Bratislava is the ancient coronation city of the historical Hungarian Kingdom, where between 1563 and 1830 eleven kings and eight royal wives were crowned. The Royal Bratislava walking tour, designed to place the city in its European historical context, follows the traditional route of the coronation procession, visiting Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral and other Habsburg heritage sites. The highlight is the neo-Classical Primate’s Palace, where in 1805 the Peace of Pressburg, the treaty between France and Austria that followed the Battle of Austerlitz, was signed – the palace is famous for its collection of English tapestries.
The Communist regime collapsed in 1989, but it left a distinctive and lingering stamp on the face of the city. The tour will be an eye-opening and educational lesson for those who did not experience life under this political system. Visits to the Soviet military cemetery and memorial on Slavin Hill and to Petrzalka, one of the largest Communist housing estates in Europe, will provide an unforgettable encounter with East-Central European Communist planning and heritage.
Ancient Pressburg was for centuries one of the most prominent centres of Jewish learning in Europe. Join us for a tour that descends into the miraculously preserved underground Chatam Sofer memorial mausoleum and learn about this fascinating chapter in Bratislava's history. A visit to the Museum of Jewish Culture will open other windows into this richly textured world.
A Vintage Tram Ride
The history of tram travel in Bratislava dates back to 1895. Board a vintage tram near the Carlton Hotel, at the spot from where, until World War II, a tram ran all the way to Vienna; explore the city from this painstakingly restored historic vehicle maintained by the Bratislava Transportation Company. The tour can be combined with an Old Town walking tour.
Devin Castle and Danube River Cruise
A comfortable passenger ship will bring you to Devin Castle, 12 kilometres upstream from Bratislava on the Danube River, at the border with Austria. This romantic ruin, long associated with ancient Slavic traditions, is an important archaeological site with excavations from Roman and medieval times. A source of inspiration for 19th-century Slovak patriotic leaders, the castle today is a popular day-trip destination affording spectacular views of the Danube landscape.
The Small Carpathian Wine Trail
This excursion wends through meditative vineyards and charming wine-growing towns spread out along the south-eastern slopes of the Small Carpathians. Visit a pottery factory and learn about the centuries-old production of Modra's famous ceramics. The highlight will be a visit to Cerveny Kamen (Red Stone) Castle, a massive Renaissance fortress which until 1945 was the residence of the powerful Counts Palffy. The trip will conclude with a delicious lunch, including typical local specialities and a wine tasting, in the convivial atmosphere of a local restaurant.
Trencin Castle and Piestany Spa
In 179 AD, a Roman auxiliary legion tracking a Germanic tribe was caught by winter storms and had to encamp well inside the unknown territory north of the Danube River. This remarkable event was recorded in a Latin inscription on a cliff in Trencin. Centuries later a castle was built there, becoming one of the most strategic castles in the region and a residence of the powerful medieval oligarch Matus Cak. Both the inscription and the castle remain to this day. Lunch can be served at the fin-de-siecle Tatra Hotel. Enjoy the afternoon in the world-famous Piestany Spa, known for its charming Art Nouveau spa houses on its Spa Island. Night tours of Trencin Castle with a banquet included are also possible.
Chateau Topolcianky and Nitra
Chateau Topolcianky is an elegant neo-Classical mansion that was used during the 20th century as a summer residence of Czechoslovakia's presidents. Famed for its rich and varied collections, large garden compound, horse breeding centre, and excellent vineyard, it is a real treat for visitors. Spend the afternoon in nearby Nitra, the ancient seat of a once-powerful bishopric. The town now has a sprawling open-air-museum of folk architecture and a narrow-gauge vintage railway operating within the museum compound.
Count Janos Palffy was an enthusiastic art lover and traveller in the 19th century. After a visit to the chateaux of the Loire Valley in France, he decided to have his residence remodelled to resemble a fairytale Gothic fortress. The turreted castle in Bojnice accommodates his vast art collection, which includes the famous Bojnice altar by a Florentine master. An excursion to this romantic castle will fire your imagination and prove a highlight of your visit to Slovakia. It is also possible to conclude the day with a gala dinner or a night-time tour.