Several months back I planned a trip to Central Europe to visit Budapest, Vienna and Prague.  As I was doing research I saw an opportunity to do a day trip to Bratislava.  That means I get to visit 4 countries for the price of 3.

Now you are probably thinking what is and how to pronounce Bratislava.   Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.  Side note:  I just love saying Bratislava and Slovakia it feels so ooh la la.  Bratislava borders Austria and Hungary on this trip we decided on a train ride from Vienna.

Logistics
  • From Vienna Wein Station, it is about an hour train ride.
  • Frequency:  Every hour and half
  • Cost:  16 Euro Roundtrip (about $20)

The train ride was smooth and uneventful.  Just make sure that you have your passport with you.  On this trip, they did not check, but they checked to see if you had a ticket.  If I am not mistaken, I think they check like three times.   So, make sure that it is easily accessible.

And then we arrived

In Rick Steve’s book on Bratislava, he describes the train station as “dilapidated”.  I thought it was cute and charming.

Digital Walk

Now it is time to explore the Old Town of Bratislava.  With our train ticket, it included unlimited bus/tram transportation.  However, we decided to walk as the center was about 2 mi (3.2km).  Walking is the best way to “see” a city.

The view from the crosswalk
 

 

 

 

 

Slovak Parliament Building

The Slovak Parliament is located on the hillside southeast of Bratislava Castle. It is home to the National Council of the Slovak Republic.  The building is currently being remodeled.

The Parliament Building which is being remodeled

Slovak National Theater

We finally made it to the Old Town center and I noticed that I was running out of space on my smartphone.  (All my pictures are from my Samsung S7).  You would think that I would focus on the architecture, but here I am moving pictures around and making space.

Bratislava’s opera house – known officially as the historical building of the Slovak National Theatre – is a Neo-Renaissance-style building opened in 1886 as the City Theatre, by Viennese architects F. Fellner and H. Helmer.

The National Theatre

As I was in the process of moving the pictures to the SD card, I accidentally deleted the morning pictures of Bratislava.  I think I went into shock and it took everything in me not to have a major temper tantrum (I think the people with me would disagree and say I did lol).

My BF took a picture of me as I was fervently trying to restore my pictures.  The beer didn’t even make me happy.

So, the majority of the images are from above are from the walk back to the train station with the exception of the National Theatre.  That is courtesy of Kevotry.

After realizing that my pictures were all but gone, we kept on exploring and went to the Bratislava Castle.   Now the castle is a sight to see as it is on a hill.  Boy did I get a workout from the incline and the stairs!

I must admit it did feel good and it alleviated my frustration.  However, once you get to the top, the view is breathtaking.

Bratislava Castle

The castle, on a hill above the old town, dominates the city of Bratislava and has gone through many changes since the Stone Age as described below – https://www.visitbratislava.com/places/bratislava-castle/ :

  1. During the Great Moravian Empire, Slavs built a fortress that became a significant centre for the time. In the 10th century, Bratislava became an integral part of the growing Hungarian state; a stone palace and the church of St Saviour and its chapter were built on the castle hill in the 11th century.
  2. In the 15th century, in the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, a castle was built in Gothic style as an anti-Hussite fortress. During this period, a new entrance to the castle was built on the eastern side – Sigismund’s Gate – while 7-metre-thick fortifications were constructed on the western side, and a castle well dug in 1437.
  3. In the 16th century, King Ferdinand ordered the rebuilding of the castle in the Renaissance style, while in the 17th century, when the castle became the seat of hereditary provincial chief, Pálffy, it was rebuilt in the baroque style.
  4. In the reign of Maria Theresa, the castle was arranged according to the needs of her son-in-law Albert, governor of Saxony and Tessen, who was a fervent art collector and who installed his works in the castle. 
  5. In 2008, a comprehensive restoration project was launched which is expected to take several years. As a result, the interior is currently closed to visitors, but the exterior fortifications and their views over the Danube can still be accessed.

 

 

Overall, the 8-hour day trip to Bratislava was phenomenal.  This is a city that I would love to re-visit and actually spend a couple days.  There is so much to see and do.

 

  1. I did the same thing, Bratislava for a day when in Wien. The train is the ideal way to go, no hassle and no traffic to encounter. Its true, it is such a small city but exploring the castle is a must. Seeing your photos did bring back loads of memories, its been ten years since my last visit.

  2. Well, at least you managed to get some beautiful pictures of the castle! Sorry for you with the phone incident – that would cause me to “not have a tantrum” too 😉 I didn’t know you could do this Bratislava day trip from Vienna, but if I am ever there I will definitely bear it in mind! Trains in Europe are the best – we are in SE Asia right now and the buses/trains here are driving us a bit mad by comparison!

  3. I only spent an afternoon/evening in Bratislava, so I didn’t see nearly as much as you did. I really liked the goofy statues all over the Old Town! I got some pretty hilarious pictures posing with them. The view from Bratislava Castle is stunning! I’m sad I didn’t do the walk. Next time I go, I definitely need to whip my butt into gear and climb that hill.

  4. Bratislava sounds one amazing place to visit. I am sorry to hear about the pictures you lost, we know that feeling, as it has happened to us. We accidentally deleted all our pictures off the memory card. We where lucky enough to go somewhere and they recovered them for us. The walk up to the castle is definitely worth it for those views.

  5. Man, I’ve been wanting to visit Bratislava for a while now. It does sound like a great day trip destination, especially for travelers in Vienna! It’s still amazing to me that you can just go to another country for the day in Europe!

  6. I am reminded of my tour there. It was just for a day like yours.
    I did more street walking and statue hunting. The Bratislava parliament looks grand.

  7. We’ve never thought about visiting Bratislava, but have always wanted to go to Vienna. Now that we know there’s a possibility to make a short trip to Bratislava from Vienna, we’ll certainly consider going there too when we travel to Vienna next time! It’s only 16€ anyway, plus there’s a train every 30 minutes. Just perfect! Thank you so much for this informative post! 🙂

  8. I loved Prague. If I could have I would have at least visited Vienna. I would love to see its old world charm. I think it is great you got to experience all of these countries. They look so beautiful and I love the Bratislava castle. I will have to add this place to my list.

  9. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never heard of Bratislava before, but it looks fascinating. I completely agree that the best way to see and experience a place is by walking. You need to slow down to avoid missing the everyday traditions, people and culture.

  10. Bratislava does feel good on the tongue haha! Thanks for sharing your experience and being specific about the logistics as well. The thing I love most about European cities is tight winding alleyways. The architecture is just divine! I would love to go!