If you’re planning to travel to Slovakia, make sure Bratislava is part of your itinerary. The capital city is an underrated treasure with a lot to offer.
The city sits on both sides of the Danube River and includes a hodgepodge of ancient and recent history. From baroque buildings to the Soviet-era blocks and even a UFO bridge, it’s an interesting mix that should keep you entertained from the moment that you arrive.
Choosing where to stay in Bratislava is the first step in planning a trip to this European destination.
You could stay near the landmarks in the Old Town with its charming little streets and outdoor cafes. There are also areas outside of the city centre, however, that let you get away from the crowds and experience the local culture.
Don’t know how to sort out your Bratislava accommodations? Begin comparing neighbourhoods & areas with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Bratislava…
Where to stay in Bratislava: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods & areas for travellers
Since the country gained independence in 1993, the metro area around Bratislava continues to thrive. It’s one of the wealthiest regions in the European Union and a haven for tourists that want to explore historic attractions and experience a modern Slovakian culture.
To explore all the historic sites, you may want to stay in Old Town. There are often hotels housed inside old buildings. There’s also a nice mix of charming little boutique hotels and international chain accommodations.
But don’t be afraid to venture out of Old Town. Petrzalka is on the east side of the river and is mostly residential. It’s also got a lively riverside promenade and it’s home to the UFO bridge.
If you are on a budget, keep in mind that as you move further from the centre, the prices tend to get lower, even though the accommodations are still luxurious. It’s a great way to get better rates and find vacancies during busy travel seasons.
A few of the best areas to stay in Bratislava for travellers include:
- Stare Mesto
- Nove Mesto
Stare Mesto (Old Town)
✔ Best area to stay for history and architectural sightseeing
Stare Mesto is one of the best places to visit in Bratislava if you want to visit all the main attractions. As it’s the oldest part of the city, it contains the most noteworthy landmarks.
Stare Mesto means Old Town. It’s the historic part of Bratislava, with a maze of streets and alleys taking you past medieval buildings, public squares, and baroque churches.
Old Town is also the smallest part of the city. The historic sites are densely packed into a relatively small area, giving you the feeling that you’re never alone in this crowded district.
Besides historic sites, Old Town has many shops, mostly found on the main street. Obchodna means Shopping Street and it’s the perfect spot to spend your money and pick up souvenirs.
In the middle of Old Town is the main public square, with narrow streets branching off in every direction.
In the winter, a large Christmas market opens on the square. Vendors start selling honey liquor and hot wine. The area also includes a public skating rink and plenty of food stalls selling national cuisine.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Stare Mesto
There is a wide range of accommodations in Old Town, including hotels inside refurbished historic buildings and modern mid-range hotels. You get to stay near the action and explore Bratislava on foot.
Here are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in Stare Mesto:
- Park Inn by Radisson Danube Bratislava: Just a few hundred metres from the main square and St. Martin’s Cathedral, this hotel is in the heart of Old Town. It’s within walking distance of the Danube River and provides the most convenient access to the local attractions.
- Skaritz Hotel & Residence: Located on one of the historic pedestrianised streets in Old Town, staying at this boutique hotel makes it easier to explore Bratislava. It’s around the corner from St. Michael’s Gate and has its own hotel restaurant.
- Arcadia Boutique Hotel: Built inside a 13th-century structure, this hotel offers views of Bratislava Castle and the Franciscan Church. The inside of the hotel includes a spa and gym to help you relax and stay fit during your stay.
- APLEND CITY Hotel Perugia: This newly refurbished hotel has its own on-site restaurant and is within the pedestrian zone of Old Town. It’s a convenient spot and one of the better-reviewed three-star hotels in Bratislava.
Nove Mesto (New Town)
✔ Best area to stay for getting away from the crowds
Nove Mesto means New Town. It’s just north and northeast of Old Town. As a residential area, there are a lot fewer tourists to deal with.
The first modern shopping mall in Slovakia was built in Nove Mesto. Over the years, additional shops have popped up around the mall, creating the central commercial hub for the city.
Bratislava Forest Park covers about half of the district. It’s a sprawling park with a chairlift ride that takes you to the top of Kamzik mountain. The park also includes a large network of hiking trails and various recreational facilities.
Nove Mesto is also home to the Bratislava vineyards that cover the Carpathian foothills. The winemaking tradition runs deep in Slovakia and local wines are often available at almost any restaurant or hotel bar.
While Nove Mesto includes many Soviet-era concrete housing blocks, it also has a lot of modern development. It continues to expand and attract new citizens that want to escape the crowded inner city for the peace and quiet of the suburbs.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Nove Mesto
Most of the hotels are a couple of kilometres from Old Town. Even if you didn’t originally plan to stay in Nove Mesto, you may need to search here for accommodations during busy tourist seasons. The hotels are reasonably priced and more likely to have vacancies.
Here are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in Nove Mesto:
- Hotel Blue Bratislava: Stay in a clean hotel with comfortable beds just minutes from Polus City Shopping Center. You’re still within walking distance of Old Town and the train station. The hotel also has a gourmet restaurant serving Mediterranean-style dishes.
- Lindner Hotel Gallery Central: The 13th-floor hotel bar and lounge offer views of Bratislava Castle and parts of the city. It’s also directly connected to the Shopping Center Central. You can easily travel between your hotel room and hundreds of stores.
- Hotel Colour: This colourful little hotel is near the train station and includes several amenities to help you feel at home. Most rooms feature their own seating area and satellite TV, while the shopping centre is just around the block.
- BNC Hotel – Restaurant – Bowling: As the name suggests, this hotel has its own restaurant and bowling alley. It’s a fun place for the whole family. It’s a mid-range hotel that tends to always have a few vacancies for last minute travel plans.
✔ Best area to stay for a local vibes and fresh air
There is one spot on every Bratislava itinerary that you can’t find in Old Town. The UFO bridge is the highlight of this neighbourhood.
The New Bridge is commonly called the UFO bridge. It’s the most significant landmark in this district and a focal point when you reach the city from the south.
You can climb the steps or ride a lift to reach the flying saucer at the top of the bridge, where you’ll also find a restaurant and lounge with views of the city.
Petrzalka was one of the rougher neighbourhoods until recent years. The addition of green spaces and the iconic UFO bridge have helped rejuvenate the district, bringing in new development, including various malls and commercial buildings.
This is also one of the areas that contains the most Soviet era relics. There are many communist-style public squares and prefabricated concrete structures featuring the signature Soviet style that’s both minimalist and utilitarian. It’s an interesting mixture of the Soviet era and the modern era and home to over two-thirds of the citizens of the city.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Petrzalka
As one of the largest districts in Bratislava, Petrzalka offers a diverse selection of hotels. You can even stay in a boat on the river or find a hotel right outside the UFO bridge. There are many unique options to help make your Bratislava trip a little more interesting.
Here are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in Petrzalka:
- Botel Dunajsky Pivovar: If you’ve wanted to sleep on a boat, here is your chance. This hotel offers several rooms inside a renovated boat on the Danube River, right near the main harbour area. You get views of Bratislava Castle and the port area.
- Hotel Esprit: With a stay at this hotel, you’re never far from a shopping mall or boutique store. You also get a terraced view of the surrounding region from your hotel room. It’s a decent three-star hotel. Keep in mind, if you’re travelling with your furry friends, that pets are not allowed.
- Hotel Viktor: Located a little over a kilometre from the train station and the city centre, this hotel is still near the main attractions, but in Petrzalka. The colourful rooms, affordable rates, and close access to local landmarks make this a great place to stay.
✔ Best area to stay for shopping and business travel
The industrial part of the city, Rusinov is the second-largest district and home to many commercial areas and shopping malls. As the centre of commerce in Bratislava, Rusinov also attracts a lot of business travellers.
A large portion of the district is also covered in industrial warehouses and factories, mostly built during the Soviet era. Many of the biggest companies in Slovakia are headquartered in this neighbourhood.
To accommodate everyone, the neighbourhood has large hotels and resorts, with many of the locations situated near Bratislava Airport.
There are over 170 stores and malls in this district. A lot of the local produce and dairy products also come from the Rusinov fields.
Besides large malls, Rusinov has a large open-air market on Mileticova Street. The sprawling market includes a variety of goods from all types of vendors. You can shop for local produce or meat. You can also find low-priced electronics and random handmade goods.
Between the market and the malls, you will find you’ll never run out of places to shop.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Rusinov
Catering to business travellers, Rusinov offers some of the best hotels in Bratislava. You’ve got a great selection of mid-range and high-end hotels scattered around the edges of the district, bordering Old Town and the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Here are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in Rusinov:
- Aston Hotel: This hotel borders the city centre and Rusinov, placing you closer to the landmarks, but away from the crowds. Nearby is the Pasienky complex, featuring a large public swimming pool and tennis centre. The big city park is also within walking distance, making this a relaxing place to stay.
- Holiday Inn Bratislava: Ten minutes from the business centre, this hotel also borders the edge of the district. The rooms are colourful and offer views of the city. The four-star hotel tends to fill up quickly, especially during the middle of summer and other busy tourist seasons.
- Hotel Bratislava: This is the one hotel in the middle of Rusinov. Most of the other accommodations in the centre of the district are apartments. With this hotel, you can enjoy international cuisine at the on-site restaurant and park in the guarded parking lot.