I was in Vienna for a long weekend on route to the Czech Republic from Slovenia as part of my longer journey across Europe. As I obviously like to visit new countries and Slovakia is literally just down the road it was a no brainer that I would end up there.
Pretty soon after leaving Vienna the train was rolling in to Bratislava and I got my first sight of this small capital city. I arrived and jumped straight on to a bus heading for the center of town but unknowingly I stayed on the bus to long and passed straight through the center in a flash. I was sat there completely oblivious to this until we were crossing the Danube and I was one of the few people remaining on the bus. I did mention it’s a small city!
Not wanting to get off the bus in a high rise soviet style residential area I opted to remain seated and wait for somewhere that looked a bit more desirable. This turned out to be a shopping center by the Danube which I loosely followed back towards the castle in the distance until I hit the entrance to the old town.
If you are traveling around Europe, especially Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the chances are that you will have seen more than your fair share of old towns but this one stands out amongst the best of them in my opinion. Its functional and colourful streets pass through little squares and under arches down to the banks of the river and on up to the castle. Its actually a cool little place to wonder round for a while with plenty of places to stop and eat or drink and watch the world go by. Its cheap too, if you are coming from Vienna then your wallet will get a well deserved rest!
I found myself thinking I should have stayed here for a couple of days because this city was really growing on me but a day trip is also plenty of time to see the sights.
That evening I got to the station and had just missed the train so I had an hour to kill. I would not really recommend hanging around the station, there is nothing there and its not pretty. I was stood outside rolling a cigarette when this fairly bulky, big and rough looking guy approached me and pointed out a no smoking sign that I was literally standing next to like a blonde. I thought he was being helpful so I engaged in small talk. This was a bad move!
And then things turned dodgy!
I walked away from the sign, he followed. He pulled a box of aftershave out of his pocket and started aggressively trying to force it on me for €10. He was not taking no for an answer and I didn’t care how big he was he was also not getting any money off me so we had a bit of a dilemma going on! After he realised I was not interested in buying his wares he put them away, now he was not trying to sell me anything but he still wanted money.
At this stage I was repeating myself saying “im ok”, “leave me alone please” with my hands held up, but he just would not go away and was getting more and more agro. He started shouting at me in Slovak so I didn’t understand what he wanted then he started dragging me towards a food cabin. Now he wanted me to buy him some f*cking food. He was not going to leave me alone until he had gotten something out of me, anything, I was starting to feel quite nervous as he was twice my size, getting angrier and now trying to drag me around .
I had to do something so I raised my voice and started threatening to shout police. He screamed at me, spat on me, then walked off. Plenty of people saw this going on but nobody cared enough to intervene. This wasn’t the most fitting end to a good day out but hey it could happen anywhere so I wouldn’t be put off by it. One day I would love to return and explore this city (and country) a bit more.
How to take a day trip to Bratislava from Vienna, the 2016 version.
I Googled for some up to date information about this but didn’t find much so here is how to get to Bratislava from Vienna for a day out.
If you have the budget for it and organised tours are your thing then there is plenty of options if you Google for them.
If on the other hand you are the more adventurous type or on a budget then you can easily take a day trip to Bratislava on the train or the bus.
I opted for the train but did see buses for a little cheaper if you are on a really tight budget.
The trains leave Vienna Hauptbahnhof station every hour and it takes about an hour to get to Bratislava from Vienna. I bought a return ticket at HBF station in the ticket office and it came complete with a map and guide to Bratislava. The ticket cost €16 return and im 99% certain that I had up to 4 days to use the return but you would have to double check. The price also includes the bus or tram in to the center of Bratislava as the station is a little outside of the town but its easily walkable too.
It is really quite simple to do on your own so there is no need to go on a tour unless that’s your cup of tea. There was also a few free (tip based) walking tours around the place with signs up if you wanted a tour.
If you are reading this part then your probably planning a day trip to Bratislava so enjoy yourself and have a nice day 🙂