Useful Tips for a Day Trip from Vienna to Bratislava

Even though Vienna is a beautiful city, you shouldn’t forget to take some amazing day trips to nearby cities. After taking advantage of the best tours and experiences Vienna has to offer, look around to visit other places as well. Trips from Vienna to Bratislava in Slovakia or Budapest in Hungary are very convenient as the two capitals are relatively close. Even beautiful Prague, in the Czech Republic, is doable as a rushed day trip. Prague is just over 3 hours away from Vienna. So, using Vienna as a base will allow you to visit 4 capitals without even changing hotels.

Back to the subject, Bratislava is a relatively small city. A day trip from Vienna will be enough to get a taste of the city. There are many things to do in Bratislava, so you may decide to return for a longer stay.

Day Trip to Bratislava from Vienna – Transport Options

First things first, let’s take a look at your options to visit Bratislava from Vienna. We’ll look at the DIY option first.

Driving from Vienna to Bratislava

Bratislava is about an hour away from Vienna. The distance is 80 km on the highway (A4, A6) or 67 km on the A4 and then the B9 road. The highway is the most time-effective option. Parking in Bratislava’s central area is relatively easy. Click the link to read some important information about parking in Bratislava.

Another aspect to consider when choosing your transport method is road tolls. Both Austria and Slovakia require paying a vignette for driving on their motorways. If you choose the highway route, you need to pay for the two vignettes. That amounts to 19.60€ (at the time of writing).

Apart from flexibility in hours, driving has the added advantage of allowing you to visit Devin Castle, close to Bratislava, on the same trip.

One more thing, if you rent a car in Vienna, make sure to specify you plan to travel across the border to Slovakia.

Using the Train from Vienna

There are trains every hour from Vienna Central Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof) to Bratislava. The ride takes just over 1 hour, but you should also consider the time from your location to the station. You can buy your tickets online and board the train directly.

The UFO Bridge is where you need to get on your day trip from Vienna to Bratislava
The SNP Bridge in Bratislava a.k.a The UFO Bridge

Taking the Bus to Bratislava

Another very convenient option is taking a bus from Vienna to Bratislava. Flixbus has frequent rides between the two capitals on different routes and from different stations. Be careful about that and about your return ride as well. Ideally, your station in Bratislava should be Bratislava Most SNP. The other stations are further from the city center and somewhat hard to find.

There are a couple of other transport companies that cover the same route. Check them out and find the best option based on your location in Vienna.

Boat from Vienna to Bratislava

What could be better than visiting two Danube capitals and traveling between them on the river? A catamaran taking you from Vienna to Bratislava is the most picturesque option you could choose. The high-speed ride takes 75 minutes, but unfortunately, it is only available during the warm months.

From Vienna Airport

Vienna Airport is about 60 km from Bratislava, so you can easily go directly to Bratislava from the airport. Flixbus is your best bet, and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the Slovakian capital.

Joining a Group Day Trip

I like DIY trips, but sometimes joining an organized trip is easier. Any of the above options is viable, and it’s important to choose the one that suits you best. An organized trip sometimes lacks flexibility, but you don’t have to worry about planning anything.

Anyway, this day trip from Vienna to Bratislava sounds really good. It includes return bus tickets, a walking tour in Bratislava, lunch, but also some free time to explore.

Other useful tips

Don’t forget your passport and check if there are any restrictions at the time of your visit. Even if both countries are part of the Schengen Area, we had a border control check on our return trip.

How many hours do I need in Bratislava?

You can probably see the main sites and have a good lunch in six to eight hours. I spent just over 9 hours on my day trip from Vienna to Bratislava but we postponed our departure to have dinner in Bratislava as well.

We had time to walk to Bratislava Castle, have a delicious lunch, join a craft beer tour and explore the Old Town. Read more about the best things to do in Bratislava to decide how much time you need there.

Bratislava Castle is a must see on your day trip from Vienna
Bratislava Castle

Is Bratislava an Expensive City?

Bratislava is not an expensive city compared to most European capitals. Bratislava is definitely cheaper than Vienna for food and drinks. A day trip from Vienna won’t be a hit on your budget.


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