Mar/Apr – Bratislava City Marathon
If you’re a finely honed crew up for a raw macho challenge, the capital’s annual 26 mile slog should satisfy even the steeliest of stag-goers. If you’re more the spectating crowd, the post-race parties go on well into the early hours and bring a mighty fine excuse to raise a celebratory pint or two.
Jun – Sept – Bratislava Summer Cultural Fest
With the high season comes ample opportunity to spruce up the town and indulge in every whim and fancy, from a good old cultural knees-up in the main square to lazy hazy days of summer on the temporary beach down by the river to beer-quaffing shenanigans in Old Town, with plenty of concerts, parties, festivals and events spread right across the historic capital.
Jun - Coronation Festival
A proud nod to the crowning days of old as the city steps back in time to celebrate its history as coronation capital. Find yourself anywhere between Bratislava Castle and Hviezdoslav Námestie (square) during the regal fest and your band of weekend warriors are likely to bump into wandering minstrels, jugglers, singers, street performers and musicians, and witness anything from jousting tournaments and mass drinking sessions at the town’s fountain (filled with wine, if legend be believed), to mock executions and battles. Plus your annual shindig staples; good food, lashings of frothy liquid and a firework finale for afters.
Jul – Viva Musica Festival
Keep an ear out for a mega-mix of jazz, classical and global tunes in and around Hlavné Námestie (main square) during the largest summer music fest in the country.
Sep – Old Town Beer Festival
Get the boys to Old Town for parties, concerts and bucket-loads of Bratislava’s finest grog!
Oct - Bratislava Jazz Days
Billed as one of the largest events of its kind in central Europe, the massively popular Jazz Days’ mix of rock, fusion and funk reigns supreme as one of the highlights of the festival calendar.
Nov – International Film Festival Bratislava
Keep an eye out for a massive selection of international and home-grown screenings as Hollywood arrives in Bratislava to celebrate the best of the big screen. Or at least bids good day to the capital with some top dollar showings at the city’s main venues.
Nov – Open wine cellar days
Plum position on the Small Carpathian Wine Route puts Bratislava front and centre when the region’s cellars open their doors and welcome tourists and locals alike to sample their wares at the end of November.
All but obliterated from the map by everyone from the Celts to the Germans to the Romans, Hungarians, Slavs and even a bunch of Austrian soldiers who nearly burned the place to the ground after finding their way to the bottom of one too many pints of the local fire water, Bratislava Castle still holds court over the city from atop it’s rocky outcrop of the Carpathians. Well worth a gander, if not for the sheer staying power, striking architecture and curios at the National Museum, then for the superb views across no fewer than three separate countries and that world famous Danube on a fine Slovakian day. Photo ops aplenty. Also plays host to a whole heap of concerts and gatherings throughout the summer.
Not much brings the novelty factor to a bachelor boy soiree like dropping into the local flying saucer for a cold one. We’re talking 360⁰ views, top notch grub and classy cocktails nearly 100 metres into the stunning Slovak skyline.
Bratislava’s Old Town is easily where most of this party’s at, and with a marvellously compact centre – a huge chunk of it pedestrianized - you can easily navigate the area under your own steam in a matter of minutes (give or take a beer break… or three)
A word to the wise, chaps; if you do decide to make use of the city’s bus and tram network it’s worth doing your homework on this one first. Tickets must be purchased from electronic meters before your journey begins. They need to be for the correct time tariff, transfer and duration, and MUST be ‘marked’ (machine stamped) as soon as you board the vehicle. Ticket inspectors in this neck of the woods are well-known for their harsh attitude and won’t think anything of handing you an on-the-spot fine of anything between 40 Euros and up to 100 x the original value of your fare if your ticket is invalid in any way (from running overtime to being stamped in the wrong place on the ticket itself).
Bratislava City Card
If the boys are planning on maxing out the public transport system then we’d recommend nabbing yourselves a Bratislava City Card from the town’s tourist information centre, which gives you a bunch of discounts on attractions and services across the capital as well as free travel on public transport for the chosen duration of the card (24, 48 or 72 hours), thus avoiding any nasty unexpected dents in the wallet along the way.