and cafés.

Promenade in front of the Slovak National Theater - a common rendez-vous place
Weekend in Bratislava: Promenade in front of the Slovak National Theater
UFO tower and bridge - Bratislava, Slovakia
Weekend in Bratislava: UFO Tower and Bridge

Continue walking towards the popular riverside promenade nearby that invariably leads you to the UFO BRIDGE/TOWER. This is the 7th largest hanging bridge in the world and you can go to the open-air observation deck on top for breathtaking sunset views over the entire Danube basin. 

Whether you decide to end the day with dinner/drinks at the high-end establishments housed in the UFO tower is up to you, but do not pass on the opportunity to savor and relish the city’s gourmet scene. There are so many great places around that we simply enjoy discovering something new every time we spend a weekend in Bratislava. We compiled below a list for you, vetted and approved by a local. 

Weekend in Bratislava – where to eat?

For lunch/dinner in the city center consider Bistro Soho on Laurinska street, which serves modern style Asian cuisine which local love, so be sure to reserve in advance if you arrive at popular hours or in a big group. 

Sladovňa – House Of Beer on Venturska street is another good option to dine out or just stop by for some drinks. It is a big place in an old house in the city center, which also has an outside terrace during the summer. Here you can find some of the local specialties including bryndzove halusky (gnocchi with sheep cheese), spare ribs, burgers, vegetarian options, and a large range of beers.

Traditional restaurants worth mentioning are Slovak pub or Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar, both on/around the Obchodna street.

A bit off the main path is the Mileticova open-air market, where worth a stop are Phong Nam Bistro (Vietnamese food) as well as Moods Bakery & Coffee. 

Punjabi Dhaba on Sancova street is an Indian bistro with authentic food and pleasant service.

 During the weekend, this square in the heart of Bratislava's Old Town is very peaceful
Weekend in Bratislava: Peaceful Square in the heart of Bratislava’s Old Town

Day 2/Weekend in Bratislava

Altitude Restaurant at Kamzik, Bratislava, Slovakia
Altitude Restaurant at Kamzik (photo source pixabay)

Start the day at the altitude restaurant and bar up at Kamzik where you can pair your morning coffee with panoramic views of the surroundings that reach as far as Austria, Czech Republik, and Hungary. This is actually a television tower situated in a forest park and can thus be reached only by car/taxi or at the end of a short hike from the nearest bus stop.

The area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor lovers, including a cable car ride to the Zelezna studnicka forest park from where you can take the trolley bus back to the city center.

Art Nouveau Blue Church, Bratislava, Slovakia
The famous Blue Church is one of Bratislava’s most photographed landmarks (photo source pixabay)
Street art in Bratislava, Slovakia
Discover Bratislava’s multifacet street art scene!

Depending on your interests, there are two noteworthy attractions to factor into your morning itinerary. The Blue Church on Bezručova Street is the country’s most famous Art Nouveau building, reachable on foot from the Old Town. Instagram aficionados have your cameras ready! This is a sight to behold! 

The Slavin Memorial Monument is linked to a cemetery dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who died liberating Bratislava at the end of World War II. It is situated on a hill that offers beautiful vistas of the whole city. 

For lunch head back towards the center. We recommend either the Slovak pub or Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar, both on/around the Obchodna street. The city’s main shopping avenue is also worth a stroll and while you are in the area make sure to check out the amazing street art on buildings, as well as the Old Market Hall. While an actual produce market takes place here every Saturday, the location is also used for exhibitions/concerts/events. 

A shopping street with view of the castle on a Sunday afternoon - Bratislava, Slovakia
Weekend in Bratislava: explore the Obchodna shopping street
Grassalkovich Palace, Bratislava, Slovakia
Grassalkovich Palace (photo source pixabay)

Slowly make your way towards the Grassalkovich Palace, current residence of the president. It is here that the Austro-Hungarian crown prince Franz Ferdinand met his wife Zofia Chotek, a couple whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 led to the First World War.

Used for a long time for official diplomatic and cultural events – even Joseph Haydn performed here on several occasions – the palace is not open to the public. You can, however, stroll through its large French garden, one of Bratislava’s most beloved and popular parks. 

Across the street is Cafe Dias/Pantha Rei Bookshop – a coffee/booklover’s paradise all in one. Their English language selection is outstanding and so are the pastries, if you ask me :). 

To end your second day, I’ll let you in on the final secret why we think a weekend in Bratislava is a totally worthwhile experience – Slovakia’s capital features amazing shopping opportunities (read shopping centers) that are open on Sundays! Eurovea and Aupark are our best recommendations; if you choose the first one, a wonderful riverside promenade awaits you with terraces, restaurants, and cafes to end the day in style. 

For those who have more than a weekend in Bratislava, do check out our list of amazing day trips around the city or contact us directly to get our personalized suggestions for your stay! We’d love to hear from you! 

We have collected below a list of our favorite activities to book during your stay in Bratislava! We particularly loved the City Discovery Game and the One Hour Small-Group Walking Tour! Enjoy!

Weekend in Bratislava, Slovakia - PIN
Weekend in Bratislava – like this article? PIN IT!
Weekend in Bratislava, Slovakia - PIN
Weekend in Bratislava – like this article? PIN IT!
Anca & Sinan
Vienna, AT

Follow our social media channels for weekly travel inspiration and book recommendations!

We recommend