Flight and hotel Bratislava
Called Pressburg in German, the Slovak capital of Bratislava was known as Prešporok before 1919. Nestled on the idyllic Danube, the city oozes charm, with winding old streets, towering church spires and castles. A medieval Old Town contrasts interestingly against the communist-era structures of the new city. Consider a flight to and hotel in Bratislava for your next break.
What to know before visiting Bratislava
The city is served by Bratislava Airport (BTS), which is around 9km from the city centre. Vienna International Airport (VIE) is just 40km from Bratislava. British citizens likely won't require a visa to enter Slovakia. A flight from London or Manchester to Bratislava is easy. The official currency is the euro, and Slovakia is one hour ahead of the United Kingdom. The main languages spoken are Slovak, German and Polish, though English is spoken at most attractions.
When is the best time to visit Bratislava?
The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, when the weather is consistently pleasant, are a good time to visit, and package holidays in Bratislava will likely be discounted at this time. Summer heats up, with outdoor festivals and all-night parties, and winters are just as magical, with Christmas markets, mulled wine and lights. Bratislava flight and hotel bookings at these times are best made in advance.
During winter, the Nutcracker features all through December at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, worth seeing on your weekend in Bratislava. Slovakia’s biggest annual live music event, Pohoda, takes place in Tren?ín, a town about 130km from the capital city. The two-day Grape Festival takes place in the nearby town of Pieš?any each summer.
What to do in Bratislava
City breaks in Bratislava are never a dull affair. Cycle past rivers and into the Carpathian hills when you travel along the international biking route that runs along the Danube, and go shopping at the riverside Eurovea Mall. Close by is a promenade where locals unwind every evening, as well as the Slovak National Theatre and Warehouse No. 7, a beautiful example of modern industrial architecture. Alternatively, vist the Bratislava Zoo, a breeding facility for Sri Lankan leopards, South African lions, white tigers and jaguars.
City breaks in Bratislava are incomplete without experiencing its boisterous beer halls, jazz venues, roof-top lounge bars and industrial-style nightclubs. Experience the city's underground culture at Subclub, housed inside the Bratislava castle's former military bunkers. Jungle music, Slovak techno, house and drum & bass play through the night.
Places to visit in Bratislava
Bratislava is a city of contrasts, with a sleepy medieval Old Town backed by a concrete jungle. Package holidays to Bratislava offer the best value.
- Impossible to miss is the modernist SNP Bridge and its flying-saucer-like structure, which houses a restaurant, UFO. The observation deck offers magnificent views of the Old Town.
- Dating to the 9th century, the fairytale-like Bratislava Castle merits a visit for its views from the Crown Tower, and for Anton Schmidt's late Baroque painting, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
- Located at the foot of the castle is St Martin's Cathedral, the country's largest and oldest church, topped by a 300kg gilded crown. The Gothic structure has witnessed the coronation of numerous Hungarian kings.
- The dramatically lit Slovak National Gallery eschews convention, with exhibits organised thematically instead of chronologically. Check out the Light and Dark and Space and Illusion displays.
- Perched upon the city's highest point, the Slavin monument is dedicated to soldiers who died during the liberation of Slovakia during WWII. City views, particularly at night, are fabulous from this romantic and quiet spot, perfect for Bratislava weekends.
What to eat In Bratislava
Gastronomy in Bratislava features plenty of local produce and seasonal ingredients. Pork, chicken, fish, cheese, potatoes and sauce are common ingredients. Topping the list of must-try dishes are bryndzové halušky, potato dumplings with sheep cheese. Also worth trying are lokše, baked potato pancakes, and kapustnica, a hearty sausage and sauerkraut soup.
The semi-sweet Bratislavský rožok, made with walnuts and poppy seeds, go well with coffee. Topped with melted butter and sugar, makové lokše (poppy seed pancakes) are delicious as well.
What to bring home from Bratislava
Bratislava's malls stock everything, including local wines, antiques, sheep cheese, wooden toys and haute couture. For traditional and quirky souvenirs, the kiosks on the main square are your best bet. Obchodna Street, a major shopping street, houses brands such as Deichmann and H&M. For knock-offs of popular brands, try the Chinese sellers on Mileti?ova or Žilinská.