Sights in Bratislava – Bratislava Castle

Sights in Bratislava, Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle, in Slovak Bratislavský hrad, is one of the first attractions one will notice when arriving in Bratislava. The majestic white castle watches over the city from a rocky hill along the Danube. Once one climbs that hill, one can admire the Old Town (Staré miasto), Austria and even Hungary. And Petržalka (more about that later).

It is with mixed feelings that I write this post – with a glass of Müller-Thurgau from Château Topoľčianky in one hand. It’s funny – some time back I had the opportunity to listen to a guy who had written a book about wines. This connoisseur said that one wine-producing country he’d like to visit would be Slovakia. Ha, been there, done that. Without even knowing much about wine. Time to move on…

Bratislava Castle, Bratislavský hrad, Slovakia, Travel, Sights, Fog
Bratislava Castle on a foggy morning


Now, let’s return to our topic – the Bratislava Castle. As mentioned above, it is called Bratislavský hrad in Slovak, but it is also known by the name Pressburg Castle (Pressburg being the name for Bratislava in German) and Pozsonyi Vár (in Hungarian). The castle was built on an important crossroad by the Danube and it has been transformed several times throughout history, with the most recent alternation having been made in the 18th century. The castle acted as a stronghold in Moravian times as well as during the Hungarian-Ottoman wars. The first king of Hungary, Stephen I, had his seat in the castle and later the castle was the formal seat of Hungarian kings. During the rule of Maria Theresa in the 18th century the castle experienced a conversion from being a military fortification to a royal residence.

Bratislava Castle, Bratislavský hrad, Slovakia, Travel, Sights
Bratislava Castle

After a fire in 1811, the castle was left in ruins and would remain so until 1953 when a decision was made to restore the building. The castle has been reconstructed more than once since, the last reconstruction was finished in 2011.

A friend once mentioned that the white colour of the castle came as shock to the inhabitants of Bratislava. One day people woke up and the castle was no longer grey. However, according to this source, the castle only returned to its old colour. Research shows that the castle had indeed been white throughout history.

Bratislava Castle, Bratislavský hrad, Slovakia, Travel, Sights, Most SNP, Novy Most, UFO Bridge
View from the castle over the Danube and Most SNP

Bratislava Castle – What to Do and What to See

When approaching Bratislava from Vienna, the first thing one will notice is the bright white building on the hilltop. Sometimes, I kid you not, it shines! As the castle is located in the very centre of the ciy, it does not take much effort to go and have a closer look. In the narrow roads leading up to the castle, one can pay a quick visit to cosy cafés or grab something to eat in the restaurants. Or one could take the stairs. Or the bus. We recommend climbing up the hill, as the area is nice and the view is wonderful.

Bratislava Castle, Bratislavský hrad, Slovakia, Travel, Sights, View from the Castle
View from the Bratislava Castle

A visit to the exhibitions of the Slovak National Museum might well be worthwhile and history lovers could find it interesting to know that the huge statue on the courtyard shows King Svätopluk I of Moravia (that name sounds very funny in Swedish!).

Bratislava Castle, Bratislavský hrad, Slovakia, Travel, Sights, Svätopluk
Svätopluk I of Moravia
Bratislava Castle, Bratislavský hrad, Slovakia, Travel, Sights
An empty castle


Our tips is to take a walk around the park. There one can muse over the foundations of the Great Moravian basilica as well as admire the amazing view over the city with its sights. Some of the most prominent sights include Most SNP (the UFO Bridge) and St. Martin’s Cathedral.

Do you want to learn more about the Bratislava Castle? We used the following sources:

Happy Travels!

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  1. I find it amazing that you can see three countries at the same time when on that hill! I like that.

    Never been to Slovakia, but as the cliché goes: it’s on my bucket list. 🙂

    1. You really should consider going. It is one of those countries many people forget when travelling around in Europe. 🙂

    1. No doubt a lot of history, as with the rest of Bratislava. The view over the Danube and the old part of town really is amazing. It is even nice to just admire Petrzalka on the other side of the river. 🙂

  2. I went in 2007 and then again last week. I was looking at my photos of the castle which was brilliant white last week, but a boring beige colour in 2007 – eurgh!

    1. We actually never saw the castle before, as it was alreadt white in 2012 when we moved to Bratislava. But they sure did a nice job in painting the castle. 🙂

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