Beautiful Bratislava – Slovakia’s engrossing capital – is one of the most intriguing, immersive and diverse cities in Europe, combining contemporary delights and an abundance of historic highlights with the scenic beauty of the picturesque Danube River. Unlike many other European capitals, the city is laid-back rather than frenetic and, despite considerable growth in recent years, retains an enchanting small town charm.
Walking through the uncrowded streets of Bratislava is like stepping back in time. Although the city only became a capital in 1993 – when Slovakia received its independence – its origins in fact date back to around 200BC. The locals here are rightly proud of their city’s over 2,000-year history and it shows. In the remarkably well-preserved heart of the city await several structures and monuments which hark back to times when Bratislava was a major trading hub and one of Europe’s great Renaissance-era cities.
The most eye-catching of them all is the imposing white-walled castle, which has overlooked the city since the 9th century, while the collection of churches, palaces and ancient gates are well worth taking the time to uncover too. The gothic-style St Martin’s Cathedral, the former coronation-church of several Hungarian kings; the art-nouveau Church of St Elizabeth; Primate’s Palace; and the Grassalkovich Palace and gardens are among the many memorable sights. For museums and galleries you are spoilt for choice in Bratislava too. Take your pick of the Slovak National Museum, the Slovak National Gallery, the Bratislava City Gallery and much more.