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Overview

The Slovak Republic’s diminutive capital of just more than 400,000 souls sits firmly in the shadow of bigger regional draws such as Prague and nearby Vienna. But despite lying slightly off the tourist trail, the city has enough to keep visitors entertained for a day or two and is, of course, the ideal launch pad for the rest of one of Europe’s least known countries. Bratislava isn’t really about history – its old town is tiny – but it's a place of interesting contrasts. The old section of the city sits just across the Danube from a sea of 1970s and '80s communist-era apartment blocks, rabbit hutches as the locals call them. Linking the two ...

The Slovak Republic’s diminutive capital of just more than 400,000 souls sits firmly in the shadow of bigger regional draws such as Prague and nearby Vienna. But despite lying slightly off the tourist trail, the city has enough to keep visitors entertained for a day or two and is, of course, the ideal launch pad for the rest of one of Europe’s least known countries. Bratislava isn’t really about history – its old town is tiny – but it's a place of interesting contrasts. The old section of the city sits just across the Danube from a sea of 1970s and '80s communist-era apartment blocks, rabbit hutches as the locals call them. Linking the two is the Slovak capital’s best known sight – the New Bridge with its space-age restaurant and viewing platform tethered high above the city. Nicknamed the UFO, the restaurant's prices are as high as the building itself, but the views are impressive. Other musts in Bratislava include short river cruises along the Danube and the climb up to the architecturally disappointing castle for more views of the cityscape.

Marc Di Duca
About the Expert

Marc Di Duca has written and updated more than 40 guides, mainly for Lonely Planet but also for AA, Thomas Cook, Berlitz and Bradt. Having spent the last 20 years exploring the former communist world, his main field of expertise is Eastern Europe and Siberia.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River
  • Language: Slovak
  • Currency: Slovak Koruna
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring, early autumn