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The Slovak capital, while offering plenty to do, is no competitor to its more popular neighbors, Budapest and Vienna. Still, its central location offers the possibility of some amazing international day trips! I asked some fellow travel bloggers and we collectively came up with this list of the best day trips from Bratislava. Happy exploring!
Table of contents
- day trips from bratislava, slovakia
- 1. day trip from bratislava to brno, czech republic
- 2. day trip from bratislava to budapest, hungary
- 3. day trip from bratislava to devin castle, slovakia
- 4. day trip from bratislava to lake balaton, hungary
- 5. day trip from bratislava to mikulov, czech republic
- 6. day trip from bratislava to modra, slovakia
- 7. day trip from bratislava to olomouc, czech republic
- 8. day trip from bratislava to sopron, hungary
- 9. day trip from bratislava to spania dolina, slovakia
- 10. day trip from bratislava to vienna, austria
- 1. day trip from bratislava to brno, czech republic
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day trips from bratislava, slovakia
1. day trip from bratislava to brno, czech republic
Contribution: Adriana, Czech the World
Brno is the second largest city of the Czech Republic. It presents a perfect combination of history and a modern city. Here, you can find remarkable places, delicious food, beer, and wine. Brno is an easy day trip from Bratislava, taking only 1.5-2 hours by public transport.
Most of the city’s main attractions are within the walking distance of the historical center. The highlights are the Špilberk Castle, which is a massive baroque citadel with extensive casemates as well as the most iconic building of Brno – Petrov Cathedral. Another interesting place that should be on your list is St. James Ossuary, which is the second largest in Europe! The main square – Náměstí Svobody is often a place of markets and festivals. If you find yourself as a fan of modern architecture, you shouldn’t miss Vila Tugendhat – a villa built in functionalist style in 1929-30, which is listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are plenty of things to do in Brno to spend a day or more.
Getting to Brno is not complicated at all, there are a number of buses and trains departing from Bratislava. Trains leave from Bratislava Hlavná Stanica (Main Train Station) and the journey takes about 1.5 hours. Buses leave from Bratislava Bus Station (Autobusová Stanica Nivy) and the journey takes from 1.5 to 2 hours. Prices start at 5 Euros, depending on the company.
2. day trip from bratislava to budapest, hungary
Contribution: Cris, LooknWalk
Just 2 hours by car or slightly more by train, Budapest is a stunning choice for a day trip from Bratislava. After all, Bratislava was, once upon a time, the capital of Hungary (1536 to 1783) so why not also visit today’s capital?
Beautiful Budapest straddles the Danube River, with Pest on one side and Buda on the other. Both are gorgeous but, if you are only here for a day trip, you’ll have to “divide and conquer”. There are plenty of touristy things to do, as well as the opportunity to discover the hidden gems in Budapest. Do some research before planning your day trip to see what is most appealing!
Get yourself a 24h travel card so that you can use the extensive public transportation network. Arriving by train, from Keleti Railway station, hop on Metro 2 (red) and get off at Deak Ferenc Ter. You’ve arrived in one of the loveliest squares, close to the Danube.
Take a stroll on Vaci utca, all the way to the Great Market Hall. Why not pick up some souvenirs for home? Smoked paprika goes well with everything! Or you may want to take a ride on Budapest Eye? Cross Liberty Bridge and climb Gellert Hill, on the Buda side, all the way to the Citadella.
Wave hello to the Buda Castle and come back to the Pest side via Chain Bridge. Pass by St. Stephen’s Basilica on the way back to Deak Ferenc Ter. Hop on Metro 1 (yellow). And get off a Hosok Ter (Heroes’ Square). Be sure to check out Vaydahunyad Castle nearby.
3. day trip from bratislava to devin castle, slovakia
Contribution: Martina & Jürgen, Places of Juma
One of the most amazing day trips from Bratislava is definitely a tour to the picturesque Devin Castle. With its breathtaking natural surroundings and beautiful green landscape, this place is more reminiscent of Scotland than Slovakia. Situated on a 200-meters high rock, the castle offers a fantastic view of the Danube River that also flows through Bratislava and to the neighboring Austria with Vienna.
The history of Devin Castle dates back to 864, making it one of the oldest fortresses in Slovakia. On a walk across the renovated castle area you will find plenty of interesting things to see and enjoy countless photo opportunities.
Since the castle is only about 10 kilometers away from Bratislava, this place is ideal for a day trip or half day trip. Whether by car or by public transport, the Devin Castle can be reached relatively easily. Perhaps try a river boat trip from the city center to the castle!
Devin Castle is open year-round, so it’s even an option if you are visiting Bratislava in winter. It’s a must-add activity to your Slovakia bucket list. From October to March from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and from April to September from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Entrance Fee is 5 Euro, but with the Bratislava Card, it’s completely free.
4. day trip from bratislava to lake balaton, hungary
Contribution: Erki, Genem Travels
Lake Balaton is the biggest lake in central Europe and it’s mainly known as a summer vacation spot for local Hungarians and close-by nations. The lake and surrounding landscape were formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions. It’s a super-popular choice for those taking day trips from Bratislava or Budapest.
Lake Balaton is surrounded by several activities, like hiking on hills, exploring medieval castles, wine tastings, parties, soaking in natural thermal springs, and having a break next to Lake Balaton’s beach resorts.
Tihany peninsula is the cultural center of Balaton. There is a small, charming town with authentic local shops, restaurants to try out local dishes (such as langos), and a magnificent view from the Tihany Castle of Balaton Lake.
Badacsony is another remarkable spot on the shore of the lake. There are one of the most visited wine regions in Hungary. From the small wine shops, visitors can have local wine tasting experiences. Also, it’s recommended to hike around Badacsony hill. It’s an old volcanic hill and from there are the best views of Lake Balaton and the surrounding Bakony mountains. Worth visiting is also close-by well maintained Szigliget Castle.
Balaton Lake from Bratislava by car is about 180 km away (2 and a half hours). By public transport, the most convenient option is to transit through Hungary’s capital Budapest. The public transport around Lake Balaton is well covered by smooth and fast trains.
5. day trip from bratislava to mikulov, czech republic
Contribution: Jacqueline, Your Travel Flamingo
Mikulov is a gorgeous, well-preserved historic town located in the South Moravian region of Czechia. This region is Czechia’s very own wine country, and conveniently, you’ll find wineries and vineyards within the town itself. One of the most notable structures in Mikulov is Mikulov Castle, which upon arriving is what you’ll see dominating the skyline. A visit to Mikulov should absolutely include a visit to the castle and the castle grounds, which are both spectacular in beauty. A visit to the castle’s interiors will provide insight into its fascinating history, which dates back to 1249.
Apart from the castle, you’ll fall in love with Mikulov by strolling through the Old Town, which is characterized by colorful historic buildings and cute cafés. There is also a wonderful outdoor market occupying the main square, where you’ll find regional delicacies including locally produced cheese, cured meats, and beer. Also be sure to hike up Svatý Kopeček, which translates to Holy Hill. This hill offers the best view of Mikulov, especially at sunset.
If you’d like to end your perfect day trip by trying the local wine, you don’t have to go far. Head to Mikulov Vinotek, a wine bar located in the Old Town. During the day it offers beautiful views from its terrace.
To get to Mikulov by car, use GPS to find the fastest route, which takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes one way. It is possible to reach Mikulov by taking a number of buses and trains, by transiting through Vienna. This route takes about 3 hours.
6. day trip from bratislava to modra, slovakia
Contribution: Raluca, Travel with a Spin
A day-trip to Modra is undoubtedly one of the easiest day trips from Bratislava. It takes less than one hour to get there. The bus leaves every 30 minutes from the main station and a one-way ticket only costs 3€.
Modra was first mentioned in the 12th century and it developed quickly due to the vineyards and winemaking. By the 17th century, it already was one of the most important towns in the Slovak Carpathian region. Even to this day, Modra is known for quality wines. It even has its own school for winemakers. Taking all this into consideration, attending a wine tasting is mandatory for anybody that visits Modra.
The town became known as a pottery center in the 19th century. Local craftsmen produce colorful eye-catching models. Their attention to details can be seen in each piece. Visitors can participate in a workshop at the local factory in order to learn more and test their skills.
While walking the main street in Modra, one will notice the oldest church in town, a gothic jewel dating back to the 14th century. From there, a popular three-hour hiking path goes to the 21m high observation tower Veľká Homola.
Regarding food, look no more than Hotel Sebastian u Hoffera. They cook traditional and international food served on a beautiful terrace. The only drawback is the waiting time. But this also means more time to enjoy the cozy atmosphere!
7. day trip from bratislava to olomouc, czech republic
Contribution: Veronika, Travel Geekery
Olomouc is one of the prettiest cities in the Czech Republic. Given its position in Moravia, not far from the border with Slovakia, it can be easily visited on a day trip from Bratislava.
There’s a direct bus between the cities – Flixbus – with travel time of about 2.5 hours. When travelling by train, you need to make one stopover and the journey takes 3 – 3.5 hours.
Most people visit Olomouc because of its historical center. The main two squares attract most attention with their sights – e.g. the UNESCO-listed Holy Trinity Column or City Hall with an astronomical clock. The whole city center is beautiful and picturesque. A series of Baroque fountains is scattered around and wonderful churches abound too. You can stroll around and enjoy the hidden alleys, with most passing by university buildings, since Olomouc is home to the second oldest university in the country.
You can eat well in Olomouc too. While a number of modern bistros and cafés have sprung up, you can still eat typical Czech food at the many local restaurants. A local specialty includes a ripened cheese called tvarůžky or syrečky. Its smell is quite strong, but when incorporated into a meal – such as fried cheese or into a garlic soup – it’s lovely. Try it at these traditional Czech restaurants: Restaurant U Mořice, Hanácká hospoda, Drápal or Moritz Microbrewery. Having Czech beer with your meal is a must too, but of course that goes without saying!
8. day trip from bratislava to sopron, hungary
Contribution: Monique, Trip Anthropologist
In the heart of Europe is the old town center of Sopron, Hungary, an easy day trip from Bratislava. Sopron lies on an isthmus of land in Western Hungary.
Sopron is a medieval village sitting atop an ancient Roman town called Scarbantia. The excavations are beside the old town center. Many of the other best sites in Sopron are located within a short walk of the Roman Forum.
The old town square (Fő tér) is surrounded by medieval and Baroque buildings. In the center of the square is the Holy Trinity statue which is a memorial for the people who died in Sopron of the Black Death.
Around the square is the City Hall (Eggenberg House) as well as two important buildings – Storno-ház (15th century), and Fabricius-ház. Storno-ház (18th century) housing museums. If you are lucky to be here during the Christmas season, there is a small Christmas market in the square.
The Goat Church is also on the main square. It is a Gothic church with a Baroque interior. But the building most associated with Sopron is the 58m high Firewatch Tower (Tűztorony). It is the focal point of the town and has light displays during festival times.
A sizable Croatian population means that there are some great Croatian pubs as well as lovely Hungarian cafés around the central squares.
From Bratislava it takes an hour to drive to Sopron, or an hour by train to Gyor and then another hour to Sopron.
9. day trip from bratislava to spania dolina, slovakia
Contribution: Jiayi, The Diary of a Nomad
One of the best day trips to take from Bratislava is undoubtedly to Špania Dolina, a former mining village that offers spectacular views and nature. This town is rarely visited by tourists outside of Slovakia, which makes it an amazing place to get away from the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet.
The most popular thing to do in Špania Dolina is to hike the trail that takes you around town. During this hike, you can see lots of houses that miners used to live in back in the 17th and 18th centuries.
For most of the hike, you’ll be wandering inside a beautiful forest. The air is super fresh, and there are flowers and even some butterflies here and there. The whole hike is just around 1-2 hours and is very easy to do, even for beginners.
The main highlights of the hike are the magnificent viewpoints along the way. From there, you can see the entire town from above surrounded by gorgeous green rolling hills, and it is truly breathtaking. Be sure to bring good camera gear, such as some wide-angle lenses for the Sony a7III, to best capture this picture-perfect view.
At the end of the hike, you can also enjoy a mini-mining exhibition at the café near the parking lot. All in all, Špania Dolina is a true hidden gem that deserves way more attention.
To get to Špania Dolina, you can either drive for 2 hours from Bratislava, or take a train, which would take 3.5 hours with a stop in Banska Bystrica.
10. day trip from bratislava to vienna, austria
Contribution: Jade, The Migrant Yogi
Among the most popular day trips from Bratislava is the Austrian capital of Vienna. Given its close proximity and excellent rail connections, Vienna is particularly great to tack on to the beginning or end of your trip.
While there is plenty to do in Vienna to keep you busy for more than a day, if a day is all you have, you can certainly check out the city’s highlights. Check out Schönbrunn Palace, the Belvedere, and the Hofburg to see some of Austria’s most famous landmarks. Catch a matinee show at the Vienna State Opera House or explore the many magical Christmas markets if you’re there during the holiday season.
Direct trains bring you to and from Bratislava multiple times per day. The ride takes just over an hour, or just under an hour if you opt to drive. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, why not take a ferry on the Danube? This option only takes an hour and a half and offers some spectacular views along the way.