As a tourist, you will probably spend most of your time in and around the medieval historic center, which is very compact and easy to navigate.

Note: This article describes mainly the historic pedestrian area of the Old Town. For information about transportation and other boroughs of Bratislava, please check these articles:

 

 

The Old Town - Staré Mesto includes the core historic center - pedestrian zone (approximately outlined by streets Staromestská, Námestie SNP, Štúrova and the embankment of Danube), which is the primary area where tourist attractions are concentrated. It takes approx. 15 minutes to cross the pedestrian zone.

To the west of Staromestská Street, there is another part of the Old Town, the Castle Hill and the quiet and green hilly part around it, with houses and residences. Along with Bratislava Castle, tourists also often enjoy views of the city from Slavín - memorial and cemetery from the World War II.

To the north of historic center, a major transport junction of Hodžovo námestie is located. The square is dominated by Grassalkovich Palace, residence of the president of the Slovak Republic, with garden behind the palace.  Štefánikova Street connects the palace withmain railway station (Hlavná stanica).

Eastern part of the historic center is bordered by square Námestie SNP, its lower part extends to Kamenné námestie with dominant building of department store My (Tesco), to the south the area continues along Štúrova Street and +Safárikovo námestie square (with the"Blue Church" nearby).

The area to the east of the historic center consists of more recent buildings. Visitors usually venture to Obchodná Str. with its offer of small shops and cheaper restaurants.

 


Names of streets usually end with letters "á" or "a"  and they may be followed by word "ulica" (street), abbreviated "ul." and often skipped: e.g.: Obchodná ulica / Obchodná ul. / Obchodná  = Obchodná Street

Names of squares usually end with letters "o", "é" or "e", followed or preceded by word "námestie" (square) or abbreviated "nám." - this word is usually always present, e.g.: Hlavné námestie / Hlavné nám.

Main entries to pedestrian zone are:

North:

  • Michalská brána - entry from Hurbanovo námestie
  • Uršulínska - entry in the middle of Námestie SNP (along the building of the main post)

East:

  • Klobučnícka -  entry from lower part of Námestie SNP
  • Laurinská - entry from Kamenné námestie
  • Gorkého, Jesenského - from Štúrova St.

South:   

  • Nám. Ľudovíta Štúra
  • Hviezdoslavovo námestie

West:

  • Most SNP (SNP bridge - "New Bridge") and Hviezdoslavovo námestie
  • Klariská (bus stop Zochova)

 

 Main squares in the historic center are:

  •  Hlavné námestie (The Main Square): probably the nicest medieval square (and also square-shaped), where Stará radnica - the Old Town Hall and Roland fountain is located.  Often a place of cultural events, including famous Christmas markets. To the north it extends to smaller square Františkánske námestie.
  •  Hviezdoslavovo námestie (Hviezdoslav Sq): known for its landmark opera building of Slovak National Theatre (SND), the largest square in the shape of long tree-lined rectangle which leads from opera building to bridge Most SNP.
  •  Primaciálne námestie - you can get there from Hlavné námestie either by nice narrow street Kostolná or through the courtyard of the Old Town Hall. Primate's Palace (palace of archbishop) is the major landmark of the square, modern building on the opposite side is the site of City Magistrate.
  •  Hurbanovo námestie / Župné námestie - two adjacent squares at the upper entry to the historic center. Main landmarks: Trinitarian Church, Capuchin Church.
  •  Námestie Ľudovíta Štúra (námestie Ľ. Štúra), a square close to the embankment, connected by Mostová Str. to Hviezdoslavovo námestie. Landmark: Reduta - building of Slovak Philharmonic.
  •  Námestie SNP (Square of Slovak National Uprising): another large square which connects the medieval city with the more recent part of the Old Town. Not to be confused with Bridge of SNP (Most SNP), known also as New Bridge or "UFO" Bridge). Lower part of Námestie SNP extends to Kamenné námestie (Landmarks: "Manderla" - the first residential highrise building in Slovakia, department store My-Tesco with former Hotel Kyjev).
  •  Šafárikovo námestie - another square close to the embankment, connected with Kamenné námestie by Štúrova St. and also close to Eurovea shopping area. Landmark: Comenius University

 

Main walking routes:

  •  Hurbanovo námestie - Michalská brána - Michalská - turn left to Sedlárska - Hlavné námestie - Rybárska brána - Hviezdoslavovo námestie (known as Korzo, the most frequented walking route),  you can continue to the embankment through Mostová and  námestie Ľ. Štúra - map
  • Hurbanovo námestie - Michalská brána - Michalská - Ventúrska turn left to Panská - Laurinská - Kamenné námestie another set of frequented streets - map
  • Námestie SNP  - Uršulínska - Primaciálne nám. - Kostolná - Hlavné námestie, or Námestie SNP - Klobučnícka - Primaciálne nám. - Kostolná - Hlavné námestie are ways to get from Námestie SNP to Hlavné námestie - map
  • Hlavné námestie - Zelená - turn right to Ventúrska - turn left to Prepoštská - turn left to Kapitulská - St. Martin's Cathedral: While visiting Bratislava, don't miss Prepoštská and Kapitulská Street - quiet cobblestone streets lined by nice old houses - map
  • Hlavné námestie - Zelená - turn left to Ventúrska - turn right to Panská - take underpass under New Bridge, then up the stairs on the right side to Židovská - to the left of the House at the Good Shepherd's - Beblavého St. - Bratislava Castle: This is one of many routes that will get you to the castle - map. Walk to the castle is a bit steep, alternative is to take either one of "red trains" (tourist minibuses) or trolleybus 203 / 207 from Hodžovo námestie
  • Uršulínska - turn right to Františkánska - turn right to Zámočnícka - Baštová - turn left to Klariská - turn right to Farská - Kapitulská - St. Martin's Cathedral: Another set of charming less frequented narrow streets - map.
  • Coronation route is the route of coronation processions of  ten Hungarian kings between 1563 and 1830, description and map of the Coronation route can be downloaded from the page of Bratislava. The route is marked by round metal signs with symbol of crown installed in the pavement (route is: St. Martin's Cathedral - Kapitulská - Prepoštská - turn left to Ventúrska - turn right to Sedlárska - Hlavné námestie (the Main Square) - turn left to Františkánske námestie - turn left to Biela - turn right to Michalská - at St. Michael's Gate turn back to Michalská - continue forward to Ventúrska - Hviezdoslavovo námestie (turn left) - Mostová - Námestie Ľ. Štúra / embankment.


Passages (passageways, "pasáže"): in the Old Town, there are several possibilities how to get to parallel street through passageways in buildings, courtyards or atriums. They often offer interesting views (e.g. courtyard of the Old Town Hall, Primate's Palace, some of them include shops or cafes (Central Passage at Laurinska, where Art Hotel William is located). They also provide good opportunity to hide from the rain or sun. 

An example of possible "Passage walk" you can try: Slovak National Theatre - Gorkeho - through Postova banka passage to Laurinska - Radnicna - courtyard of the Old Town Hall - Primacialne namestie - courtyard of Primate's Palace - Laurinska (turn left, walk along Laurinska) - at Optika Laurentia, walk through passage on the right side to Gorkeho (turn left, walk along Gorkeho) - on the left side, walk through CityGate passage - Laurinska - across the street - Central Passage - Namestie SNP (turn right) - walk along MY Tesco department store to Dunajska - Liga passage to Grosslingova - turn right - on the left side, walk through passage to Gajova - The Blue Church.

 

Public toilets: as usual, the best bet is to use the toilet during the visit of a restaurant, cafe, museum, gallery, gas station etc. Shopping malls are also places where you can find decent toilets free of charge. At railway stations and bus stations payment is required. At McDonald's restaurants in the city center payment 0.5 Euro is required, but if you present the bill during the purchase, it will be deducted.

 In the past, there used to be underground public toilets (usual payment 0.3 - 0.5 Euro) at several squares around the town, though many of them are now defunct or in a poor state. The safest bet is a public toilet at Uršulínska Street, in the backside of the building of the Bratislava City Magistrate (front side opposite to the Primate's Palace).