After a year of living in Bratislava, we pretty much feel like bona fide travel advisors for the area! We are fed up of reading online this characterisation of Bratislava as a being a “one day city”. To be proactive, we set about organising with the local tourist board three days of discovering in and around Bratislava with their ‘72 Hour Bratislava Card’. In addition, as locals, we wanted to include some of our own hidden delights!
While this is a collaboration, we want to show you the discounts you can utilise with the card. Moreover, this is combined with our own recommendations. We found that the card gives free entry and discounts to lots of attractions and galleries that we have frequented over the last year. However, it’s also showed us some places we hadn’t yet discovered.
A brief history of Bratislava and essential facts
Firstly, let’s establish that Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia. It is not somewhere in Slovenia which is a common mistake people make when we talk about this beautiful and historically rich city. It was in fact the city where the Hungarian kings and queens were crowned, hence it’s title ‘Coronation City’.
Slovakia has been its own independent country for thirty years after it separated from the Czech Republic. During this time it was named ‘Czechoslovakia’ under decades of socialism. On May 1st, 2004 it became a member of the European Union. This does also mean that in Bratislava the currency is the Euro.
The population of Bratislava is 425,500, making it a small but perfectly formed capital city. It sits on the Danube river and the official Bratislava language is Slovak. However, English is widely spoken. It’s the only capital city that borders two countries (Austria and Hungary). This means that a lot of Bratislava tourism comes from day-trippers visiting neighbouring Vienna.
Should you visit Bratislava?
If you’re unfamiliar with Central Eastern Europe, then you certainly need to discover all that this part of Europe has to offer.
Bratislava nestles between the Little Carpathian Mountains and the Danube River. This gives visitors the opportunity to explore a bustling medieval old town and take in the unique reclaimed communist architecture. Discover how Bratislava is evolving. Venture into the surrounding countryside, lakes, rivers, castles and centuries-old vineyards (more on this later).
How many days do you need in Bratislava?
It’s standard these days to have a weekend away in Europe – so why not use those three days in Bratislava? If you want time to delve deeper then spend more than 24 hours in Bratislava and we promise, you’ll fall in love!
When to go to Bratislava?
A general rule of thumb is that weekends like any city have more events. On Monday’s museums and attractions tend to close. This is either a great day to explore the countryside or avoid completely. National religious holidays which last the day also mean that all museums, shops and supermarkets including Tesco will be shut, so you do need to do your research.
Winter in Bratislava
Best for… Christmas markets which are much cheaper than in Vienna. Find them all over the city centre in both main squares and in other locations. You can read our article on the delicious food and drink you can enjoy at the markets too! Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the Carpathians might also be an option.
Spring/Summer in Bratislava
Best for… visiting Bratislava’s many parks, lakes, outdoor pools, hiking routes and generally enjoying the outdoors. There are great cycling routes too, and with your Bratislava card, you can get discounts on electric bikes using Up! City and on alternative tours like the Authentic Slovakia bicycle tour which takes you to a WWII bunker. The city also puts on lots of free cultural events and food festivals. There are also things like outdoor cinemas and free music gigs.
Autumn in Bratislava
Best for… festivals! There are so many great festivals at the tail end of summer and during the autumn period. This is wine harvest time. Throughout September and into October you’ll find ‘Vinobranie’ celebrations in various places. Here you can sample young wine ‘Burciak’, eat and listen to music with free concerts. You’ll find everything from goose festivals to the Coronation Days where they re-enact the coronation route with a parade in full medieval dress.
The 72-Hour Bratislava Card
Convinced yet? To get more value for money on your trip we recommend buying a Bratislava Card. Over three days, you will score you some great discounts. Couple this with free entry to museums, castles and galleries. Finally, take advantage of free travel on all public transport in and around Bratislava.
How much is the Bratislava Card?
There are one, two and three-day options:
One Day – €18
Two Days – €22
Three Days – €25
We were gifted the three-day card to show you exactly what can be seen in 72 hours in Bratislava. But we do think the city card is excellent value. It gives you free access to museums and galleries, lots of discounts and free public transport.
Where to buy a Bratislava card
You can buy the card online and it will send you a voucher which can be exchanged for a plastic card at a collection point in the city.
The easiest point to collect from is the Tourist Information Centre which is in the middle of the old town.
Here are your options which are also listed on the website:
BTB Tourist Information Centre – Klobučnícka 2, 811 01 Bratislava
Opening hours: IV – X Mon-Sun 9.00 – 19.00 / XI – III Mon-Sun 9.00 – 18.00
– accepts both printed and online vouchers
Slovak Lines Ticket Offices – Bus Station, Bottova 7, 811 09 Bratislava
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 6.30 – 18.30
– accepts both printed and online vouchers
ZSSK Customer Centre – Hlavná stanica Railway Station, Námestie Franza Liszta 1, 811 04 Bratislava
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7.35 – 18.10, Sun 8.35 – 18.10
– accepts printed vouchers only
Our 72 Hour Bratislava Itinerary
Walking shoes at the ready – it’s time to explore Slovakia’s capital city and some nearby hidden treasures.
Day One – Explore Bratislava City
We spent the first 24 hours in Bratislava, to show you what Bratislava sightseeing entails and what you can realistically enjoy in a day.
Morning (Day One in Bratislava)
First stop was the tourist information point to pick up our 72 hours Bratislava Cards. We made sure to book into the 2 pm daily free walking tour which is included with your card.
From here we walk through Primate’s Palace (the pink palace), next to the tourist office. You can get discounted entry to the palace. Its most famous for its Hall of Mirrors, cultural events and tapestries.
We decide to do a long loop which took in Palffy Palace, Bratislava Castle, along the Danube River, out by Eurovea shopping centre and back to The Blue Church.
Pálffy Palace – Bratislava City Gallery
This late-Classicist style building was owned by the Palffy family. Inside is a series of exhibition spaces with permanent and temporary exhibitions. Entry to Pálffy Palace art gallery is free with the card and it’s an extra euro to take photos inside.
The big attraction is a gifted installation, Passage by Matej Krén. It consists of almost 15,000 books in a mirrored walkway. This gives the illusion of endless rows of books. It represents the infinity of human knowledge, but is also great for fans of optical illusions!
The gallery is a wonderful space with old coins and curious sculptures. On the top floor, you can find temporary exhibitions. On our visit, we happen upon artist and photographer Ľuba Stacha, who detailed local Bratislava life before and after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
Hoopla Tip: If you love art there are a lot of gallery spaces in Bratislava! Nedbalka Gallery with its Guggenheim style interior, modern art gallery Dunubiana which is built on an island and takes roughly 50 minutes to get there on the bus or visit Gallery Multium, a gallery dedicated to optical illusions – all come with a discount using the Bratislava Card.
By Most SNP bus station (under the UFO bridge) is a path which leads uphill. Along cobbled side streets and through parks with panoramic city views you finally get to Bratislava Castle.
The first record of a castle on this site was from 907. Its first inhabitants were the Celts. It was built in the renaissance style in the 16th century. It was spruced up in recent years into the beacon of the city it is today.
Inside you can use your Bratislava Card to gain free entry into the Slovak National Museum. The castle has various collections and exhibitions throughout the year. We visit a superb exhibition on the Celts and climb the tower inside for views up to the Carpathian Mountains.
Don’t forget to visit the Baroque gardens behind the castle. Enjoy city views over the Danube River to the UFO Bridge and the colourful Petržalka neighbourhood. This is a remnant of communist times which is home to 100,000 people in the city.
Lunch near Bratislava Castle
If you’re looking for somewhere nearby, our favourite spot and good local’s tip is Restaurant Parlament which has views across the Danube River and if you go on a weekday they have a cheap lunch menu!
Or descend back down the hill to the Jewish Quarter and visit one of the many cafes and eateries on this street with a lovely view of St Martin’s Cathedral. Our recommendations are Jasmin (Chinese) which is incredibly delicious or Treppe Bistropub for a craft beer fix.
Danube River and Eurovea Shopping Centre
Afterwards, we take a walk down under the UFO bridge and along the Danube River which takes us to the promenade outside Eurovea shopping centre.
Here are plenty of bars and restaurants too, as well as some cracking views up and down the river. You may even spot a boat go by or a doggo on a walk. Finally, there are plenty of spots to sit and soak in the views.
During the summer there’s a man-made beach located here. However, our recommendation is to go to Magio Beach in the summer. It is bigger and better and just across the green footbridge on the other side of the river.
Eurovea is a sign of modern times in Bratislava. This feat of architecture is amazing to walk through. You’ll also spot circus-themed statues, made by British artist Colin Spofforth. There are more in the square next to the shopping centre by the fountain. Here there are often free events and an ice rink in the winter!
The Blue Church
A short walk from Eurovea, back in the direction of the old town is The Blue Church. Officially it is the Church of St Elisabeth.
It is in fact a Hungarian Secessionist Catholic church and inside is even prettier. It’s an active church so please check before you enter – don’t interrupt a wedding!
Afternoon (Day One in Bratislava)
After lunch and our walk up from the Danube, we visit the Museum of City History, which is in the Old Town Hall. It is a series of different buildings housing various museums with access to the tower on the main square. Then we taste delicious wine, visit Michael’s Gate and go on the walking tour!
Museum of City History – Old Town Hall
The Museum of City History has some interesting artefacts and scrolls detailing the inner workings of the city. It examines how it evolved from an old medieval town into a place where rich Austro-Hungarian families built their beautiful baroque palaces.
You gain free entry with the Bratislava Card. One of the best parts about the museum is climbing the tower for a view over the main square – Hlavne Namestie and out over the city.
Right now, you’ll also find a giant chessboard in the Old Town Hall (Stara Radnica). This is a homage to the inventor of the chess machine which supposedly worked much like a computer before their invention. But sadly the machine was destroyed so nobody really knows!
In the winter, there is a medieval Christmas market with a real nativity scene and blacksmiths etc. Meanwhile, throughout the year there are lots of cultural events both here and in Hlavne Namestie (Main Square).
Slovak National Wine Collection
Like many museums and galleries cards, there are always some leftfield options to choose from. This collection of Slovak wines is one of them!
On the other side of the Old Town Hall is the Museum of Viticulture, which is a collection of the 100 best Slovak wines, constantly on rotation. You can easily pop in here while you visit the City History Museum and learn more about the importance of viticulture to this area.
For €5 each there is a sommelier who can do a tasting with you with two wines of your choosing. Because Slovak wine tends to not be exported this really is a unique experience. We wholly recommend this if you’re a wine lover.
Free Walking Tour
One of the most enlightening and interesting experiences of our day is the walking tour which is free with your Bratislava Card. It takes place daily at 2 pm in English or German.
Having had a tipple of local wine, we join the tour in good spirits. We’re totally ready to walk around the old town and get to know some of the histories behind places we walk past every day!
The tour guide has a quick wit and is a delight to listen to! She equips herself with a wide knowledge of the history of Slovakia and Bratislava. Moreover, she talks frankly about life in communist times which is a fantastic insight into the makeup of the country.
We start from the Tourist Information Centre to Primate’s Place, Hlavne Namestie (the main square), Michael’s Gate and round to St Martin’s Cathedral and the Jewish synagogue memorial.
We also learn more about Bratislava as the Coronation City, where the fountain in the main square would flow with wine instead of water and she points out gold crowns in the road, marking the coronation trail.
The tour lasts for an hour and we are extremely happy with all the little details we didn’t know, even as locals!
Museum of Arms and Michael’s Gate
The busiest tourist street is Michalska, and it’s filled with bars and cafés leading up to the oldest and the only surviving gate of the city – Michael’s Gate.
Inside the tower is the Museum of Arms which gives you access to the viewpoint from the gate and it’s free with the card. We spend a surprisingly long time looking at old cannons, swords and armour. Moreover, it’s especially fascinating for Henry who is massively into this sort of thing!
On top of the gate is another view across the city, you can see across orange rooftops and over into the new city and up to the Slavin Memorial next to Horsky Park. In addition, the view straight up Michalska street is also rather beautiful.
Hoopla Tip: From the top, you can see across to a bar called Rooftop (Regal Burger), which serves cocktails and food with amazing views – best enjoyed in the summer!
St Martin’s Cathedral, Kapitulska Street and Jewish Memorials
A walk down Michalska and to the right-hand side leads to Kapitulska Street which is where you can see old medieval Bratislava.
This old cobbled street was part of the coronation route and now mostly houses church-owned buildings and a monastery. The buildings on this street are an array of pastel and ochre and are some of the only remaining original houses of the city before it expanded.
At the end of this street is St Martin’s Cathedral. A gothic church which saw ten kings, one queen and seven royal wives from the Habsburg Dynasty crowned. It’s free to enter, although it is an active church so on Saturdays there will be a lot of weddings!
The church is next to a memorial for the Jewish community. In communist times, anti-religious sentiment resulted in the Jewish Quarter being destroyed to make way for a road and the UFO Bridge taking with it their synagogue.
Hoopla Tip – If you’re interested in the history of the Jewish community in Bratislava, there is a discount to the Jewish Community Museum inside another synagogue. The Chatam Sofer Memorial is an underground compound with an old Jewish cemetery you can visit although not included with the card and visits have to be pre-booked.
Evening (Dinner in Bratislava)
Our evening plans consist of sunset views and beers on the Danube river, and we are not disappointed!
UFO Observation Point and Bar
This is probably the first thing you notice as you enter Bratislava if driving or by bus, and it’s certainly an odd structure!
The UFO is a remnant of communist-era architecture and one of many that have been reclaimed by the city, They have given it a renewed purpose as an observation point and fine dining restaurant with a cocktail bar and café for more casual visits.
Gone is what many referred to as the ‘watchful eye’ over the city, now it’s a major attraction. Moreover, the Bratislava Card gives you discounted entry to the UFO.
We thoroughly enjoy this view over Bratislava. Firstly, it gives you a unique overlook into Sad Janka Kra’la which is the oldest park in Central Europe built in 1774. It has also a gorgeous prominent gothic tower. This also backs on to the Petržalka borough.
The bar inside the spaceship structure adjoins onto the fine dining restaurant. It gives spectacular views along the Danube including up towards the ‘green belt’ of Bratislava. This is a protected forested area which runs all the way to Vienna.
Bratislava is not short of good cocktail bars which we have previously listed in our food and drink guide to the city, but the cocktails here are delectable.
Along the Danube is something we can truly say we’ve never experienced before! Dunajsky Pivovar is a boat which is also a hotel, restaurant and brewery which specialises in gastropub style dining.
We wash down a burger and grill pan of assorted meats with a silky-smooth dark beer in cosy and modern surrounds. All that walking also makes us extra hungry so we go for a cheeseboard with cured meats. It can also be ordered on its own as an accompaniment to your beer – it’s rather large!
There are a whole host of restaurants which you receive a discount with the Bratislava Card. This is one option. The food and drinks are especially moreish and dining on the Danube is an unbeatable experience. Moreover, we would certainly return!
Day Two – Daytrip to Devin Castle
Today we opt to take it a bit easier and take a slow meander in the old town to find a brunch spot. Then we use our Bratislava Card on the bus to Devin, a small village on the outskirts of the city.
Brunch in Bratislava
Having sussed most of the city’s best spots for brunch, one of our favourite and most conveniently placed cafés is Five Points.
Five Points is a fantastic spot for coffee, brunch and a cheeky slice of cake. Their menu is an international affair. They perfectly execute perfect poached eggs and their own take on an English fry up, Mexican brunches and delicious bagels.
Not far from Most SNP bus station, it’s a fantastic stop before heading for the bus to take us to Devin.
Daytrip to Devin Castle and Iron Curtain Memorial
Day two of using the 72-hour Bratislava Card takes us to discover the delights of Devin Castle and its surrounds. Devin is a village on the outskirts of Bratislava, the old Iron Curtain ran along here, but now it’s famous for wine production and castle ruins which house a museum.
Using public transport and getting to Devin from Bratislava
The 29 bus from Most SNP (under the UFO Bridge) takes twenty mins and public transport is free with the Bratislava card.
All you need to do is jump on the bus and have your card to hand in case someone checks – no need for a bus ticket making this incredibly easy!
You get off at Devin Hrad (castle) and walk-up, turn left and walk along the road until you get to the car park for the castle and memorial.
The castle is free with the visitors’ card. Destroyed in demolition by Napoleonic troops it’s now a ruin, but you can climb up and take in breath-taking views of the Danube River and the surrounding wetlands/green belt area.
Learn about Devin Castle’s history in its museums built into the ruins, including one in a cave and enjoy dressing up or practising your sword fighting abilities in the small museum. Here it catalogues the history of the castle and Slovakia right up to the Velvet Revolution and present day.
We also enjoy the art installations that line the centre square around the gigantic well leading up through the castle ruins.
It’s an interesting archaeological site with lots of natural beauty to see and enjoy, including sheep and a resident donkey! Don’t miss a short forest walk which leads to a historical gate – most people miss this, but it’s a beautiful walk.
Iron Curtain Memorial
The Iron Curtain memorial is just outside of the castle grounds. Its bullet holes represent the 400 men and women shot while trying to escape to Austria.
Austria lies just over the Danube River and this was the line that people would attempt to cross, putting their lives at risk to escape the Soviet regime.
It’s a sobering reminder of the hardship of communism, a period where people were cut off from the outside world with no religious freedom or freedom of speech.
Wetlands – nature walk
Around the castle discover the wetlands, where you can watch fisherman try to make a catch along the riverfront.
In addition, it’s also a unique point as it’s where the Danube and Morava rivers converge. You can walk along the paths here, which is also a cycle route that will eventually take you Devinska Nova Ves which is a good place for a short hike.
It’s rich in wildlife, as it is a protected area and it’s a completely free activity! In fact, the whole day out has cost us nothing with the card.
Currant Wine Production
Find either a stand, by the castle, a pub or in the summer visit the Thebener wine garden next to the castle and try the award-winning currant wine.
The village is famous for its production of wine and red or black currant wines are found in Bratislava bars, restaurants and shops. Another great option is to have hot currant wine at the Christmas markets – something we’ll miss when we leave!
Got some extra time – visit the Museum of Clocks
Afterwards, we have a little time to spare so we visited the Museum of Clocks which is again free with the Bratislava Card. It’s situated just next to the Most SNP bus stop where we get off the No 29 bus from Devin.
There are three floors of beautiful, ornate clocks. The clocks were produced here while the city was called Pressburg during Austro-Hungarian rule. However, the building itself is lovely, painted a pastel yellow colour with a small pub underneath.
Having lived in Italy it can be hard to find gelato that matches that quality, but Koun (pronounced cone) is quite possibly the best gelato we have ever tasted. A bold claim, but true!
The owner was trained up in a gelato university in Italy, which just sounds like a dream, no?!
The shop has some very interesting concoctions including plenty of vegan options. You can choose to make an ice-cream waffle or go for a traditional cone, plus the staff are also incredibly friendly.
As a testament to how good the gelato is, there’s always a queue that stretches into the street here. However, we usually like to sit in and have a coffee too.
Our favourite flavours are vegan candyfloss, black sesame and nougat, but you can also get lovely yoghurt flavours and sorbets.
To find Koun go to Hviezdoslavovo Square, a huge tree-lined square with amazing fountains that houses the Slovak Opera building, lots of swanky bars and restaurants and walk behind the US Embassy. It’s a little hidden but just look for the queue.
If you want a taste of real, traditional Slovak food we recommend using your card to get a discount at Flagship. This is a huge restaurant. In addition, it’s also home to the Monastic Brewery.
All their ingredients come from a farm close to Bratislava. For example, this includes all their sheep’s cheese which is prevalent in a lot of traditional dishes.
Our recommendation is to have the platter selections and try halusky (gnocchi in sheep’s cheese), pierogi dumplings and cabbage (sauerkraut) with ham. The garlic soup with cheese in a bread bowl is also divine!
If you don’t have to rush back, then stay in the SNP Namestie area for drinks and enjoy the Bratislava nightlife! We often get asked does Bratislava have a good nightlife. Certainly, if you avoid the tourist traps in the old town.
To fit in with the locals go to Stara Trznica and sit in the square with all the bunting. From here grab your drinks in family-run Pivovar Shenk – their beer is unfiltered and unpasteurised, and especially lovely!
Steinplatz is a steampunk-inspired underground bar that used to be a former public toilet with a fantastic selection of beers, plus it’s cheap. Another good spot is Bukowski. This certainly has a ruin bar feel within its outside courtyard and you’ll find live music and even English comedy nights.
Across the street is Dunaj, a very cheap artisans bar and behind that there is KC Dunaj a hipster nightclub which is an old communist shopping mall with alternative music nights.
Day Three – A day trip around the Bratislava Region
Today we opt to catch the bus to show you around the Bratislava region. The free public transport stretches quite far and includes regional trains!
We’ll show you a castle owned by some powerful families during the Austro-Hungarian empire and what to do in Pezinok, a nearby wine town.
A day trip to Červený Kameň Castle and Pezinok
Slovakia has the highest density of castles and chateaux buildings in the world, with more per capita than anywhere else.
It’s not surprising to learn that Slovakia is proud of the fact that it was their castle defence that stopped Turkish troops from advancing further into Europe.
We take the opportunity to visit Červený Kameň Castle which lies just past the town of Modra in the Little Carpathian hills.
Getting the bus to Červený Kameň Castle
The easiest place to get the bus from is the main bus station – Mlynské nivy (AS) which is just outside the old town not far from Eurovea shopping centre.
When you get on, you show the driver your Bratislava Card and tell him your stop – Červený Kameň and he will give you a ticket at no cost.
We take a number 566 bus to Častá which is a village just outside of Modra (a town which is famous for ceramic and wine production). The journey takes around 50 mins to an hour through Svaty Jur, Pezinok and Modra, making it a very scenic trip.
The castle itself has a dedicated bus stop, so it’s very easy to spot and to leave you to get on at the same stop the opposite direction!
Červený Kameň Castle
Unlike Devin Castle, Červený Kameň Castle is a well-preserved stately home with beautiful gardens, a wine shop and fantastic bastions that are still used for events and as movie sets today.
The castle is part of the Slovak National Museum repertoire meaning that the entrance is free with the Bratislava Card and includes a free tour which lasts 75 mins through the castle and down to the bastions.
The official castle tour
The tour is in Slovak, but the tour guide answers any questions in English. We also have a very descriptive translation on paper which we read as we go around. The final part of the tour our guide switches to English, which is very kind of her!
You learn all about the rise of the bourgeoisie in Slovakia, as you explore their bedrooms, parlours, dining room, the knight’s hall, an armoury. There is also an opportunity to see an amazingly unique pharmacy room used to treat the Plague and a baroque church.
Downstairs discover the bastions and the deepest well in Slovakia. This is a nice little surprise and we see where it got the name Red Stone Castle from.
Courtyard and gardens
The courtyard is a wonderful place to sit and relax with a café (please bring cash, no cards here), and there’s a tower you can climb for views of the grounds and surrounding countryside.
Wander through the gardens and look out for the peacocks that roam the grounds around the main part of the castle.
Getting the bus to Pezinok
Pezinok is an enchanting town on the way back to Bratislava with a huge number of wine producers, no guesses as to why we love it here…!
You get the same bus back, but make sure you check the time of the bus before you go to the bus stop. Pezinok is about 30 minutes by bus and it lets you off in the town centre or get off at the train station if you’re unsure and walk back into town, it only takes 5 minutes or so to walk there.
Pezinok wine region
Pezinok is nestled in the Little Carpathians. The town has a tradition of winemaking that stretches back centuries. In addition to pottery making, mining and brickmaking, it’s winemaking that families have relied on for income.
There are written records of winemaking here from as early as 1208. It was bolstered by an influx of Germans settling here in the 16th century. Moreover, it was one of the richest towns in the Kingdom of Hungary. Pezinok was named a Free Royal Town in the 17th century by King Ferdinand III.
Today there are many wine producers and vineyards, some small and some larger and this region is were a lot of wine production is based with white wines such as Rizling being the predominant grape variety from this region. We suggest trying a Frankovka Modrá red wine, which is more medium-bodied than its Austrian counterpart Blaufränkisch, that tends to be lighter in style.
Neighbouring town Modra is also famous for its wine cellars, which often do tastings, tours and open days throughout the year. We recommend coming to the vinobranie wine festival in September or the annual wine and lavender festival in the vineyards here in Pezinok in the summer.
Little Carpathians Wine Museum
Pezinok is close to Modra and Svaty Jur and together they make up the wine towns of the Little Carpathians and now there is a museum to tell the history of this protected wine region.
The Little Carpathians Wine Museum has one of the biggest collections of old wine presses which are intricately detailed and impressive to see. While you tour the museum you have a device that details the history of this small town. You learn about its industries and the life of the locals. Even if the wine-making process isn’t of interest to you, it’s important to get to know more about Slovakia.
Downstairs you’ll find the old cellars with the wine presses, barrels, and a tasting room where you can sample a local wine as part of your ticket price, which is, of course, free with the Bratislava Card.
This castle has just undergone renovation work. It contains a museum, and lots of wine bars and restaurants. It’s also home to lots of events and quite often there are market stalls or food stalls in the square here.
The castle itself is Renaissance in style. It was reconstructed in the Baroque style in 1718 and the Romantic and neo-Renaissance adaptations were made by the end of the 19th century.
It is also home to the Slovak National Collection of Wine, and the shop sells a variety of wines from the local area.
The park that surrounds the castle has also been recently re-opened and it’s a wonderful green haven in the town centre.
Inside you’ll find a giant pond or small lake, teeming with ducks and fish, as well as peacocks that roam freely and red squirrels in the trees.
Mlsná Emma Chocolate Café and Gallery
This café is an absolute delight and must for fans of homemade goods and the art of chocolate making!
There is a gallery and shop space stocking products made by over 80 local Slovak designers and producers which are a lot higher quality than a souvenir shop in Bratislava city centre.
In the Mlsná Emma café space they have handmade chocolates, cakes and a variety of hot chocolates, and you can choose from lactose-free and gluten-free cakes. The service is warm and welcoming, and who can resist a chocolate shop?!
Afterwards, go for a walk through the picturesque town centre, look at the churches and old town hall and if you want there are plenty of family-run restaurants and wine bars next to here and on the main street – M. R. Štefánika.
Getting the train from Pezinok to Bratislava
Pezinok has a small train station which is a five-minute walk from town, and you can get on regional trains with the card and not have to pay any fare.
The whole journey only takes 15 minutes, just check that the train is going to Bratislava Hl St, the main train station. From here catch a No 1 tram into the city centre for free with your card.
At no point do you need to buy a ticket, just have your card to hand in case anyone checks.
What is your review of Bratislava using the city card?
On day one we were so excited to get going and introduce all there is to enjoy in Bratislava, and quickly realised that even three days wasn’t enough to show everything we wanted to show.
The 72 Hour Bratislava Card is excellent value for money, and it saves so much faff when going to museums, galleries, attractions and when using public transport. When you turn up to the museum, all you do is show the card, get a ticket and walk in with no payment being exchanged.
Getting on the bus, tram or train is easy too. If it’s a regional bus (Slovak Lines) you just show your card to the bus driver, tell them your final stop and get a free ticket or on the city buses, trains and trams all you do is jump on!
The card gave us discounts to the pricier things, such as the UFO which meant we could afford a cocktail while we took in the amazing views over Bratislava.
We were able to eat out for cheap too. We would recommend the places we ate regardless of discount. Of course, we still went to places not included with the card such as Koun gelato shop and Mlsná Emma chocolate café in Pezinok but eating out is not too expensive in or around Bratislava if you know where to go.
Final thoughts on the Bratislava Card
There are so many ways you could construct a three-day visit, depending on what you like to do on holiday. If we were to do it again, we would look at some of the tour discounts you can get through the card and do more day trips to further explore Slovakia.
Overall it’s a great deal, with all the major attractions, galleries and museums covered and it provides visitors with an easy option to get out of the city centre and see a side of Bratislava and the surrounding region that tourists normally bypass, missing that crucial element of understanding more about Slovak culture and its history.
Where to stay in Bratislava?
There is lots of cheap accommodation to be found in Bratislava, and rooms in Bratislava hotels and apartments are easy to find on booking websites like Booking.com or Air BnB.
Our recommendation is to find something in Stare Mesto (Old Town), this is the city centre and puts you either close to the riverfront or close to the train station.
Nove Mesto (New Town) and the other districts of Bratislava are very accessible by bus or tram and it’s not a big city but keeping to the old town means you are central.
How do I get from Bratislava airport to Bratislava train station?
If you need to get from or to the airport and train station you’ll be glad to know there’s a direct bus that links the two and all you need to do is purchase a 30-minute ticket for 0.90 cents from the yellow ticket machines and stamp it on the bus.
Or order a taxi through Uber, HopIn or Bolt – the fare should be less than €10.
Which express buses can you recommend from Vienna to Bratislava?
There are buses provided by Slovak Lines and Flixbus to Vienna from Bratislava and vice versa. But our favourite is Regiojet.
It takes roughly an hour and takes you to Vienna airport then Wien HBF (main train and bus station).
The cost is normally €5 if you buy online and with Regiojet you get free hot drinks and a TV loaded with movies.
How much is a pint in Bratislava?
We’ve added this because it’s what all our friends and family back home ask! Yes, a beer or pivo as it’s known here will be cheaper than other countries. For an average lager or pilsner, it can be between €1.30-2 depending on the bar.
Can you use card in Bratislava?
Yes, it’s not something you have to really worry about. Carry cash for market stalls etc, but most places take card.
What language do they speak in Bratislava?
The national language is Slovak, which is different from Czech but does have similarities. A lot of people in their 30s and younger speak English, and they’re a lot of German and Russian speakers.
If you want to know some basic Slovak phrases, check out this article where we have a list of useful phrases to know before you visit, because it’s nice to try to speak the lingo!
Our year-long experience with life in Bratislava means we’ve got other helpful guides to the city up on our website.
Make sure to follow us on Instagram and become a part of our wee IG family – @hoopla_adventures
All opinions in this article are our own. Our thanks to Bratislava Tourist Board for providing us with the opportunity to review the Bratislava Cards and for letting us do an Instagram takeover. The Bratislava Card allowed us to show our readers a way to enjoy the Bratislava region and we had fun re-discovering the city!