Considering the size of the town and location of all attractions, 2 days in Bratislava is ideal to cover everything at a relaxed place. If in a hurry, you can cover everything in a day as well but it would be hectic and you won’t enjoy the sightseeing much. Last year in November, 2019 I spent 2 days in Bratislava, Slovakia while transiting between Prague and Budapest. If you need all the details, I would suggest reading on, but if you are in a hurry, then go check out the you-tube video at the bottom.
Reaching Bratislava from Prague
There are lots of buses as well as trains available for travelling between Prague and Bratislava. I chose the train option, as both my hostels in Prague & Bratislava were at a convenient distance from the train stations. Another reason for choosing the train over the bus was the fact that I had already booked a bus for my transport between Bratislava & Budapest.
RegioJet is a reputed operator that offers both bus & train services between many European cities. I booked a RegioJet train ticket for 11.90 EUR.
The journey was routine and I reached Bratislava Main Train Station around 3:30 PM. From there my hostel (Hostel Blues) was 2 kms away. So, I decided to walk till my hostel. On reaching the hostel, I quickly checked-in and paid a deposit of 10 EUR (to be returned on check-out). They also gave me a key/lock for the locker for no extra charge.
The hostel staff gave me different suggestions based on the type of cuisine I wanted to eat and the budget. For all the Indian folks, specially vegetarians – there are quite a few good Indian restaurants in Bratislava. So you wont have any complaints about the food.
Since, I always try to eat local during my travels, I decided to go to Slovak Pub – A restaurant famous for Slovak food and beer. The decision proved pretty good. I had the
- Slovakian National Dish called Bryndzové Halušky (Its potato dumplings cooked in sheep cheese and topped with more cheese and crispy bacon)
- Schnitzel (I had a lot of schnitzel in Germany as well, so this was just to compare & see how the Slovak Schnitzel stacks up against the German)
- Slovak Beer 🍺 (Almost as good as German beer but at half the cost)
Since, it was drizzling slightly and I was a little tired from my journey, I came back to the hostel and decided to call it an early night.
Day 1 of 2 days in Bratislava
After a good sleep 😴 , I was up by 7 AM next morning. The sky was clear and even though it was a little overcast, it wasn’t raining. Even the weather forecast mentioned clear skies till 3 PM. So, I decided to make the best use of the time and quickly got ready and headed out.
Yesterday night, the hostel staff had given me a map of the city. As most of the attractions are well marked out, I prefer to travel with a city map. Also, if the phone battery dies or you loose the GPS/data connection , these maps come in handy. You can download the map I used from here – Bratislava Old Town Map.
The first stop for the day was
The Blue Church – Wikipedia
After spending some time at the Blue Church, I decided to head to Slavin Memorial. It’s located on the Slavin hill and gives panoramic views of the city of Bratislava. Keep in mind that the walk to Slavin is a good 3 kms and the last 1-1.5 kms is an uphill climb. I was at Slavin by 10 AM and the only one on site.
The memorial is constructed in memory of the Soviet soldier’s that died while capturing the city from the Nazi’s. It also acts as a burial ground for these soldiers.
Slavin Memorial – Wikipedia
After Slavin memorial, I started climbing down and heading towards Bratislava Castle. As I was starving and tired due to all that climbing, I had a quick breakfast at one of the cafes located on the underpass at Freedom Square. Breakfast was pizza, muffins and hot chocolate.
It’s the main castle of the city of Bratislava and provides excellent views of Bratislava, Austria and even Hungary on a clear day.
Bratislava Castle – Wikipedia
The castle was recently restored, hence the colours look beautiful and fresh. There were some wooden stalls as well, a mark of preparation for the famous European Christmas markets.
You can roam around the castle for free, but to get inside the castle and see the museum there is an entrance ticket of 10 EUR (free for Bratislava Card Holders). I will talk about card in detail at the end of the post.
The initial plan was to visit Devin Castle, but as I had no rainwear and it was looking pretty dark and ominous I had to scrap the plan.
In case you want to visit, you need to catch a bus from below the UFO Bridge (towards the castle side). Devin Castle – Wikipedia.
As you can see, the skies were ominous and I had no rain gear.
St. Martin’s Cathedral, lunch & old coronation route
After the castle I headed to St. Martin’s Cathedral located across the road. The cathedral can also be seen from one of the gates of the castle. It was starting to drizzle again, so I improvised and decided to have lunch and wait for the shower to pass.
I decided to try out this Italian restaurant named Gatto Matto which was quite close to me. Ordered meatball lasagna & tiramisu. The food was yummy. The restaurant selection was impulsive. I learned later that Gatto Matto is THE most popular Italian restaurant in Bratislava.
Now as the plan to go Devin was scrapped, I decided to do the Coronation Route. As you can see the route begins at St. Martin’s Cathedral and ends at Primate’s Palace in the Old Town. As the name suggests, the royal family used this route during coronations. During those times, the route would be covered with red velvet carpets.
Back at the hostel
I exited the route from Michael’s Gate (it houses the museum of Arms), as it was still drizzling slightly. It was already evening by the time I was back at the hostel and it started raining again. The hostel organised a beer pong tournament in the evening and since I had no plans to go out due to the rains, I registered myself.
I met a lot of interesting people in the hostel (though it wasn’t fully occupied). My partner for the games was an American and we went up against a couple of Greek guys. After playing for roughly 1 hour we won the competition. The reward was a pack of free beers. I don’t remember the name of the beer company, but it was too bitter for my liking. So I gave away my share of winnings to the Greek guys and a couple of other hostel mates.
Pro Tip – Sharing beer is a great way to make lot of friends quickly 👬
Today’s plan was to again try Slovakian food, so I headed to Bratislava Flagship. It’s a sister restaurant of Slovak pub and like most pubs in Europe they brew their own beer.
- Bryndzové Halušky
- Kapustnica (Spicy Cabbage soup with sausage & cream on top)
- Fresh brewed local beer.
After the heavy dinner, I came back home. Sat in the hostel balcony for some time, watching the trams and buses. Tomorrow, I had free time in the morning as my bus to Budapest departed at 1:15 PM.
Day 2 of 2 days in Bratislava
I stayed in a 6 bed mixed dorm, but on both nights there were just 2 people in the room. Roger was my dorm mate and he was from London. Coincidentally, he was currently working for JP Morgan and we both were in the same vertical.
We developed a good bond overnight and had breakfast together at a nearby cafe. After breakfast, I took him around the Old Town Hall area as I was by now very familiar with the roads and the buildings.
We visited attractions like:
- Primate’s Palace
- Maximilian’s fountain
- Old Town Hall
- Hviezdoslav Square
- Bratislavian Statues (Believe it or not, Bratislava is famous of some old statues scattered all over the old town)
We spent good 2-3 hours going around the old town area and returned to the hostel by 12PM. The bus station (for the bus to Budapest) was 15-20 mins walking from my hostel. So, I checked out from the hostel by 12:30 PM and headed to the Nivy Bus Station.
Here are the ticket details:
Bratislava Card – Is it worth it?
The answer for the majority of folks would be – YES. If you plan to stay in Bratislava for 2 days or more, the card makes a lot of sense. It costs 25 EUR for 2 days and provides a lot of features.
- Free walking tour of the city – Worth 5 EUR approx.
- Public transport (free)- Easily save 10-15 EUR in 2 days.
- Bratislava Castle Entry (free) – Worth 10 EUR
- Devin Castle Entry (free)- Worth 5 EUR.
The card provides a lot of other features/attractions, but I have listed down the minimum combo that covers the cost of the card.
More details can be found here – Bratislava Card.
Video Travelogue – 2 days in Bratislava
NOTE – Unlike most European cities, there are constant ticket checks on the buses & trams in Bratislava and the ticket checkers are very strict. There are plenty of incidents in travel forums, wherein tourists have been asked to pay 100’s of Euros in fine. So, please don’t travel without tickets even unknowingly and even when with the ticket, keep it safe & don’t lose it.