Last Updated on July 2, 2022 by Helen E. White
In this article, I am going to propose the best areas to stay in Bratislava and everything you cannot miss in each of them. It will be useful for you, especially if you travel in high season when the accommodations in the historic center fill up and you will probably have to look for alternatives.
The capital of Slovakia is one of the most discreet cities in Central Europe despite the fact that it has played a fundamental role in history, especially during the reign of the Habsburgs. Furthermore, it was the capital of the kingdom of Hungary.
However, the capital of Slovakia exudes that special charm of all those who have been born on the banks of the Danube.
See More: Where to stay in Formentera
In addition, it treasures an interesting architectural heritage, whose maximum exponent is the castle, a charming old town dotted with baroque palaces and beautiful buildings with a lot of history, a very active cultural scene and lively nightlife.
Bratislava is an essential stop on any itinerary through Central Europe, especially since it is very close to the popular Prague-Vienna-Budapest tourist route. In my case, I visited it taking advantage of a trip to Vienna (it can be visited perfectly on a day trip from the Austrian capital).
For those who have planned a trip to the vibrant capital of Slovakia, here are some notes on the best areas to stay in Bratislava.
- 1 Where to Stay in Bratislava: The 6 Best Areas
- 1.1 1. Stare Mesto, the Best Area to Stay in Bratislava
- 1.2 2. Palisady, a Very Central and Quiet Area of bratislava
- 1.3 3. Nové Mesto, Where to Sleep in Bratislava Near the Train Station
- 1.4 4. Ruzinov, Where to Stay in Bratislava at a Good Price
- 1.5 5. Petrzalka, Communist Heritage a Few Minute’s Walk From the Center
- 1.6 6. Raca-koliba, Where to Stay in Bratislava to Enjoy Nature
Where to Stay in Bratislava: The 6 Best Areas
Bratislava, despite its small size, has a good range of accommodation, which also has much cheaper prices than almost any other European capital, making it the perfect destination to pamper yourself and stay in a good hotel.
The best area to stay in Bratislava is the Stare Mesto, which is the old part. However, it is also the most expensive next to Palisady (the second-best option).
See More: Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
Other cheaper alternatives are the neighbourhoods of Nove Mesto, Petrzalka, Ruzinov and Raca-Koliba.
Normally I would tell you to stay in Stare Mesto, the best area, and not complicate your life more looking for other options. However, you should keep in mind that the city is small and the hotels in this area can fill up quickly in the good weather months.
If so, don’t worry. In the adjoining areas, there is also an accommodation offer, at good prices, and from them with a short walk, you will reach the center.
1. Stare Mesto, the Best Area to Stay in Bratislava
The old city occupies the heart of Bratislava and concentrates the main tourist attractions of the city. So it is presented as the best option to sleep in Bratislava for those who want to be close to everything and see its monuments.
In addition to being the area with the greatest tourist interest, it is also from an administrative and political point of view.
Institutions such as the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Baroque Grassalkovich Palace, which is the current residence of the President of Slovakia, or the Renaissance Archbishop’s Palace, which houses the seat of the Slovak government, and a good number of embassies are located here. .
Stare Mesto is dominated by the castle, which stands on top of a hill, about 90 meters above the Danube.
It outlines the city’s skyline and offers, especially from the Crown Tower, beautiful views of the city, the banks of the Danube, the bridges that cross it and even on sunny days part of Hungary and Austria can be seen on the horizon.
The most striking elements of this fortress, which dates back to the 9th century, are the four towers that mark each of its corners.
Today it is home to the History Museum, which reviews the history of Bratislava and hosts temporary exhibitions on the history of the castle.
At its feet is the Cathedral of San Martín, which is one of the oldest churches in the city. It was built in the 15th century on an old cemetery and contains catacombs, in which the mortal remains of important personalities rest.
See More: Where to Stay in Bali
From its façade, the main tower stands out, which is finished off with a huge golden crown resting on a cushion. This ornamental element indicates that the temple was a royal place. So much so that it hosted the coronations of kings from 1563 to 1830. This makes it the most important religious building in the capital of Slovakia.
The heart of the old city is the Hlavne Namestie square. Since the Middle Ages, it has been one of the busiest places, hosting various stalls with typical Bratislava products, as well as street musicians and painters.
It is also a common place for the celebration of important events. It is surrounded by a good offer of bars, restaurants and terraces, constituting one of the epicenters of nightlife.
In the center stands the statue of Maximilian, the city’s first crowned emperor, and is embraced by important buildings such as the Old Town Hall or Stara Radnica, which is one of the oldest in Slovakia.
It stands out for its yellow baroque outer tower and for housing one of the headquarters of the Bratislava City Museum, whose exhibition focuses on the history of the city, from its origins to the 20th century.
At the rear of the old Town Hall is the Primatial Palace. It stands out for its striking pale pink neoclassical façade and for being crowned with a succession of statues.
The palace is of great historical importance, since in one of its rooms, the Hall of Mirrors, the peace treaty of Pressburg was signed between Napoleon and Emperor Francis, which led to the end of the Third Coalition War.
Not far away is the gate tower of San Miguel, the only one of the four that were part of the walls, giving access to the interior of the city, which remains standing. The crown is a large sculpture of Saint Michael the Archangel and the dragon.
It is made up of four floors that house another headquarters of the City museum, in this case, the museum of arms and the history of the fortifications of Bratislava. In addition, it gives beautiful views of the old town and Michalska street, full of cafes and terraces.
Walking through the old town, you come across beautiful churches such as the Franciscan Church, which is the oldest in the city.
It enjoyed great importance, as it was the place where the ceremonies of arms to the knights and the royal coronations were carried out, such as that of Fernando I of Habsburg in 1526.
Although the most surprising and curious is the blue church, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Hungary since it was built in honor of this princess of Hungary.
See More: Where to Stay in Ibiza
It is on Bezručova Street and is completely covered in blue, which is mixed with beautiful decorative motifs in pastel shades, making it one of the greatest exponents of art nouveau. The interior also sports this heavenly color, paying homage to the trend of tonal positivity.
The streets of the old town are dotted with a set of cute sculptures, which have become a great attraction for travelers.
The most sought after are the soldier from Napoleon’s army, who is leaning on one of the benches in Namestie Hlavne square; Schöne Náci, a man waving his top hat at passers-by, and Camil, a worker looking out of a sewer, who has become an icon of the city.
In addition to all these tourist attractions, the historic center is the best area to buy those travel souvenirs, enjoy Slovak cuisine, and go out for drinks at night. Come on, it has it all and it is where you should concentrate your search for accommodation.
Despite the fact that this neighbourhood is the smallest in the Slovak capital, it concentrates most of the options to stay in Bratislava, especially the Hlavne Namestie and Frantiskanske Namestie squares.
There are modern hostels, luxury hotels, and even plenty of mid-range options. As you can well imagine, it is one of the most expensive areas to sleep in Bratislava.
2. Palisady, a Very Central and Quiet Area of bratislava
This neighbourhood is located behind the castle, very close to the historic center. Given its location, it has traditionally concentrated the population with the highest purchasing power, a visible aspect in the elegant buildings that make it up and the different embassies and consulates that are located here.
It is close to the Slavín War Memorial, which honors Soviet soldiers who lost their lives during World War II during the city’s liberation from German rule.
This complex, which is accessed by a staircase, includes a cemetery in which more than 6,000 soldiers lie, and a gigantic central space on which stands a large obelisk crowned with a statue of a Soviet soldier.
The dates and inscriptions of the liberation are engraved on its walls.
Palisady is a central and comfortable option when it comes to staying in Bratislava since it avoids the use of public transport and allows you to enjoy the atmosphere of the heart of the city. You will only need to take a walk to get to the center
Given its location, prices follow in the footsteps of the Old Town options. There is less offer, but it is varied in terms of prices.
3. Nové Mesto, Where to Sleep in Bratislava Near the Train Station
This neighbourhood, which is part of the city’s III district, is located about three kilometers northwest of the old town. This is the area where you will arrive by train, as the main station is located here.
The neighbourhood is huge and in my opinion, has little attraction for tourists. I would only consider it if you can’t find accommodation in the downtown area.
I would highlight two areas, the one between the train station and the center, residential and with some shops and a shopping center, and the one near the Little Carpathians and the Bratislava forest park.
See More: Where to Stay in Washington Dc
The Little Carpathians is a very popular natural area among hikers, where a variety of sports are practiced, and where there are caves and castles, and the Bratislava Forest Park is also an ideal natural area to enjoy active tourism activities.
The forest park is home to many species of Central European fauna, such as the red fox, badgers and mouflons, as well as trees, especially the linden, which is the country’s national tree.
The best way to discover them is by walking the many paths that cross them.
The Kamzík TV television tower is also located here, which crowns the hill of the same name. From the observation tower, you can see one of the most complete panoramas of Bratislava and the Danube and, on clear days, also of the neighboring countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria.
This part of the neighbourhood, the one close to these natural landscapes, can be a good option to sleep in Bratislava for those who want to combine visiting the city with enjoying Slovak nature.
Another of Nové Mesto’s natural treasures, near the train station, is Lake Kuchajda. It is a place where many citizens go to sail or take a bath in summer and ice skate in winter.
It has facilities to practice sports, such as basketball or volleyball, picnic areas, restaurants and even fast food stalls.
Accommodation options in Nove Mesto are not as numerous as in the city center, with apartments and mid-range hotels being particularly prominent.
However, they are much cheaper and, in addition, they allow you to be close to some of the best natural corners of the Slovak capital, or to the train station.
4. Ruzinov, Where to Stay in Bratislava at a Good Price
This neighbourhood is to the west of the old city, about ten minutes by car from it. It is one of the most modern, especially in the Navy area.
It concentrates on numerous residential areas, companies, banks and the largest shopping center in the country, Avion Shopping Park.
It also accommodates the largest market in the city, the Mileticova Central Market or Centralne trhovisko . At its stalls, it is possible to buy all kinds of products from the region’s gardens, handicrafts or souvenirs and savor Slovak cuisines, such as lángoš, a fried dough with garlic, cheese and sour cream.
In addition, it is very close to the Milan Rastislav Štefánik International Airport, making it a very comfortable option to stay in Bratislava for those who want to be close to it, or who are traveling on business.
It also features lakes and green areas, especially outstanding the recreational area Zlaté Piesky.
This recreational area is dominated by a huge lake where you can enjoy a swim, water activities and even boat rides. It has fields to practice tennis, golf and even volleyball.
Personally, it’s one of the last areas I’d look at because it’s a bit far from the center. However, it may be an alternative to consider if you are looking for tranquility, immerse yourself in the daily life of the locals, or simply because you cannot find anything in other areas that meet your criteria.
Although it is one of the most modern neighbourhoods in the Slovak capital, it has one of the smallest accommodation offers. However, the prices are very accessible for all pockets.
5. Petrzalka, Communist Heritage a Few Minute’s Walk From the Center
This neighbourhood is located on the right bank of the Danube. It emerged in the 90s to alleviate the excess population of the city center. Today it is the most populous in the Slovak capital, which is why it is considered the city’s dormitory neighbourhood.
It is a rather ugly neighbourhood, which has nothing to do with the charm of the downtown streets. However, the area that is near the river is a very practical option since you will only have to cross the river to be in the center.
See More: Best Areas to Stay in Miami
Petrzalka is characterized by its long streets and avenues, and the panelák, block buildings, widespread during the communist era, built with prefabricated concrete panels intended to house many people.
These heritage buildings from the communist era, today show off different shades giving a touch of showiness to the neighbourhood.
The area has a good number of restaurants, perfect for delving into the local flavors, shopping centers, bars and concert halls. In addition, it has several kilometers of bike paths that run along the banks of the Danube.
They reach the Rusovce and Cunovo lakes, which are close to the Hungarian border, surrounded by forests and nature. They are a perfect place to enjoy a swim (in Ruscove there is a nudist area), nature and peace.
Petrzalka is connected to the center by the Most SNP cable-stayed bridge, which is popularly known as the UFO bridge in allusion to the structure in the shape of a flying saucer that crowns one of the pillars that support it.
In this, there is a restaurant, which is also an excellent viewpoint of the Danube and the city.
In Petrzalka there is a much calmer atmosphere than in the Old Town. However, it has a reputation for being one of the most creative and authentic neighbourhoods, which allows you to delve into the local day-to-day life.
As I have already mentioned, I think that the area that touches the river is a very interesting area due to its proximity to the center. As you get further into the neighbourhood you disconnect a little from the charm of the old city and you will have to spend more time in transport.
Although accommodation is not abundant, here you will find the cheapest options to sleep in Bratislava.
6. Raca-koliba, Where to Stay in Bratislava to Enjoy Nature
Raca is located in the southeast of the Little Carpathians, about eight kilometers from the historic center of Bratislava. It is surrounded by numerous vineyards, making it one of the most important wine regions in the country.
It is part of district III and more than a neighbourhood of the city, it is like a rural area due to its bucolic and quiet atmosphere, in which family homes predominate, which are mainly located around the vineyards.
Although it is not a monumental area like the center of Bratislava, it has some interesting constructions such as the church of San Felipe and Santiago el Menor, which stands out for the decorative simplicity of its façade and for the tall bell tower that marks it, crowned with a pyramid roof.
Inside it houses a Carrara marble altar and a beautiful Baroque pulpit.
In Raca, the accommodation offered is very discreet, but they are cheaper than in the more central neighbourhoods. In addition, it is presented as an excellent option to stay in Bratislava for those looking for places with a very local atmosphere and close to nature.
Koliba is part of the Nové Mesto district next to the Little Carpathians. One of the most popular attractions in this area is the Kamzík TV Tower, which stands on the top of the hill of the same name.
It is one of the best viewpoints of the city and its surroundings. In addition, it has a restaurant.
Staying in Koliba is a highly recommended option to sleep in Bratislava for those who do not want to spend a lot of budget on hotels, flee from the hustle and bustle of the center, which is about ten minutes away by public transport, or want to discover and experience the natural heritage of the Slovak capital.