Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava was a “capital in exile” for Hungary’s kings and archbishops during Turkey’s occupation of Hungary and most of the middle Danube basin from 1526 to 1784.
River cruisers typically do not overnight in Bratislava. But even a few hours is sufficient to appreciate Slovakia’s capital.
The Old Town is within walking distance of vessels that dock on the city side of the Danube. From the river, make your way to the Old Town Hall and the Main Square.
On the Main Square, stop in Mayer Cafe for coffee and cake to fortify you for the walk up to Bratislava Castle, where you’ll enjoy good views over the city. Though the castle dates back to the 9th century it was razed in 1811 and rebuilt.
You’ll also want to visit Michael’s Gate, the only gate that has been preserved from the medieval fortifications that once surrounded the Old Town.
Hans Christen Andersen saw Bratislava as a fairy tale city. The Danish author spent time here in 1841, and the city erected a statue to commemorate his visit.
Bratislava was formerly known by its German name, Pressburg, and was strongly influenced by the Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Slovaks.