Image by Allan Baxter Getty Images
Magnificently rebuilt in Renaissance style, Bratislava Castle looks as though it has been transplanted from a children's picture book. Inside is a history museum, though many chambers feel empty and underutilised. The castle's oldest original feature is the 13th-century Crown Tower; climb it for bird's-eye views. Another highlight is the late-baroque Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1762–3) painting by Anton Schmidt in the Music Hall. Without a ticket you can wander the manicured baroque gardens behind the castle.
The fortification dates to the 9th century. Reshaped as a Gothic fortress in the 15th century, then again in Renaissance style a hundred years later, it lay in ruins after a fire in 1811. Today's incarnation, with four stocky towers and painted a dazzling shade of white, is a 1960s rebuild.
During summer, arrive early if you want to avoid crowds; this is a tourist-bus hotspot.