When I traveled from Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia, I only had 24 hours to explore before traveling onward to Budapest, Hungary. Despite the time crunch, I was able to see some of Bratislava’s best sites, including the Bratislava Castle, Michael’s Gate, the Historic Centre, Maximilian’s Fountain, and Old Town Hall. If you want to learn more about my trip to Bratislava, keep scrolling down!
Built in the 9th century, the Bratislava Castle served as a fortress to protect Hungary from attacks from the West. Over time, the castle transitioned to represent and house Hungary’s royalty. From 1536 to 1783, Bratislava was the capital of Hungary, known then as “Pozsony,” and served as an important trading center due to its location along the Danube River.
Fast forward to 1919, Bratislava was annexed to the Czech Republic. Two decades later, the city faced suppression under Communist rule. The Velvet Revolution in 1989 was successful in re-establishing freedom and democracy in Bratislava, leading the city to become the capital of Slovakia four years later.
Today, Bratislava has grown to become a unique tourist destination in Europe. The several-times restored Bratislava Castle is an emblem of this city’s rich history. I found the castle’s gardens to be very beautiful. The castle also had a great view of the Danube river and the city beyond.
Built in 1300, Michael’s Gate is one of the oldest medieval fortifications. In medieval times, the town protected itself through four fortified gates, in which Michael’s gate was the northernmost gate. Today, Michael’s Gate is the last standing gate in Bratislava. It also provides a memorable entrance to Michalská, a bustling street with lots of shops and restaurants. When you walk beneath the gate, you will see a golden circle, which showcases the distances from Bratislava to 29 other city capitals.
At night, I had a great time walking through Michael’s Gate to check out Bratislava’s nightlife. I was surprised to find so many people drinking at late hours. The bars and restaurants were packed, women were wearing heels and dresses, and music was playing all over the city. The last place I expected to go out was Bratislava, but I had a great night drinking and dancing at a few of the local bars. One of my favorites was Casa del Havana. I definitely didn’t expect to find people salsa dancing in the middle of Central Europe.
What’s your favorite site in Bratislava? Do you have any suggestions on what to add to my Bratislava Travel Guide? Let me know in the comments section below!