I spent a few hours in the Bratislava Old Town after I had joined the MasterCard conference. Since the Loft Hotel, the place where I stayed in, is not far from the old town center, it was easy for me to walk there. After a few minutes of walking, I came across a well-know palace just outside of the Bratislava old town.
The highlights of my 6 hours stay were:
- Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava
- St. Michael’s Tower gate
- Main square
- Old Market Hall
- Local restaurants
- Slovak National Theatre
- Hviezdoslav’s Square
Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava
On the way from my hotel Loft to the old town center, I passed the Grassalkovich Palace, the official seat of the president of Slovakia. The building is a Rococo-late Baroque summer palace with a French garden and is worth a visit. Only a few people were strolling around in the park. It was free to enter the garden.
St. Michael’s Tower gate
Although the hotel staff provided me a map of the old town, I did not know where to start my round walk and got lost soon after I entered the old town.
I stopped a local middle-aged man and asked for the direction. He did not speak a single English word. After examining my map, he managed to help me to locate myself. According to the map I had, most of the historical sights are located in the old town.
The first sight attracted me was the St. Michael’s Tower gate. It is actually one of the main entrances to the old town. People can climb up the tower and a nice view of the old town.
The Bratislava old town was quite flourishing. Everywhere was business and crowds. Meanwhile, I found it was quite easy to explore the old town and was able to explore the Bratislava old town without any stress.
Many tourist groups were in front of Main Square, the center of the old town. I could see the famous clock tower from nearly all parts of the inner city.
The Main Square is the very heart of the Bratislava old town. It is also a great place to admire the beautiful architecture and ambience of the city.
Buildings, such as the Old Town City Hall, Kutscherfeldov palace or the Holy Saviour Church, are worth seeing. There is also a beautiful fountain called Maximilian Fountain.
Old Market Hall
One of the things I would like to do on each trip is to visit a local farmers market. The hotel staff told me that the Old Market Hall was famous for local farm products.
However, when I wanted to enter the Hall, several armed guards near the entrance blocked me. Due to a private event taken place on that day, only invited persons were allowed to get in.
In front of the old market hall, I seen the crowds and stalls selling local food. But I didn’t know what to eat. I wished I could have spent a few Euros and booked a Bratislava walking tour to explore the old town better.
It was lunchtime already. There were so many restaurants that offer international and local cuisines. I had difficulty deciding where and what to eat. The menus posted outside of each eatery were very tempting.
Many restaurants do not require dress-up, but I felt weird to eat alone while others in the room were eating in groups.
The Slovakian capital is home to many great pubs since Bratislava also has some good breweries. One of my hobbies on the trip is to try the local beer. When I passed a Scottish pub with several lonely guests, so I decided to have a drink there and eat my lunch. But the pub offered burgers mainly, and I was not in the mood to eat that. Finally, I went to a Japanese fast food place not far from the old town and took its lunch menu, which was cheap and delicious.
Historical Building of Slovakia National Theatre
Only q few steps away from the Old Town as well as the Danube River are the eclectic Baroque and Neo-Renaissance building, Slovak National Theatre, dominants the Hviezdoslav’s Square. It is the second oldest professional Slovak theater founded in 1920.
The historical building has three ensembles: drama, opera, and ballet, and can seat 1 000 people. You can find its programs at the theater’s website.
It is only a few steps away from the Old Town as well as the Danube River. There is a new building of the national theater, too, built-in 2007.
Walking 100 meters further to the west, it is the elegant and charming Hviezdoslav’s Square in the heart of the city center. Some locals were walking, reading a book, meeting friends, or just sitting and looking around. Some outdoor restaurants, bars, and cafes are all around the area.
I had to catch my flight back to Germany in the early afternoon. It was a pity that I could not stay long for evening activities. Other things to do and to see are, such as walking along the Danube, participating in the nightlife and attending many concerts, etc.
A better way to explore Bratislava is by an oldtimer Sightseeing Bus. It has several options and goes to different routes. You can easily integrate the visit from the Vienna trip.
How to get to Bratislava
Bus No. 61 links Airport Bratislava with the city centre in the direction from the Main Railway Station (Hlavná železničná Stanica) and bus No. 96 in the direction from Petržalka, Prokofievova
From Vienna Airport, you can take Flexibus to Bratislava.
From Vienna Airport you can take a Taxi to Bratislava. I paid 60 Euro one way. It costs less if more people share one minivan.
There is also a direct train connection between Vienna Airport and Bratislava. Check this website for the schedule.