An intimate, easy-to-navigate city of around half million inhabitants, Bratislava makes an excellent gateway from the more popular destinations in the region, especially when you get fed up with the big-city crowds. The Slovak capital also offers similar, Central European charm (rich history, unusual local flavors, stunning architecture and vibrant restaurants and night life) as I discovered over the course of a weekend there this winter. (“A Vienna Getaway Minus the Crowds” by Evan Rail, New York Times, March 2, 2012).
Basic City & Country Info
· Currency: Euro
· Electricity: 220-240 V and the plug is the European variety so you need a plug and voltage adapter
· Bratislava is divided into two parts by the Danube. Austrian border is just 3 miles from center of the city (Vienna 40 miles and Vienna Intl. airport just 31 miles away), Hungarian border 8 miles from Bratislava city center.
· Slovakia used to be part of Czechoslovakia. There are many similarities – but also some differences – between Czechs and Slovaks and their respective countries. The languages are somewhat similar, and many young people speak English.
· Religion: primarily Roman Catholic
· Slovakia is a member of the EU, NATO, and the Schengen Area.
Getting to Bratislava
From Vienna airport (VIE, Austria) – This airport is located about halfway between Vienna and Bratislava (31 miles/ 50 km by freeway, 40 miles /65 km by toll road), so it is convenient and a good choice for arrival. There are no direct trains from VIE airport to Bratislava, but there is good bus service. By car, Bratislava is 35 min from VIE. By bus it is about 50 min. See www.regiojet.sk or www.flixbus.sk or www.slovaklines.sk. Bus fare varies from 4-8€.
Directions: Take the bus from VIE airport to Bratislava Old Town/City Center, get off at the “Most SNP” Most means bridge) stop after you pass the Danube bridge or get off at “Nivy” and walk to the Old Town 15 min or take trolleybus #202, just 2 stops.
From Bratislava airport (BTS, Slovakia) – this airport is 6 miles/10km from the Old Town/Historic City Center. Bus transportation to the city is easy and inexpensive. There is a red vending machine at Arrivals, and they sell tickets at the newspaper stand at Departures. You can also buy a ticket at the yellow vending machine at the bus stop outside (you have to use coins, so be sure to get change). Buy a 1-hour ticket (1.20 €) or a 1-day ticket (3.50 €) or 3-day ticket (8€).
Directions: Take bus #61, transfer at the Trnavske myto for tram 4,8 or 9 to reach the Old Town/City Center.
– from Vienna (Austria): trains leave from Hbf-Hauptbahnhof. There are 2 routes on different lines running to Bratislava. One goes to “Bratislava Hlavna stanica” (Main station) in 66 min; the other goes to “Bratislava-Petržalka” station in 60 min.
– from (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary) or Berlin (Germany) trains go to the “Bratislava Hlavna stanica” (Main station)
– Directions: To go from the Main train station (Hlavna stanica) to the historical center, take tram 1 or bus 93. To go from Bratislava-Petržalka train station to the historical center, take bus 80, and in 10 min get off at the Zochova and you’re right there!
Train schedules in English or Slovak: www.cp.sk
Train tickets: www.slovakrail.sk or www.regiojet.sk
From Prague, Budapest and other cities, you will arrive at “Nivy” station. Then you walk 15 min. to the historical center or take the trolleybus 202, just 2 stops.
Bus schedules in English or Slovak: www.cp.sk
Bus tickets www.regiojet.sk or www.flixbus.sk or www.slovaklines.sk
By boat on the Danube River: (limited service in winter)
From Vienna by boat: www.lod.sk or by fast catamaran: www.twincityliner.at
General info on public transportation (English or Slovak): www.imhd.sk
Note: Provided information may change.