With fewer than half a million people, the"little big city" of Bratislava ranks among Europe's most relaxed capitals since everything is in close vicinity or a short walk away. Vienna (80km) and Budapest (200km) — also reachable by boat through the river Danube.
Slovakia's capital boasts an old-town charm, sophisticated restaurants, traditional pubs, good music ranging from jazz to opera, and an urban design that allows you to enjoy your visit without exhausting yourself. All this with Central Europe's greatest river as a backdrop.
The Capital of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava, also referred to as the Beauty on the Danube, can not only filled with interesting history but is also the centre of the most dynamically developing region of central Europe at present.
Bratislava is situated in the south-west of Slovakia and stretches on both banks of the Danube and in the foothills of the Little Carpathian Mountains. Slovakia's borders with Hungary, to the south, and Austria, to the west, make it the only capital city to border two neighbouring countries. In addition, the Czech Republic is only 62 kilometres away. The Austrian capital Vienna is only 80 kilometres away by road, making them among the world's closest capital cities. Thanks to this favourable position it has always been a commercial centre. Today the historic places are witness to the rapid development of the young Slovak Republic.
In spite of its exciting history, Bratislava is one of the youngest capitals in the world and its population is also very young. The modern metropolis is open to Europe and to the world as proved by the increasing number of foreign visitors from many diverse countries. Palaces, modern shopping, works of art by Slovak chefs and brewers, friendly people and various international cultural or sport events, exhibitions, and business opportunities are the reasons why it is worth of visit.
Bratislava is not just the political but also the cultural and sporting capital of Slovakia. Owing to its historically multi-ethnic character, the city's cultural scene is a product of various influences: German, Slovak, Hungarian, and Jewish, among others. Bratislava boasts numerous theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, cinemas, film clubs, and foreign cultural institutions.
It also has the country's biggest football and ice hockey teams, a purpose-built white-water rafting centre on the Danube, and numerous walking and cycling trails in or near the city. High-quality spa and relaxation facilities are increasingly popular throughout Slovakia and easily accessible. Bratislava has numerous coffee shops and restaurants, offering international as well as Slovak cuisine, including lively bars and clubs.
Local specialities include Halusky — small dumplings topped with cheese and bacon. Hungarian influences have added the much-needed spice to traditional Slovak cuisine. As far as international cuisine goes, there is plenty to choose from, as Bratislava builds a reputation as an eastern European capital of gastronomy.
Despite being a relatively small city, Bratislava is rich with cafes: from grand coffee houses to trendy student hang-outs. The best cafes are in the centre of town, especially around the Main Square. In the summer, many have outdoor tables, perfect for relaxing after exploring the Old Town.
Bratislava has a growing number of good bars and is building a reputation as a nightlife capital. Top Slovak beers that are definitely worth a few rounds include Zlaty Bazant and Kelt.
In recent years, Bratislava’s club scene has completely reinvented itself. In came DJs and funky cocktails, out went the go-go dancers and burly doormen. Listings detailing what’s going on can be found throughout town.
Bratislava offers a wide variety of shopping possibilities. Ranging from small boutiques, designer outlets, open-air fresh produce markets to big and modern shopping malls which are open 7 days a week. Small open-air markets can be found on Polna near the Medical Garden and Sancova, Mlynarovicova on Petrzalka. The liveliest market is the one on Mileticova Street, which sells lots of well-made but affordable clothing.
There are numerous shopping malls throughout Bratislava, including Aupark on the right side of the Danube next to Sad Janka Kráľa Park. Polus City Center is on Vajnorska, 10 minutes away from the city centre, and the newest Eurovea is situated in the city centre, right next to the river bank.
Bratislava Airport — M. R. Štefánik Airport (BTS)
Airport Bratislava is located approximately 9 km from the city center and about a 50 minutes drive from the International Vienna Airport Schwechat.
There is a regular bus service from both airports to Bratislava city centre:
From Bratislava Airport: outside the arrivals/departure terminal operated by the Municipal public transport. The journey should take approximately 30 minutes. Take bus 61 until Hlavna stanica (Main railway station), then change to bus X13 until Nam. SNP in the city centre.
The taxi ride takes around 15 minutes. Find the taxi stand in front of the Arrival terminal.
Airport Bratislava offers several car rental services: Avis, Sixt, Eurocar, Alamo, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and Europcar. Find them in the public area of the Arrivals terminal.
From Vienna International Airport Schwechat: daily shuttle bus Blaguss or Slovak Lines, leaving every 30 minutes from 6:20 am until 12:45 am.
Address: Letisko Bratislava, Ivanka pri Dunaji
Phone: +421 2 3303 3353
More Information: Sometimes also called the Bratislava-Ivanka Airport
Most sights and places of interest can be found in the city centre, or within walking distance of the pedestrianised old town. If you need to travel further afield within the city, the best way to do so is by public transport.
Bratislava has a comprehensive network of public transport lines running at regular intervals according to defined timetables. Departure times and a list of destinations, with the journey time to each, are posted for each service at every stop it serves.
Daytime operation: buses, trams and trolleybuses run from 5 am until 11:30 pm.
-one-way ticket valid for 15 min
-multiple-ride ticket valid for 60 min
-weekend multiple-ride ticket valid for 90min
-touristic ticket valid for 24, 48, 72 and 168 hours - unlimited travel
-children under 6 years of age travel for free
Nighttime operation: on selected bus routes from 11:30 pm until 3:30 am.
-night ticket valid for 90 min, multiple ride
-prepaid tickets (PCL) 30-, 90- and 365-day ticket (personal chip card is needed)
-touristic ticket valid for 24, 48, 72 and 168 hours – unlimited travel
Passengers are required to buy a ticket in a yellow ticket machine at a bus stop, at a newspaper kiosk or at a DPB shop before getting on board. Right after boarding the vehicle, passengers must stamp their ticket in the nearest stamping machine. A ticket that has not been stamped is not valid.
A passenger who cannot provide a valid ticket to the inspector will have to pay a fine in accordance with the currently valid public transport code.
Lost and found
In case of loss of personal belongings, the passenger must contact Dopravný podnik Bratislava.
Phone: +421 2 5950 5950
Unlike cities in other countries, in Slovakia, it is cheaper to order a taxi by phone than to hail one on the street. The price per kilometre varies from 0,50 Euro-cents and up. When getting one on the street, the price might be double or more. We highly recommend to agree on the price before getting in the car. Short distance trips are charged at minimum 4 EUR.
You can use apps like Hopin, Bolt (Taxify) and Uber in Slovakia.
Slovenská pošta Bratislava
Address: Námestie SNP 35, Bratislava
Phone: +421 2 5443 0381
Pharmacies are marked by a green cross. They are usually open from 7 am to 6 pm on weekdays and until 1 pm on Saturday. Lekáreň Pokrok, Račianske mýto 1/A east of the Old Town is the only pharmacy in Bratislava with 24-hour emergency service.
Address: Lekáreň Pokrok, Račianske mýto 1/A, Bratislava
Phone: +421 2 444 552 91
Country code: +421
Area code: 2
In Slovakia, you will find type E power plugs and sockets. The standard voltage is 220V and the standard frequency is 50Hz.