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Bratislava & Around

MAP…

MAIN ACCESS POINTS: Bratislava M. R. Štefánik (Airport), Bratislava Hlavná Stanica  (Train Station), Bratislava Mlynské Nivy (Bus Station). Main motorways heading off here include the E75 (towards Hungary), the E58 (going east across Slovakia), Route 2 (which goes to the Czech Republic) and Austria’s A6 motorway (into Austria)

The Old Town – is where to begin exploring Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city. Most “big” sights like the castle, St Martin’s Cathedral and the museums are here, together with the vast majority of the places to stay, eat and drink. But once you’re done with the cobbled streets, 18th-century burghers houses and enticing cafes of the historic heart, you don’t have to venture far beyond for wonderful days out: wild forests, imposing ancient castles, great art galleries… In fact, many of Bratislava’s best sights actually lie outside the city centre. SO check our regional breakdown of the Bratislava & Around area below, then scroll on down for tons of articles on what to do in the city and its environs.

Those outer areas of the Bratislava region (all covered in this section) are best divided into:

The North

Come here. Right beside Bratislava, vineyards rupture up into the forested hills of the Mestské Lesy which mark the beginning of the Malé Karpaty – or Small Carpathians – a wilderness corridor you can trace east across Western Slovakia and in fact pretty much all Slovakia, with hardly a road to pass in the process. Bratislava’s portion of this stunning countryside, which in my opinion forms the main reasons to consider western Slovakia as a holiday destination, contains wineries, ruined castles, serendipitous places to eat and even the odd cable car/ ski slope: just get reading our extensive posts on the area!

Nové Mesto, Ružinov & South-Eastern Bratislava

Fanning out northeast towards the suburb of Rača, eastwards passed the airport and south-east along the eastern side of the Danube, the respective neighbourhoods of Nové Mesto, Ružinov and Podunajské Biskupice have some stuff worth seeing: the watersport-rich lake of Zlaté Piesky. More waterside fun awaits just southeast along the north/east bank of the Danube outside Podunajské Biskupice: wonderful woodsy cycling trails, for example. Meanwhile, the wave of cool new restaurants spreads slowly east from the Old Town towards Ružinov – which is where you’ll most likely be coming to catch an ice hockey match or do big business in one of those fancy new offices.

Petržalka & the South

The Danube marks one of those divides in Bratislava beyond which tourists seem to rarely tread – perhaps influenced by one of Central and Eastern Europe’s biggest Communist-built housing estates, Petržalka. This part of the city has its charms too (a really cool bunker museum, for example) but south beyond Petržalka some great hiking, biking and roller-skating trails fan out along the south shore of the Danube through beautiful woodland right up to the set piece which is, of course, Slovakia’s foremost contemporary art museum, just-refurbished Danubiana Meulensteen

The West

West of Bratislava, you trace the Danube upriver to the Austrian border at Devín Castle, 10km west and dramatically poised at the Danube’s confluence with the Morava. Almost as soon as you leave the city behind, the Danube forms Slovakia’s western frontier with Austria. On one side is pancake-flat Austria; on the other the last hurrah of the Malé Karpaty hills, Devínska Kobyla. This forested upland is a popular hiking destination, containing the rather singular Sandberg, whilst Devín Castle lies at its feet. Remember that in days gone by this was the frontier between Western and Eastern Europe: and a pretty dramatic one at that. 

As the Bratislava public transport system continues a little further into the flat Austrian farmland, up as far as the pretty town of Hainburg-an-Donau (Hainburg on the Danube) we include any part of eastern Austria up to Hainburg-an-Donau (including the stately castle of Schloshof) right here too. 

We’ll also have some posts here, of course, on the Bratislava region generally…

ALSO IN THIS REGION… Don’t forget – as an accompaniment to your Bratislava sight-seeing – our Bratislava Places to Stay and Bratislava Places to Eat & Drink sub-sections. We’ve also got more on Bratislava in the Getting Around Slovakia section! 


Places to go in Bratislava & Around

  • Slavin War Memorial, Bratislava (far from actually falling down!) ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukIn Pictures: A Ludicrous Little Tour Through the Communist Legacy in Slovakia

    Is Slovakia one of the easternmost outposts of Western Europe or one of the westernmost of Eastern Europe? During Socialism in Slovakia the answer was certainly the latter. And as a result, Socialist Slovakia became, architecturally, and particularly in Bratislava, something of a showcase for the Brutalist architecture that defined the Eastern Bloc: a “look-what-we-can-do” ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – the North: Marianka (Pilgrim’s Rest)

    Marianka is the end of the road. I certainly felt that when I traipsed into this pretty village nestled into the forested uplands of the Malé Karpaty recently – having just completed the path through the hills from Bratislava by which the pilgrims typically arrive to this, Slovakia’s main pilgrimage destination. It hardly seems possible that Marianka, with ...

  • Under the bridge... image y www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – Petržalka & the South: The Forgotten Banks of the Danube

    I’d been shopping, as I remember (not at one of the big malls because I detest them) and fancied a stroll near the city centre. I found myself heading out across Most SNP under the baleful gaze of the UFO and then, where most people would turn left if they wanted a walk/cycle with some greenery along ...

  • The entrance to the Old Town of Hainburg - image by www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – the West: Going Over the Border to Get Good Stuff

    As you drive across the border between Slovakia and Austria at Berg you get a poignant sense of how it must have seemed, pre-1989. There’s Austria’s flat, open farmland, broken by gentle wooded hills, suddenly erupting up on the other side of the dramatic Danube-Morava river confluence into the steep forested karst of Devínsky Kobyla with starkly ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – the North: The Pajštún Castle Hike

    The sultry weather in Bratislava continues, and the yearning for countryside escapes grows in proportion. So yet again we found ourselves heading out to explore one of the many outdoor adventures in close proximity to the city. This time we were bound for Stupava, 15 km north of the centre, for the hike up to the romantic ...

  • ©Jonno TranterHiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage Two: Kamzik to Pezinska Baba

    By Jonno Tranter. From Kamzík, it’s easy to find the signs for the Cesta Hrdinov SNP Trail (Trail of the Heroes of the Slovak National Uprising), which encompasses (between Hrad Devín and Bradlo) the Štefánikova Magistrála. Look out for the white and red flag which you’ll grow to love – and hate – along the hike. The ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukHiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage One: Hrad Devín to Kamzík

    This first stage of the five-stage hike across Western Slovakia between Hrad Devín (Devín Castle) and Bradlo is an easy initiation into the walk. We’ve allowed more time for this because of the points of interest en route and because the part of the walk that negotiates Bratislava is a little complicated (hence the reason for ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukInside Bratislava’s Upside-Down Pyramid

    The Slovenský Rozhlas, or Slovak Radio Building, is known by Bratislava tourists mostly only as a bizarre addition to the city skyline, standing in something of a Modernist no-man’s land outside the periphery of the Old Town. And it is bizarre – in shape, at least. It’s an upside-down concrete pyramid, for Chrissakes: it rivals ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – the West: Devínska Nová Ves & Devínska Kobyla (the Slovak Sahara)

    We’ve talked a bit in posts about the countryside around Bratislava: the rearing Carpathian forests of the Mestské Lesy to the north and the wooded trails stretching southeast along the River Danube. But there is also some phenomenal countryside to the west. On a map, of course, Bratislava looks like it’s already so far west within Slovakia that ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukThe Old Town: the Corridor of Books

    Think a myriad bound copies of Cassanova, stretching into a void which also contains, upon closer examination, an infinite number of most of the other classics, likewise piling up and plummeting down before you on shelves that shear away as far as the eye can see. Now think Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade and the ...

  • Shrine - photo by www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – the North: Pilgrimage to Marianka

    Perhaps I would make a good pilgrim. There is no other real reason (excepting madness) to explain why, on an icy Saturday when the snow out in the countryside was still almost knee-deep and most roads – let alone the hiking trails – required a Herculean effort to negotiate, I should decide this was the ...

  • Around Bratislava – The North: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Kamzík

    Like the Tower of London, like the Eiffel Tower, the thing that puts you off wanting to go to Kamzík, the big TV tower/mast standing sentinel over the hills above Bratislava is that it is, perhaps, too obvious.  There is admittedly not much subtle about it: nigh-on 200m of steel and glass jutting out of an already prominent forested ...

  • The Bratislava skyline from the Štefánikova magistrálaHiking Western Slovakia on the Trail of Slovakia’s Heroes: the Štefánikova Magistrála

    When I heard there was a path themed around one of Slovakia’s greatest all-time heroes, Milan Rastislav Štefánik, running from the Austrian border at Hrad Devín through the entirety of the Small Carpathians to Bradlo, where the man is buried, my interest was, I’ll admit it, piqued. 120km Showcase of Slovakia’s Best-Of The Štefánikova Magistrála is a 120+km path in total and encompasses the very ...

  • Bratislava – the Best Places to Get High

    When I arrive in a new place, my immediate instinct is to want to get up high to see a view of all of it. Bratislava – with its burnished rooftops, the grandiose set pieces of castle and cathedral, the more surreal sights of that upside-down pyramid and that suspended sputnik over a Danube that ...

  • From Bratislava to Wild Western Slovakia: an Intro to the Small Carpathians (Male Karpaty)

    Before I wax lyrical about one of my favourite ranges of hills and forests (the Small Carpathians, or Malé Karpaty) too much more on this blog it’s probably necessary to give you some context. So here we go. In terms of mountains in Slovakia, it’s the Carpathians that rule the roost. They’re the peaks that start ...

  • img_1350The Old Town: Bratislava Clock Museum

    Back in the 19th century, it turns out, Bratislava (aka Pressburg to German speakers or Pozsony to Hungarian speakers) was one of Europe’s foremost manufacturers of clocks – and the Hungarian Empire’s go-to destination for purchasing high-quality timepieces. It was a proud legacy the city had built up over the preceding three centuries, with one ...

  • woodpecker-1186209_1280 - kopieBratislava – A Birdwatching Haven

    For our 150th post on Englishmaninslovakia.com we are honoured to have a guest article on birdwatching in and around Bratislava from one of the city’s most experienced birdwatchers, Tomáš Novák. A keen birdwatcher, nature lover, and “bike birder”, his particular passion is urban birding (spotting the birdlife that inhabits urban areas) and owing to the variety ...

  • ©www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – Petržalka & the South: On Getting to Danubiana Art Museum & Why It’s Cool

    A trip out to the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum is possibly the best thing to do in the whole of Bratislava: yes, even amongst the twenty-five or so other singular activities lined up for you in Slovakia’s fair capital on this very site. But this article deals more with how to get there, and how ...

  • img_2520Around Bratislava – Nové Mesto, Ružinov and the Southeast: On Cemeteries & Communist-esque Cafeterias

    I was in Ružinov for a work meeting. I was quite excited. This was not because I was expecting anything particularly amazing from this large neighbourhood of Bratislava, the southeastern extension of Nové Mesto (New Town) just east of the city centre’s Staré Mesto (on this site we generally refer to it as the Old ...

  • Credit: Authentic SlovakiaTours: Authentic Slovakia, the Country’s Wackiest Tour Agency

    Englishman in Slovakia caught up recently with one half of Authentic Slovakia, owned by two brothers, one of Bratislava’s newest and coolest tour agencies, to find out a little bit more about them and the kind of experiences tourists can have with them. Slovakia’s tourism industry has been keen in the past to brush over ...

  • Around Bratislava – the North: The Mestské Lesy (Local City Forest)

    IT IS BY NO MEANS the first time I have raved about, nor the last time I will write about, Bratislava’s Mestské Lesy: the wonderful forest that rises up above the city on its northern side. If people ask me what’s so great about living in Bratislava, this is one of the first things I say. ...

  • Around Bratislava – the North: Svätý Jur for a Day Trip?

    An icy, but brilliantly sunny winter’s day: and where to roam from Bratislava when you wake up, well, reasonably late? You want to get out into the countryside, but you also don’t have so many hours before darkness falls again, and are reliant on public transport. Svätý Jur, just to the northeast of Bratislava, might ...

  • Bratislava Christmas Market by Miroslav PetraskoThe Old Town: Bratislava’s Christmas Market

    I remember laughing the first time I heard that Bratislava’s Christmas Market, that started on 23rd November and runs until 23rd December, was one of Central Europe’s best winter festivals. With Vienna’s famous Christmas markets less than an hour’s drive away, could Bratislava’s really be considered in the same league? Well, maybe not. But when we ...