Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is an affordable and attractive destination for the travelers. In addition to buzzing markets and streets filled with tourists, the city is home to stunning buildings, places breathing with history, beautiful nature, city parks, and amazing viewpoints. Follow my guide to amazing free things to do in Bratislava and have a top day out without spending a cent.
THE OLD TOWN
Take a stroll in Old Town in the heart of Bratislava
Old Town, the most popular tourist hub in Bratislava is not very extensive, but its streets buzzing with tourists make you feel you came to the right place. Coffee shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, historical buildings and relaxed atmosphere is part of Old Town’s charm where you can relax and enjoy the best of Bratislava.
Location: In the heart of Bratislava
How to get there: On foot
Take a picture with Cumil
Cumil is the most famous statue in Bratislava and a favorite stop for the tourists strolling in The Old Town. The bronze statue was installed in the city in 1997 and since then it quickly became one of the most beloved tourist attractions.
Location: At the corner of Laurinska street and Panska street in Old Town, Bratislava
How to get there: On foot
Admire The Blue Church
Just outside the Old Town, you can find one of the Bratislava’s gems: The Blue Church. The church was named according to its distinctive blue color and its hidden in the residential area of the city. The building is more than a hundred years old and nowadays, the church is a popular place for weddings.
Location: Bezrucova 2534/2, 811 09 Bratislava
How to get there: On foot
Church Service: Monday to Friday at 7:00am and 6:00pm, Sunday at 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:00am and 6:00pm
OUT AND ABOUT THE OLD TOWN
Walk around The Bratislava Castle
The most recognised landmark of the capital has been the symbol of Bratislava for centuries. The first mentions of the castle date back the 13th century and nowadays, it serves mainly as a historical museum. Even thought the admission to the museum is not free, you can stroll around the castle and enjoy the amazing views of the river Danube and the city. My personal tip is to go there just in time to watch the sunset and you won’t be disappointed.
Location: Old Town Area, 811 06, Bratislava
How to get there: On foot from The Old Town/ By the trams 203 and 207
Opening times: Museum: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Admission: Adults: 7 EUR / Free entrance every first Sunday in a month
Admire the views from Slavin
Located on a hill overlooking the city, Slavin is not only a cultural monument, but a cemetery dedicated to the Russian soldiers who died here during the WW2. It’s a great spot to visit as Slavin is never crowded with tourists and the views are simply amazing.
Location: Old Town Area, 811 04 Bratislava
How to get there: By the bus 147 / get on a bus at Hodzovo namestie towards Budkova / get off at the bus stop Slavin
Get lost in the past in St Nicholas Cemetery
This cemetery breathes with the history of old Pressburg. St. Nicholas’ Cemetery seems to be a forgotten place, even though it’s located in a prominent part of Bratislava. Twisted trees overgrown with ivy, old graves, the bell tower with the adjacent buildings in decay are all part of the cemetery’s unique character. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to recharge your energy, visit this place and discover St Nicholas cemetery’s magic.
Location: Žižkova 1885/34, 811 02 Bratislava
How to get there: By trams 4, 10, 12, 17 / get off at the stop Chatam Sofer. From the stop walk up the hill to Žižkova street, turn left and follow the road until you reach the gate.
Go window shopping in Eurovea
The Eurovea shopping center is located on the shore of the Danube and it’s a popular hangout spot for both tourists and locals. Designers stores, food court, cinema, restaurants and coffee shops overlooking the Danube river together created a place with a great atmosphere for shopping and meeting with friends. As a bonus, the statues of the English artist Colin Spoffortha decorate the premises of the modern shopping center. Each statue has its name and a character and both visitors and passers-by love to take a picture with them.
Location: Pribinova 8, 811 09 Bratislava
How to get there: On foot from The Old Town/ By the buses 28,50,66,70,78,133 (get off at the stops Mala scena, Eurovea – Pribinova, Nova Budova SND or Safarikovo namestie)
Opening times: Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 9:00pm
Visit the Hotel Gallery
The hotel with an avant-garde architectural design is Bratislava’s rarity and no tourist can miss it. It’s ranked 45th in the list of the most unique buildings in the world. The Hotel Gallery offers attractive economic accommodation in colorful 1, 2, 3, 4-bedded rooms and focuses on supporting the art, health, and beauty. Even if you won’t stay in the hotel, you can walk around, take a few snaps and admire the unique design of the hotel.
Location: Vancurova 1694/1, 831 01 Bratislava
How to get there: You can easily walk from the train station in Bratislava
SUBURBS OF BRATISLAVA
Enjoy the local ambiance at Mileticka
Mileticka is a popular local market where you can buy various fresh local products or simply walk among the stalls and enjoy the ambiance. It’s a favorite place for locals to shop for fresh fruit, veggies or to have a quick bite. Slovak cheese, pickles, spices, herbs, meat from local butchers, fresh fruit and veggies will tempt both your stomach and your wallet.
Location: Trhovisko Mileticova, 821 09 Bratislava
How to get there: By the bus 201 – get off at the stop Mileticova
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 6:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday from 6:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday closed
Have a picnic in The Garden Of Janko Kral
The Garden of Janko Kral is located in Petržalka between the Old and the New Bridge. The idea behind its creation in 1774-76 was to establish the first park open to the public. The park’s design as it looks today was completed in 1839. This garden is an ideal place for a walk, a picnic or simply lying on the grass to relax. Don’t forget to take a look at the garden gazebo which used to be a part of a Franciscan church and today is the locals’ favorite meeting point.
Location: 811 09 Bratislava-Petrzalka
How to get there: By the tram 1 and 3 – get off at the stop Sad Janka Krala
Learn about the military past in Bunker BS-8
In the 1930s, Czechoslovakia built a defense system around its borders in response to the rise of Hitler and fascism to power. The only complete defensive section was preserved in Petržalka, the borough of Bratislava. Even nowadays, the BS-8 bunker is the largest, heavy-armed object in Bratislava. The surroundings of the bunker were turned into a recreational space where visitors can relax or have a barbecue during the summer months. If you want to go inside the bunker, there is an admission fee and it’s recommended to book your visit in advance to avoid disappointment.
Location: Petrzalka-Kopcany, Bratislava
How to get there: On foot / By bike
Opening times: 3:00pm – 6:00pm (summer time) / 2:00pm – 5:30pm (winter time)
Travel in time in the Rendez Train Museum
The exposition is located in the suburbs, nearby the borough of Raca in a preserved steam depot with a range of periodical buildings. Its construction began at the end of the 19th century and the depot became a protected monument zone in 2008. This is a great place for train and history lovers as some of the trains date back to 1960’s and even further back. The best part is you can enter some of the trains and have fun by exploring the interiors. The entry to the exposition outside is free, however, if you want to visit the onsite museum, it’s recommended to book your visit in advance.
Location: Dopravna 2, 831 06 Bratislava
How to get there: By bike / By trams 3, 5, 11 to Raca. Get off at the stop Detvianska and change to a bus no. 52 or 56. Get off the bus at the stop Pri Sajbach and then walk 10 minutes on a cart-way behind the residential area.
Hike To The Hill Mala Bana
The hill Mala Bana is a nice, easy hike through the forest and your reward will be a great view over the mountain range Male Karpaty. The hike to the top of the hill will only take half an hour and it’s a great quick getaway from the rush of the city. What makes this spot special is a self-service buffet, the one and only in Slovakia. It offers refreshment, such as beer, water, sweets but also handy items like a handsaw. You can also pack your own supplies and have a barbecue.
Location: Raca – Bratislava
How to get there: By the trams 3 and 5 – get off at the stop Detvianska. Turn left, walk up the street, look for the blue tourist sign and then follow it to the top of the hill.
Go for a dip in Zlate piesky
Zlate piesky is a recreational area with a natural swimming pool located on the northeast outskirts of Bratislava. You can choose to go to the paid zone with sports facilities, beach and kid’s playground or you can head straight to the admission free side of the lake. It could be a little crowded, especially during hot summer days, but the refreshing dip in the lake is definitely worth it.
Location: Senecka cesta 2, Bratislava
How to get there: By the tram 4 – get off at the stop Zlate Piesky. To get to the free admission part of the lake, take the bus 56 or 53 and get off at the stop Kon-rad or walk there.
Taste the chocolate air around Figaro
Figaro factory, currently known as Mondelez, is the best stop for the chocoholics. You can get great deals for a variety of Figaro products in the factory’s shop or you can take a stroll in the streets filled with chocolate scent surrounding the factory.
Location: Racianska 44, 832 42 Nove Mesto
How to get there: By the trams 3 and 5 – get off at the stop Riazanska
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 7:00pm
Go wild at Be Free Festival
The biggest summer festival of electronic dance music – house, techno, drum&base and trance so get ready for a party! This festival takes place every year and this year will be no different. It’s wild, it’s fun and it’s free!
Location: Incheba/ Plaz pod UFOm, Viedenská cesta 2383/22, 851 01 Petržalka
How to get there: By the tram 4 – get off at the stop Einsteinova (Incheba)
When: 28-29 July 2017
Welcome winter at the Christmas Market
Christmas Market in The Old Town takes place in Bratislava every year to celebrate upcoming holidays. The smell of mulled wine in air, different food and sweets will get you right into the holiday spirit while watching people ice skating and listening to the Christmas carols.
Location: The Old Town, Bratislava
How to get there: On foot
When: December 2017