Bratislava Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Bratislava

Slovakian capital Bratislava straddles the river Danube right at the Austrian and Hungarian border. The closeness of these two countries has had its toll on the city's long and often tumultuous history in which the Austrians, Croats, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Serbs and Slovaks have played their role. It wasn't until 1919 that the city, prior to that known as Pressburg, got its contemporary name. This walk covers some of the most prominent sights of the historic part of Bratislava.
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Bratislava Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Bratislava Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Slovakia » Bratislava (See other walking tours in Bratislava)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: hollyg
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Grassalkovich Palace
  • Obchodná Street
  • St. Michael's Tower
  • Main Square
  • Old Town Hall
  • Bratislava City Museum
  • Primate's Palace
  • Cumil
  • Old Slovak National Theater
  • Hviezdoslav Square
  • Nový Most
  • Bibiana
  • St. Martin's Cathedral
  • Bratislava Castle
Grassalkovich Palace

1) Grassalkovich Palace (must see)

The Grassalkovich Palace is the residence of the Slovakian president. This palace represents a mixture of Rococo and late Baroque styles and was built by architect Anton Mayerhofer in 1760 for the Hungarian nobleman, Count Antal Grassalkovich, the vassal of Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa. The palace was intended primarily as an entertainment venue and had hosted many balls and musical parties throughout its history thrown by the Habsburg royals; eventually it became a popular center of musical life in Pressburg and saw many celebrities of the day, including composer Joseph Haydn himself premiering here some of his works. In September 1996, the palace underwent reconstruction and was turned into a presidential office. The adjacent garden, containing the statue of Bratislava-born composer Jan Nepomuk Hummel, has been made a public park.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Obchodná Street

2) Obchodná Street

Obchodná Street is the main shopping artery of Bratislava and one of the busiest streets of the city. It is located in the historic center and stretches from St. Michael's Gate in the north to Kollárovo Square in the south. Initially it was named Schöndorfská ulica (Schöndorfs street) after the Schöndorf suburb that used to be located nearby. The oldest houses here date back to the 18th century. The area grew popular after the World War I seeing the large number of merchants and craftsmen coming to settle. Today, Obchodná street is a buzzing thoroughfare full of shops and restaurants; in 2005-2006 it underwent renovation. Not far from the Crown Plaza Hotel it crosses another popular street much loved by the locals – Poštová ulica (or Post street) – which is a pedestrian zone.
St. Michael's Tower

3) St. Michael's Tower (must see)

St. Michael’s Tower is one of the last pieces of medieval architecture in Bratislava and a gateway to the Old Town that was once surrounded by a massive fortified wall. That fortress had four gates in each direction. St. Michael’s Tower was part of the northern entrance and was built around the year 1300. In 1758, it was remodeled with the added baroque features and the statue of St. Michael and the Dragon placed at the top where it still remains. Today, the Tower holds an exhibition of old weapons. Apart from the weaponry, visitors to the Tower can also enjoy a magnificent view of the city opening from the top. Down below at the basement, lovers of shopping will be thrilled to find a variety of high-end stores and restaurants.
Main Square

4) Main Square (must see)

Main Square (or Hlavne Namestie) is the center of the Old Town and a home to several key historic local landmarks, namely: the Stará Radnica (Old Town Hall) and the Roland Fountain. The Old Town Hall was partially built in the 14th century; its highlight is undoubtedly the clock tower that is visible from all over the city. The nearby Maximillian Fountain features a 10,5 meter statue of Roland the knight, protector of Bratislava. Legend has it that every New Year at a stroke of midnight, the statue – otherwise facing the new Town Hall – turns around and bows toward the Old Town Hall building. The latter is also quite famous for having a cannonball stuck in its wall, fired by the advancing Napoleonic troops back in 1809. The bronze statue of Napoleon himself, leaning over a bench, is also located nearby.
Old Town Hall

5) Old Town Hall (must see)

The Old Town Hall of Bratislava is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and was originally built in the 1300s. It stands between Main Square and Primate’s Square (or Primaciálne námestie) and was originally designed to accommodate soldiers guarding the fortress surrounding the medieval town. During the Renaissance period, the building underwent transformation after being damaged by earthquake and then fire. Its beautifully tiled roof now serves as the city's landmark. In the course of the centuries the building had been used as a prison, mint, market, archive and arsenal until it finally accommodated a Town Hall. Today it houses the Bratislava City Museum, featuring a collection of historic artifacts including cannonballs, dungeon instruments of torture and antique weaponry. A cannonball, embedded in the wall, resulted from the invasion of the Napoleonic troops in the early 1800s.
Bratislava City Museum

6) Bratislava City Museum (must see)

If there's a place to learn about Bratislava's history, it is undoubtedly the Bratislava City Museum. It first opened in 1868 and today prides itself as the oldest constantly running museum in Slovakia.
The collection includes archaeological finds, coins, ancient drugs that were once produced here, as well as many other artifacts telling about the history of society, industry and culture of Bratislava. The Museum is open year round, six days a week except Mondays. Feel free to pop in and check out the exhibition.
Primate's Palace

7) Primate's Palace (must see)

Primate's Palace (or Primacialny palac as they call it) was created between 1778 and 1781 by architect Melchior Hefele for the Archbishop of Bratislava József Batthyány. The palace is famous for its Hall of Mirrors that has hosted many historic events over the centuries, including the signing of the fourth Peace of Pressburg in 1805 after the Battle of Austerlitz which effectively ended the War of the Third Coalition.

8) Cumil (must see)

Čumil Statue was created by sculptor Viktor Hulík, and located at the intersection of Panska and Rybarska Brana streets, not far from Main Square in the Old Town. This bronze statue doesn't portray any particular person. Rather, it is a fruit of the author's imagination; the Čumil fella seems to be enjoying himself fully during a work break, sticking his head out of the manhole reportedly out of passion to observe - from down under - the lovely young ladies passing by. Čumil's head is a constant lure for children who simply adore rubbing it and perching atop. On some occasions, the statue is said to have been damaged by or indeed damaged back the oncoming vehicles whose drivers didn't see where they go. Years in this place, Čumil has now earned himself a sign, reading “Man at Work”, which indeed he is posing daily for pictures of the numerous tourists coming to see him.
Old Slovak National Theater

9) Old Slovak National Theater (must see)

The Slovak National Theatre of drama, opera and ballet is an original neo-renaissance building that dates back to the 1880s and shows signs of Hungarian influence. It first opened to the public in 1886 with the seating capacity of 1,000 spectators. The more modern part of the building is a renovation project that lasted over 20 years from 1980 until April 2007; it can seat over 1,700 people. Both the new and the old buildings are used by the theater.
Hviezdoslav Square

10) Hviezdoslav Square

Hviezdoslav Square is all about music. Mainly this is due to the presence of two grand music venues, the old Opera House and Slovak Philharmonic, and the open-air music stage for pop, folk and jazz. The square bears the name of Slovakia's prominent poet, Pavol Ország Hviezdoslav, whose monument stands right here. The square is a popular spot with the locals who love to come here for a walk or to sit in the nearby park, particularly in summer, and enjoy the greenery, fountains, as well as numerous pubs and cafes surrounding the place. In winter the place is just as popular due to the Christmas market that provides great festive atmosphere.
Nový Most

11) Nový Most (must see)

If there's anything unmistakably Bratislavan to recognize the city, it is definitely the Nový Most bridge across the Danube. This is the only bridge in the world to be included in the World Federation of Great Towers and the longest cable-supported suspension bridge of its kind - the first asymmetrical bridge ever built. It was completed in 1972 and was originally named the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising; today however it is more commonly referred to as simply the New Bridge. Made of steel, it fascinates onlookers mostly with the oval, UFO-like thing above its asymmetrical pylon, which in fact houses a restaurant. Apart from its cuisine, this restaurant – flying 95 meters above the bridge – is popular for the sweeping views it provides. If you ever wish to visit this restaurants, you'd have to take an elevator.

12) Bibiana (must see)

If you travel with kids, you may wish to walk a little bit further and visit the Bibiana Gallery in Panska Street – the place fully dedicated to children’s learning and children-oriented art. First opened in 1987, the gallery provides a wide spectrum of programs, hands-on exhibits, displays of book illustrations, animations and more. What's unique about it is that there's no permanent collection of any sort. The gallery contains three main halls with the exhibitions changing every month. Two-thirds of the exhibits are interactive and allowed to be touched, felt and grabbed by young visitors. The gallery itself is not at all huge but still will suffice to keep your little rascals engaged for a few hours exploring and enjoying themselves. It is open Tuesday through Sunday and is highly recommended.
St. Martin's Cathedral

13) St. Martin's Cathedral (must see)

St. Martin’s Cathedral is the oldest and largest cathedral in the area. The history of it is long and closely associated with the Austro-Hungarian royals who used it as a coronation church. Emperors and Empresses such as Leopold I, Maximilian II, Rudolf II, Matthias, Elisabeth Christine and Maria Theresa where all crowned here. The massive spire of the cathedral dominates the city’s skyline reinforced by the bold Gothic features. The incredible stained glass windows also deserve mention. The Cathedral's bell tower displays replica of a Hungarian Crown, while the alter features a massive statue of St. Martin on horseback dressed up in Hungarian regalia, sculpted by Georg Rafael Donner in 1744. Just as many other buildings of that period, the cathedral has survived several fires. Each time it burned down, the ensued reconstruction brought in a mix of new architectural styles which are now visible all over the place. Inside the chapel there are catacombs holding the remains of many prominent Austo-Hungarian historic figures laid down to rest.
Bratislava Castle

14) Bratislava Castle (must see)

Bratislava Castle is the huge rectangular fortress with four corner towers, standing atop a rocky hill directly above the river Danube right in the middle of Bratislava. Strategically positioned to ensure safe passageway between the Carpathians and the Alps, for many centuries it had guarded crossing over the Danube at the intersection of the old central European trade routes – most notably the amber route – running from the Rhine River valley and the Baltic Sea down to the Balkans and the Adriatic Sea. In good weather the Castle allows outstanding view of not only Bratislava, but also the neighboring Austria and Hungary. Many legends are associated with the Castle, which has found place in the historical and cultural heritage of both Hungarians and Germans, due to its connection to Hungary and the Hapsburg monarchy.

Walking Tours in Bratislava, Slovakia

Create Your Own Walk in Bratislava

Create Your Own Walk in Bratislava

Creating your own self-guided walk in Bratislava is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Religious Buildings of Bratislava are not just architectural monuments and historic treasures, but also beautiful places that convey a religious atmosphere and spiritual mood. Seize the opportunity to become a part of harmony by visiting Bratislava religious buildings.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Bratislava Old Town

Bratislava Old Town

The city of Bratislava can amaze you with its history. The special charm of the Old Town of Bratislava will leave you absolutely dazzled by the beauty of it all. It's possible to find anything to your taste here. Wonderful architecture, fine examples of art, lots of information on science and the history of Bratislava Old Town -- all will give you a real Slovakian experience.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles
Bratislava Museums

Bratislava Museums

The majority of Bratislava museums are located in the Old Town part of the city. It's amazingly quaint and charming. The museums are numerous and so varied that we can easily call Bratislava the City of Museums. Be ready to bring home unforgettable memories from a great tour of Bratislava museums!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Art Galleries Tour

Art Galleries Tour

The exhibitions held in Bratislava galleries can be absolutely unforgettable and rather charming. Discover the pleasure that only art can give you. Don't lose the chance to see the world-famous treasures of art that are presented in Art Galleries of Bratislava!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Bratislava Palaces Walking Tour

Bratislava Palaces Walking Tour

The historic center of the largest city in Slovakia is rich in majestic palaces and great mansions. The majority of Bratislava palaces are designed in a Baroque style, and they have a great history related to famous figures like Napoleon and composer Johann Hummel. Don't miss the chance to experience the luxurious life lived not so long ago by emperors and nobility.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Bratislava Architectural Jewels

Bratislava Architectural Jewels

Owing to the fact that the Danube Road connected Western Europe with the Orient, Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, has always been influenced by European art and culture. Visitors to the city can admire its Gothic and Baroque architecture, along with the splendid 20th century buildings. Don't miss the chance to explore Bratislava's great architectural variety!

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles