Bratislava (sk. Bratislava, Pozsony in Hungarian, Pressburg in German) is the capital and largest city in Slovakia. It has almost 415,000 inhabitants and is the administrative, cultural and economic center of the country. Before 1919, it was known in Slovak as Prešporok.

Bratislava has a very pleasant medieval downtown with narrow, winding streets, a castle on top of a hill above the Danube, and many historic churches and buildings to visit. The old town is centered on two squares: Hlavne namestie (main square) and Hviezdoslavovo namestie (Hviezdoslav square, named after the famous Slovak poet). Of a rather different architectural character are some communist-era buildings located in modern parts of the city; a prime example is the Petrzalka housing estate, the largest communist-era residential complex in Central Europe, stretching endlessly across the river. Keep going east and there are plenty of rural spots to explore. There are farms, vineyards, agricultural land and small villages less than 50 km north and east of Bratislava.

Bratislava and its surroundings are the second most prosperous region in Central and Eastern Europe, with a GDP per capita of around 167% of the EU-27 average. Bratislava is the sixth richest region in the European Union, and the GDP per capita is about three times higher than in other regions of Slovakia.



After the fall of the Grand Duchy of Moravia, Slovakia became part of the Kingdom of Hungary from the 10th century (later incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire) until the end of the First World War. The city was the capital (1536–1784), coronation city (1563–1830) and seat of the diocese (1536–1848) of the Kingdom of Hungary for three centuries. During this period in the Cathedral of St. Eleven Hungarian kings and queens were crowned in St. At that time, the town was called Pressburg in German and Pozsony in Hungarian, and had a distinct German (42%) and Hungarian (40%) ethnic majority (1910 census). In 1919, the Treaty of Trianon created Czechoslovakia and Bratislava was annexed to the newly created state. In the same year, the name Bratislava was officially adopted for the first time.

From 1939 to 1944, Slovakia was a Nazi puppet state. In 1941–1942 and 1944–1945, this government collaborated in deporting most of Bratislava's approximately 15,000 Jews to concentration camps, where most were murdered. Bratislava was occupied by German troops in 1944 and finally taken by the Soviet Red Army on 4 April 1945 after a failed uprising by Slovak partisans, now commemorated as the Slovenské národné povstanie or "Slovak National Uprising".

After the Communist Party took power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the city witnessed profound demographic and urban changes. In 1969 it became the capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic, one of the two constituent states of federal Czechoslovakia.

Bratislava's dissidents anticipated the fall of communism in Bratislava during the candle demonstrations of 1988, and the city became one of the main centers of the anti-communist "Velvet Revolution" in 1989. In 1993, the city became the capital of the newly formed Slovak Republic after the "Velvet Divorce".

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and especially with Slovakia's accession to the European Union (May 2004) and later to the Schengen area, Bratislava is often marketed along with Vienna as "twin cities" due to their proximity. They are the two European capitals with the shortest distance to each other and if you ever get bored of Bratislava, Vienna is certainly an interesting day trip. You can even cycle around 60km in one day if you are in moderate shape.


Getting here

By plane
Bratislava Milan Rastislav Štefánik Airport
Bratislava Airport (IATA: BTS). The largest airport in Slovakia.

If you're flying Ryanair and have baggage checked in, don't be fooled by the small size of the airport. Arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight as the line can be very long.

There are no dedicated airport transfers, however the airport is served by the city's bus network. Use bus number 61 (or N61 at night) for a direct connection to the main train station (Hlavná stanica). Or change tram to Trnavské mýto to get to the city center (to get to the tram stop, use the underpass and exit marked "Centrum" (city center) and take any tram towards the city center. Do not buy tickets from the bus driver ( see 'Getting around' below) so you'll need to buy your tickets in advance. Use the vending machines at the stop but note you'll need euro coins as the machines don't take notes (there are also two large red ticket machines in the terminal building near arrivals which accept banknotes and credit cards) Tickets can also be purchased at the tourist office and bureaux de change in the terminal, but they have limited opening hours I am aware that shops and kiosks at the airport are not very helpful when it comes to converting bills to coins The screen in the arrivals hall displays the actual departure times of the next buses and public transport buses to Vienna Public transport buses are cheap - single ticket to/from the city center (Valida ticket in the marking machine on the bus; valid for 60 minutes from approval; Transfer to other public transport lines allowed) costs €1.20 including any number of transfers. Overstaying can be costly, but at night and on low-cost travel, a 30-minute ticket (€0.90) can be enough to travel between the airport and the bus station (or vice versa). The journey to and from the train station at night (no cars) is 31 minutes, so you're better off with a 60-minute ticket.

Taxis taken directly from the airport are expensive (more than €30 for a 15 minute trip to the city centre) and to make matters worse, the taxi drivers do not respect the price agreed with them in advance. If you like a taxi, call one or use the Uber, Bolt, HopIn or Liftago apps: they work reliably in Bratislava.

Direct bus services approximately every hour connect the airport with Vienna International Airport (VIE IATA) and Vienna (journey time to Vienna is approximately 80-90 minutes).

Vienna Airport
Vienna-Schwechat/Flughafen Wien Airport (VIE) is located approximately 45 km from Bratislava, near the town of Schwechat in Austria. The airport is the home base of flag carrier Austrian. Most European airlines and a few international airlines have direct connections to Vienna from their respective hubs.

There are three bus companies providing bus services between Vienna and Vienna International Airport and Bratislava, each operating hourly. In Bratislava, all buses stop at Einsteinova (Petržalka) and Most SNP (under the UFO bridge) and/or at the bus terminal (Autobusová stanica (Mlynské Nivy), in timetables abbreviated as Bratislava AS). All buses except RegioJet run towards Bratislava Airport every two hours.

Quick summary of transport options (timetables and prices as of June 2018):
Slovak Lines (bus). In total, there are at least 20 services in both directions from 06:30 to 22:30 and 24:00. Buses run at least every hour between Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof; bus station is next to Südtiroler Platz/Wiedner Gürtel) and Vienna Airport and Bratislava Bus Station (Bratislava AS). They run every two hours to Bratislava Airport. All buses also stop in Hainburg, Wolfsthal (Austria) and Einsteinova (Petržalka). Check the schedule. You can bring two pieces of luggage per person for €1 each. Luggage tags can be purchased at the ticket window or from the driver. Price €1 (online, well in advance), €5 (Bratislava city center), €9.50 (Bratislava airport), children under 15 €1; discounts on return tickets, youth under 26 and seniors over 63. edit You can book online here.
Flixbus (bus). There are a total of 21 services in both directions from 06:50–23:50 and 01:05 (airport departure times). Buses run at least every hour between Vienna U3 Erdberg VIB (Vienna International Busterminal) and Vienna Airport and Bratislava. Bus stops in Bratislava: Einsteinova (Petržalka), Novy Most (Most SNP) and Bus Terminal (Bratislava AS). Buses run every two hours to Bratislava Airport. Non-airport buses go to the bus terminal and do not stop at Most SNP. Price from €4.99 (online in advance) to €9.99; children €3.90-€4.99. edit Here you can make an online reservation.
RegioJet (bus). There are a total of 16 services in both directions at 7:00 AM and 09:00–23:00 (airport departure times). Buses run hourly between Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof, Bus Terminal is next to Südtiroler Platz/Wiedner Gürtel) and Vienna Airport and Bratislava Bus Terminal (Bratislava AS), with stops in Einsteinova (near Incheba in Petržalka) and the SNP Bridge (UFO Bridge). RegioJet buses do not continue to Bratislava Airport. Book online. Price €5, even €1 if booked very early; children €4.50. You can book online here.
Train. Trains from Vienna to Bratislava do not pass Vienna Airport as they run on different routes. However, you can take a train (S7 or R) from Vienna Airport to Wolfsthal on the Austrian border (45 minutes, regular ticket costs €9.90) and change to the Slovak-operated regional bus 901, which will take you to Bratislava city center ( €1.50, €0.75 for youth under 26, children under 6 travel free) in just 12 minutes. Buses leave at 55 minutes past the hour, but be aware that bus departures/arrivals are not always the same as trains, so you risk waiting up to two hours in a small village 5km from the border. The walk to Bratislava from here will take an hour and is not recommended although there is a footpath near the Danube. All in all, it's not the best way to get to Bratislava, but it can be useful if you've checked the schedules or if you have a backup plan to arrange a ride or taxi (which can be hard to explain if you don't speak Slovak or German) from Wolfsthal.
Taxi. The taxi fare is not fixed, so agree before entering.
Vienna–Bratislava Transfer. A flat rate of EUR 75 for transfers between Vienna and Bratislava.

Brno Airport has a very limited range of destinations. Budapest and Prague airports are around 4-5 hours away, but can yield significant savings on intercontinental travel, especially to New York or Beijing.

By rail
Most international trains stop at Bratislava Central Station (Bratislava hlavná stanica). It has good connections to public transport. To get to the city center you can take tram number 1 and get off at the stop "Nám. SNP' (short for 'Námestie Slovenského národného povstania') (map), but it's a memorable 20-25 minute walk anyway - just ask for the free map and directions at the tourist information desk inside the station. The other main station is Bratislava-Petržalka, located in a residential area south of the Danube. The station serves as a terminus for some trains from Vienna. Bus 80 (Direction: Kollárovo námestie) departs from outside the station building or use the underground corridor in the station hall and then hop on any bus that leaves from the opposite side of the road. Buses 91 and 191 (direction: Novy Most), 93 and 94 (direction: Hlavná stanica and Vazovova) all go directly to the city center.

Vienna: 1 hour There are two regional express services from Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna's main railway station) to two different stations in Bratislava: one to Bratislava Hlavná stanica (Bratislava central railway station) via Marchegg and the other to Bratislava Petržalka station via Kittsee - each operating at intervals hourly, with the first daily trip leaving around 05:00 and the last train leaving around 22:30, to Petržalka at 23:15. The prices of regular tickets for different routes are not the same. But with a low-cost return ticket called the Euregio Bratislava-Ticket, which costs €16 when bought in Vienna (children under 15: €8), you can use any train on both routes without any problems. It is valid for 4 days, but travel must start on the first day of validity. And on the first day, it also serves as a pass for all public transport in Bratislava, allowing free use of the city's public transport until 01:00. You will even benefit from the return ticket if you go one-way to Bratislava-Petržałka via Kittsee, as it is cheaper than a regular full-price one-way ticket! Transportation of one bicycle on the train is free of charge. You can get it at ticket offices as well as all ÖBB ticket machines, but without entering your destination by selecting "More products" at the bottom, then "Tickets to neighboring countries".
Prague: 4 hours, EC trains every 2 hours operated by the Czech railway company ČD (České drahy). Online tickets are much cheaper than tickets purchased at the station, but must be purchased at least 3 days in advance. You can board a sleeping car on the Euronight EN 477 "Metropol" train, but the journey takes only 6 hours, which means you don't get much sleep.

The Czech private low-cost carrier RegioJet also provides three direct connections (timetables) to Bratislava. Journey time just under 4 hours. Although RegioJet has ticket counters in Prague, the best way is to book your tickets online (here) well in advance to get tickets at the best price.

Budapest: 2½ hours Eight EC trains per day during the day, departing from Budapest Nyugati station; and one EN train from Budapest Keleti station departs and arrives in the evening. Trains run every 2 hours in both directions. From Budapest, the cyclical EC two-hour timetable runs from 05:41–17:41, with one additional train at 08:41; the EN train leaves at 20:25 (EN 476 "Metropol"). From Bratislava, the first train leaves at 05:54 (irregular, EN 477 "Metropol"), then EC trains run on a true two-hour timetable from 07:53–19:53, with one extra train at 16:53. In June 2018, a Budapest-Bratislava ticket cost €17.50 (which includes a return trip within a month, making it the best deal available if you're returning to Budapest). The same price and conditions for the return ticket Bratislava - Budapest purchased from the Slovak railway operator ZSSK.

Berlin: 8½ hours, five EC trains during the day every two hours. With the exception of one direct train (EC 173 "Hungaria"), all other trains require a change at Prague. No direct place to sleep but only one shift in Prague at a reasonable time of day. Tickets purchased immediately before departure or on the train tend to be significantly more expensive than fares in advance (not more than 90 days before departure), which can be very cheap if purchased as early as possible (from €29). Please note that there is a €2 surcharge for tickets bought at the box office, but you can obtain information at the box office and later buy from the machine at no extra charge. Tickets can also be purchased online on Deutsche Bahn's excellent website.
Warsaw: 7 hours a day, one direct train (IC 131 "Varsovia") and two connections with a change in Brzecław; 10¾ hours in the night train EN 407 "Chopin" with a change in Brzecław. There is a limited offer of discount tickets to Budapest via Bratislava, they are much cheaper than normal tickets to Bratislava.
Belgrade: 12¾ hours in total, starting from the INT/D 344 "Avala" towards Budapest, there change from Keleti to Nyugati Railway Station to continue on the EC 270 "Metropolitan" to Bratislava. Trains from Serbia are often delayed, but in Budapest you have a 2-hour layover. Alternative: 11½ hours from INT 342 "Ivo Andrić" to Budapest, there changing to EN 476 "Metropol", with a transfer time of 20 minutes at the same train station. (There is no direct train anymore.)
Kiev: 23 hrs, minimum travel time with only one change, from night train D 40749 "Hortobágy" to Budapest, there transfer from Keleti to Nyugati railway station (break 1 hr 40 min) and continue on train EC 278 "Metropolitan".

By car
Bratislava lies on the border of two other countries and has a relatively good road system. The city can be reached by motorways (i.e., limited access highway) from northern Slovakia and Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria. As a result, you can get around the city without having to leave the highway. As in most countries in Central Europe, you have to pay to use the highways. As in Hungary, payment is done electronically (so you don't need a sticker on your windshield) and you can buy it online, at most gas stations and at a kiosk at the border. Motorways within the city limits of Bratislava can be used free of charge.

Once you enter the city, there is a parking information system that will guide you to the next free parking spot. In the city center you can use one of the paid underground garages or buy a parking card from yellow vest vendors and try to find a free space on the streets. The former is recommended on weekends as finding a one-way parking space can turn into a real puzzle. If you find a spot on the street and it's a weekday between 8am and 4pm you have to pay for parking. Parking meters are usually available in the corners, they are marked with a blue and yellow post office sign and only take coins.

It may be a good idea to leave your car in the Aupark car park, which also serves as a "Park and Walk" facility for tourists (remember that the car parks inside the building and parts of the outdoor car park are closed from 24:00 - 06:00, the rest of the parking space is free 24/7). You can leave your car here and walk across the park and the Danube to the city center which is a 10 minute walk, or just use public transport. It is not recommended to leave your car in residential areas outside the city center to avoid paid parking, as foreign cars can attract car thieves.

Renting a car is also an option, especially if you are visiting places outside of Bratislava. All major car rental companies have kiosks at the airport, but most also have an office in the city, and there are also many local car rental companies, some even deliver the car to the hotel/apartment. Use common sense to choose credible.

By bus
Bus routes connect Bratislava with all of Slovakia, a large number of Czech cities and many destinations in the EU, including London, Paris. There are daily connections between Bratislava and Budapest, so for example Flixbus provides a bus approximately every two hours.

There are also several connections from southern Germany.

However, the most frequent international coach connection is by far Vienna. There are three companies - Postbus/Slovak Lines, Flixbus and RegioJet - providing bus services between Vienna and Vienna International Airport and Bratislava, each at hourly intervals from different departure points in Vienna. In Bratislava, all buses stop at Einsteinova (Petržalka) and Most SNP (under the UFO bridge) and/or at the bus terminal (Autobusová stanica (Mlynské Nivy), abbreviated Bratislava AS in timetables). All buses except RegioJet run towards Bratislava Airport every two hours. The journey from/to Vienna takes approximately 1.5 hours.

The fare to Bratislava is the same whether your journey starts in Vienna or at Vienna Airport. To Bratislava Airport the fare may be the same or higher with Flixbus, while Postbus/Slovak Lines usually charge a higher fare.

Hourly departures from Vienna (timetables and prices from June 2018):
Slovak Lines: from Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof; bus station is adjacent to Südtiroler Platz / Wiedner Gürtel) 06:00 - 22:00, 23:30; to Bratislava airport 06:00-14:00 and 15:00-19:00 every 2 hours. You can book online here.
Flixbus: from Vienna U3 Erdberg VIB (Vienna International Busterminal) 06:30-23:30, 0:45; to Bratislava airport 07:30-21:30 every 2 hours. There are two additional buses to the center of Bratislava from Vienna's main train station operated by Polski Bus under the umbrella of Flixbus. You can book online here.
RegioJet: From Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof; Bus terminal is adjacent to Südtiroler Platz / Wiedner Gürtel) 06:25, 08:25 - 22:25. You can book online here.

Bus station (Autobusová stanica), Mlynské nivy. On the eastern border of the city center, which is a huge construction site around which many new investments are taking place. The bus station has been moved to a temporary bus terminal. To get to/from the main train station (Hlavná stanica), take trolleybus no. 210. If you need to get to/from the city center, take trolleybus no. 205 or 202 (the center terminal is behind the MY Tesco department store at Kamenné námestie ) or bus number 50 (getting on/off at Šafárikovo námestie, near the banks of the Danube) or bus number 70 (getting off at Nový most, Nový Most). There is a luggage room at the bus station where you can store bags for around €1 per bag per day. On the upper floor there is a bakery, a bar/canteen, a newsstand and several shops. If you plan to use public transport after arriving by long-distance bus, ask for directions. There are several bus stops nearby marked "Autobusova stanica" and you may find yourself on one that does not serve the selected connections.

By ship
Regular tourist boat lines run on the Danube from spring to autumn on routes from Vienna. Here you will find routes and timetables.

The high-speed ferry goes to Vienna at a higher price than other means of transport. A single ticket from Vienna to Bratislava by Twin City Liner costs around €25-30 (while a return train ticket is less than €15). The Twin City Liner boats travel at a speed of 60 km/h and the journey takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Vienna to Bratislava and approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from Bratislava to Vienna (almost the same time as a train). However, unlike the train, which stops at stations far from the center (about 2-3 km), boat stops are located in the very center of Vienna (Schwedenplatz) and Bratislava (Nowy Most).

By canoe
The Danube becomes very popular on multi-day trips. Some people paddle from Germany to the Black Sea (over 2,516 km / 1,563 miles), also known as TID. Bratislava is well developed for rowing. There are several paddling clubs in "Karloveske rameno" with the possibility of accommodation at the Paddler club on the river km 1872, near the "Old Bridge" on km 1868. Free camping is possible along the river bank; good places are around 1872 km to the right, 1864-60 to the left.

By bike
Bratislava has a nice environment for cycling, and the international bicycle route runs along the south bank of the Danube (Donauradweg or EuroVelo 6). The route from Austria via Bratislava to Hungary is well signposted and also accessible to pedestrians. Motorized transport is prohibited on the bicycle route.

However, the city has few cycle routes and they are mostly ignored by car drivers. There are millions of ways to cycle through the Carpathians and along the Danube and Morava. Read more about the "Do" section below.


Getting around

In general, Bratislava is a walking city. The center is very small and cozy and you can easily walk from one side to the other in a few minutes. The city center is a pedestrian zone, but be aware of cyclists and the occasional car that goes quite fast between people walking and outdoor cafes.

Public transport
If you want to travel outside the city center, use trams or trolleybuses if you want to get from one point to another quickly. Bratislava has a fairly good public transport system mainly operated by the city transport company DPB (website in Slovak only), although many of their vehicles are quite old. Buses are usually the slowest means of transport. Normally a stop must be booked, except on trams. To board a bus/trolleybus, you must stand clearly at the stop. To exit, press the button near the door and the driver will stop at the next stops. The doors of the buses must be opened by the passengers (except for a few oldest buses), simply by pressing a button on or near the door.

A one-way ticket costs €0.70, valid for 15 minutes only. A longer ticket is available for €0.90 (valid for 30 minutes). All tickets can be used for any number of journeys within the specified time. If you're going on holiday, consider buying one of the many long-term tickets valid for 1, 3 and 7 days (24, 72 and 168 hours from confirmation) for €3.50, €8 and €11.40 respectively. For more information about tickets, please visit the IDS BK website. Please note that you must also purchase a separate ticket for your suitcase or other large luggage; buy a 15-minute concession ticket for €0.35 which will cover your luggage.

You must validate your ticket at the bus/tram validation machines immediately after boarding (through any door). When it comes to proving you didn't exceed the time stated on the ticket (e.g. 15 minutes on a 15 minute ticket), official schedule times are decisive - not actual travel times (don't give in to unfriendly ticket inspectors who claim otherwise). Scheduled travel times can be found in the left column of timetables, to the left of the stop name or via the internet (see below).

Bus and tram drivers in Bratislava do not sell tickets, so you must obtain a ticket before boarding the bus or tram. There are ticket vending machines at most stops in the city. The yellow machines only accept coins and contactless credit cards (which can be quite frustrating if you need to buy a long-term ticket), but there are also new large red machines at the larger stops that sell a full range of tickets and accept all cards and even banknotes. SMS tickets are also available, but only if you send a text message from a mobile phone with a Slovak SIM card, which excludes all short-term foreign tourists. SMS tickets cannot be used on S-trains.

If you have purchased a return ticket "Eurgion Bratislava-Bilet" in Vienna, it also serves as a ticket for all public transport on the date indicated on the ticket and does not require validation on public transport in Bratislava.

In addition to vending machines, tickets are also sold at many kiosks and - very convenient for those traveling by train, late in the evening or on weekends - at train stations at the ticket offices (16 ticket offices at the main railway station). You can also buy tickets for public transport at any tourist information office. Ask for the Bratislava City Card, which combines a 1- to 3-day ticket with various discounts and is available from the information offices, but keep in mind that the City Card is much more expensive than just public transport tickets, so make sure it's the best option for you You!

Tickets can also be purchased using the Android or iOS app.

There are 3 main exchange points in the very center of the city, where you can take a bus or tram to almost anywhere:

Hodžovo námestie (presidential palace) for bus connections in the north-west and east
Námestie SNP / Kamenné námestie (down the pedestrian street below Hodžovo námestie, on the northern edge of the centre) for trams
SNP bridge (near St. Martin's Cathedral and the banks of the Danube) for trams and western buses, as well as bus connections to Petržalka.

The main tram, bus and trolleybus lines run from 04:30 until around 23:30. If you want to travel by bus at night, go to the main train station, which is the main interchange point for the night line, or use the bus stops at the Presidential Palace (Hodzovo námestie). All night lines have common departure times from the main train station at 23:30, then every 60 minutes for each line and outbound direction until 03:30. Some lines have an additional departure leaving at midnight. You will need a night ticket for €1.40 on night lines. When traveling on night lines, be sure to ask for each stop. Especially around midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, buses are very crowded on some lines when young people are returning from clubs.

Public transport routes sometimes change, especially due to track works and renovations. For example, in June 2019, all tram lines were completely changed. If you have an older map, an old travel guide, etc., chances are that the transportation lines (numbers, destinations, transfer points) are no longer valid. Check online on the official IDS BK website or the unofficial iMHD website which has a wider range of maps, information at stops (available in English) or ask other passengers if you are unsure.

You can also walk to Petrzalka station from the city if needed (about 25 minutes). The path is now clearly marked, but keep in mind that Petržalka is just a little more than the largest block of flats in Central Europe. Head to the bridge with its flying saucer-like tower (Most SNP or also known as Nový most). When you reach the bridge, you will notice that there is a footpath along the lower part. On the other side of the Danube, walk on the right side of the bridge along the walkway made of red cobblestones. This will lead you to the station. Alternatively, you can walk through Bratislava's equivalent of a central park called Sad Janka Kráľa and visit the Aupark shopping center in the park. Once you exit the Aupark on the other side, turn right and follow the street to get to the walkway mentioned above. The route is very safe during the day, but for typically western tourists it can be dangerous at night (although no more than any other European "panelák" settlement (see above)). Use the guide if needed. If you want to go from the station to the city, turn right outside the station building and follow the path described above in the opposite direction.

Do not take taxis waiting outside the main transfer points and tourist areas such as the main train station, airport, bus station, Petrzalka train station, in front of the Alizee night bar in the northern corner of the city center, etc., as they will rip you apart. Taxis are cheaper in Bratislava when hailed earlier than on the street. As a tourist, it's best to use one of the apps - Uber and Bolt are present in Bratislava, although sometimes they have longer waiting times compared to other cities. Other reliable taxi apps include Liftago and HopIn, they support both card and cash payments to the driver if you don't want to enter card details (payment method must be selected before ordering a taxi).



Bratislava Castle

1 Bratislava Castle, ☎ +421 2 54411444. The castle has been reopened after reconstruction and hosts exhibitions. The castle also has a restaurant open until the castle actually leaves the night.


Museums and galleries

For visitors, Bratislava is the place to go, with several major and plenty of small museums scattered throughout the city. Every year on the weekend around April 24, Bratislava celebrates a festival called "Bratislava for All", which gives residents and visitors the opportunity to visit most city-managed facilities for free or at a reduced fee, including most museums and galleries. In May, the city's museums and galleries open their gates to the public until late at night in what is known as "The Night of Museums and Galleries".

2 Pharmacology Museum
3 Slovak National Gallery (SNG) For a taste of the visual arts, visit the National Gallery on the escarpment between Starý Most and Nový Most with its permanent collections of medieval Slovak and European art, although temporary exhibitions are much more interesting.
Municipal Gallery in Bratislava (GMB) The Municipal Gallery in Bratislava is also a good opportunity to see historical works of art, paintings and sculptures as well as interesting temporary exhibitions.
Danubiana Art Museum If you're more into contemporary art, visit the Danubiana Art Museum on the southern tip of Bratislava, but be aware that it's too far to walk, with little to no public transport, and is best reached by car or taxi.
Milan Dobes Museum This small museum showcases modernist operatic art. It is located in the city center and is recommended to all those interested in the development of contemporary art
4 National Museum, Žižkova 14 (At the foot of Castle Hill), ☎ +421 2 59207273. Permanent archaeological collection
5 City Museum in Bratislava
6 Natural History Museum, Vajanského nábrežie 2, ☎ +421 2 59349122. Referring to the communist era, the nature exhibitions have an interesting collection of artifacts and are slowly transforming into an exhibition of the modern era
Gerulata, Gerulatska This is an ancient Roman military camp with archaeological exhibits. If you like Roman remains, you should also consider visiting nearby Carnuntum, which has a large archaeological site and is a short drive from Bratislava.
Transport Museum, Šancová 1/a, ☎ +421 2 52444163. With an exhibition of historic vehicles at the city's first train station, very close to the current Central Station
Trade Museum, Linzbothova 16, ☎ +421 2 45243167. This museum has pieces of historical advertising boards and other artifacts.
Museum of the Jewish Community, Heydukova 11-13, ☎ +421 2 5441 6949. Rare Jewish ritual tools, gold-embroidered cloaks protecting holy bible scrolls, unique photos of students who attended Bratislava's famous rabbinical school that still reveal the horrors of the Holocaust. It is located in the synagogue on Heydukova Street, which is the only synagogue in Bratislava. Built between 1923 and 1926, it is a cubist building designed by a Jewish architect from Bratislava, Artur Szalatnai-Slatinski, and listed as a national cultural monument. The Orthodox oriented synagogue continues to serve as an active Jewish house of worship. The Museum of the Jewish Community with the permanent exhibition "Jews in Bratislava and their heritage" is installed upstairs, and during the summer season it is open to visitors until September, every Friday from 13:00 to 16:00 and every Sunday 10:00-13: 00.
7 City History Museum (in the old town hall), ☎ +421 2 59205130. Including history and music museums, the city dungeon and an exhibition on medieval justice



8 Cathedral of St. Martin The largest and one of the oldest churches in Bratislava, located under the Bratislava Castle. The Gothic cathedral, formerly the coronation church of several Hungarian kings, begun in 1204 and rededicated in 1445, was restored in 1861–80. The tower is crowned with a pyramid with a gilded Hungarian royal crown.
Church of St. Clare's Gothic church on Klariská Street, in the historic center; currently used as a concert hall.
9 Church of the Annunciation
Holy Savior Church
Church of St. Elizabeth (Located on Bezručova Street). Nicknamed the Blue Church (Modrý kostolík), it is a beautiful church in Jugendstil, completed in 1913
Trinitarian Church in Bratislava (Located on Bezručova Street).


Other significant buildings

Primate's Palace Now the seat of the mayor of Bratislava
10 Old Town Hall, Primaciálne namestie 3 (next to the Primate's Palace). The Old Town Hall is open to the public as a museum
11 Grassalkovich Palace and Gardens Or Presidential Palace (Prezidentský palác) - Rococo / Late Baroque summer palace with a French garden, used as the seat of the Slovak president. In one of the garden alleys you will see a row of trees planted by famous people such as Juan Carlos I (King of Spain). In front of the palace you will see the Slovak National Guard.
Mirbach Palace
Palffy Palace
Academia Istropolitana The oldest historical university in the area, currently occupied by Slovakia, from the 13th century.
Slovak National Theatre, Hviezdoslavovo Square The historic building of the Slovak National Theatre, built in 1886
Slovak Radio Building Its main building is a peculiar 60m high inverted pyramid from the communist era and a landmark in sharp contrast to the Slovak National Bank building across the street.

12 Slavín Monument On top of the hill behind the castle, overlooking the entire city. This is a memorial to the Soviet victims of the liberation battle in Bratislava during World War II. It is the highest place in the city and therefore the best place to explore the city. Slavin is a cemetery, so rather quiet. On warm nights, this is a very romantic spot, allowing you to sit in the shade of the statue and gaze at the traffic below. To get there, take trolleybus no. 203 from Hodžova námestie (in front of the Presidential Palace) towards Búdková and get off in 9 minutes at the last stop, then walk 500 m along Stará vinárska and then Pažického streets. Slavin is located near the embassy district.
13 Roland's Fountain Built by stonemason Andreas Luttringer on behalf of King Maximilian of Hungary in 1527, it was the first fountain in Bratislava
14 St. Michael's Gate with Tower This 51-metre tower above the gate with a green copper roof is one of the most famous and oldest buildings in Bratislava. It was built in the 14th century as one of the four gates of the city.
Laurin Gate
Chatam Sofer Mausoleum
Jewish Cemetery, Jewish Community Museum and Synagogue in Bratislava, Heydukova The only synagogue in Bratislava.


Other objects

15 SNP Bridge The bridge over the Danube, with its flying saucer structure housing a restaurant called "UFO". There is an observation deck on the roof, open daily from 10:00 to 23:00, offering a wonderful view of the old town and the Petržalka apartment blocks. Admission €6.50 but it's free if you eat in the restaurant.
16 Main internal square (Tržnica in Trnavské mýto).


It is worth a try

Walk around the city center. Bratislava has one of the smallest historic centers around, but the charm is more concentrated. The streets have been completely renovated in the last ten years, bringing life back here. Since then, many cafes, bars and restaurants of all kinds have opened here, as well as several souvenir and fashion shops. In warm weather, almost every coffee shop has a seating area on the street, bustling with life and giving the city a unique cozy feeling.

When it comes to sightseeing, Bratislava Castle is a must and is now open after its reconstruction. You can also visit the Slavin monument for some truly amazing views of the city. It is a calm and romantic place, but be careful, it can get really windy there. The city museum located in the Old Town Hall offers visitors to climb the steep steps of the clock tower or view the city's historical dungeons, an exhibition that was quite dated but still terrifying in 2008.

In summer, you can also visit the Bratislava Zoo, providing a nice walk between the animal pens, with the latest addition being the rare white tigers. The zoo's facilities are slowly being renovated to attract more visitors, and the zoo is a favorite with families on sunny days. You can also go to the Comenius University Botanical Garden (Botanická 3, take the X6 tram to get off at Botanická záhrada) for quiet and peaceful walks in this green space. There are also several lakes for swimming. The largest and probably the most famous lake is called Zlaté piesky (Golden Lakes) or Vajnorské jazerá, known as Lake Bager (later used for unofficial dining).

For a relaxing afternoon in the park, go to Sad Janka Kráľa Park (on the right bank of the Danube and next to the Aupark shopping center), the oldest public park in Central Europe, relax on the embankments on both sides of the river or go to Horský Park (Forest Park ) north of the Slavin Memorial for a civilized forest walk. There is a small cafe here, as well as a pub, the latter mostly inhabited by students from the nearby campus. For more outdoor experience, hop on bus 203/213 to Koliba and walk up to Kamzík (takes about 30 minutes uphill) or try the refurbished facilities of Partizánska lúka and Snežienka, all with expansive picnic areas and plenty of barbecue fireplaces. The area is several kilometers long and can be walked from the terminal station of bus number 212 (Vojenska nemocnica) or take the bus to Patronka and take bus number 43 to and from the area every 15-30 minutes (depending on the time of day / year and weather). Only cars with a permit can enter the site, but there is parking at the entrance near the bus stop. The Snežienka Meadows and the Kamzik Peak are connected by a chairlift, which runs from Thursday to Sunday and on holidays, the price for the ride is approx. 3 €

In December, be sure to enjoy the smells and flavors of the traditional Christmas market in front of the Old Town Hall and on the Hlavne namestie (main square). The market - compared to those in Prague and Vienna - is smaller, but has a much friendlier, almost family-like feel, and tends to be more traditional and less overtly commercialized than others in the region. The people of Bratislava love to meet here for a drink and a bite to eat; try the "varene vino" (mulled wine)., Kúpeľná 6, ☏ +421 903 610 716, ✉ Enjoy the beautiful view of Bratislava and the surrounding Danube nature on a boat trip around Bratislava.
Bratislava Free Tour. A free walking tour covering the sights, culture and history of the city. Every day at 11:00 and 15:00.



Bratislava is home to the world-renowned Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, so if you love classical music, you should consider attending one of the concerts in the historic Reduta building. For more culture, the Slovak National Theater offers a wide selection of ballet, opera and theater performances. Although most of the activities have been moved to the city's Danube bank district, some performances still take place in the historic theater building, giving them a unique feel but a higher price tag. The old theater building is located in the city center at Hviezdoslavovo namestie. The new theater can be reached by bus number 88 from the bus terminal in Mlynske nivy (get off at Landererova) or by bus number 50, 70 and 78 (the stop is called Wüstenrot). None of them stop directly at the theater though, so you should expect a 5-10 minute walk from the bus stop to the theater. The building is not to be missed as it is undoubtedly a communist megalomaniac, covered in white marble. The entrance is facing the Danube so you have to go inside the building.



Watch football at SK Slovan Bratislava which plays in the Slovak Super Liga, the country's top tier of football. Their home is Pasiensky, capacity 11,600, 2 km northeast of the old town center.
Ice hockey is the national sport of Slovakia. The local ice hockey team, HC Slovan Bratislava, often plays games all year round, starting in September and ending in the spring of the following year. Since this team plays in the KHL league, even more Slovaks have started to visit its matches. Home matches are played at the Ondrej Nepela Arena, Odbojárov 9. Many Slovaks are passionate about watching and playing ice hockey. The stadium is easily accessible by public transport.
Adventure sports: Bungee jumping from the Lafranconi bridge has become very popular among Slovaks and tourists in the last few years. Another popular activity among locals and tourists, especially during a bachelor party, is target shooting in and around Bratislava. For an extreme adventure in pure nature, Slovaks and tourists can try kayaking on the Maly Dunaj River. In general, water sports are among the most loved by athletes like the Hochschorner brothers.


Meeting people

Over the past two decades, many foreigners have moved to Bratislava to study and work in many international companies that have created new jobs. After work, many expats and their Slovak friends meet at informal parties where everyone speaks English and spends the evening together. For people traveling to Bratislava, joining these usually free events is a great and fun opportunity to meet local people and learn from them what to see or do in Bratislava the next day.

A few recommendations are:

Bratislava language meeting, where people from different countries meet at tables and learn a foreign language.

Toastmasters Bratislava club, a speech club where people practice their speaking skills.

Bratislava Expat Meetup.

International student parties where international students dance the night away and blow their brains out.

Upcoming events can be found in this events calendar.




Slovakia is a member of the European Union, therefore every citizen of the European Union, a country of the European Economic Area or Switzerland can work and live there without restrictions.

Qualified third-country nationals can obtain a work permit. This system still uses bribes.



Bryndzové halušky (small dumplings resembling dumplings with sheep's cheese and topped with pieces of meat) is a national dish of Slovakia worth trying. Mighty garlic soup (but perhaps not for a date) and Slovak white wine (due to the cooler climate, Slovakia's red wines pale in comparison to some of the other offerings in Europe), schnitzels, stews, and other typically Central European foods. Fresh vegetables are more common here thanks to the large area of land devoted to agriculture.

In December, don't miss the Christmas market in front of the Old Town Hall. Traditional food at the Christmas market is baked hamburgers or chicken sandwiches ("cyganska pecienka") with mustard and onions, potato pancakes ("loksa") with various fillings, from plain goose fat, garlic or goose liver to poppy seeds, nuts or chocolate. Bread with lard and onions is also popular. There are also several stalls offering specialties from other European countries. You can wash your food down with a cup of red or white mulled wine or a small cup of honey wine, tea with or without rum is also available, as well as grog or other "hot mixed drinks" such as Červený medveď (red bear).

Of course, junk food can also be found in Bratislava. Try Bratislava's special form of junk food - the rich man, which is a large roll filled with cabbage and cheese and/or meat with mayonnaise. Richman's stands can be found on Kamenné námestie, in front of the Tesco building and on Safarikovo Square. You can also try a sandwich from one of the many cafes in the city. Another excellent cafe is located on Zelená Ulica between Ventúrska Ulica and Hlavné námestie. A large sandwich, a bagette (from a French baguette) with cheese, ham and eggs costs around €1.50.

Another specialty in Bratislava (but also available in other regions of Slovakia) is hairpiece. It is a cold cod salad with mayonnaise. There are also vegetables in the salad like onions and carrots. It has a very distinct taste, somewhere between sour and bitter - you should try it! You can buy it fresh in most "Lahôdky" shops, which means something like "delicacies", but generally means old-fashioned fast food shops - they sell salads, soups, etc. instead of hamburgers or fries. Treska tastes very good with rolls. If you like the taste of Treska, you can also buy it packaged to take home.

If you want to feed yourself, the biggest supermarket near the center is Tesco na Kamenné námestie (at the intersection of Štúrova and Špitálska). You can easily have a lunch of two rolls, ham, cheese, fruit and maybe a cake or two, for €3-4. New American type shopping malls with big cinemas and of course restaurants near the center are Aupark on the right bank of the Danube (next to Sad Janka Kráľa park, about 10 minutes from St. Martin's Cathedral), Eurovea (next to the old bridge on the bank of the old town, close to the bus station ), Polus City Center at Vajnorska Street in the north of the city (about 10–15 minutes by tram) and the Bory shopping center in the north-western part of the city's edge.

Interestingly, it's hard to find a Slovak restaurant among all the Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Indian and other restaurants, so if you're looking for a real Slovak meal, head to Slovak Pub or a fancy and expensive Slovak restaurant in Hviezdoslavovo Square, the former is a better choice in terms of price and atmosphere, second in terms of food. A very new addition is the Pressburg restaurant on Michalska Street, complementing the Slovak trio with mid to slightly higher range prices.

Try Prašná Bašta (see below) for tasty meals or Pizza Mizza for the biggest pizza in town.

San Marten is another restaurant with great food and excellent service at affordable prices. For good and affordable halušky, a unique Slovak national meal, visit Slovak Pub on Obchodná. There are many restaurants in all price ranges in the center of Bratislava, so there is plenty to choose from.

Prasna basta (Zamocnicka 11). The best old Pressburger restaurant in town. Just a few steps from Michalska street (turn left directly after Michalska tower). Really authentic frequented by locals. With a hidden inner garden.
You can get a nice view and meet local celebrities at the übercool and very expensive UFO restaurant and disco at the top of the Nový most bridge.


Drinking and nightlife

Try Kofola, a Slovak and Czech soft drink similar in color to Coca Cola but lower in sugar and caffeine (and carbonation). In some places, "Kofola from the barrel" is served, which is actually drafted in a way similar to beer (it used to be co-produced by the Bratislava brewery). Some Slovaks say that the Kofola version is even better than the bottled version and that it is best enjoyed outside in the sun, for example after a hike, bike ride or rollerblading. Kofola is a popular alternative to beer if you want to hang out but don't want to drink alcohol. Vinea is another true Slovak soft drink made from grapes, offered in both "white" (green grapes) and "red" (red grapes) varieties, and even a rather sweet and perhaps not very tasty "soft" version without carbon dioxide .

There are many Slovak beer brands such as Zlatý Bažant, Šariš, Smädný Mních and Topvar. Stein beer is a local variety in Bratislava that was brewed practically in the city center. There are three micro breweries offering beer in Bratislava, Mestiansky Pivovar, Richtar Jakub and Patronka.

If you're more into spirits, you might like Slivovica, a high-quality plum brandy associated with Slovakia.



The best pubs offering Slovak beers can be found in the Old Town: Kristian on Michalska Street, Bar Parada on Hviezdoslavovo Square or AeroPressoDepresso on Venturska Street. They are all quite cheap (around €1 for a half liter glass of beer).

Bakchus Vinaren, Hlboka 5, ☏ +421 2 3218 6666, ✉ A must for every visitor to Bratislava. The best local and Indian food in town, exclusively Slovak wines and the historic setting of a traditional wine cellar.
BeAbout, Presernova 4 (Vajanskeho nabrezie 10, near Safarikovo namestie), +421 948-050107. Sun-Thu 10:00-00:00, Fri Sat 10:00-05:00. Music club near the river popular with the younger crowd. Good selection of beers including Belgian beers.
Casa del Havana, Michalská 26, ☏ +421 910 797 222, ✉ 11:00-02:00 mostly. Cuban restaurant and bar near the center of the Old Town of Bratislava. Not very spacious but has a comfortable terrace. Particularly famous for its mojito, which has been voted the best in Bratislava, if not in all of Slovakia. Mojitos €6.49.
GMT Bar. Very nice cocktail menu with waiter service if you can find a table. Make sure you wear a shirt on weekends!
UFOs. If you want to go for something out of the ordinary, visit UFO. It looks like a cliché flying saucer and it's high up on the SNP ( member) bridge and you have to take the elevator up there. There is a good restaurant and bar and an observation deck. The view is incomparable.



Bigger clubs in Bratislava include Loft, KC Dunaj, Duplex and SubClub, the latter being a nuclear bunker located under Bratislava Castle. There are many smaller bars with dance floors near the center, such as Radost on Obchodna Street, next to the Slovak Pub.



Although some cafes are considered gay, there are at least two gay and lesbian bars in Bratislava, all in the city center near the Presidential Palace:

B-Club, Vysoka 14 (at the intersection behind Tatra Banka and Volksbank).




The city is located in the southwest of the country in the district of Bratislava, at the border triangle of Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. The Austrian border is five kilometers west of the center and the Hungarian border 20 kilometers south. The border with the Czech Republic is 62 kilometers to the north. Austria's capital, Vienna, is located 55 kilometers west of Bratislava. Both cities are also known as Twin City (twin city) and form the center of the European region of Centrope. The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, is about 290 kilometers north-west and the capital of Hungary, Budapest, 165 kilometers south-east (each measured as the crow flies).

Bratislava is located on both sides of the Danube (Slovakian Dunaj), which flows through the city from west to south-east and is between 200 and 300 meters wide in the city. In the west of the city area is the Theben Gate (Devínska brána), the breakthrough valley between the Braunsberg on the southern, Austrian bank there and the Thebener Kogel on the northern, Slovak bank. At this point, the border river Morava (Morava) flows into the Danube coming from the north; the Morava estuary includes a small part of the Záhorie landscape, which geomorphologically belongs to the Borská nížina lowland and thus to the Vienna Basin. Bratislava Castle (Pressburg, 212 m n.m.) in the center of the city marks the beginning of the Slovakian Danube Lowland (Podunajská nížina), mostly on the north or left bank, in the Little Hungarian Plain, which covers the eastern and southern part of the city area. South of the harbor bridge, the Small Danube (Malý Dunaj) branches off, a left side arm of the Danube in the Danube lowlands, and together with the Danube forms the Great Žitný Island (Žitný ostrov). About three quarters of the urban area belong to the lowlands.

The rest of the quarter is characterized by a mountainous landscape: the Carpathian mountain range begins in the city of Bratislava with the Theben Carpathians, the south-western section of the Small Carpathians (Malé Karpaty). In the area of the Lamač gate (Lamačská brána) begin the Bösinger Carpathians, which also include one of the city's landmarks, Mount Kamzík (439 m asl). Several streams have their source in the mountains, of which the Vydrica is the largest and has the most water. In the north-west of the city, the Mláka river collects streams in the Morava catchment area, and in the north-east the Račiansky potok stream with its tributaries via the Šúrsky kanál (Šúr Canal) belongs to the Čierna voda catchment area. The city covers an area of 367.66 km², which makes it the largest municipality in Slovakia in terms of area. The lowest point of the urban area is 126 m n.m. on the Danube near Čunovo, the highest point is the summit of the Thebener Kogel (Devínska Kobyla) at 514 m n.m.

There are several arms along the Danube, which remained after the river regulation was completed. Downstream these are Devínske rameno, Karloveské rameno, Pečnianske mŕtve rameno, Chorvátske rameno, Biskupické rameno, Jarovské rameno, Rusovské rameno and Mošonské rameno. Between the Karloveské rameno and the Danube lies the island of Sihoť, which is important for Bratislava's water supply. In the south of the city, the Danube opens to the Hrušov reservoir, which is part of the Gabčíkovo hydroelectric power plant complex. Near the state border with Hungary at the Čunovo weir, the Moson-Danube (Mošonský Dunaj) branches off from the main river.

There are several protected areas in the city area, including two landscape protection areas (Chránené krajinné oblasti) in the Small Carpathians (Malé Karpaty) west and north of the city and in the Danube floodplains (Dunajské luhy) on the southern edge of the city, as well as nine smaller protected areas such as the Thebener Kogel.

Bratislava borders on the following municipalities: Stupava, Borinka and Svätý Jur to the north, Ivanka pri Dunaji and Most pri Bratislave to the east, Dunajská Lužná, Rovinka, Kalinkovo and Hamuliakovo to the south-east, the Hungarian Rajka to the south and the Austrian municipalities Deutsch Jahrndorf to the west, Pama, Kittsee, Berg, Wolfsthal and Hainburg to the south and Engelhartstetten and Marchegg to the north of the Danube.



Bratislava lies in the temperate zone and in the area of the continental climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are mostly warm and dry, winters are cold and wet. All in all, Bratislava only has a small amount of precipitation with an annual 667 mm. It also experiences longer dry periods and is located in one of the warmest and driest areas of the country, which is very suitable for viticulture. Due to the prevailing north-west wind, which hits the Little Carpathians at right angles, the windward parts of the city in the north-west are somewhat cooler and rainier. The average air temperature in the city center is 10.7 °C. The transition period in spring and autumn is usually short. Devín and Devínska Nová Ves are regularly threatened by flooding from the Danube and Morava.



Prehistoric times, Roman times to Great Moravia

The first proven permanent settlement of the area was in the Neolithic period around 5500 BC. by members of the Linear Pottery Culture culture. After many other cultures settled in the 5th century BC. the Celts the urban area. The Celtic tribe of the Boii founded what is now the city center around 115 BC. a fortified settlement (oppidum) where, among other things, there was a mint. From the 1st to the 4th century AD, the area south of the Danube was under Roman rule (in the south), while the actual urban area north of the Danube belonged to Germania magna. The Danube Limes ran through today's urban area, near Rusovce was the Gerulata Castle. From around the turn of the century until 568 AD, the area belonged to the kingdom of the Germanic Quadi. The remains of a Roman private bath (balneum) of a Germanic prince at Dúbravka, which is vaguely known as villa rustica, date from the 3rd century.

The Slavs reached the area around the year 580, towards the end of the migration of peoples, after the Quadi had left for Italy with the Lombards. In response to Avar dominance, the settled Slavic tribes rebelled and founded the Samoan Empire in 623. This first historical Slavic state structure lasted until 658. From the end of the 8th century to 833, the castles of Pressburg and Thebes were important centers of the Principality of Nitra, and after 833 of Great Moravia. In the second half of the 9th century, the Bratislava area was part of the Carolingian Ostmark. The first documented mention of the city (apart from the modern mention by Johannes Aventinus related to around 805) was in 907 in connection with the battles of Pressburg between the Bavarians and the Magyars, from which the latter emerged victorious.


Kingdom of Hungary until the end of the Middle Ages

The political development in the 10th century is unclear. Most historians assume that the city was under Magyar (Hungarian) rule from around 907 (at the latest since around 925). The county of Pressburg was probably founded either at the end of the 10th century or in the 11th century. According to some authors, the city came back to Bavaria around 990, but came shortly afterwards as a dowry from Gisela of Bavaria when she married King Stephen I of Hungary. Around 1001, the city, along with all of Slovakia, was briefly conquered by Poland before finally falling to the Kingdom of Hungary in 1030.

As a result, a market settlement developed below the castle, which was repeatedly attacked by other powers due to its strategic location on the western border of Hungary. Again and again there were conflicts between Hungary and Bavarian, then Austrian, Bohemian and Roman-German princes or kings, as in the attacks of 1042/1052 by the Roman-German king Heinrich III. or the Bohemian King Ottokar II Přemysl in the 1270s as part of the Hungarian-Bohemian Wars. Toll rights are said to have existed as early as the 11th century. Around 1100, according to Koloman's code of law, so-called divine courts took place here, which were otherwise only reserved for diocese seats. Later, the Bratislava chapter was created, the oldest surviving issued document dates from the year 1236. According to the Arab cartographer al-Idrisi, Būzāna (as the name is given) was in the 12th century a “prosperous medium-sized city with many inhabitants and enough different things and food for survival” and dense development.

After the German victory over the Hungarians in the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, German settlement began on both sides of the Danube ford near Pressburg, which was encouraged by the Hungarian kings after the turn of the millennium. After the devastation of the surrounding area by the Mongols ("Tatars") in 1241, the Pressburg market was resettled by Germans, who formed the majority of the population from then until the 1920s. A Pressburg judge (villicus posoniensis) named Jacob appears in writing for the first time in 1279. On December 2, 1291, the Hungarian king Andreas III. the municipal law, which initially only applied to the east of St. Martin's Cathedral, while the castle with the future grounds remained in royal possession. In the late Middle Ages, Pressburg was a city characterized by vineyards, crafts, trade and fishing. In 1405, Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg declared Pressburg a free royal city. In 1465 the Universitas Istropolitana was founded on behalf of Matthias Corvinus, which was closed again in 1490 after Corvinus' death.


16th century to WWI

After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, large parts of the Kingdom of Hungary had to be ceded to the Ottomans. Therefore, in 1536, Pressburg was declared the capital of the remaining territory known as Royal Hungary, which was now ruled by the Habsburgs. From this point onwards, the city became the seat of all important authorities and institutions and from 1543 also the seat of the Archbishop of Gran.

Between 1563 and 1830, Bratislava was the coronation city of the Kingdom of Hungary. Eleven kings and eight queens from the House of Habsburg were crowned here. According to ancient tradition, the coronation celebrations consisted of four main parts:
Anointing and coronation of the king with the St. Stephen's crown in St. Martin's Cathedral
Execution of the knighting of Hungarian nobles by the newly crowned king in the Franciscan church. This raised them to the status of "Knights of the Golden Spur".
Ride on Coronation Hill (Sword Strikes)
Oath of the King to the Hungarian Constitution in front of the Brothers of Mercy Monastery.

The 17th and early 18th centuries were marked by a series of plague epidemics, floods, further battles with the Ottomans and resistance to the spread of the Reformation. There were also several anti-Habsburg uprisings, which had begun with Stephan Bocskai's uprising in 1604 and only ended with the Peace of Satu Mare after the suppression of Franz II Rákóczi's uprising in 1711.

In the 18th century, particularly during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa between 1740 and 1780, Bratislava became the largest city and one of the most important cities in the entire Kingdom of Hungary. The population tripled. Thanks to the presence of the Hungarian nobility, numerous new palaces, monasteries and estates were built, while the castle became the seat of the royal governor. Cultural and public life also gained momentum, for example in 1776 with the opening of the first permanent theatre, the Municipal Theatre, the predecessor of today's Slovak National Theatre. The newspaper industry also developed during this period: the first to appear was the weekly newspaper Nova Posoniensia (1721–1722), founded by Matthias Bel. The German-language Preßburger Zeitung followed in 1764 (appeared until 1929), 1780 the Hungarian-language Magyar Hírmondó (until 1788) and 1783 the Slovak Prešpurské noviny (until 1787). However, under Maria Theresa's son Joseph II, a decline in importance began, especially after the transfer of the crown jewels to Vienna in 1783 and the transfer of administration to Ofen (today a part of Budapest). Only the Hungarian state parliament still met in the city until 1848, but it became more and more provincial.

In 1805, after Napoleon's victory in the Battle of Austerlitz, diplomats from Austria and France signed the Peace of Pressburg in the Primate's Palace. After the Austrian Empire, together with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, once again opposed the French Empire in 1809, French troops besieged and bombarded the city, blowing up Devín Castle, among other things. Two years later, the Bratislava Castle was also destroyed in a fire. As a reaction to the revolution of 1848/49, the Hungarian Diet in Pressburg passed the March Laws, which, among other things, abolished serfdom.

The first railway in the Kingdom of Hungary was the (initially only horse) railway from Pressburg to Svätý Jur, opened in 1840 (see Pressburg-Tyrnauer railway). The rail connections to Vienna and Pest were added in 1848 and 1850. Industry after 1848 and especially after the 1880s developed so strongly in the city that shortly before the First World War, Bratislava was the second most industrialized city in the Kingdom of Hungary after Budapest. This development was favored by good railway connections, the Danube as a waterway and source of energy and areas freed up after the completed river regulation, in which factories could settle. Branches such as chemical, mechanical engineering, food, textile and electrical industries were most strongly represented. At the end of the 19th century, the city underwent extensive modernization, with new institutions emerging. Between 1891 and 1914 the first permanent Danube bridge, the Franz Joseph Bridge, was built, the first tram line went into operation and the Hungarian Elizabeth University was founded. At the end of the 19th century, Bratislava developed into a center of the Slovak national movement, which, however, continued to debate until the First World War whether Bratislava was even part of the country to be claimed by the Slovaks, since it constitutionally belonged to Hungary and since living memory had a majority of city was inhabited by Germans.


Belonging to Czechoslovakia between WWI and WWII

At the end of the First World War, the city became part of Czechoslovakia, which was newly founded in 1918, by decision of the Allies and against the will of the population. Fighting between the Czechoslovakian legions, the Allies on the one hand and local insurgents and the Hungarian government on the other hand developed in 1919 in order to remain in Hungary and the incorporation of Engerau, which was Slovakized in 1919 in Petržalka (see Bratislava bridgehead), which led to deaths and injuries. Pressburg, previously called Prešporok in Slovak, was renamed Bratislava and declared the de facto capital of the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia instead of Martin or Nitra. The economic importance, size and location in relation to Bohemia were decisive. Many Hungarian residents then left the city. In 1919 the Comenius University was founded in place of the abandoned Royal Hungarian Elisabeth University.

The first Czechoslovak Republic carried out a state-controlled Slovakization of the city, which was characterized by the suppression of German (see Pressburger Deutsch) and Hungarian and the influx of Slovaks and Czechs (for more information see Population).

As a result of the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, the German Reich annexed the then independent municipalities of Petržalka and Devín, which bordered to the south and west and both had a German majority of almost 90 percent.

Since October 1938 Bratislava has been the seat of the government of the autonomous Slovakia, since March 14, 1939 the capital of the Slovak state. In 1940 the University of Economics was founded and in 1942 the "Slovak Academy of Sciences". The Slovakian government expelled most of the Jews living in Bratislava to the German Reich. From the end of November 1944 to the end of March 1945 there was a camp for Jewish forced laborers in Engerau – as Petržalka was now called again. After the city had been spared from air raids for a long time after the start of World War II, it was bombed by American air forces on June 16, 1944; The result was 157 deaths. Despite the Nazi regime's late attempt to fortify the city as "Pressburg Fortress" against Soviet attacks in the spring of 1945, it was conquered by the Red Army on April 4, 1945. Many residents of the German ethnic group had been evacuated from the city by the German authorities before the end of the war, and the remaining Germans were expelled from their homeland after the end of the war due to the Beneš decrees.


1945 to today

In 1946, after the incorporations of 1944, Bratislava, which was now almost exclusively inhabited by Slovaks, was enlarged by further incorporations. After the February 1948 coup, under the dictatorship of the Communist Party, extensive prefabricated housing estates emerged, especially in Petržalka. After the end of the war, the city underwent considerable architectural and economic modernization, sometimes at the expense of the historically grown building fabric. On January 1, 1968, Bratislava was formally declared the capital of Slovakia, which from 1969 was referred to as the Slovak Socialist Republic and was one of the two constituent states within the federated Czechoslovak state. In 1972 further incorporations took place on both sides of the Danube, and the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising was opened as the second Danube bridge.

At the end of 1989, Bratislava was one of the centers of the Velvet Revolution that led to the overthrow of the communist dictatorship. Bratislava has been the capital of independent Slovakia since January 1, 1993. The city has experienced an economic boom since the second half of the 20th century, which has been promoted by foreign investments since the 1990s. On the one hand, there is an expansion of services, on the other hand, industry has lost importance in the city economy.

In the course of the floods in Central Europe in May/June 2013, the Danube reached its apex on the afternoon of June 6 (record level: 10.34 metres); Despite the water level being higher than when the Danube flooded in 2002, the flood protection that has since been expanded has largely protected the city.



In 1919, after the formation of the first Czechoslovak Republic, the city received the official Slovak name of Bratislava. The German name Pressburg, or Preßburg according to the old spelling, exists parallel to this. In German and Austrian diplomacy, the city is officially referred to as Pressburg.

The first documented mention of the city as "Brezalauspurc" was in the Salzburg Annals (Annales Juvavenses maximi) in connection with the Battle of Pressburg in 907 between Bavarians and Magyars not far from the castle now called Bratislava. What is meant is probably the castle of a pretzel. At the end of the 9th century, a Carolingian border count (confinii comes), the Croatian Brazlav from Sissak, erected a fortification here on the border of the Frankish Empire, whose name then passed to the market place below - a thesis that has since been accepted by Slovak Slavists is shared. Towards the end of the 20th century, coins from the period around 1000 with the inscription "Preslav(v)a Civitas" appeared.

The German name developed further to Preßburg (or Pressburg) and derived from it the Slovak name Prešporok/Prešpurek. Until 1919, most English-language authors used the term Pressburg, while Presbourg was common in French-speaking countries. In Czech the castle and town were called Prešpurk.

There are different theories as to the origin of the Hungarian name Pozsony (first documented in this form in 1773). According to Eberhard Kranzmayer, the name comes from a Franconian or Bavarian named Boso or Puoso, who founded a fortified village at the ford across the Danube under the castle hill in early Carolingian times. Otto von Freising later reported on this Bosendorf as castra Bosani, which appeared in Latinized documents in 1146 and 1277 as Bosonium and in 1271 as Bozonium. The Slovak form Požúň and the Latin posonium (and the associated adjective posoniensis), which are not commonly used, also developed from this. Johannes Aventinus turned it into a pisonium and attributed the foundation to a legendary Roman prince Piso. The younger castle of the Carolingian border count Brazlav on the castle hill and the corresponding older civil settlement of the Franconian or Bavarian Boso emerged independently of each other, which explains why the Germans and Hungarians later gave the same castle and place, but different names in the two languages. The castle name was transferred to the market by the Germans and the market name to the castle by the Hungarians.

Ján Stanislav assumes that the name can be derived from a Slovak Božan, who is said to have been the lord of the castle in Prussia in the 11th century, but is historically not tangible (*Božänjь). Since the personal name does not appear in Slovak, it must have been a southern Slav. Especially in the Renaissance, the Latinized form posonium and the Greekized form Istropolis (Donaustadt) were used in scholarly circles. The form Istropolis comes from the Christianization period in the 9th century (Byzantium).



Johannes Aventinus wrote in the 16th century that the town was rebuilt from a Roman fortress by the Moravian prince Vratislav (Wratislaus) at the beginning of the 9th century and was named Vratislaburgium/Vratissolaoburgium/Wratisslaburgium after this prince. He also mentions the Latin name Pisonium. The reliability of this information is now disputed. Pressburg was never a Roman fortress and there is no evidence of a Moravian prince named Vratislav at that time. The Bohemian duke Vratislav I founded Breslau in Silesia (hence the name) at a later date, but has no connection with Pressburg.

Some Slovak authors in the 1830s used the form "(Tatranská) Vratislava" (e.g. Ján Kollár, 1830), based on the information given by Aventine. Bratislava, today's city name, probably has its origins in 1837, when the scientist Pavel Jozef Šafárik (Slovanské starožitnosti, 1837) saw the Slovak form *Bracislaw/*Brecislaw in the form Brecisburg (1042) and wrongly assumed that the city was from Bohemian King Břetislav was founded. Thereafter, supporters of the Slovak national movement, searching for a more "Slavic" name and discarding the historical German and Hungarian place names, used the forms Břetislav (Jan Kollár, 1838), Břetislava (Jan Kollár, Ľudovít Štúr, 1838), Breťislava (Martin Hamuljak, 1838). After the introduction of the new language norm, the variant Braťislava (nad Dunajom) (Ján Francisci-Rimavský) appeared in 1843, with the forms Břetislav and other variants also being used again in the second half of the 19th century. However, these names remained limited to small circles of the Slovak national movement. They had neither official meaning nor did they find their way into the general language of the Slovaks, who stuck to the historical Slovak name Prešporok and corresponding variants.

After the end of World War I, the name Wilsonovo mesto or Wilsonovo (Wilson town) appeared for a short time, after the American President Woodrow Wilson (according to some sources, however, only Czechoslovak legions in Italy used this name on military maps in early 1919). The background was the enforcement of national Slovak claims to Pressburg at the peace conference in Paris with the help of a Slavic-sounding place name, since the German and Hungarian place names saw the credibility of Slovak claims endangered. With Prešporok, the Slovaks had chosen a city as the capital of their part of the country, in which they themselves were clearly in the minority and in which the leading part of the predominantly German- and Hungarian-speaking population rejected the existence of the newly founded Czechoslovakia. On February 22, 1919, the Czechoslovak government officially established the artificial name Bratislav, but changed this in Bratislava on March 16, 1919, since the ending -av was Czech. The announcement, with which "Bratislava" became legally effective as a name, was made on March 27, 1919 in an official gazette, which itself still had the name "Prešporok" as the location on the front page. At the same time, the new name was declared "untranslatable" and the use of the historical name was made a punishable offence.


Today's name situation

The name of the city in other languages is no longer a big issue in Slovakia today. However, the (artificial) name Bratislava, introduced in 1919, is used exclusively by Slovakian authorities in foreign-language publications and not the historical exonyms available in various languages. In the Austrian press, the term Pressburg is increasingly falling into the background, and in the German media it is now almost completely in the background. However, both embassies in the city continue to operate under the German name Pressburg. In contrast, the Hungarian press and the state of Hungary continue to consistently use the Hungarian name Pozsony in official documents, while the dual designation Pozsony-Bratislava can be read on signs on Hungary's roads.

In the city itself, the historical names are definitely present, both companies, especially in the gastronomy and tourism sector, as well as cultural institutions or ensembles like to use them as a local historical color. Names related to Prešporok and Pressburg are particularly common, while the name Pozsony is rarely found, but can still be read occasionally on manhole covers from the pre-war period. The Greek Istropolis is z. B. to be found in the name of the former trade union house Istropolis and the chamber orchestra Cappella Istropolitana. The name Wilsonovo/Wilsonstadt was also occasionally referenced, for example in a story by the writer Michal Hvorecký and the naming of the Wilsonic Festival that he co-founded.

A common colloquial name for the town is Blava, a shortening of Bratislava, but also the name of a west Slovak river and a corresponding more derogatory term for the residents of Blaváci, instead of the written demonym Bratislavčania.