view-countries.phtml

Bratislava - A view from our expert author


Small, but perfectly formed and easily negotiated, Bratislava is the ideal weekend-break destination. The ‘Little Big City’ constantly regenerates and improves on its already spectacular setting and world-class facilities.

Read more in The author’s take

The legendary Casanova knew Bratislava and declared it ‘the most beautiful city in Europe’, and he knew a thing or two about beauty. Situated by the mighty Danube River and nestling in the Small Carpathian Mountains, Bratislava has a changing skyline: towering five-star hotels, shopping malls and apartment complexes now jostle for space in the suburbs surrounding the – thankfully – still historic Old Town buildings, churches and palaces. It is a good-looking capital filled with good-looking people who look like they’re enjoying life. 

However, Bratislava never feels crowded despite the hordes of visitors who pack out the café terraces of the Mediterranean-style Old Town centre. There are many green regions to escape to: tree-lined squares, elegant parks and gardens and the verdant hills above the city.

Bratislava effortlessly blends history with hedonism. The world-class restaurants offer dishes prepared by talented local chefs, and they have been joined by a clutch of quality coffee houses, literary tea and bookshops, and many bistro-come-café venues where you can watch locals enjoying themselves over a home-made lemonade, hot chocolate, or quality Slovak wine or beer.

Bratislava’s small size is satisfying: it’s compact and visitor-friendly. You have the sense that you can discover everything in a few days, see all the important sights and get a real feel for the place. The many superbly-curated museums offer a glimpse into the turbulent history of Central Europe, and don’t forget the Opera House – Bratislava has two! Bratislava’s opera rivals those in Budapest and Vienna and the prices are astounding – €4 for a last-minute ticket is mind-blowing.

In short, Bratislava is the perfect destination for a weekend break, a romantic city break, a family holiday or as a base from where to discover the underrated attractions in the rest of Slovakia. 

Lucy Mallows

Back to the top

Bratislava articles

View all

12 of Europe’s most impressive castles

From complex histories to spectacular architecture, castles have so much to offer. 

Read more...

More than bricks and mortar

From UFO towers to churches made of icing, these are our favourite bizarre but beautiful buildings from around the globe. 

Read more...

9 alternative European city breaks

You've been to Paris, Rome and Barcelona – so what next?

Read more...

Related guides and other books

View all