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How to get to Bratislava from Vienna

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The two cities of Bratislava and Vienna are both beautiful, intriguing and worth visitors time, but despite being the capitals of their respective countries (Austria and Slovakia duh!) they are only about 35 miles (56km) apart.

River Danube

They are so close in fact that Ryanair flies into an airport known only to itself as Bratislava-Vienna. Anyway, this proximity means that visitors to one city can easily spend a day in the other and make it back in time for tea. I have written this post from the point of view of travelling from Vienna to Bratislava since that is the way I did it but it can be done vice versa.

Vienna – Bratislava by bus

As with everything when you are travelling, the first consideration is most likely to be cost if you don’t have much money and comfort if you do. Bearing this in mind the budget means of transport is, as always, the bus. There are several companies running buses along the short route, Eurolines is probably the most well known although their Austrian site is a pain to use. The Slovak one is useful though. The bus takes about an hour and a half and should cost up to twenty Euros depending on the time and season of travel. The bus means that the emphasis is firmly on the destination and not the journey which, while not unpleasant, is never anything more than bland.

Vienna – Bratislava by bus

The train is quicker than the bus, more comfortable and the journey more scenic. It can also be cheaper, advance tickets costing as little at nine Euros. That price goes up substantially if you cannot buy ahead, however. Both the buses and trains run regularly meaning that if you can’t plan ahead you aren’t going to be left hanging around for ages at the station.

Vienna – Bratislava by boat

The top end of the market is not, as is usually the case these days, taken by the plane. Flying between the two cities would in fact be completely pointless; you could walk the distance in the time it takes to go through security. The most pleasant means of transport is in fact the boat.

Both cities lie along the course of the river Danube as it winds its way through Europe and out into the Black Sea. Boats ply the course regularly, much more so in summer, and although it takes considerably longer the views and experience make up for it. The boats are generally full of contented looking people hanging over the railing and humming ‘Blue Danube’ to themselves. The price of the boat tickets is high since they are a tourist commodity and this puts many people off, one way to get around it is to take the boat in one direction and either the bus or train in the other.

“The Danube Toward Vienna” picture by Bill Barber 

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

7 responses to “How to get to Bratislava from Vienna”

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  1. Luke says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 16:13

    ‘You could walk the distance in the time it takes to go through security’ LOL, probably true. I think your headings may be a bit messed up though

  2. Helmut G says:
    May 27th, 2009 at 13:29

    Travelling along the Danube is one of the most beautiful journeys you can make. I would say go by the boat always because the train is not the same experience

  3. Chuck_WA says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 15:34

    As an American I can say that this is real useful of Europe, putting such beautiful places so close together. I’m staying in Vienna right now and I’m taking my wife over to Bratislava on Saturday. Real helpful article thank you

  4. Ryan says:
    January 27th, 2012 at 22:09

    Great little article, here. The other commenter is right: please update the send “Bratislava by Bus” title to “Bratislava by Train”. Otherwise, perfect!

  5. Prema says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 11:12

    Hi Will,

    I enjoyed reading yr article on how to get to Bratislava. I am interested in going there from Vienna in August 2012. But I would like to go on a slower cruise to Bratislava and return by train. I do not want to travel on one of those super fast boats. Is there any hope??

    Thanks you


  6. LoAnn says:
    March 9th, 2013 at 04:32

    Hi Will,

    Great articles about Bratislava.
    We of 13 people visiting Vienna on Wednesday March 13 and would like to see Bratislava.
    Which is the best mode of transportation for our group? And where do we buy advance tickets?
    Thank you for answering.

  7. Dave says:
    May 20th, 2015 at 15:30

    Great advice about the boat. Me and my friend, we took the boat from Vienna. Cos we had basically just a half day in Bratislava we took It was worth every penny. We saw in just a few hours probably everything…even Devin Castle and that funny sandy rock Sandberg. I definitely recommend Bratislava.

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