Bratislava is a city of incredible history, culture and beauty, small enough to make a great short weekend getaway.
Although Bratislava isn't a second Prague or Vienna, it has its own unique charm. It feels greatly underrated - especially as there are plenty of places to visit and things to do beyond the Old Town, which many visitors miss.
Once you’ve explored the old town and seen all the major tourist attractions, there is still more to discover in Bratislava.
Here are a few lesser-known destinations which will allow you to learn more about the city and its past.
The Church of St. Elizabeth, also known as the Blue Church, is one of the most exciting places to visit in Bratislava, so it's worth a closer look.
It's a stunning Art Nouveau building that looks out of a fairy tale. The church was designed by Hungarian architect Edmund Lechner and built in 1913.
You'll love its one-of-a-kind blue facade, roof and pale blue interior. Although the church is a bit off the beaten path, it's only 15 minutes walk from Old Town on Bezručova Street and remains one of Slovakia's hidden gems.
Just keep in mind you can enter only during limited hours. Otherwise, the church is closed, so don't miss out.
Yes, Bratislava has a UFO! The name UFO bridge comes from the resemblance to a cosmic starship. The building has a restaurant, skywalk and observation deck.
You can get to the top of the observation deck by elevator.
There's also an option to have a luxury dinner at UFO restaurant with an epic view of the town, especially at night with all the city lights.
Unfortunately, there is no UFO sighting story behind this bridge. Nonetheless, the view is breathtaking both day and night.
The Slovak National Theater is located on Hviezdoslav Square (Hviezdoslavovo námestie) in Bratislava.
The theatre building was constructed in 1885–1886. It features beautiful Neo-Renaissance architecture, ornate balconies, and a grand theatre hall that radiates elegance and sophistication.
The theatre hosts a wide range of performances throughout the year, including opera, ballet, drama, and musicals.
A visit to the Slovak National Theater is not only an opportunity to enjoy world-class entertainment, but also to appreciate the interior of this historic landmark. Just be aware that some performances take place in a new building, so check when booking.
Get your adrenaline boost on a speedboat tour to Devin Castle just 20 minutes outside Bratislava.
Devin Castle was built on a hill overlooking the Danube and Morava rivers and the highlight of this place is the beautiful views and nature surrounding the castle. You can also do a private guided tour of the castle ruins and there are a few restaurants just around the corner.
If the weather doesn't cooperate, you can get to Devin Castle by bus or car. There's plenty of free parking. You'll have to take a short 10-15 min hike to the top for the best views. The admission tickets are reasonably priced.
Personally, I find Devin Castle much more impressive than Bratislava Castle, but the views are stunning from both.
If you visit Bratislava in the summer, go for a walk along the Danube River by the Eurovea shopping centre.
On sunny days, locals love hanging out here, sipping cocktails, having a picnic, or strolling along the river. It's a perfect place to relax and soak up some sun.
The boat company's main rental facility is at Rekreačný prístav Vlčie hrdlo, but you can also arrange for pick up in the Bratislava city centre for a small additional fee.
The Slavín Memorial is a cemetery of Soviet soldiers who lost their lives fighting against German Nazis during World War II. The main draw for tourists is the panoramic view of the city from the top. It's also a pleasant place to walk in the nearby woods of Horský Park.
The Slavín is not the only remaining landmark from the times of communism in Slovakia. It can be interesting to learn more about the Soviet influence on the city but to really dive deep into how it affected people’s lives, you'll need to interact with locals or get a local guide.
I still remember my parents' stories about waiting in long lines to get their mandarins for Christmas during the communist era. Or how my dad felt like a badass when he finally bought his first denim jacket from the Tuzex shop. It's hard to imagine now, but foreign goods were hard to get at that time.
You can travel in style and visit post-communist landmarks in a vintage Czechoslovak Škoda Car on this Bratislava post-communism tour.
Hotel Galeria Spirit is not your typical hotel. Instead, it has a quirky design, three terraces and a meditation pyramid.
It's budget-friendly hostel-style accommodation, about a 5-minute walk from the train station or around 15 minutes from the old town centre.
The building looks like a piece of abstract art with many bright colours, and it's a unique structure that would stand out not only in Bratislava but the entire world.
Although the accommodation doesn't have the most stellar reviews, it's fun to check out, get inspired, and take photos.
The Galeria Spirit also includes the Butterfly House, where you can borrow books, rent a bike, or paint a picture.
Bunker B-S-8 is a fascinating piece of Slovak war history. It's located at Slovak Austrian border, about 10 min by car from Bratislava's old town or 30 mins by bus. If you feel adventurous, rent a bike from Slovnaft Bike Share, and enjoy a pleasant bike ride to get there.
The bunker was built as part of Czechoslovakia's defence system against potential attacks from Germany. It is a well-preserved underground complex designed to withstand attacks, with thick walls and multiple layers of reinforced concrete.
Today, visitors can take guided tours of the bunker to learn about its history and see firsthand the conditions that soldiers would have endured in the event of an attack. Inside, you can find a museum of the Czechoslovak army with interesting artifacts.
Entrance to the bunker is limited to a maximum of six adults, and you can only enter when accompanied by a guide. The bunker is also located near a World War I military cemetery where 331 soldiers are buried.
If you're interested in World War II history, you shouldn't miss out on this place.
Rusovce Mansion is a beautiful historic landmark outskirts of Bratislava built in Tudor and English Neogothic styles. The mansion dates back to the 16th century and is surrounded by an English park.
The mansion also has a stunningly elegant staircase and windows. Sadly, the building has been neglected due to a lack of finances for reconstruction and currently isn't open to visitors.
Nonetheless, you can enjoy a walk in the surrounding gardens and admire the wilting grandeur of the exterior.
One nearby church has been reconstructed into Sankt Vitus Kaffee, a nice place to stop for a cup of coffee.
Hopefully, the mansion will regain its former glory sooner rather than later.
Last Updated 27 August 2023