Bratislava is the largest city in Slovakia, but one of the smallest capitals in Europe. With a population of less than half a million people, it is small enough to explore on foot, making it an ideal weekend break destination. This attractive city is often overlooked by overseas tourists, but is actually a real gem. It features medieval towers and colourful historic houses alongside modern structures. Bratislava has a natural charm, with narrow cobbled streets, the beautiful River Danube and quirky statues dotted around town.
Bratislava is located in the south-west of Slovakia, by the banks of the Morava and Danube Rivers. A number of different nationalities have influenced the city, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. It is now an important business and financial centre, and is home to several museums, theatres and art galleries.
The city is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination. More than 680,000 people make overnight stays in hotels and holiday apartments in Bratislava each year, while many more arrive on day trips. The tourist industry has also been buoyed in recent years by the arrival of low-cost airlines.
The Slovakian capital has a real multi-cultural history, resulting in a number of interesting tourist sites. Here are some examples of things to see during a weekend break in Bratislava:
Bratislava Castle - This large structure is located on a hill above the old town and gives visitors impressive views over Bratislava and nearby Austria and Hungary. The castle was rebuilt in the middle of the 20th century, but the original structure dated back to the ninth century.
St Martin's Cathedral - Bratislava's gothic cathedral was built in the 12th century and hosted the coronations of 11 kings between the 16th and 19th centuries. Visitors to the church can tour the underground crypts, where many significant historical figures are buried.
Museum of Pharmacy - This unusual museum is housed in a former pharmacy building and features historical pharmacy equipment and original works by 16th century physician Paracelsus.
Church of St Elizabeth - This attractive church, commonly known as the 'Blue Church', was built at the start of the 20th century. The building has a blue facade and roof, as well as blue mosaics and a richly decorated interior.
M.R. Stefanik Airport is located just 9km from the city centre. However, visitors to Bratislava can also arrive via Vienna International Airport, which is only 49km west of the city. The cheapest way to travel from either airport to the city centre is by bus.
The cold winter weather puts many people off visiting at this time of year, while the city can get crowded in the summer. The best times for tourists to visit tend to be May, June and September, when tourist numbers are relatively low and the weather is usually mild.
If you're planning a trip to Slovakia, why not take a look at our holiday apartments in Bratislava? We offer high quality accommodation in key central locations that is often much more affordable than staying in a hotel.
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