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Getting around Bratislava is quite easy. As a tourist, you will probably spend most of your time in and around the medieval historic center, which is very compact and easy to navigate.
Note: This article describes mainly the historic pedestrian area of the Old Town. For information about transportation and other boroughs of Bratislava, please check these articles:
The Old Town - Staré Mesto includes the core historic center - pedestrian zone (approximately outlined by streets Staromestská, Námestie SNP, Štúrova and the embankment of Danube), which is the primary area where tourist attractions are concentrated. It takes approx. 15 minutes to cross the pedestrian zone.
To the west of Staromestská Street, there is another part of the Old Town, the Castle Hill and the quiet and green hilly part around it, with houses and residences. Along with Bratislava Castle, tourists also often enjoy views of the city from Slavín - memorial and cemetery from the World War II.
To the north of historic center, a major transport junction of Hodžovo námestie is located. The square is dominated by Grassalkovich Palace, residence of the president of the Slovak Republic, with garden behind the palace. Štefánikova Street connects the palace with main railway station (Hlavná stanica).
Eastern part of the historic center is bordered by square Námestie SNP, its lower part extends to Kamenné námestie with dominant building of department store My (Tesco), to the south the area continues along Štúrova Street and +Safárikovo námestie square (with the "Blue Church" nearby).
The area to the east of the historic center consists of more recent buildings. Visitors usually venture to Obchodná Str. with its offer of small shops and cheaper restaurants.
Names of streets usually end with letters "á" or "a" and they may be followed by word "ulica" (street), abbreviated "ul." and often skipped: e.g.: Obchodná ulica / Obchodná ul. / Obchodná = Obchodná Street
Names of squares usually end with letters "o", "é" or "e", followed or preceded by word "námestie" (square) or abbreviated "nám." - this word is usually always present, e.g.: Hlavné námestie / Hlavné nám.
Main entries to pedestrian zone are:
Main squares in the historic center are:
Main walking routes:
Passages (passageways, "pasáže"): in the Old Town, there are several possibilities how to get to parallel street through passageways in buildings, courtyards or atriums. They often offer interesting views (e.g. courtyard of the Old Town Hall, Primate's Palace, some of them include shops or cafes (Central Passage at Laurinska, where Art Hotel William is located). They also provide good opportunity to hide from the rain or sun.
An example of possible "Passage walk" you can try: Slovak National Theatre - Gorkeho - through Postova banka passage to Laurinska - Radnicna - courtyard of the Old Town Hall - Primacialne namestie - courtyard of Primate's Palace - Laurinska (turn left, walk along Laurinska) - at Optika Laurentia, walk through passage on the right side to Gorkeho (turn left, walk along Gorkeho) - on the left side, walk through CityGate passage - Laurinska - across the street - Central Passage - Namestie SNP (turn right) - walk along MY Tesco department store to Dunajska - Liga passage to Grosslingova - turn right - on the left side, walk through passage to Gajova - The Blue Church.
Public toilets: as usual, the best bet is to use the toilet during the visit of a restaurant, cafe, museum, gallery, gas station etc. Shopping malls are also places where you can find decent toilets free of charge. At railway stations and bus stations payment is required. At McDonald's restaurants in the city center payment 0.5 Euro is required, but if you present the bill during the purchase, it will be deducted.
In the past, there used to be underground public toilets (usual payment 0.3 - 0.5 Euro) at several squares around the town, though many of them are now defunct or in a poor state. The safest bet is a public toilet at Uršulínska Street, in the backside of the building of the Bratislava City Magistrate (front side opposite to the Primate's Palace).
Wi-Fi internet: In Bratislava, you will find many opportunities to connect to the internet by wi-fi. However, as it is very easy to create fake hotspot to steal user data, please always take necessary precautions to protect your data - use encrypted (https:) connections when accessing e-mail or any other server where you need to log in.
Guides and books:
There are several local tourist guides that can be purchased at various places in the city center (e.g. Bratislava Tourist Service, Venturska St. No. 9 or Interpress, Sedlarska St. No. 2). They contain more detailed and more recent information than guides mentioned above. Probably the most concise and detailed guides you can get are "Bratislava Active" by Martin Sloboda and recent "Bratislava City Guide - Spectacular Slovakia" :