As the capital of Slovakia, or officially the Slovak Republic, Bratislava is located in the southwestern side of the country and has a population of 450,000. Slovakia borders the Czech Republic to the north, Poland and Ukraine to the east and Austria and Hungary to the south. The country is mountainous and has many national parks, mineral springs, waterfalls, caves and castles.
When I was planning my solo trip to Vienna, I knew I wanted to take a Bratislava day trip from Vienna because it is only one hour away. And boy, am I glad I did!
Bratislava is one of the most compact capital cities in Europe. It is a laidback city with lots of character. Plus, the city is easy to navigate, which makes it a wonderful spot for a day trip, a weekend trip or a stopover.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to travel from Vienna to Bratislava and what to do on a day trip to Bratislava Slovakia.
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Solo Bratislava day trip from Vienna: what you need to know
Before you start your trip to Bratislava, take a look at some of my travel tips for spending a day in Bratislava:
- The best day to take a day trip to Bratislava is Saturday when the Old Market Hall is open.
- Walking is the best way to get around the city, especially when you follow my Bratislava itinerary. Don’t need to get on any public transportation.
- I highly recommend arriving before 10 am (or as early as you like) for your day trip to Bratislava so you can see everything in this itinerary comfortably.
- Slovakia’s official currency is the Euro (€). Credit cards can be used almost everywhere, but carrying some cash for smaller shops is always a good idea.
- Many locals speak and understand English. Even the menus have English translations and photographs.
- Many public places and restaurants in Bratislava have free wifi.
- Bratislava is a safe city for solo female travellers. I walked around both day and night alone and didn’t feel unsafe. Some parts of the city may appear sketchy, i.e. run-down buildings, graffitis, etc. But not every part of the city appears that way.
How to travel from Vienna to Bratislava
Taking a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava is super easy. You can take either a train or a scenic boat ride.
I prefer the train option as it has more flexibility to stay in Bratislava longer but I’m including both options here.
Vienna to Bratislava train
The quickest and cheapest way to travel from Vienna to Bratislava is by taking the direct train. You don’t need to book ahead as trains travel from Vienna to Bratislava each hour.
Once you arrive in Bratislava, the walk to the Old Town is about ten minutes.
Just a reminder for when you return to Vienna: the last train from Bratislava to Vienna is at 11:15 pm.
- Vienna to BratislavaTrain: from Vienna Hauptbahnhof to Bratislava Hlavná Stanica
- Time: 1 hour 7 minutes (one every hour)
- Cost: €14 (each way)
Scenic boat from Vienna to Bratislava
Or the alternative way to travel from Vienna to Bratislava is to take the scenic boat ride from Vienna to Bratislava on the Danube River.
- Scenic boat: from Vienna (near Schiffsstation Wien) to Bratislava(near Most SNP bridge)
- Time: 1 hour 15 mins (3 boats per day)
- Cost: €33 (each way)
- Schedule for Vienna to Bratislava: 8:30 am
- Schedule for Bratislava to Vienna: 6:30 pm
- Book your ticket on the Twin City Liner website
Day Trip to Bratislava from Vienna Attractions Map
I put together a 1-day Bratislava itinerary that includes all the best things to do in Bratislava. All you need to do is follow the interactive map below. Red numbered pins are all the must-see Bratislava attractions and blue pins are other things to do in Bratislava if you are staying longer.
Solo Bratislava Itinerary: How to spend 1 day in Bratislava
1. Grasalkovičov Palác (Grassalkovich Palace)
After arriving at Bratislava train station, walk towards the Old Town. Along the way, you will see the Grasalkovičov Palác (Grassalkovich Palace) at at Hodžovo Square.
The Presidential Palace was once a venue for aristocratic society events and concerts. Today, the Rococo-Baroque building is the residence of the president of Slovakia.
Behind the palace is the Presidential Garden which is popular with locals in Bratislava. And in front, there is a fountain called Fontána Mieru (Planet of Peace Fountain) which is a giant Earth sculpture which symbolizes freedom.
Even though the palace not open to the public, it is still nice to peek through the gate and see the 18th-century building.
Address: Hodžovo Námestie 2978/1, 811 06 Bratislava
2. Stará Tržnica (The Old Market Hall)
On Saturdays between 10 and 3, Stará Tržnica (The Old Market Hall) is open and many vendors set up their stalls for the Trh-Piac-Markt.
On the ground floor, you can buy the freshest produce from regional farmers and get pastries and cooked food. On the first floor, you can browse through all the secondhand books in the Bratislava Book Market, the largest book market in Slovakia.
And once a month, there is a Street Food Park just outside of the Old Market Hall where food trucks sell traditional Slovak food and other delicious street food. Check their Facebook page and see when the next event date is held.
Address: Námestie SNP 25, 811 01 Bratislava | Hours: 10am-3pm, Saturdays only
3. Primaciálny Palác (Primate’s Palace)
Primaciálny Palác (Primate’s Palace) is the pink Neoclassic building right next to the Old Town hall in the Old Town of Bratislava.
For the cost of admission, you can tour the inside the 18th century palace on your own and see portrait paintings of the Habsburg royalty and a collection of 17th century English tapestries. Moreover, you can see the famous Hall of Mirrors, which is also the mayor’s office and is a venue for concerts and city council meetings.
But if you prefer to roam around the premise, see the fountain of St. George in the courtyard. And make sure to take many photos of the palace – it is the most beautiful building in Bratislava.
Address: Primaciálne Námestie 2, 811 01 Bratislava | Hours: 10am-5pm (closed Mondays) | Admission: €3
4. Stará Radnica (Old Town Hall)
Before heading over to the Main Square, check out Stará Radnica (Old Town Hall). It is the building with the beautiful green tiled roof next to Primate’s Palace.
The Old Town Hall is actually a series of a 14th century buildings connected by an arcade passage built in the courtyard. These are some of the oldest stone buildings in Bratislava that are still standing.
Within the complex, you can also find Bratislava City Museum, the oldest museum in Bratislava.
But for me, the most interesting part is the tower. You can climb up to the top and see an aerial view of the Main Square.
Address: Hlavné Námestie 501/1, 811 01 Bratislava | Hours: 10am-5pm Tuesday to Friday; 11am-6pm Saturday to Sunday | Admission: €7 Old Town Hall tour; €3 Old Town Hall Tower
5. Michalská Brána (Michael’s Gate)
Continue to walk around the Old Town and look for a tall Gothic tower with a bulbous copper roof. This is Michalská Brána (Michael’s Gate).
Built in the 14th century, Michael’s Gate was part of the fortification in the medieval city. It is the last surviving gate in Bratislava and a big tourist attraction today.
The 51m tall tower has seven floors and an observation deck at the top where you can see a panoramic view of the Old Town. And if you look closely, you can see a statue of the archangel Michael, slaying a dragon, on top of the tower.
The tower also houses the Museum of Arms.
However, the museum and observation deck are both closed temporarily for renovation. But hopefully you can still see a glimpse of the tower through the scaffolding.
Address: Michalská Ulica 22 806/24, 811 03 Bratislava | Hours: temporarily closed
6. Čumil aka Man at Work
While you are roaming around the Old Town, look for some of the quirkiest statues in Bratislava. The most famous one is Čumil also known as Man at Work.
Čumil is a whimsical bronze statue of a sewer worker resting on top of a manhole and either looking at passerby or looking up women’s skirts. It is one of the most photographed statue. Do you see how his head is a bit shiny? Legend has it that if you touch his head, your wish will come true.
And during your day trip in Bratislava, make sure to search for other fun statues around the city. Paparazzi Statue, Guard’s Booth, Schnöner Náci, and Napoleon’s Army Soldier are near the Man at Work statue and Hans Christian Andersen is located on Hviezdoslavovo námestie, which is close to St Martin’s Cathedral.
Address: Panská 251/1, 811 01 Bratislava | Hours: 24 hours
7 & 8. Most SNP (SNP Bridge) and Starý Most (Old Bridge)
To see another view of Bratislava, walk across the Most SNP (Slovak National Uprising Bridge) towards the UFO Observation Deck. It is an option to go up the observation deck but make sure you have sufficient time to complete the rest of the 1-day itinerary.
Then walk on the promenade on the south side of the Danube. This is where you can see a panoramic view of Bratislava, including the 85m tall spire at St Martin’s Church and Brastilava Castle on top of the hill.
Continue walking parallel to river until you see a docked boat with a hotel and a brewery, Dunajský Pivovar. It might be time for a break and a beer!
And when you are ready, walk back to the other side via the Starý Most (Old Bridge).
Address: Most SNP 851 01, 851 01 Bratislava | Hours: 24 hours
9. Modrý Kostolík (The Blue Church)
Next, walk through a quiet neighbourhood in the eastern part of the Old Town and find Modrý Kostolík (The Blue Church).
Built between 1908-1913, the Blue Church was designed and built by Hungarian architect, Edmund Lechner. The Hungarian-Secessionist church has a simple oval plan and a 36.8m cylindrical tower.
But what is so special about this church is the colour and the design. The entire church has a pale blue facade and is covered with Art Nouveau design details. The blue hue can also be seen in other decorative elements like mosaics and majolicas. And it even has blue-glazed ceramic tiles on the roof.
The interior is also decorated in a shade of pale blue and white (but I didn’t really see it because there was a wedding the day I visited the Blue Church. It was so magical!)
Address: Alžbety, Bezručova 2, 811 09 Bratislava | Hours: 6:30-7:30am and 5:30- 7pm Monday to Saturday; 7:30am-12pm and 5:30-7pm on Sunday
10. Dóm sv. Martina (St. Martin’s Cathedral)
Meander through the Old Town and walk towards the castle. But first, you must see Bratislava’s largest and oldest church, Dóm sv. Martina (St. Martin’s Cathedral).
The large cathedral was built as a part of the city walls and functioned as a defensive bastion. The church is very well-known because it was the coronation place for Hungarian kings and queens between 1563 and 1830. 19 members of the Habsburg dynasty were crowned here.
Take note of the design details of the Gothic cathedral; all the original stained glass windows, pointed arches and rib vaults are quite magnificent. And don’t miss the underground crypt and catacombs.
Address: Rudnayovo námestie 1, 811 01 Bratislava | Hours: 9-11:30am & 1-6pm Monday to Friday; 9-11:30am Saturday; 1:45-4:30pm Sunday
11. Mestské Hradby (Medieval City Walls)
Behind St Martin’s Cathedral is a series pathways that are part of Mestské Hradby (Medieval City Walls). Bratislava was heavily fortified at the end of the 14th century but only a few section of the medieval wall remains today.
But you can still walk through the passage from St Martin’s Cathedral towards where Kapitulská and Na vŕšku intersect. There is a series of smaller pathways in and around some houses.
When you are ready, walk across the pedestrian bridge over the highway and walk towards the castle.
Address: Staromestská, 811 01 Bratislava | Hours: 10am-8pm
12. Bratislavský Hrad (Bratislava Castle)
As you follow the pathways and stairways up the hill, you will soon approach Bratislavský Hrad (Bratislava Castle).
The castle on the hill was built in the 9th century and was once part of the important path on the ancient routes. Today, the castle is the best attraction in Bratislava.
For an admission fee, you can see the inside of the palace and the archaeological finds at The Treasury. Moreover, you can see the permanent displays for the Slovak National Museum – Museum of History plus you can even climb up the Crown Tower.
But you don’t have to pay for anything to enjoy some of the highlights around Bratislava Castle. The Jardin Baroková Záhrada is a manicured garden and whimsical statues. And the Sigismund Gate, the eastern entrance gate, is an excellent spot to see a panoramic view of the Danube River.
The best time to visit Bratislava Castle is at the end of the day where you can potentially catch a gorgeous sunset. Since you are high above on the hill, you might be able see the sun set behind the horizon.
Address: Hrad, 811 06 Bratislava | Hours: 10am-6pm
13. Return to Vienna via train or boat
After a long day of sightseeing, your Bratislava day trip has finally come to an end.
Depending on your preference, there is enough time to have dinner in Bratislava before returning to Vienna via the train. When you are ready, backtrack to the Bratislava train station and catch the next train back to Vienna.
And if you chose the scenic boat option, make sure you are back at the dock well before 6:30 pm.
If you have more than 1 day in Bratislava Slovakia
You can comfortably see all the attractions in my Bratislava itinerary in one day.
But if you are staying overnight or over a weekend in Bratislava, here are a few more things to do in Bratislava. And if you time your visit to Bratislava, you might even get to see some of the seasonal attractions.
- Bratislava Christmas Market (last week of November to last week of December) – see all the festive Christmas stalls and drink mulled wine at the Main Square, Hviezdoslav Square and Františkánske Square.
- Dobrý Trh (The Good Market) – an occasional market with local designers, food vendors, antique stalls. They have the market in different locations, so check Dobrý Trh website before you visit.
- Slovak National Collection of Wines – try 72 Slovak wines with a sommelier during the 100-minute wine-tasting program.
- Nedbalka Gallery – the permanent exhibit displays modern art in Slovakia in a delightful small building with a circular atrium.
- Bratislava City Museum – exhibits focuses on the history of Bratislava.
- Kunsthalle Bratislava – art gallery displaying work by local and international visual artists.
- UFO Observation Deck – see an aerial view of Bratislava from the open-air observation deck on the a flying saucer-shaped tower.
Where to stay in Bratislava as a solo traveller
If you follow my 1-day Bratislava itinerary, you only need a full day to see all the attractions.
But if you want to stay overnight (and I highly recommend you do), there are a handful of affordable hotels to choose from. I really like these two:
- Botel Dunajský Pivovar ($) – the boat hotel is on the same boat as Dunajský Pivovar.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- AC Hotel by Marriott Bratislava Old Town ($$) – stay overnight in a comfortable modern room while earning Marriott Bonvoy points.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
What to eat in Bratislava
Slovak cuisine has a lot of meat dishes, various types of cheese (especially sheep cheese) and beer, of course! And eating in Bratislava is relatively inexpensive.
Try some of these traditional Slovak specialties when travelling solo to Bratislava:
Traditional Slovak Dishes
- Kapustnica – sauerkraut soup
- Krémová Cesnaková Polievka – creamy garlic soup in bread bowl
- Zemiakové Placky – fried potato pancakes
- Pečená Klobása – roasted smoked sausage
- Bryndzové Halušky – Slovakia’s national dish: sheep’s cheese potato dumplings with roasted bacon
- Bryndzové Pirohy – traditional potato pierogis stuffed with sheep’s cheese
- Vepřo Knedlo Zelo – pork roast, dumplings and sauerkraut
- Šišky – homemade donuts with marmalade and sugar
- Slivkové Knedle – dumpling dessert filled with plums and dusted with sugar on top
What to drink in Bratislava
- Zlatý Bažant – local Slovak beer
- Borovička – Slovak spritz flavoured with juniper berries
- Slovakian wine – Tokajske Vino (Tokaj wine), Ríbezlák (Currant Wine) and Včelovina (Honey Wine)
Where to eat in Bratislava
Since you are only spending one day in Bratislava, check out either Bratislava Flagship Restaurant or Slovak Pub. They both have traditional Slovak cuisine and you can try everything mentioned above.
And if you are up for an afternoon beverage, visit one of the several breweries in Bratislava.
I listed all the best places to eat in Bratislava below and included the location on the map for easy reference.
- Bratislava Flagship Restaurant – try the homemade sausage, cheese platter with herbal salt and wash it down with Kláštorný ležiak (beer)
- Slovak Pub – the Slovak Platter has two types of dumplings and one pierogi with cheese
- Bratislavský Meštiansky Pivovar (Bratislava Bourgeois Brewery) – try the soup or dumplings at Bratislava’s oldest brewery
- Žil Verne – an awesome pub with many sour beers and IPA on tap
- Dunajský Pivovar – brewery on the Danube River
- Fabrika – great brewery serving home-brewed beers
- Luculus Ice Saloon – Bratislava’s oldest ice cream shop
- Cukráreň Konditorei Kormuth – quirky cake shop
Are you going to take a solo day trip from Vienna to Bratislava?
Bratislava is a quaint little town and it is possible to see all the best attractions in one day.
And if you decide to stay overnight or spend more time in Bratislava, there are plenty of day trips from Bratislava where you can explore other parts of Slovakia.
I’m really enjoyed my Bratislava day trip from Vienna! It is definitely worth visiting if you haven’t yet. And I mentioned it already: Bratislava is safe for solo travel. Even if you are walking around at night.
Did I miss any must-sees in this Bratislava solo travel itinerary? Let me know if like this Bratislava itinerary or if you think I’m missing anything from the list.
Thank you for reading my Bratislava solo travel guide
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Vienna travel posts:
- Vienna solo travel guide for first time travellers
- 23 Best Vienna food you must try
- Visit a Heuriger in Grinzing from Vienna: 1-day itinerary