Bratislava is Slovakia's compact capital and a must for art lovers. Straddling the Danube River and within easy reach of Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the city is ideally located. Its multitude of museums, art galleries, palaces and ornamental churches (all found in and around its historic Old Town) make it the centre for arts and culture in the country, and a worthy destination for culture vultures.
Bratislava rightly takes pride in this cultural heritage, with a musical history that stretches back to Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel. Music concerts and ballet performances take place almost daily in the city, and rival those in neighbouring Vienna, Prague and Budapest.
The Old Town district is crammed with historical structures representing the different cultures and nations of its past, centring on the famous town square called Hlavné Námestie. The historic Old Town can easily be explored on foot.
The 11th-century Gothic Cathedral of St Martin is found within the Old Town, together with numerous Baroque palaces. The Old Town also contains the town hall, which houses the oldest museum in the country, as well as a gate preserved from the medieval city fortifications. One of the most conspicuous structures in the city is Bratislava Castle, a former frontier post for the Roman Empire situated on a plateau overlooking the Danube.
While still lagging behind Budapest and Prague in terms of popularity, word of Bratislava's picturesque charm and affordable elegance is spreading and the city is rapidly being thrust into the limelight as a popular European destination. An increase in low-cost flights from around Europe is also partly responsible for its rising recognition.