Bratislava is just an hour away from Vienna by bus or train but an entirely different city to experience! We decided to add a night there onto our trip to Vienna, and I’m so glad. The capital of Slovakia is full of great food, a beautiful old town, delicious beer and lots of history. It’s also much less expensive than Vienna and easy to get to and around.
After flying into the Vienna airport (thanks to Ryanair cancelling our flight to Bratislava) we took a speedy 1 hour bus to the centre of Bratislava. There are several private bus companies that depart for Bratislava from Vienna airport, it’s easy to just arrive at the designated bus terminal and buy a ticket on board for the next one departing. There’s no real need to book ahead online.
We checked into our hotel/microbrewery, ate some lunch and headed off to our tour of Bratislava. We took the Local Secrets of Bratislava tour with Urban Adventures and it was a great introduction to the city. A mix of modern and medieval history, local hang outs, food and historic monuments and buildings worked out well and gave a good introduction to the city.
Highlights were the tower offering views of the Old Town, the castle, and a visit to the now controversial monument to the soviet army liberating Bratislava in WWII. (Here’s a link for a discount on any of their tours world wide). We also stopped in a very local pub at the end of the tour and tried local beer, sheep cheese, deep fried cheese and other traditional food. It’s a pretty young country, and it’s interesting to hear from someone who lives there about the transition from Soviet occupation, separation from Czechia and the issues with government corruption today.
After wandering to a few pubs in the evening (the beer there is awesome!) we called it a day.
The next day, after stuffing ourselves with walnut and poppy seed pastries at breakfast, we wandered around old town a bit more to see the whimsical statues placed throughout town and visited the blue church and the UFO bridge. Then we were off to catch the train to Vienna.