Hidden Europe: unique experiences in Europe's cities
8920 · By Katie Shaw
Europe’s cities are treasure troves of culture, teeming with iconic, must-see sights to enthral even the most seasoned of tourists.Read more
The capital city of Slovakia is located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains at the geographical centre of Europe. Bratislava straddles the River Danube, which neatly divides the city into two parts; the old town (Stare Mesto) and the new city. After four decades of Communist Party rule, which ended with the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Bratislava has undergone a gradual cultural renaissance, emerging as an eastern European hotspot.
The picture-postcard city boasts a charming Baroque Old Town, historic Gothic buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre features delightful cobbled stoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, pastel 18th century rococo buildings and street cafés galore.
Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the city, was once the centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Built by King Sigismund in the 15th century, and again by Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century, the castle was accidentally burnt down by its own garrison of drunk Austrian soldiers in 1811.
Today, the castle houses the fascinating Slovak National Museum. From the top of the Crown Tower, you can enjoy spectacular views of Bratislava, the Danube and the southern Carpathian Mountains.