If Slovakia isn’t on your travel bucket list — add it now. Often overlooked by its geographical neighbours Austria and Hungary, this Central European gem takes pride of place on the River Danube and is simply a hub of spellbinding architecture, fascinating history, and all-round excitement. Bratislava, the capital city, is no exception. Like most European metropoles, spending a long weekend exploring is the preferred way to discover the location, fitting in as much in your agenda as possible to make the most of your time before returning home. That’s where we come in. We’ve got an unbeatable 72-hour itinerary scheduled down to the hour that will make your Bratislava rendezvous one that you’ll never forget. We’ve packed in all of the city’s highlights and then some, not to mention the perfect places to refresh and recuperate in between exploration — you are on holiday after all. 

Day 1

Morning

Rise and shine! An early start at the airport means that you’re probably not feeling bright-eyed and busy-tailed, and your first thoughts are locating your hotel. Lucky for you, Clarion Congress Hotel Bratislava is the perfect base for navigating the city and couldn’t be easier to find; it is within walking distance from Bratislava Central Train Station. Your first attraction is none other than Bratislava Castle. Something straight out of a medieval fairytale, this gorgeous building boasts architecture like no other, dominating on a hill perched above the Old Town. Pristine white stone with burnt orange turrets, it’s just as impressive from the ground as it is once you make the short 15-minute climb to its front doors, offering an incredible view of the city below. Explore the castle in all its medieval glory, learn about Slovakian times gone by with a visit to the on-site Museum of History, and, if the weather permits, stroll through the Baroque Gardens to enjoy a well-deserved beer or coffee in the quaint café.

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Afternoon

Now, it’s around the time for an afternoon pick-me-up. No, we don’t mean caffeine — it’s wine! While you may not typically see Slovakia amongst France, California and South Africa on your average wine list, don’t overlook this European gem for producing some of the best vino you’ll ever taste. The Slovak National Collection of Wine is located in the cellar under the Apponyi Palace, housing the official collection of the top 100 Slovak wines. Wine tastings are best booked in advance to avoid disappointment, and will be led by an expert sommelier to ensure you have a stellar experience from start to finish. 

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Evening

If your Slovak adventure happens to fall in September, wait until the sun sets and head to the Old Town to see the glorious Festival of Lights. Watch in awe as you take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets while the historical buildings are illuminated in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, perfect for an Instagram opportunity or two. Guiding you all the way through the town is a green light laser beam reflecting from the UFO Tower to St. Michael’s Gate, to the Cumil statue and back, creating a path for you to admire the festival to the fullest. If you’re visiting any other time of the year, the UFO Tower will still certainly factor into your evening plans. Truly resembling a flying saucer at the end of the Most SNP Bridge, this 95-foot building features an observation deck that provides you with some of the best views in the city. Sunset is the perfect time to visit for a meal in the restaurant or a cocktail in the bar — just don’t forget your glad rags! 

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Day 2

Morning

After a blissful night’s sleep in your spacious and comfortable abode at Clarion Congress Hotel Bratislava, it’s time to head out exploring again. If you’re a history fanatic, then the Czechoslovakian Fortification Museum is the one for you. Also known as Museum BS4, this former underground bunker provides a glimpse into life as a soldier in the Second World War and is open from April to October. You’ll have the chance to admire the fortification system as well as the fortress weapons, the turrets, ammunition and the soldier’s uniforms. After your history fix, it’s time to experience Slovakia’s thriving coffee culture with a brunch at Café Mondieu. This global establishment has six locations across Bratislava, but whichever one you stumble into promises to be a feast for the senses. Tuck into the likes of blueberry pancakes, sweet brioche French toast, a selection of crepes, salads, and so much more. 


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Afternoon

We hope brunch filled you up because you’ll need all the energy you can get for a full afternoon exploring the unseen parts of the Old Town, starting with Primatial Palace. Here, you’ll feel like nothing less than royalty as you admire gorgeous tapestries from 1630, elegant period furniture dating back to the 18th century, and walk through the mesmerising Hall of Mirrors. Next up is the Blue Church, which does exactly what is says on the tin. This striking art noveau church is something straight out of a fairytale, painted light blue with white accents, with a dark blue roof and breathtaking interiors that could certainly give the Sistine Chapel a run for its money. If you’re feeling artsy, visit either the Nedbalka Gallery or Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum – the latter is best visited during May to October when you can take a riverboat cruise from the city centre directly to the museum’s front doors. 

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Evening

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a fan of the opera, if one place was going to convert you, it’d be the Slovak National Theatre. Pack some elegant attire and head down to this glorious building in the centre of the Old Town, built in 1886 and exuding neo-renaissance charm. Plan ahead to get the best seats to the show of your choice and watch true Slovakian performance art come to life before your very eyes… 

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Day 3 – Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria 

All Day

What’s better than one holiday? Two, of course! Did you know that you can reach Austria from Bratislava in just 30 minutes by car or 90 minutes by public transport? Petronell-Carnuntum is the perfect day trip from the Slovakian capital, ideal for a change of scenery and a fix of Austrian culture before your adventure comes to an end. Discover a slice of Roman history with a visit to Roman City of Carnuntum, followed by a wander around the ancient ruins of Heidentor Gate. Stop off for a spot of lunch at any restaurant that takes your fancy and get the chance to sample some delicious Austrian cuisine. Your afternoon will be spent doing some further exploration at the likes of Das Amphitheater and Schloss Petronell, an ancient ruin and an architectural building, respectively, before making your way back to the Bratislavan capital and continuing your onward journey home. 

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