Walking Tour of Bratislava, Slovakia
The relatively undiscovered city of Bratislava has a gem of an Old Town, with lovely squares, fine churches and an imposing castle on a hill. My walking tour incorporates all the Old Town’s major attractions. The area is remarkably compact and fairly easy to negotiate.
Start the walk at Hurbanoco Namestie where you can see the Kostol svatej Trojice (Church of the Holy Trinity). A passageway leading off the square is Michalska Ulica, a delightful pedestrian-only street. After crossing a statue-lined bridge, you will come to Michael’s Gate (Michalska brana), a prominent Old Town landmark. Walk through the gate and down Michael’s Street which is lined with shops and restaurants.
A short way down, take a left on Zamocnicka. Where it meets Frantiskanska Street is the Franciscan Church, the oldest religious building in Bratislava (13th century). Opposite the church, visit the Mirbach Palace, a Rococo gem which now houses the City Gallery.
Continue on to the square, punctuated by the Marian Column. On your left is the Jesuit Church, filled with Baroque splendor inside. Straight ahead is the Old Town Hall. Climb its tower for great views. It now houses the City Museum and sits on a charming square, the main gathering place in the city and former marketplace. The fountain in the middle of the square is topped with a Statue of Roland, a revered knight of the region
Leave the square by walking east, next to the Town Hall Tower, into Primate Square, where the marvelous Primate Palace sits. This beautiful, pink, neo-Classical building has a Hall of Mirrors whose wall tapestries are notable. The courtyard contains a beautiful statue of King George Slaying a Dragon. The bathrooms of the palace are particularly splendid and worth a look.
Take a right out of the square on Ursulinska Ulica and then right again on Laurinska Ulica (becomes Panska). Take a brief look at the Palffy Palace, on your left, then reach the Rudnayova Square where St Martin’s Cathedral dominates. This was the coronation venue for many Hungarian Kings and Queens. Notice the impressive Sculpture of St Martin and the altar of St Anne’s Chapel. Exit this square by heading north on Uzka and walking under the freeway (on your left), up some stairs, then left and up some more stairs to Bratislava Castle. This imposing edifice has been restored and rebuilt several times since the early 10th century when its foundation was laid.
Return to St Martin’s and the Old Town the way you came to the castle, then turn left onto Kapitulska Ulica. Where the road turns right is the Klarisky Church, now a concert hall. Continue east to Michalska Ulica and turn left, through Michael’s Gate and back to the walk’s starting point, although you may want to delay the end of the tour by turning right on Michalska to check out some of the shops before finishing.