When I was planning for my solo trip to Vienna, I thought I would take a day trip to Bratislava because it is only a few hours away. And boy, am I glad I did!
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 people. Slovakia borders the Czech Republic to the north, Poland and Ukraine to the east while Austria and Hungary to the south. The country is mountainous and has many national parks, mineral springs, waterfalls, caves and castles.
Bratislava is one of the most compact capital city in Europe. A super chill city with lots of character. The city is small and easy to navigate, which makes a wonderful spot for a day trip, a weekend trip or a stopover. And the perfect opportunity to learn about the Slovak culture!
What you need to know before travelling from Vienna to Bratislava as a day trip
Before you make your way to Bratislava, take a look at some of my tips:
- You don’t need to speak the local language to get by. Many locals speak and understand English. Even the menus have English translations and photographs.
- It is safe for solo female travellers to visit Bratislava. I walked around both day and night and didn’t feel unsafe. Some parts of the city may appear a bit sketchy, i.e. run-down buildings, graffitis, etc. If you feel unsafe walking around those areas, then avoid it. Not every part of the city appears that way.
- As part of the European Union, Slovakia’s official currency is the Euro (EUR). Credit cards can be used almost everywhere, but it is always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller shops.
- Many public places and restaurants in Bratislava have free wifi.
- The best way to get around Bratislava is by walking
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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.
1. Direct train from Vienna to Bratislava
The quickest and cheapest way to travel from Vienna to Bratislava is the train. You don’t need to book ahead as there are several trains each hour travelling from Vienna to Bratislava.
Once you arrive in Bratislava, the walk to the Old Town is about ten minutes, and there are public buses that will take you directly into the Old Town.
Just a reminder for when you return to Vienna: the last train from Bratislava to Vienna is at 11:15 pm.
- Train: from Vienna Hauptbahnhof to Bratislava Hlavná Stanica
- Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
- Cost: 14+ EUR
- Check the Rail Europe website for more info
2. Scenic Boat from Vienna to Bratislava
But the more exciting alternative to travelling 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: 30+ EUR (each way)
- Book your ticket on the Twin City Liner website
Related Post – Solo Traveller’s Guide to Budapest, Hungary
Bratislava Itinerary: What to do in Bratislava in one day
It is possible to see all the best things to do in Bratislava in one day. Follow my interactive map above. You can click on the individual pins to find out more information about each attraction.
Summer Archbishop’s Palace and Grassalkovich Palace
After arriving at the train station, walk towards the Old Town. Along the way, you will see the Summer Archbishop’s Palace and Grassalkovich Palace (the Presidential Palace).
Old Town Bratislava
Continue to walk towards the Old Town. You will immediately be greeted with Michael’s Gate, and the Old Town Hall. The Old Town is quite charming and is worth spending a bit of time meandering through the cobblestone streets.
There are many foundations throughout the Old Town including Maximilian’s Fountain, Woman with a Vase and many more.
And make sure to look for some of the bronze sculptures including one called Man at Work.
After strolling through the Old Town, walk west and visit the Bratislava Castle up on the hill; a must-see attraction when you visit Bratislava.
South of Danube River
For another view of Bratislava, cross the Most SNP bridge to the UFO Observation Deck where you can get a panoramic view of the city.
Then continue the walking path parallel to the Danube River until you see Dunajský Pivovar. It is a hotel and a fantastic place to enjoy a beverage or two.
When you are ready to go back, returned to the other side via the Old Bridge.
Slovak National Theatre and Blue Church
Slovak National Theatre and the Blue Church are both on the way back to the Old Town.
Museums in Bratislava
If you have time, check out some of the museums. I spent some time in the Nedbalka Gallery, which is in a delightful small building and the permanent exhibit is displaying modern art in Slovakia. There is also Bratislava City Museum, Slovak Design Centre and SNM Natural History Museum.
Want to see Bratislava with a tour? Try one of these:
What to Eat in Bratislava
Eating is a big part of any culture. And it is no except with Slovak cuisine. I had no idea what type of food they have until now. They have a lot of meat dishes, various types of cheese (especially sheep cheese) and beer, of course! Eating in Bratislava is relatively inexpensive. Depending on the restaurant, a dish can cost between $2-6 EUR.
Traditional Slovak Dishes
I researched a whole lot (as you can see) about Slovak cuisine. Below is a list of the traditional Slovak dishes in which I tried about three-quarters of the list. I can say without a doubt, that a lot of them are delicious! Especially if you like meat and cheese!
- Bryndzové Halušky – potato dumplings with sheep cheese and roasted bacon; this is Slovakia’s national dish
- Bryndzové Pirohy – pierogis stuffed with sheep cheese
- Vepřo Knedlo Zelo – pork with dumplings and cabbage
- Parené buchty – steamed dumplings filled with jam, sweetened poppy seeds, cheese or chocolate
- Zemiakové Placky – potato pancakes with flour and garlic fried in oil
- Vyprážaný Syr – Fried cheese with French fries and tartar sauce
- Vyprážaný Rezeň – schnitzel
- Gulášová Polievka – goulash soup
- Klobása – spicy smoked sausage
- Trdelník – vertical funnel cake with filling
- Šišky – fried dumplings with marmalade and sugar
- Kofola – a popular drink in Slovakia, a soft drink that kind of tastes like Coca-Cola with lemon and coffee
- Kláštorný Ležiak – local beer
- Tokaj wine – Slovakian white wine from Košice
Where to Eat in Bratislava
As I was in Bratislava for a few days, I tried all of these suggested restaurants and cafes. I included the location in the map for easy reference.
- Slovak Pub – I ordered the Slovak Platter, which has two types of dumplings and pierogis filled with cabbage. You can’t go wrong with a platter!
- Bratislava Flagship Restaurant – try the homemade sausage, cheese platter with herbal salt and wash it down with Kláštorný ležiak (beer)
- Street Food Park Festival in front of Old Market Hall – a mini food event during warmer months where vendors sell local food, chimney cake, wine and beer! This is an excellent spot for any solo travellers to grab a snack and a drink.
- Urban House Cafe – a coffee shop with a retro and modern interior that serves great lemonade, excellent coffee and delicious coconut cheesecake!
Where to Stay in Bratislava
If you want to stay overnight or a few days in Bratislava, there are a handful of affordable hotels and Airbnb accommodations.
From my research on Agoda, hotels in the Old Town is about 30 EUR and up. And a dorm bed in a hostel starts from 12 EUR a night.
Staying longer in Bratislava
Bratislava is a quaint little town where you can spend more than a day. Plus you can take plenty of day trips from Bratislava and explore the neighbouring area in Slovakia.
I’m so glad to have visited Bratislava! It is definitely worth visiting if you haven’t yet. Did I miss any must-see’s? Also, if you like this post, share it and pin it!