Having lived in Bratislava for roughly nine months, we now feel we are able to tell you about the city’s lesser known hidden spots.
What we’ve found is that tourists rarely leave Bratislava’s old town, (except perhaps to go to Devin Castle), but you are in fact missing the most fantastic elements of the city and why we love living here!
In terms of convenience, a trip to the supermarket is now the everyday norm.
Markets like Miletičova are a relic of a Bratislava before fancy shopping centres, hipster cafés and Tesco (albeit good for our Marmite & Irn Bru supplies).
With hundreds of permanent stalls, you’ll find fruit and veg vendors, butchers, florists, bakers, street food and wooden shack bars with cheap beer…hoorah!
You’ll also find THE BEST place for Vietnamese food and a bowl of steamy Phô from family run Phong Nam, which we included in our article on the city’s best foodie spots!
Another speciality is the Hungarian deep-fried bread Lángos which is loaded with cheese and garlic. Not too far off from a deep-fried pizza – a Scottish chippy favourite!
As well as plenty of cheap, fresh produce there are pubs with outdoor seating and beer for under a euro!
It’s exceedingly easy to get here using a bus or tram and for an insight into local life it’s worth the trip.
Getting Here: Catch the 201 or 209 bus here or it’s a five – minute walk from Central Shopping Centre.
Reclaiming old buildings and giving them a new purpose is something you see a lot of in Bratislava.
Nova Cvernovka is a multi-arts venue and studios for local designers, artists and innovators, and was once a School of Chemistry.
Its grey exterior is misleading, inside you’ll find contemporary art exhibitions, cafés/bar, studio shops and a gig venue.
We also come here to attend a language exchange with Fluent Bratislava, so perfect for expats looking to involve themselves in the local community.
It’s worth checking out their programme and enjoying what this cultural space has to offer!
Getting Here: Grab a No 3 tram from the city centre and get off at Nám Biely Kríž and you’re there!
Železná Studienka Park
Did you know that a vast majority of Slovakia is still woodland?!
It’s a lush country and the best thing about the city is that it’s so close to the countryside and has some amazing family friendly parks.
Železná Studienka is towards the back of the city near Patronka (a very busy bus stop/small station), and it is so much fun for families or big kids like us!
It’s the perfect picnic destination with children’s play areas, a flying fox and plenty of things to climb. It has a stream to paddle in and various walking and hiking trails.
The park itself leads into Koliba at the foot of the Little Carpathians where you can visit another place on our list – the TV Tower and this can be done by chairlift or if you’re feeling extra fit – hiking!
We have spent hours here with friends, and it feels so far from city life even if it is just a ten-minute bus ride from the new town.
Getting Here: Get a bus to Patronka (No 63, 21, 212) and get the 43 bus or walk from Patronka for ten minutes to reach the playground section.
Zlate Piesky Lake
Bratislava may not have a coastline, but it does have several easily accessible lakes.
Translated as ‘golden sands’, this lake is one of the most popular lakes to go to in the city.
For a small fee of €4 you can spend all day here, pay to paddle board, rent a boat, do water sports or just chill beachside with a few beers or cocktails from the cocktail bar behind the disused flume.
It does get busy at the weekend but what’s better than a swim in the lake to cool off in the summer sun?!
Grab your aqua shoes and dive in!
Getting here: The quickest way is to get the No 4 tram from the city centre towards Zlate Piesky and it’s the last stop!
For a relaxing few hours head along the Danube to Karlova Ves and find the university botanical gardens – the first of its kind in Slovakia!
The entry fee is 3€ which goes towards paying for the upkeep of over 4000 plant species and the gardens themselves.
Inside discover the large pond, hothouses with tropical plants, a Japanese garden, a rock garden and lovely walks around the perimeter.
There are also occasionally events held here in the summer which are worth keeping an eye out for.
Getting Here: It has its own bus and tram stop ‘Botanicka zahrada’ which you can reach by bus or tram (No 4 or 9 tram, 32 bus).
The Little Carpathians
In a previous article we named Kamzik TV Tower as a thing to do in Bratislava, and it does offer fantastic views across the city and over to Austria.
Kamzik also marks the beginning of the Little Carpathians which are a low mountain range around 100km long.
There are lovely barbeque and picnic spots near the TV Tower and lots of woodland walks to enjoy.
For those looking for a more active holiday this is the place to come for hiking, cycling, running and cross-country skiing in the winter!
The hills lead to various towns around Bratislava (Pezinok, Modra, Svaty Jur) which are famous for winemaking if you want a treat after all that hard work!
Getting Here: Kamzik is a good starting position and at weekends there are buses which bring you here (Bus no 203 or 44 then on to the 144). If you go on a weekday you need to walk ten minutes uphill from the 203/44 bus stop.
Stará tržnica (Old Market)
This is a venue in the old town, so you don’t have to go very far to find it!
The old market runs a farmer’s market every Saturday, but it’s also a venue for lots of events in Bratislava.
We have visited Stará tržnica for farmer’s markets, flea markets, sustainability fairs, world food celebrations, street food park (once a month) and a craft beer festival.
It always has something happening and we are constantly finding new local businesses and innovative schemes through this venue.
Getting Here: Directly in the city centre, situated next to tram stop Nam SNP (No 9 and 4).
We hope this helps to open up Bratislava – we know how hard it is to find guides telling you about these things!