During a recent visit to the city we spent a bit of time at Bratislava Castle (Hrad) and had somewhat mixed feelings about this attraction overall. Unfortunately, there is not much to see/do within the castle itself. However, we enjoyed its presence next to the city center, and were quite happy with the very good views found from the castle grounds of the city area. This was worth making the trip up to the castle.
There is a nice historical account to the land and various fortifications that have occupied this hilltop. However, there is not much to see within the Bratislava Castle, just a few rooms with exhibitions (not open on Monday). In this regard, compared to regional counterparts like Prague Castle or other stately attractions like the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, we found the Bratislava Castle quite lacking.
However, what Hrad lacks in terms of inclusions, it makes up for in presence. From a distance, Bratislava Castle reminded us of the lovely Trakal Castle in Lithuania but set upon hill instead of an island. It makes for a nice image set behind the city center and its presence makes contribution to the overall atmosphere of Bratislava.
We also found the castle grounds, which are free to visit and wonder around, to offer some very good views of the city center and Danube River. From the castle there are many view points for which to see the surrounding area. In particular, views of the The tower of St. Martin's Cathedral and UFO Observation Deck on the Novy Most bridge stick out quite prominently.
In the end, as for the castle visit itself, you can find much better throughout Europe. However, the views afforded from the Bratislava Castle are worth making the walk up to the castle grounds when you visit Bratislava, even during the shortest of trips to the city.
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