Climate in Bratislava
If compared with England, weather is not such a topic in Slovakia. However, it could be! In fact the extremes are in our country much more present than in the UK. While the hottest day ever measured was 40,3 °C in Hurbanovo in 2007 (in Bratislava “just” 39,4 °C in 2013) the coldest day was in 1929 in Vígľaš with -41,0 °C (in Bratislava “just” -36 °C the same time).
And this is indeed typical for the continental climate - hot summers and cold winters. But even in a small country like Slovakia the differences may vary significantly. While the Northern mountainous regions, thanks to latitude as well as higher altitude, have usually really freezing and long winters, Bratislava, located in the Southwest of the country, surrounded mostly by lowlands, is rather moderate - and you might even not need to change the tyres for winter.
Typical four seasons are present, although with the global climate change, we note changes here as well. It is not rare that often after winter suddenly very warm, “summery” days come and thus spring is basically skipped. Or the other way from summer straight to almost wintry days.
Winter in Bratislava
The coldest months are usually January and February. What does it mean? In Bratislava it is hard to generalize, but you should be ready for all kinds of weather. You can experience “siberian” frost, beautiful white fairy-tales, often mixed with ugly muddy streets as the roads get salted, you better go to nature! However, more common in recent years are rainy or just foggy grey days, when most people dream about summer beach holiday. Do not be surprised though, if the temperature rises up to 10-15 °C and you can enjoy the sunrays in T-shirt. Weird situations occur when the temperatures are around 0 °C and it rains downtown and you come from the hilly part of the city with tons of snow on your car 🙂 There are jokes all around Slovakia, mostly from the North, that in Bratislava it is a traffic disaster if we have just a few centimeters of snow, while they can have easily over 1 meter and cope with it. Comprehensive tips what to in Bratislava in winter can be found also here.
At the end of winter, it's personified pagan symbol "Morena" is ritually burnt and thrown into the river and spring is welcomed. This tradition is already almost dead though.
Spring in Bratislava
In Bratislava spring begins usually in March, but the trees start to blossom sometimes already in February and on the other hand the “crazy April” can see a snow blizzard too. May may be with its temperatures around 20 °C one of the most pleasant months to visit Bratislava, if searching for regular sightseeing or outdoor activities or just to chill. A weather saying says “Keď v máji neprší , jún sucho dovŕši.” - which means that if May is dry, June will be too. Inspirations for spring time in Bratislava - have a look here.
Summer in Bratislava
July and August are hot summer months, when sunbathing becomes the most common daily “activity”. Bratislava has several open-air swimming pools, but also natural spots for swimming, especially the gravel pits - artificial lakes, but the Danube River is bathable too 🙂 .
Traffic these months is less of a challenge, as many Bratislavians take holiday and travel abroad. The most popular destination is Croatia with the Medditeraean Sea, often nicknamed “the Slovak Sea”, being the closest. AC would be often suitable, but is still not too common apart from the modern offices, shops or residential buildings. For summer inspirations have a look here.
To say it simply, we can say, in Slovakia there are two types of people - those who love summer and those who hate it and suffer day by day by watching the weather forecast for lower temperatures. They usually come in September. In October the trees get numerous colours and regarding falling temperatures this is another popular month for regular outdoor activities, but still being able to drink in the evening at the open-air terraces. Storms become less common. Do not forget umbrella or wind jacket though. What to do at this time of the year? It is great time to taste local wines, just like at our Carpathian Wine Tour. For more inspiration, take a look here.
To sum up:
Coming to Bratislava in summer (July and August) makes sense rather just in case you are searching for purely summery activities like swimming, sunbathing, beach-volleyball etc., otherwise it is too hot for anything else - and do not expect A/C everywhere! Despite neither our Škoda cars for the Post-Communist Bratislava Tour are air-conditioned, we can easily take you with a modern A/C vehicle.
Foreigners tend to come to Bratislava also on the Christmas Market in December, but more chance of snow is in January and February, so do not have too idealistic, Snow White - like expectations from the commercial pictures 😉 .
Best time for most first-time visitors would be spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October).
Actual weather forecast (3 days) - official web of the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute