Looking at Bratislava Castle across the Danube
day trip

Visiting Bratislava from Vienna: a day trip to Slovakia's capital city

Planning a day trip to Bratislava? This Vienna to Bratislava tour includes bus tickets, a tour of the major sites, and free time to explore the city.

A day trip to Bratislava from Vienna is a fun way to spice up your trip. While Vienna and Bratislava are located near each other, they offer distinctly different experiences.

While Vienna is known for its elegant architecture, classical music, and imperial history, Bratislava has a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, with a charming old town and a vibrant arts and culture scene.

Of course, Bratislava is worth a longer visit, but this is an ideal choice for travellers looking to make the most of their time and experience as much as possible. Read on to find out how to get to Bratislava from Vienna, what to do there and where to eat.

How to get from Vienna to Bratislava

Bratislava and Vienna are sometimes called "twin cities" because they're the two closest capitals in Europe.

Bratislava is only 62 km from Vienna and an even shorter distance of 50 km from Vienna airport. You can get to Bratislava from Vienna by car, train, bus or even by boat.

It's best to leave early, so you have enough time to make the most of your trip.

Vienna to Bratislava by Train

One of the most convenient ways to get from Vienna to Bratislava is by train.

More than 20 trains travel daily (including weekends) from Wien Hauptbahnhof to Bratislava hlavná stanica between 5 am to 10 pm, and the train ride takes about an hour.

The train ticket costs around 10 euros one way, which is a little more than travelling by bus. You can book your train tickets in advance.

Vienna to Bratislava by Bus

You can get to Bratislava by bus from Vienna airport, Vienna central station or Vienna Erdberg, depending on which location is closer to your accommodation.

The buses take you to either Bratislava Mlynské Nivy or Bratislava Most SNP.

The bus companies providing services between Bratislava and Vienna are Flexibus, Regiojet, Slovaklines and Eurolines. You can buy the ticket online or directly inside the bus.

Quick tip: If you arrive in Bratislava by bus, check the green rooftop garden at the main Nivy bus stationwith a great city view and exercise zone.

Boats on the Danube River in Bratislava

Vienna to Bratislava by Boat

Due to its location on the Danube river, Bratislava has a regular boat connection with Vienna.

The centre of Vienna (Schwedenplatz) and Bratislava are connected by a fast catamaran Twin City Liner.

In the summer, you can also enjoy special cruises or reach the tourist destinations Devín castle and Čunovo by boat.

Vienna to Bratislava by Car

Another option is to rent a car but considering that Bratislava has a very pedestrian-friendly and compact city centre, it might be better for you to use public transport. This way, you don't need to worry about parking and save money on fuel and car rental.

Nonetheless, if you choose to rent a car, there are many car rental companies in Vienna, such as Hertz, Avis, Sixt or Europcar - check Discover Cars to compare prices.

Organised tours to Bratislava from Vienna

If you prefer a get-it-done-for-you style with pickup included for centrally located hotels in Vienna, then you can opt for a half-day Vienna to Bratislava tour. This is also a good option if you don't have much time to spare in your Vienna itinerary.

You'll see Bratislava's most famous sights in Old Town and get plenty of free time to enjoy a lunch break in the city before you return to Vienna.

Other interesting tours from Bratislava:

Primate Palace and the Old Town Hall in Bratislava's main square

One day in Bratislava itinerary

One day is enough to explore Bratislava's historic centre and see one or two other nearby attractions. Start your day with a hearty breakfast and coffee at Urban Bistro in Bratislava's old town. The cafe is open daily from 9 am.

After your breakfast, wander around and discover hidden corners of the city centre or join a free English city & castle tour accompanied by a local guide. These run daily from 11 am to 2:30 pm.

The tour begins with exploring the Main Square (Hlavné Námestie) where you’ll see the famous Bratislava statues, National Opera and St Marthin's Cathedral. After that, you'll proceed to Bratislava castle for epic views of the city and the Danube river.

No trip to Slovakia would be complete without sampling Slovak traditional food, including the national dish bryndzové halušky. For a drink, order a Slovak draft beer or a non-alcoholic drink Kofola (Slovak version of Coca-Cola).

To burn off calories from your lunch, take a walk to a one-of-a-kind Blue Church on Bezručova Street.

In the evening, you can enjoy a world-class performance at Slovak National Theater and go for a drink or two to Michalska Cocktail Room or Lemontree & Sky Bar.

Pro Tip: The 72-hour City is a fantastic resource where you can see all the current events and activities available in Bratislava. You can plan your trip depending on your preferences.

People walking along the tramlines in a wide street in Bratislava, Slovakia

Getting around Bratislava

Bratislava has very walkable, but there are also good public transport services if you want to explore further than the old town.

Here are a few tips for getting around Bratislava, along with some helpful links:

  • Daily services of city buses, trams and trolleybuses travel from 4.30 to 23.30.

  • Night services for buses from 23.30 to 4.30 are marked with the letter N and line number.

  • You can buy tickets from vending machines at the stops, newspaper stands, kiosks or by text message via a mobile app.

  • Check the journey planner or Google maps to plan your route.

  • Here are all the ticket types and prices.

  • You must mark the ticket in the punch at the first boarding station. Unmarked tickets are invalid. You'll have to pay a fine if you don't have a valid ticket and get caught by a random inspector check.

  • You can also download the Bolt app, which works similarly to Uber if you're not a fan of public transport.

  • For bike rentals, check SlovnaftBajk.

Bratislava Castle at sunset

Popular things to see in Bratislava

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava castle was originally the residence of monarchs. Today it's the symbol of Bratislava and the seat of the Museum of History (SNM).

From its 47m high tower, where the royal crown jewels were kept, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings.

St. Martin's Cathedral

St. Martin's Cathedral is a gothic church dating back to the 15th century. In the past, it was a place for the coronation of Hungarian kings.

Notice small crown brass plates scattered on the paved roads across Old Town that mark the former coronation path.

A reminder of these glorious times is the gold-plated replica of the coronation crown weighing 150 kg sitting on top of the 85m cathedral tower.

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall was originally the residence of the municipal government. Today it houses the Bratislava City Museum, the oldest museum in Slovakia, showcasing the history of Bratislava.

You can also walk up to the top of the 45m tower. The Town Hall is located in the main square.

Primate's Palace

Primate's Palace is a pink classicist building from the 18th century and the seat of the Mayor of Bratislava.

The most famous room in Primate's Palace is the Hall of Mirrors. It has elegant decor, a high ceiling, luxurious chandeliers, tapestries and columns.

Michael's Gate

Michael's gate is the only preserved fortification gate from the 14th century. Inside the tower, you can visit the Museum of Arms and enjoy stunning views of the Old Town.

Right outside the gate, you'll find Chimney Friends, a cafe serving traditional chimney cakes with ice cream. A delicious local treat if you have a sweet tooth.

The Slavin monument in Bratislava

Slavín Memorial

Slavin Memorial is the largest war memorial in Central Europe.

Nearly seven thousand Soviet Army soldiers who fell during the liberation of Bratislava are buried in its memorial park.

The park also provides pretty views and is surrounded by a Horsky park.

Blue Church

What makes the Art Nouveau style St. Elizabeth's Church special is its blue facade and interior. The facade has mosaic decorations, and the interior is equally as beautiful.

The church is open to tourists only during select hours.

Gallery Nedbalka

Nedbalka Gallery has an impressive interior structure resembling the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Inside, you can admire an exhibition dedicated to the works of Slovak artists.

UFO Bridge

As its name suggests, UFO is an observation deck shaped like a flying saucer that stands on top of the New Bridge (Nový Most) over the Danube River.

From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of Bratislava or dine at an on-site restaurant.

Devín Castle

The castle ruins stand on a high cliff overlooking the rivers Danube and Morava on the Slovak-Austrian border. The castle is one of the most important historical and archaeological sites in Central Europe.

Moreover, it offers charming natural scenery with fantastic views.

View of Bratislava church tower from the castle

Where to stay in Bratisvala

If you decide that one day in Bratislava isn't enough and extend your stay, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from.

Top-Rated Hotels & Apartments in Bratislava

Cozy Airbnbs in Bratislava

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Kamila Jakubjakova

Author - Kamila Jakubjakova

Kamila is a freelance writer and blogger originally from Slovakia and now based in Canada. On her blog, she and her partner share useful tips for expat life in Canada. When she isn't writing, you can find her on a yoga mat or enjoying a cup of tea.

Last Updated 6 September 2023

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