How to have a fantastic day trip to Bratislava from Budapest

Bratislava is right next to Vienna and quite close to Budapest. So you can do a day trip to Bratislava from Vienna or Budapest. During one of our trips to Budapest, we decided to make a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. The first question was:

From Budapest to Bratislava by train

Traveling by train or bus from Budapest to Bratislava is almost the same. The prices are similar (10-20 Euros if bought with time), the time it takes is almost the same (2:00 to 2:300), and there are several options during the day.

day trip to Bratislava from Budapest
Day trip to Bratislava by train

The fact that we were staying very close to the train station was also very nice because we were able to just walk there. To take full advantage of the day, we woke up really early to catch the first train to Bratislava.

Also, we find it much more comfortable to travel by train than by bus but that’s a personal choice.

The train was almost empty, we had a cabin just for us. The cabin had heating (remember it was winter) which made the train journey very pleasant. We could take our breakfast, relax and even sleep a little bit.

After 2h40 we arrived at “Hlavná stanica” (the local name of the station) and left the train. The station isn’t exactly in the city center, and the surroundings aren’t attractive at all.

From the train Station to the old town, you can take any bus or trolleybus directing to “Račianske mýto” and then take a tram to the city center; or you can just walk down towards the Danube, following the sign saying “Centrum” which of course was our option 🙂

We always walk around to know a city and on our way down we got to see the Presidential Palace in Hodža’s Square. Outside the palace is a memorial courtyard that is separated from the square by an impressive fence that features two gold-plated wrought-iron gates.

Things to do in a day trip to Bratislava

Arriving at the old town the views change completely into narrow pedestrian streets and squares, full of souvenir shops, old classical buildings, and statues.

The whole town is full of statues, it’s very cool to wander around the city and find pieces of art spread in it, some of them with a clear meaning and reminding us of the not so remote past.

Despite maximizing our time in the city, we only had one day, so we choose 4 major sights/activities.

Best things to do on a day trip to Bratislava

Blue Church

We had read the church was rather unique, with the blue color, and got curious. However, we found it a bit underwhelming, yes it’s pretty strange to have a blue church, but it’s just that.

The church is small, struggled in the middle of a busy square, and with nothing particularly appealing on it, besides the light blue color. Go there just if you have nothing left to do.

What to visit in Bratislava on a day trip from Budapest

Bratislava Castle

It’s a huge and imposing “castle,” but It looks much more like a Palace than a Castle. We are used to Portugal and Spain‘s middle age stone castles, built for defense purposes. Anyway, it is on the top of a Hill, has complete defense walls around and has four massive towers.

Unfortunately, it was closed, and we couldn’t visit the inside, but from the outside gardens and walls, you get fantastic views of Bratislava and the Danube.

Points of interest in Bratislava
Highlights of a day trip from Budapest to Bratislava by train

St. Martin’s Cathedral

It’s the biggest and most important church in Bratislava (69.37 meters long, 22.85 meters wide, and 16.02 meters high), built in Gothic style. There’s a replica of St. Steven’s crown, and it was historically used as the coronation church for the Hungarian kings.

Things to visit in Bratislava

Wander around Bratislava

This was our favorite activity, primarily because of the above-referred streets, squares, and statues. The statues make the city center much more appealing as you never know what surprise you will see next.

The most famous and unique is the Cumil (The watcher), there are two explanations for the status: the first says he represents the typical communist-era worker who doesn’t work, and the second is just looking up women’s skirts. We say: why not both :). But check also the Paparazzi, the Schone Naci, the Napoleon soldier, Hans Christian Andersen and so on…

Reasons to visit Bratislava
One of the many statues in Bratislava

Food and Drink in Bratislava

Our second fail in Bratislava happened when we went lunching. When traveling, we like to eat street and market food, fast food, and sometimes traditional food in restaurants. This time we went to:

Roland Restaurant Café – It’s completely central, clearly a tourist spot, but we wanted something different, and we heard that Bratislava is really inexpensive to eat in. Well.. not this restaurant. It was the most expensive trip meal and… it was only average.

We had schnitzel and some dumplings. But for 65 euros in Bratislava, I expect much, much more. It’s roughly what we used to pay in Luanda, but Luanda was the most expensive city in the world. We definitely don’t recommend it, not because it’s terrible, it just isn’t worth the price.

So, yeah, we all do stupid things sometimes… just try and don’t do the same…

Day trips from Budapest

Bon Bon Cokoladovna –  We had some excellent hot chocolate before, but this was probably one of the best hot chocolate ever. Not as good as in Panajachel, Guatemala, or in Oaxaca, Mexico, but still good. It was so creamy, soft, and sweet. Absolutely fantastic. It came with whipped cream and water on the side. Besides the hot chocolate, it has some good cakes (chocolate or not) and beautiful bonbons.

By the end of the afternoon, we walked back to the train station and returned to Budapest. The train was now much fuller, and we couldn’t find a cabin just for us.

Anyway, it was still very comfortable, we like these long haul, eastern European trains.

Looking for more info about Bratislava? Check this 24 hours in Bratislava Guide

All in all, it was an enjoyable one-day side trip from Budapest, but we feel like Bratislava is the kind of city that you only need one day to visit. It just doesn’t have enough big attractions.

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17 thoughts on “How to have a fantastic day trip to Bratislava from Budapest”

  1. Don’t take tram to Račianske mýto, easiest way is to take bus 93 a get off on stop Hodžovo námestie or Zochova, or tram 1 and get off on námestie SNP. if you want best traditional food go to Bratislavský meštiansky pivovar on Dunajská 21, highly recommend Bryndzové pirohy so slaninkou, but whatever you try will be great. More hipster place with excelent food in city center is Fach on Ventúrska 274/10, amazing place 🙂 In summer try also ice cream in Koun on Paulínyho 1.

  2. I recommend to visit Bratislava during the summer, it is much nicer, there are many outdoor restaurants and cafes outdoors and a lot of things going on. You can also enjoy laying on grass near the Danube river at a place called Eurovea. I used to live in Bratislava for 4 years 🙂

  3. I did the same while in Vienna, just jumped on the train to Bratislava and actually liked Bratislava much more 🙂

  4. This is incredible! I haven’t even done research on the area but I think your pictures and reviews are stunning. I love the foodie section <3

  5. Love the Cumil; so unique. I have never visited this part of the world but am looking forward to it. It definitely has its own charm and humour.

  6. I have yet to visit Slovakia but I think the pictures you took are beautiful. The Blue Church is adorable and if I am ever in that part of the world I may have to make the pit stop.

  7. I haven’t been to Slovakia yet. I have only done Prague in the region and enjoyed it a lot. What is your favourite in the area?

    • We have only done budapest and Bratislava because we didn’t want to rush Budapest. Next time we will do Prague & Vienna probably

  8. Interesting to read the comment below that says Bratislava is just a large industrial city. A friend of mine has recently travelled there and she could not stop describing its many wonders, she truly loved it!

  9. Hi there, I don’t like Bratislava, it is just large industrial city and there are nicer cities, towns and natural places in Slovakia that worth a visit. From Budapest I would recommend visiting Kosice! 🙂

    • Really? Kosice is definitely not a industrial city with US Steel, one of the biggest factories in Slovakia? Bratislava used to be capital od Hungary, definitely worth visiting

      • Who wants to see capital goes to the capital, who wants to see something nicer, goes elsewhere… 🙂 That’s just my opinion. Of course there are lots of other horrible places in Košice appart from US Steel, such as Luník IX full of gypsies, or lot of waste all around in the streets… But it’s always better to visit this city than Bratislava… 🙂

  10. Quick question. Are there any places in the station to store your luggage? Me and my wife are traveling from Vienna to Budapest and hope to have a 6-7 hr sojourn in Bratislava. What say good people ?

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