How to spend one day in Bratislava with kids

How to spend one day in Bratislava with kids

Bratislava was the first stop on our 2 week Eastern Europe trip and I have to be honest… we didn’t plan to go!

I just happened to find cheap flights to Bratislava, so it made sense to start from here.

BUT, we are so glad we got to see this amazing city!

We quickly realised that Bratislava is such an underrated city and a great place to take kids.

We only really had one full day here, so I’m going to share exactly how to spend one day in Bratislava with kids.

You’ll also find information on how to get there and where to stay in Bratislava with kids.

Hopefully, I will inspire other families to visit this beautiful city.

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Click here to read our awesome 2 week Eastern Europe itinerary with kids

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Why visit Bratislava with kids?

We’ve visited lots of cities (because I love them so much) and my favourite thing is to wander with my map, ticking off the tourist spots but also getting lost down the quieter streets.

The thing that struck me about Slovakia’s capital city Bratislava, is the low number of tourists. This is a city that rarely appears on the typical European tourist routes. Which makes it perfect for getting around with kids, even during school holidays (no queues or fighting for that perfect photo spot!).

This means you can pretty much get around the top tourist sites in one day in Bratislava. If you want to spend your time more leisurely, I’d suggest 2-3 days.

An impressive castle always makes a destination great for kids and Bratislava is no exception. The pedestrian-only, medieval Old Town is packed full of historical sites, restaurants, lively bars and cafes.

Bratislava is becoming popular for stag and hen parties, but the nightlife we experienced was more of a trendy social scene as opposed to a booze-fuelled party destination.

How to get to Bratislava with kids

By plane:

If Bratislava is your only destination or the starting point of your itinerary, you will most likely be arriving by plane.

As always, we use Skyscanner to book our flights because I love the ‘Explore Everywhere’ search function and the way it shows you which dates are the cheapest to fly.

Our return flights from Manchester to Bratislava for all 4 of us including 1 x 20kg checked luggage and 1 x 10kg cabin bag cost £362.06

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Click here to read our step by step guide to using Skyscanner to help book the cheapest flights – even during school holidays.

From Bratislava Airport, the city centre is approximately 8km and can be reached in several ways including private transfer, Uber/taxi, private car hire or bus.

We took the bus because it is the cheapest option and you get to see and experience Bratislava like a local.

For more information on how to get the bus from Bratislava Airport to the city centre, click here.

By train:

If you are travelling to Bratislava from a neighbouring European country, train, bus or car is likely to be a cheaper and more sustainable way to travel.

Once we’d flown to Bratislava, we chose to travel by train to the other destinations on our Eastern Europe itinerary. We love travelling by train with kids because it’s cheap, easy and a comfortable ride with access to toilets. It also means we don’t have to worry about travel sickness, which our eldest daughter suffers from.

By bus:

The bus is probably the cheapest method of travel but for long journeys, we prefer train for the above reasons.

Rome2Rio is a useful resource which gives you an estimated cost for any given train or bus journey.

And Google Maps is amazing for providing detailed information on any bus or train journey. It will give you accurate departure and arrival times, departure locations and how to get there. It also tells you the train/bus number and stop to get off at – you really can’t go wrong.

Both of these resources can be downloaded as an app and used on your smartphone.

By car:

Depending on your itinerary, hiring a car to travel to Bratislava might be more cost-effective if travelling in a group of 3 or 4 people and will give you more flexibility.

If you want to check out car hire prices, click on the banner below.

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Where to stay in Bratislava with kids

Our top pick – LOFT Hotel Bratislava 

The LOFT Hotel Bratislava was perfect for us and we’d highly recommend it for staying in Bratislava with kids.

We chose the LOFT Hotel Bratislava because of its location, being perfectly centred between the Old Town and the train station. It’s just a short 10 minute walk to both and also right next door the Presidential Park and Gardens.

The family rooms are modern, beautifully decorated and the beds are extremely comfy. You also get a free mini bar with beer and crisps that get topped up every day – BONUS!

But… probably the best thing about this hotel is the breakfast! It is one of the best we’ve had with everything you can think of (well almost, they didn’t serve curry and dim sum like we had at the Novotel Sukhumvit in Bangkok).

Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Our 2 night stay at the LOFT Hotel Bratislava for the 4 of us cost £226 including breakfast and city tax.

It certainly wasn’t the cheapest hotel but it was well worth the money.

Best budget accommodation – Boutique Capsule Hostel CHORS

First boutique hostel in Bratislava that offers accommodation in exclusive capsules.

Best luxury accommodation – Grand Hotel River Park

Luxury hotel located on the bank of the Danube river.

How to spend one day in Bratislava with kids

Grassalkovich Palace (Presidential Palace)

After fuelling up for the day on an amazing breakfast at the LOFT Hotel Bratislava, our first stop was the Presidential Palace, Park and Gardens.

If you choose to stay at the LOFT Hotel Bratislava or are heading into the centre from the main train station (Bratislava hlavná stanica), then the Presidential Park and Gardens are on the way to the Old Town. They are free to enter and open 09:00 – 21:00 in the summer and 10:00 – 18:00 in winter.

The gardens are full of beautiful bright coloured flowers in the summer and there is a great playground for the kids to burn off some energy. This is a popular park for people to come and relax or exercise and definitely worth stopping by.

Bratislava with kids - sat in the Presidential Park and Gardens

If you exit the gardens at the end closest to the Presidential Palace, you can walk around to the front of the palace on Hodžovo Square. From this side, you’ll see why the palace is also known as ‘Slovakia’s White House’

Unfortunately, the palace is not open to the public (apart from 1 day a year in June) but it’s still worth sitting down by the fountain and admiring the impressive building though its grand gates.

Bratislava with kids - the grand Presidential Palace

Bratislava Castle

The main tourist attraction and best place to visit in Bratislava with kids has to be the castle.

If you don’t plan on doing anything else during your one day in Bratislava, then make sure you visit Bratislava Castle.

Perched on a hill overlooking the Old Town and Danube river, there are several routes to get to the castle. You can walk the road or take bus number 203 or 207 from the Old Town. Or, we enjoyed walking up through the narrow streets and steps – much more fun with kids and more to see.

There are 4 entrance gates to the castle – we walked up via Castle Hill which gave us beautiful views across the Old Town. It’s also a lovely green space for kids to run around and climb along castle walls.

Bratislava with kids - exploring the castle walls

When you walk through the entrance, you’ll be greeted by the castle – a huge, rectangular white building with 4 towers and a big courtyard.

There’s a beautifully maintained baroque style garden that the girls enjoyed running around.

Make sure you take in the views of the Danube river and UFO Bridge from the Yard of Honor, directly in front of the castle.

The castle grounds and gardens are free to walk around. You can enter the castle if you want to visit the Museum of History located inside. Basic admission is €10 or €20 for a family ticket.

Please note: prices accurate at the time of writing – August 2019

Bratislava with kids - running around the castle's baroque garden

Bratislava’s historical Old Town

As you walk in the Old Town from the Bratislava Castle, make sure you walk down Beblavého, a pretty little cobbled street. At the top, there is a fantastic restaurant called Modra Hviezda – I would recommend this for an evening meal.

If you want more recommendations on what to eat and where to eat in Bratislava, check out this awesome guide.

And if you love this street as much as we did, go to Drink in Gallery Andy for cheap beer and prosecco on tap. We paid €2,40 for a pint of beer and glass of prosecco – BARGAIN!

2 week Eastern Europe itinerary with kids - Old Town Bratislava

St Martin’s Cathedral

At the bottom of Modra Hviezda, you’ll see St Martin’s Cathedral with its 85m high tower. We admired the building from the outside but the church is free to enter.

St. Michael’s Gate & Tower

From St Martin’s Cathedral, I’d recommend either taking the Staromestská road towards the UFO Bridge (see further down), or walking the opposite way towards St. Michael’s Gate & Tower.

You can’t miss the St. Michael’s Tower at 51 metres high and its iconic copper roof. You’ll enter the Old Town through the Gate in the Tower and walk down the charming Michalska street, which is lined with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. This is also a great place to come in the evening.

Entrance to the tower is via the Museum of Arms which has an entrance fee of €5 for adults, €3 for children or a family ticket for €9,50.

Bratislava in one day - St. Michael's Tower

Old Town Hall

Bratislava’s Old Town Hall is the oldest city hall in the country. It houses the Museum of City History which has an entrance fee of €5 for adults, €2,40 for children or a family ticket for €10.

You can also climb the tower for beautiful views of the Main Square, UFO Tower, and Bratislava Castle.

Primate’s Palace

Next door to the Old Town Hall is Primate’s Palace, you can’t miss this beautiful pastel pink building.

Head through the archway and stone pillars towards a pretty courtyard. Here you’ll find a great photo spot in front of a fountain with the statue of St. George.

Bratislava in one day - Primates Palace

Church of St. Elisabeth (aka Blue Church)

The kids will love seeking out this fairy-tale, pastel blue church located on Bezručova.

It might feel like you are walking away from the main tourist sites and then all of sudden, this magnificent blue building appears in front of you.

Everything about this place is blue – some call it the Smurf Church’. Even the pews inside are blue, the girls thought it was magic!

Entrance to the church is free.

Bratislava with kids - St. Elisabeth's Church aka Blue Church

There are plenty more notable buildings including the Slovak National Theatre, Slovak National Museum and the Blumenthal Church but you’d struggle to fit them all into one day.

If you are spending just one day in Bratislava, you also need to keep it fun and mix it up a little for the kids.

UFO Bridge and Observation Deck

Bratislava’s UFO Bridge is the 7th largest hanging bridge in the world. Walk across the bridge and cross the Danube river via the pedestrian path underneath the bridge’s road.

It only takes a few minutes but make sure you stop to admire the fantastic views back over towards Bratislava Castle.

You can also visit the UFO Observation Deck for incredible views over the city. The entrance fee is €7,40 unless you are visiting the restaurant.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go up but have heard the best time to go is sunset.

Bratislava in one day - view of the castle from UFO Bridge

Danube Riverbank

Make sure you don’t leave Bratislava without taking a stroll along the riverbank.

There are lovely bars and cafes starting to pop up, which are lovely for a morning coffee or afternoon tipple. We even saw a couple with artificial beaches – great for the kids to have some fun in. Check out Magio Beach or Pláž Staré Mesto.

Top tips for one day in Bratislava with kids

Unless you really don’t like walking, the whole city is walkable and we didn’t use any method of transport at all.

Get the kids on the lookout for the quirky statues dotted around the Old Town including Cumil the Sewer Worker (aka Man at Work).

Bratislava in one day - spotting the city statues

If you buy the Bratislava Card, public transport is included. For us, spending one day in Bratislava with kids didn’t warrant us buying the Bratislava Card. If you are spending longer than one in Bratislava and intend on visiting some of the museums, then it might save you money. Find out more about the Bratislava Card here.

If the weather is unkind to you during your visit to Bratislava, then you can spend some time shopping in the Eurovea Shopping Center.

Staying longer than one day in Bratislava?

If you plan on spending longer than one day in Bratislava, then you can simply explore further or venture a little further with the kids…

  • Devin Castle – an impressive castle on a massive cliff approximately 10km from Bratislava Old Town


  • Danube Cruises – a fun way to see the sights, you can also take a river cruise to Devin Castle and back


  • Vienna – frequent trains an get you from Bratislava to Vienna for a day trip in just under an hour


  • Bratislava Zoo – one of the largest zoo’s in Slovakia and less than 5k from Bratislava Old Town

Final Thoughts…

We spent one day in Bratislava and have shared everything that we did in the order that we did them to help you plan and make the most out of your visit.

If you are visiting Bratislava with kids, then our recommendations give a good mix of sightseeing and activities that the kids should find fun too.

If you plan on spending just one day in Bratislava, then you should be able to fit in the top attractions listed in this article.

If you plan to spend longer than one day in Bratislava, then I’d take the time to explore this wonderful city at a more leisurely pace and maybe do a Danube river cruise to Devin Castle.

Bratislava really is a wonderful city often missed by many tourists. I hope I have shown you that there are lots to do and see in Bratislava with kids. If you do visit Bratislava, please come back and tell me if you enjoyed it as much as we did.