Bratislava is a fairytale city with an old style charm and is the product of many languages and cultures. Easy to navigate on foot, the Slovakian capital only gets a fraction of the crowds of Vienna and Budapest. Perfect for a low cost holiday, the city has excellent budget hostels and cheap hotels available throughout the year.
During the past decade, the Slovakian capital has become increasingly popular with European backpackers. Home to medieval churches, quaint cobbled lanes and fascinating museums, there is certainly no shortage of culture in Bratislava.
Situated just an hour away from Vienna, two hours and 40 minutes from Budapest, and four hours from Prague, the city’s transport links are superb. Spreading like a fan on both banks of the Danube River, Slovakia’s main borders lie with Hungary in the south and Austria in the west.
One of the city’s greatest landmarks is Bratislava Castle, which has recently undergone a major restoration. Visitors can enjoy stunning views over the Danube valley from the peak of the castle. Always a glorious spectacle in fine weather, Bratislava Castle is a must-see attraction for visitors.
Rivalling the castle for architectural flair is the Presidential Palace with its grand baroque features. The royal building has contributed immensely to the musical life of the city, hosting popular musical events, recitals and lavish parties.
Offering a quirky alternative to the city’s historic palaces is the Museum of Clocks, which is filled with bizarre watches and table chronographs. Considered by many to be one of the most decorative buildings in Bratislava, it offers superb views of the River Danube.
Symbolising the modern Slovakia, the Apollo Bridge cost 103 million Euros to make and has become an iconic structure for Slovakians. Visitors wanting to explore further afield can take a hovercraft journey underneath the bridge towards Budapest and Vienna.
Bratislava is a well-established gateway to central Europe and for nature lovers it’s wonderfully close to the Carpathian Mountains. Slovakia’s largest wine-growing region starts in Bratislava and extends for 60km to the east of the city making it a superb place to visit on holiday.
Remarkably unspoilt and unlike most European cities, the Slovakian capital is easy to navigate and not overwhelmed by tourists. Undeniably pretty and rich in culture, a wise traveller booking a hostel in Bratislava will discover the romantic joys of Budapest and Vienna without the crowds.
Where to stay in Bratislava
- Freddie Next To Mercury is a brand new art-hostel in the centre of Bratislava. Offering clean funky rooms and free Wi-Fi, it’s a brilliant place to hang out on holiday. Rooms are available from €9.88.
- Art-Hostel ‘Taurus’ is situated directly above the Old Castle (Hrad) in the heart of old Bratislava. Super clean and extremely social, you’ll very welcome in this cosy arty hostel. Rooms are available from €12.90
- Patio Hostel is the most popular hostel in Bratislava with multi-lingual staff and Wi-Fi friendly rooms. Perfect for new arrivals in the city, it’s only a few minutes walk from the Old Town. Rooms are available from €10.54.