Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the only national capital bordering on two other sovereign states: Austria and Hungary. Settled on the banks of the Danube and with a tumultuous geopolitical past, it is now the economic and cultural center of the country and a very popular day-trip from Vienna.
Here’s what you need to know for planning a hassle-free trip to the Slovakian capital:
ARRIVING in Bratislava
If you arrive by plane, you’ll just possibly land at M. R. Štefánik Airport, more popularly known as Bratislava Airport (BTS). Ryanair is the main airline here, as a low-cost option to Vienna Airport. It is located 9km away from the Old Town. Since there’s no direct rail connection, these are your options, in order of cost/benefit:
Due to the short distance to the city center, taxis are an ok option here. The stands for both taxi companies are located in front of Arrivals. It should cost between €10-20 until the city center, but make sure to agree on the price before starting the journey.
- Regular Bus
The airport is connected to Bratislava hlavná stanica (Central Railway Station) by public transport. Bus no. 61 has a journey time of 25 minutes and costs €0.90 with a 2-zone/30-min ticket or included in the Day Ticket (more details in the Getting Around section). Purchase at ticket machines on the Arrivals terminal or at the bus stop.
ATTENTION: Buy the ticket before boarding and validate it immediately!
From the Central Railway Station, it’s a 1km walk or a short bus ride (no. 93) to the Old Town.
If, however, you are going directly from Vienna Airport (VIE) to Bratislava, stay tuned, as I will write a specific post about the different ways you can travel between the two!
The easiest arrival in Bratislava is by train. And that’s how most tourists will arrive, due to the short distance and easy connection with Vienna.
The main railway station is Bratislava hlavná stanica, roughly 1km from the Old Town, which you can cover on foot, with tram no. 1 or bus no. 93.
A secondary but busy rail hub, with frequent links to Vienna, is Bratislava-Petrzalka, 3.5km away from the center, but easily reachable as well with bus no. 93/94.
The Bratislava autobusová stanica is the Main Bus Station and it is less than 2km from the Old Town, with various bus connections as well.
GETTING AROUND Bratislava
The public transport system is operated by Dopravný podnik Bratislava (DPB) and includes buses, trams, and trolleybuses.
It’s important to note that if you are staying in the city center proper or plan to visit only the main spots, you will barely need to take any transport: just from/to airport or train/bus station. But if you prefer to get this topic out of mind and be always covered, just go for time-based tickets covering Zones 100+101, aka Bratislava City:
- 24h, 72h or 168h: from validation until time expiration, costing €3.50, €8.00, and €11.40, respectively.
However, in the likely scenario that this is too much for your needs, consider that within Bratislava City, you have to pay attention to the journey time of the single ticket:
- 2 zones (corresponding to Bratislava City) / 15 min: €0.70;
- 2 zones (corresponding to Bratislava City) / 30 min: €0.90;
- 3 zones (including two for Bratislava City) / 60 min: €1.20.
ATTENTION: I can’t say this enough. Control is extensive, especially with tourists. So don’t forget to validate your ticket! For time-based ones, only when you use it for the first ride; for single tickets, each time you begin a new journey. Changes to reach your final destination are allowed within the validity period.Bratislava Transport Map_2019