10 worthwhile ways to spend an hour (or more) in Bratislava
If you only have an hour or so free, you may be interested in one of the following local favourites. Most of them are within the historic Old Town within walking distance of each other; the exceptions are easily reachable by public transportation. Unless otherwise noted, the following list is oriented mostly to adults – for the best ideas on what to do with young children, please visit our Kids page.
St Martin’s Cathedral and its surroundings, particularly the adjacent seminary on Kapitulska Street with its robed adepts, give an almost intact physical overview of the environs of a major coronation cathedral.
Bratislava Castle, apart from offering a quick look at historical architecture and artifacts, gives you a wonderful view of the city, especially pretty in the evening. The castle is being currently renovated.
The Slovak National Gallery displays an overview of Slovak art, with the most remarkable and extensive collection focusing on Gothic church art. www.sng.sk
The Slovak National Museum centres on natural history (geology, wildlife and ancient man), and recently has increasingly invested in outstanding temporary exhibits.
Bibiana children’s museum will of course captivate younger visitors, but its uniquely creative arts exhibits interest visitors of all ages. Close to other Old Town attractions, it’s especially easy to add to other activities.
A short but rich Jewish history tour includes a stop at the Chatam Sofer mausoleum (tours here requires special arrangement in advance), the Jewish History museum, and a stroll through the adjacent old Jewish quarter – partly decimated by communist building projects, but even in these spots suitably marked with commemorative monuments. Information on all these sights at www.slovak-jewish-heritage.org.
Other small museums abound in Old Town. The art exhibitions are especially memorable, in part because of their location in palaces mostly baroque in period.
Old Town “without museums”: even those who don’t enjoy museums will be moved by the beauty available on a simple stroll through the historic core, mostly closed to cars. Small art and antique galleries and shops are mingled with a surprising number of restaurants and cafes.
Devin Castle, even if you have limited time, is fifteen minutes from downtown by car or bus.
Outdoors inside the city: the most popular participatory sport by far is walking in the woods, and it is easy to enjoy this with even a few free minutes. Koliba with its distinctive radio tower is best known, but unexpectedly close in-city forests are also to be found in Horsky Park, Zelezne Studienka and Devinska Kobyla.