One day in Bratislava is just not enough. We spent a total of 5 days in this beautiful Slovakian capital, but sadly, due to unforeseen misadventures we just got 24 hours to explore. However, we managed to make the most of it by combining our passion for outdoors and exploration in a short amount of time.
Sitting pretty by the river Danube, this green city offers the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. Cozily nestled between Hungary and Austria, Bratislava is an unmissable inclusion to your European itinerary.
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How to Make the Most of Bratislava in One Day?
24 hours in Bratislava might seem too less and it is! However, maximizing time at hand was the key for us and we set off in a frenzy to cover the top spots.
With our Bratislava Card at hand, it was quite easy to navigate around as the handy guidebook offered plenty of suggestions on places to visit. We quickly zeroed in on the top spots (based on our travel style) and headed out to enjoy our one day in Bratislava.
Tip – Buy your Bratislava Card as soon as you arrive to save money. It offers free public transport in whole Bratislava city & region, free entry to 14 museums and galleries, free city walking guided tour and more than 100 other discounts up to 55%.
Explore the Ruins of Devin Castle
With a multitude of things to do in Bratislava and just one day at hand, it was hard to pick the best spots. For me, castles are always a big plus so when I read about the ruins at Devin Castle, I simply had to check it out.
Devin Castle (aka Hrad Devin) lies on a 212 meter cliff which overlooks the confluence of two rivers – Danube and Morava. The Castle is an integral element in Slovakian history and hence, paying it a visit, even if you are short on time, is an absolute must.
The ruins offer amazing photo opportunities at the watch tower and the fence overlooking the river.
Reaching Devin Castle is very easy by public transport as the bus stop is literally a 5 min short walk from the entrance. You will have to walk further up the cliff and if you are visiting in peak summers (like we did), it can get pretty hot. Fortunately, there are several trees and you can stop and take a break in the shade. Carry water and snacks or dine in one of the great restaurants right outside (which offer mist fans to beat the Slovakian heat).
Entry is free with the Bratislava card.
Relax Amidst Nature at Cunovo Lake
Cunovo lake was our biggest find in Bratislava. This place made me feel like I could easily spend another week in this city. Plus, chilling by the lake is one of the best free things to do in Bratislava.
Set amidst tall trees and lush greenery the big and small lakes of Cunovo have the cleanest waters in Bratislava and are perfect for swimming or even skinny dipping. Popular among nudists (who sun bathe , swim and lay on the flip side of the small lake), Cunovo is flocked by locals.
The water is cleaner in the small lake and its hard to find a spot to yourself so go early and grab a nice place. Else walk around the entire lake and you will surely find something.
To reach Cunovo lake, simply hop on bus no 191 or 91 to the town. Once you get off the bus, you still need to walk a good 10-15 mins away from the main road, towards the forested area. The lakes are bang in the middle, surrounded by trees.
Tip – If you have more time to spare, I would highly recommend visiting the adjoining Rusovce lake as well.
Gawk at Bratislava Castle From the Sun Deck Bar
Bratislava Castle looks amazing, when viewed from the banks of the Danube. Sun deck bar is a popular, open-air drinking hole on an old cargo ship. You can relax on the deck while watching the sunset over the Bratislava castle.
This is perhaps the best views of the castle you can find, apart from the bridge.
Unwind by the Danube
There are many spots (apart from beach bars and restaurants) where you can simply lay on the grass and relax.
Carry your bluetooth speakers, sarong and prepare for a lovely day out while soaking the sun or chilling in the shade. This is surely one of the best free things to do in Bratislava.
Try Local Beer
As recommended everywhere, trying local brews is an absolute must – at least for me. Bratislava has some amazing microbreweries to quench your thirst alongside local brands sold off the shelf like Zlaty Bazant.
Beers are sold by numbers based on their alcoholic content. 10 seemed to be a good one for me but you can choose based on your alcohol intake.
Picnic or Wakeboard at Zlaté Piesky
Another lovely option for your one day in Bratislava is visiting Zlaté piesky (aka golden sands) lake and resort.
This beach area offers multitude of activities and sports but the new Wake school in the area has been gaining popularity. The wakelake is a popular hangout among locals at the golden sands and witnesses pro as well as beginner wakeboarders.
Entry to Zlaté piesky is free for all.
Walk around the Old Town of Bratislava
Bratislava’s old town is quite charming to walk around. With lovely cafes and bars sprinkled across and a stunning town hall and tower in middle, this square makes for picture perfect postcards.
Enjoy a Night Out
Bratislava is a big party capital of Europe so visiting the city without enjoying a wild night, would be a shame. It is also an upcoming stag/hen party destination, so needless to say, the city is bouncing with nightclubs, bars and pubs. From multicultural to underground techno clubs, Bratislava has an unmissable nightlife scene. So, ensure your one day in Bratislava ends in a wicked night out.
Have you visited Bratislava? Share your favorite spots below.