Bratislava sits in a beautiful spot on the Danube River, has a cute old town with the castel towering over it, plenty of sights and good food and entertainment – all at prices much lower than neighboring Prague or Vienna – and, for now, without the tourist crowds. All this makes it the perfect weekend getaway – check out my weekend itinerary for Bratislava and start planning your city getaway!
Perfect Weekend Itinerary: After settling into your hotel on Friday evening, you head out to the old town to have dinner and soak up the atmosphere. There are plenty of restaurants along the main pedestrian street of Michalska that offer outdoor seating offering local and international cuisine. You can enjoy dinner and people watching. If you are up for a night of fun, you can start with drinks and a local crowd at black dog and head to a dance club in the old town later!
Your Saturday morning starts with pancakes at Funki Punki. It’s a cozy little place that serves sweet and savory pancakes. For full disclosure to American readers, these are more like crepes!
From here it’s a short walk to the meeting point of the Free Walking Tour Bratislava. For the next two hours, you’ll get to see City Hall and the Market Square, Michael’s Gate, St. Martin’s Cathedral, the Medieval City Walls as well as the castle on top of the hill with great views over Bratislava.
The local guides provide great insights into the city’s history and legends, including stories about the Schoene Naci and Man at Work!
They also have lots of tips for restaurants, bars or shops – just ask them! While the tour is free, they live of tips, so if you like it, please be generous!
If one of the museums in the castle or old town got your interest, now is the time to check it out!
Once you have reached information overload and your feet are tired from walking around cobblestone streets, it’s time for some pampering: Danube Spa & Wellness at the Park Inn is a great place to relax. With a large gym to work out, a pool, jacuzzi, two saunas and a steam room you can soak, then relax on the loungers with views of the castle! Or throw in a massage for a treat!
If you have recharged your batteries, you can head for an evening stroll along the Danube river. The Eurovea mall on the banks of the river has a number of restaurants with riverviews and indoor and outdoor seating to fit the weather. Stores are open late, so you can get some gift shopping done, too!
Have some time left before your return flight? Check out Devin Castle high above the Danube river. Although in ruins today, it tells the story of the warring empires of middle Europe who went back and forth over this region. It’s easy to reach by bus or taxi in just 30 minutes!
Getting there & around: Bratislave has it’s own airport only 20 minutes from town and can easily be reached from Vienna City or Airport in about 1h. Both airports are served by multiple low-cost carriers, making it very inexpensive to get here from many cities in Europe! If you arrive by train, don’t be discouraged – the main train station is a dilapidated leftover of communist times and the worst you’ll see in the city!
The old town is compact and easy to explore on foot. For longer trips, there are local trams and buses, as well as taxis to get you there quickly and inexpensively. Most of the ticket machines require Euro coins, so make sure to have some!
Where to stay: To make the most of your weekend and be able to see everything on foot, it’s best to stay near the old town. I stayed at the Park Inn Danube Bratislava and loved it – new and great value, it’s a good choice. Alternatives are Radisson Blu Carlton nearby, the Sheraton at the Eurovea Mall on the Danube, the Crown Plaza or the ibis hotel, both on the Northern side of the Old Town.
|Sheraton Bratislava||5*||Danube River||SPG||Luxury, Shopping, Views|
|Radisson Blu Carlton||4*||Old Town||Radisson||Location, Classic Style|
|Park Inn Danube||4*||Old Town, Danube||Radisson||Location, Spa, Pool, Value|
|Crowne Plaza Bratislava||4*||Old Town||IHG||Location|
|Ibis Bratislava Centrum||3*||Old Town||Accor||Location, Value|
All of these hotels are less than $100/night on most days, or roughly half what a night in Vienna or Prague will cost you! Bratislava is one of the few remaining bargains in Central Europe, you’ll get a lot for your money!
When to go: Bratislava has typical Central European weather, with cold winters and hot summers. The best time to go is from May to September, when all the restaurants have outdoor tables and the old town is lively, without being too crowded!
Explore More: To get a “lay of the land” and see where all the hotels, restaurants and sights are, check out my map below and plan your perfect weekend itinerary in Bratislava! Click on the box in the upper right corner for a full map! Where are you going to stay? What’s your number one thing to do? Or have questions – feel free to comment below and I’ll help with your trip!
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