NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION On the Danube river in southwestern Slovakia, on the edge of the Little Carpathian Mountains
POPULATION Around 426,000
VISITORS PER YEAR Around 686,200
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES Jan: 32°F (0°C); Apr: 50°F (10°C); Jul: 68°F (20°C); Oct: 50°F (10°C)
It seems natural to compare Bratislava with Prague: from the end of World War I until the “Velvet Divorce” of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, the two cities were yoked together as part of Czechoslovakia. But historically speaking, Bratislava, which was once part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, has more in common with Vienna or Budapest.
Though the modern parts of the city will earn few devotees, the medieval Old Town is a treat. At its heart are two beautiful pedestrian squares, Františkánska námestie and Hlavné námestie, with the distinctive Old Town Hall on the latter. The City Gallery of Bratislava, which is housed in three of the city’s impressive palaces and also in the rebuilt castle overlooking the city, holds more than 35,000 artworks.
The airport is 7 miles (12 km) from the city and is mainly used by low-cost airlines. It is also easy to fly to Vienna’s Schwechat Airport and then make the 30-mile (50-km) transfer by bus.
Regular ferries run along the Danube river between Bratislava and Vienna.
When to Go
Summer is the most pleasant time to visit the city, although it can look very attractive when it’s covered in snow.