Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a friendly, youthful place with a feisty medieval Old Town and a Soviet-style New Town. It is home to numerous universities, museums, art galleries, leafy parks, opulent palaces and historic churches. Like all Central European cities, Bratislava has witnessed the rise and fall of great continental empires. It served as a Hungarian capital in the 16th century and no less than 11 Habsburg Kings and Queens were crowned in the city’s cathedral. The legacy of Soviet rule has also left its mark on the city: Bratislava is home to the biggest Communist-era housing estate in Central Europe.
For an overview of Bratislava, head to Slavín Hill, a quiet, leafy place with expansive views over the Old Town and surrounding mountains. The hill is also the site of a Soviet cemetery and a memorial commemorating the city’s liberation at the end of the World War II. For even better views, head to the 1960’s Soviet tower on the New Bridge – the so-called ‘UFO restaurant’, which overlooks the Danube River and offers an opportunity to dine in style.