As Vienna and Bratislava are so close, please make sure that if you’re in one of these cities, you visit and appreciate the other as each city is very different! Vienna and Bratislava are the two closest capitals in the world and I have to recommend that you travel with Vienna Sightseeing from Vienna to Bratislava for a day trip. Having travelled to and from Vienna to Bratislava on my own and with an organised tour, I believe that in order for you to truly learn about and equally enjoy a leisurely day in Bratislava, it is best to travel with an organised tour company. Whilst you can independently travel from Vienna to Bratislava by train within one hour, you rob yourself of the opportunity of seeing the beauty of these two different landscapes if you do not travel by bus or boat and Vienna Sightseeing can definitely offer you the chance to travel by bus and boat!
See the beautiful and simplistic Bratislava Castle
The 1 hour and 15 minute route that the bus journey takes is gorgeous and it will depart from Vienna State Opera at 8.00 am (please note that the duration of the journey can be longer contingent on traffic conditions). En-route you will be able to see the Danube River, which flows through Austria and Slovakia. The Danube River is one of the longest rivers in Europe and is in fact the only river that travels through 10 countries. It starts from Germany and in addition to Austria and Slovakia, it travels through Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. My favourite site that you will be able to see during your coach journey and once you arrive to Bratislava is the beautiful and simplistic Bratislava Castle. The Bratislava Castle is one of the most popular sites in the city and is a large rectangular buildings with four towers and it overlooks the Danube River. The first written record of Bratislava was in 907 and it refers to this castle, which is today known as the Bratislava Castle. The keepers of the castle were originally the Celts, which were followed by the Romans. During your coach journey and drive into Bratislava, you will be able to enjoy learning briefly about some of Slovakia’s history and culture. You will arrive in Bratislava at around 9.45 am.
Admire Michalská brána and discover the ancient buildings
Once in Bratislava, you will embark on a wonderful 1 hour and 45 minute walking tour of this memorable city. You will have the opportunity to experience the quaint and pretty Old Town which has real structural beauty. It is compact and easy to walk around and not as tiring as seeing some of the Old Towns in larger cities. The Old Town is a mixture of narrow streets and some now wider boulevards that demonstrate the moving times of Slovakia’s capital city. Your informative and personable guide will take you towards Michalská brána (Michael’s Gate) which is one of the entrances to the Old Town and is the last gate remaining there today from the original fortification, so it is of great significance. Leading up to and around Michalská brána are some ancient buildings to admire and discover. There are also a number of little cafés and restaurants flourishing in the vicinity. Full of artisans, buskers and fellow tourists, I am quite sure that you will enjoy your initial introduction by foot of Bratislava when you walk into this historic area.
Nice buzzing atmosphere at Hlavne Namestie
Following on from this, you will be taken to see the Ronald Fountain aka Maximillian’s Fountain, which is on the famous Hlavne Namestie (Main Square). This square encapsulates Bratislava within its different architecture and surroundings; there are a number of shops and bars to compliment the atmosphere which creates a nice buzz and vibe about the place. The Kafe Majer on the square is a notable traditional coffee shop that serves cakes, pastries and coffee and is recommended. In addition there are a plethora of cute, old, modern and diverse restaurants serving items to return for when you have some free time. In the middle of the square is the Ronald Fountain which was built in 1572 after the coronation of King Maximilian. Legend has it that the statue turned once in 100 years. Your friendly guide will be happy to show you around the square and tell you about the history of this enchanting area that has an abundance of history. In light of the fact that the walking tour is quite lengthy in comparison to that of other tour companies, I would recommend that you carry only required items, such as money, camera, water and any other necessary items.
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Hviezdoslavovo námestie and the unique statues surrounding it
After hopefully soaking up the sunshine whilst perusing the Hlavne Namestie, you will proceed to Hviezdoslavovo námestie, which is one of the most popular squares in the Old Town. It is located between the New Bridge and the Slovak National Theatre, which is known for its exceptional opera performances. The square has quite a few trees and some ancient palaces; the atmosphere overall is very good and quite relaxing. There are several statues located on the square and in its vicinity, which makes it also have quite a fun vibe. Once you see the statues, you will understand why I make reference to there being quite a fun vibe. I would recommend that you especially look out for Cumil, Schone Naci and Napoleon’s Soldier. Make sure that when you’re walking past them, you take a few snaps or make a note where they are so that you can return in your free time. This is because well, you can’t go to Bratislava and not have your photos with some of these unique statues! Your tour guide will walk you through the medieval streets and then wander back towards the Danube and take you towards the Concert Hall Reduta, where your walking tour will finish.
Hours of free time to enjoy Bratislava at your leisure
After the walking tour, you will be given free-time from 12.00 pm until 2.00 pm if you are to return by the coach option. If, however, you want to return by boat, then you have free time from 12.00 pm until 4.00 pm to explore Bratislava at your own leisure. If you want to enhance your day trip experience in Bratislava and go all out, then I would have to recommend that in your free time you visit the UFO Restaurant on the Slovak National Bridge. The restaurant is the shape of a saucer and is 85 metres (279 feet) above the bridge and you need to take a lift to get to it. The food is phenomenal and the views of Bratislava are equally as good. You will be able to see the Bratislava Old Town, the Danube River and the Bratislava Castle. Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, you can visit the Observation Deck that is above the UFO Restaurant, which costs 6.50 EUR (7 USD) per person. After your free time, you will meet with the rest of your group on this popular tour and will head back to Vienna. The cost per ticket for the tour by coach is 49 EUR (55 USD) and if you wish to take the coach one-way and a boat on the return, the cost is 69 EUR (77 USD). Thank you Vienna Sightseeing for a fantastic day!
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