Proximity to nature gives Slovakia's capital its strongest flavouring. The Danube wends through town and cycle paths through its verdant flood plain beginning just outside the centre. Meanwhile, erupting a 30-minute walk from the train station are the densely forested Small Carpathians; the trailer to a mountainous extent that runs country-wide, virtually unimpeded by civilisation. Then there's ski runs and vineyards to amble among.
The charming – if tiny – Starý Mesto (Old Town) is the place to start appreciating Bratislava. Stroll narrow pedestrian streets of pastel 18th-century buildings or sample the nigh-on ubiquitous sidewalk cafes under the watchful gaze of the city castle, harking back to medieval times. Done with the old? In with the new: the city boasts intriguing Socialist-era architecture worth checking out and one of Eastern Europe's most spectacular modern art spaces. Contrasts like this are all part of Bratislava's allure.
Best places to stay in Bratislava
Eastern Europe - Slovakia (Chapter)
Slovakia’s small size is possibly its biggest attraction. Dinky capital Bratislava is awash with quirky museums and backed by thick forests. Don’t leave without heading east, to where fortresses tower over tradition-rich medieval towns such as...
Bratislava destination guides
The Best of Eastern Europe
From fairytale Czech towns to Budapest, the ‘Pearl of the Danube’, experience the unique culture, food and history of Eastern Europe. This 2-week trip through six Eastern European countries offers an intriguing combination of urban centres, village life and outdoor pursuits. Visit castles, churches and romantic town squares.
Europe on a Shoestring - Slovakia (Chapter)
Slovakia out-trumps the Czechs for ancient castles and boasts nature far wilder than its western neighbours. From dinky capital Bratislava, with its rabbit-warren Old Town and hilly, thickly forested backdrop, head east to fortresses towering...
Cycle across three European borders to the romantic city of Budapest