Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia is often visited as a day trip from Vienna. And while at first, it seems that the city doesn’t have all that many attractions, there are actually plenty of things to do in Bratislava and if you decide to spend a bit more time there you will see what a great city it actually can be.
It took me a few trips to Bratislava until I finally realized the real value of the place and now it is among the cities I like returning to (but still, Kosice is my all-time favorite destination in Slovakia). If you decide to give Bratislava a chance you might be surprised too what an interesting city it can be and that it offers more than it seems at first.
And while you are there, why not going on some day trips from Bratislava? The city can serve as a great base to visit some of the best places to visit in Slovakia as well as some great destinations in three neighboring countries – Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Table of contents
- 1 Day trips from Bratislava
- 1.1 Day trips from Bratislava within Slovakia
- 1.2 Day trips from Bratislava to Austria
- 1.3 Day trips from Bratislava to the Czech Republic
- 1.4 Day trips from Bratislava to Hungary
- 2 Map of Bratislava day trips destinations
- 3 Further reading
- 4 Travel Resources
Day trips from Bratislava
So, without any further ado, here is the list of best Bratislava day trips. I asked a few fellow bloggers to contribute too so you will have even more options to choose from.
Some of the places are easily available by public transport, others are better visited by car or with a tour. But all together they are all great destinations and show you the real beauty and diversity of Central Europe.
Day trips from Bratislava within Slovakia
Little Carpathian Wine Route
Not many people know that Bratislava and its surrounding is a wine destination but this area is a perfect place for all the wine lovers.
The Little Carpathian Wine Route goes from Bratislava to Trnava through a few picturesque and charming royal towns, such as Svätý Jur, Pezinok, or Modra. In each of them, you will find small, family-owned wine cellars where you can learn more about the local production and taste wines.
If you come to the area at the right time you can attend wine festivals that are usually accompanied by numerous events. The most popular festival is Wine Cellars Open Day, happening twice a year, in May and November. When you purchase the ticket you also get the wine glass and with it you can visit as many wine cellars as you want, trying local products in each of them – you can choose from over a hundred wines!
But even outside of the festival season this is a perfect area to visit, not only for wine lovers, and due to its proximity to the capital Little Carpathian makes a perfect option for a Bratislava day trip. Just make sure to have an assigned driver with you if you plan to enjoy local drinks!
Here are some of the available day trips from Bratislava to Little Carpathian Wine Route:
- Wine Tasting in Modra, Slovakia
- Bratislava: 6-Hour Carpathian Wine Tour and Tasting
- Little Carpathian Wine Tour
- Private Tour of Small Carpathian Wine Route with The Red Stone Castle
- Private Wine Tour to Small Carpathians
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Perched on a rugged hilltop, Devin Castle is a 9th-century castle that overlooks the seamless merging of the Danube and Morava rivers. While the surrounding views of the castle are spectacular, the castle itself is an interesting archaeological site that holds a significant history.
Devin castle served as a military refuge and defense for many empires until it was blown up by Napoleon’s army in 1809. The exhibition in the castle showcases many artifacts and sculptures through which visitors can learn a lot about ancient times. Visitors can also walk through the ruins of many courtyards and walls of the Devin castle.
If you are looking for some adventure, near the castle there are many hiking and cycling trails along the Danube river. The mesmerizing lush green gardens around the castle are a good spot to spend a relaxing time.
The most convenient way to reach Devin Castle from Bratislava is by getting on the public bus number 29 from Most SNP which is a journey of 30 minutes to the stop, Štrbská, Hrad Devín. You will have to take a short walk from the stop to Devin Castle. For ease, you can also rent a cab that would take you to the entrance of the castle or go for a tour – click here for details.
The Abandoned Missile Base at Devínska Kobyla
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If you like urban exploring and the outdoors, a visit to Devínska Kobyla will be the best day trip from Bratislava you can gift yourself. The highest peak of Bratislava lies 10 kilometers northwest of the Staré Mesto. Below this small forested mountain lies the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers—a beautiful sight in itself.
Opposite these rivers lies Austria, which means that this marked the Iron Curtain back when Czechoslovakia was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Of course, such a strategic point on the outer border was very useful. So the military built a missile base atop Devínska Kobyla with their rockets armed and aimed at the capitalist west.
Today, the missiles are gone and the site lies abandoned. With caution and a camera, it’s possible to stand inside one of the bunkers that held a missile. Visit the offices and imagine soldiers passing the time waiting for the Cold War to turn hot.
You could take bus 84 or tram 4 to Dúbravka and hike up. But if you’re two people or more, it’s simpler to take a Bolt or regular taxi to the beam gate. Prepare for lots of hiking and wear thick-soled shoes.
Trnava is one of the easiest day trips from Bratislava. The city is only half an hour away by train from the capital and with frequent connections you can easily go to see this interesting city.
Trnava is often called “the Little Rome” because of its numerous towers and churches that you can see there. The city was first mentioned in 1211 and was the first place in Slovakia that was granted the right of the free royal town.
Today in Trnava you can admire numerous historical monuments and buildings as well as one of the longest remaining defending walls in Europe. From the town tower, you can admire a beautiful panorama of the city and beyond. Overall Trnava is one of those charming Central European cities that don’t get as much attention as they should.
Once you are done with all the sightseeing you should head for a coffee to one of the most unique cafes you will ever see – it is located in the synagogue and is simply amazing. That already is a good reason to visit Trnava!
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Piešťany is a famous spa town located 80 km from Bratislava. It’s easily reachable by frequent train connections from Bratislava (about one-hour travel time) or by car (45 minutes).
A great place to start your day is the spa part of Piešťany – the Spa Island. As you approach the Colonnade Bridge leading to it, say hi to the statue of a man breaking his crutch – the symbol of the spa.
While strolling through the island, keep your eyes open to spot various places of interest, such as a huge aviary or various sources of healing thermal water. There are ten different sources in Piešťany and the water comes from as deep as 2000 meters below ground. There’s even a tap on the island where you can try the water!
There’s more to Piešťany than just the spa – its center, though small, is quite lively. It’s situated around Winterova street and offers lots of cafes, ice-cream shops (try Monalisa) and restaurants.
From there, take a walk on the promenade by the river Vah, heading south towards Lodenica (Marina). This peaceful 25-minute walk offers many places to sit down on the grass by the river and simply enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. Once you reach Lodenica, there’s a restaurant “Žiwell” with its own artisanal brewery to enjoy a nice meal.
Trencin is located some 130 km north of Bratislava, on the main railway line, so getting there is really easy. The city has a long and interesting history, the first settlement was located here already in the 4th century BC.
The biggest attraction of Trencin is the medieval royal castle, one of the largest castles in Slovakia. Already in the 11th century, it served as a royal castle and over the years it was the seat of noble families. Also in medieval times, the town developed under the castle and today it is a really lovely area to wander around.
When exploring Trencin, go to the Town Tower for the best views of the city. You can also see the impressive synagogue from the beginning of the 20th century – if you are lucky you can see it inside too, it’s open only a few times per year!
Čičmany, a small village located some 170 km north of Bratislava, is one of the most unique places to visit in Slovakia. What makes it so special are the original log houses with the typical white ornamentation that looks really impressive.
The decorative ornaments were added to the buildings for practical reasons, to protect the logs from the sun rays but the result is very beautiful. There are 136 historical houses Čičmany (now all of them are protected monuments) and each of them is just the prettiest, however the most valuable ones are Radenov dom and the neighboring Gregorov dom.
The village looks unreal with all the decorations and traditional buildings around. If you are looking for an unusual place to visit as a day trip from Bratislava, Čičmany seems like a perfect choice.
You can combine visiting the village with Trencin that is only 50 km away or go for a tour that covers Čičmany and Bojnice Castle (more about it below) – click here for details.
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If you love castles and want to explore Slovakia further, you have to visit the romantic Bojnice Chateau with its picturesque park. This is a perfect place for history buffs and nature lovers who love to enjoy the historic medieval atmosphere. Standing on a travertine hill over the Bojnice town, Bojnice Castle is one of the oldest and most beautiful cultural sites in Slovakia.
The castle boasts a museum where you can see various types of medieval tools of destruction like swords, maces, halberds, and shining suits of armor. Another room features handpainted Turkish tiles, oil portraits, and a nice collection of painted Chinese vases.
After visiting the castle you can explore the nearby countryside villages like Cicmany and Trencin. Both are unique, spectacular, and worth visit. There is another beautiful castle named Trencin Castle situated on the top of a steep rock.
This 19th-century fairy-tale castle is located 184km northeast of Bratislava. Being one of the cheapest European countries, the transportation cost is very affordable. Both, bus and train services are available from the capital city to Bojnice and it takes around 3-3.5 hours to reach Prievidza. You can also visit Bojnice Castle and Trencin Castle on a tour – click here for details.
Banska Stiavnica is probably the prettiest and most charming town you can visit in Slovakia and it’s definitely worth a 2-hour drive from Bratislava. You can also reach it by public transport but it would take much longer hence it is not recommended. Tours are also available.
The UNESCO-listed town is one of the oldest and the most important historical mining towns in Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages. Hidden in the valley and surrounded by gently rolling hills, Banska Stiavnica looks like taken straight from the fairy tale. Winding, cobbled lanes, colorful houses, and churches towering above the city make it look very picturesque and a bit unreal.
You can combine visiting Banska Stiavnica with enjoying the nature around. It takes only a short walk from the center to find numerous hiking opportunities where, during your walks, you can stumble across some old mining remnants on the hills around. If the weather is clear you can admire a stunning view of Central Slovakia or even see the Tatra Mountains or Kekes – the highest peak in Hungary.
You can read more about the town in my article “Banska Stiavnica – one of the most beautiful towns in Europe”.
If you would like to go for a tour from Bratislava to Banska Stiavnica here are the options:
- Bratislava: Banská Štiavnica UNESCO Day Tour
- Banska Stiavnica Town: Private Full-Day Tour from Bratislava
- Private Day Trip to Banska Stiavnica Unesco Site
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Banska Bystrica lies in the center of Slovakia, right below the Low-Tatra mountain range.
The main attraction in Slovak’s sixth-largest city is the main square. The Slovak National Uprising Square (SNP Square) is filled with beautiful colorful architectural buildings, historical monuments, fountains, and many restaurants and cafes. In the same square, the most prominent building is the Clock Tower. Not so far away from the square is the City Castle.
Another eye-catching concrete bowl-shaped building in the city is the SNP Museum. There you will learn the history of the Slovak National Uprising army’s importance during the II World War.
Banska Bystrica would be an ideal day trip option to see a bit different Slovakia. A city with rich culture, history, medieval architecture, or just having a nice place to stroll around and having a meal in one of the SNP square restaurants.
You can reach Banska Bystrica from Bratislava by public transport, both buses and trains are available.
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Nestled between hills in Central Slovakia is the former mining town of Špania Dolina, and though it is largely ignored by international tourists, it’s a true hidden gem that definitely deserves a day trip from Bratislava.
The most convenient way to get to Špania Dolina is to drive for 2 hours from Bratislava. Public transportation is possible too, but bear in mind that a train journey would take over 3.5 hours one way, with a transit stop in between as well.
Špania Dolina is home to tons of scenic hiking trails. At the beginning of these trails, you’ll get to see parts of the village, including the houses that miners used to live in. You’ll then come across stunning forest scenery complete with flowers and butterflies.
The highlight of the hike is undoubtedly the lookout point where you’ll get a postcard-worthy view of the church and the surrounding hills. Be sure to bring the best photography gear for this breathtaking view, such as some of these amazing Nikon D3100 lenses.
The hiking trails in Špania Dolina are easy and suitable even for beginners. A typical hike here will most likely take you just 1-2 hours in total. Once you reach the bottom, you can even enjoy a mini mining exhibition at the cafe by the parking lot!
Day trips from Bratislava to Austria
Vienna, the stunning capital of Austria, is located only one hour away from Bratislava and makes such a perfect day trip option. While most people choose to visit Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna you can go in a reverse direction. And sure, Vienna has so many attractions that it’s better to spend there more time but even if you only have one day in Vienna you can see all the highlights and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the majestic city.
Start in the center of the town, surrounded by Ring Road. In the very heart of it, you will find Stephansplatz with the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral – be sure to visit it inside too! From there you can walk on either Kartnerstrasse – the main shopping street in this area or Graben – the street with stunning houses along the way.
Your next stop should be Hofburg Palace, the former imperial residence that in the past used to be home to the rulers of the country. From Hofburg, it’s a short walk to Ring Road with all its attractions and some of the most important buildings in Vienna: the Opera House, the Parliament, the State Theater, the Town Hall or the University – just to name a few.
Next go to Karlsplatz with beautiful Karskirche and some of the most amazing art-nouveau buildings you can find in Vienna. Your last stop should be Schönbrunn Palace where famous Empress Sissi used to live. Attached to the beautiful palace you will find a large and pleasant park – from its upper parts you can admire a really lovely view of the city.
During your Vienna sightseeing be sure to stop in one of the traditional coffee houses Vienna is famous for.
You can get from Bratislava to Vienna by train, bus or boat – I recommend taking the train as it’s very easy and efficient. You can use public transport for getting around the city, as soon as you arrive in Vienna buy a daily ticket as this will be your best friend when discovering the capital of Austria.
You can also visit Vienna on a tour – click here for details.
Read more about Vienna in my article “One day in Vienna – how to see the most in the Austrian capital”.
Day trips from Bratislava to the Czech Republic
Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, is located around 130 km away from Bratislava but you can easily get there by train. There are a few connections per day between these two cities (at least every 2 hours) and the journey takes around 1,5 hours. Once you reach Brno you can start your sightseeing right away as the Old Town is only a few steps away from the train station.
Brno is one of these typical Central European cities with beautiful architecture from the turn of the 19th and 20th century and wandering around is a real pleasure. Along the way, you will find plenty of attractions, such as the beautiful cathedral, old town hall, or quirky Brno astronomical clock in a very distinctive shape. A bit outside of the center you should head to the Špilberk Castle from where you can admire a beautiful panorama of the city.
Brno is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Villa Tugendhat. The house built in 1928-1930 is a masterpiece of modernist and functionalist architecture and everyone who appreciate good design should visit it. It is possible to see the interior of the villa but book the tickets in advance as they sell out very quickly.
You can read more about Brno in my article “Visit Brno – a perfect Central European city”.
If you would like to see Brno with a guide here are some local tours you might want to join:
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Mikulov is an adorable village nestled among the rolling hills of the South Moravian Wine Region. Even though Mikulov is located in the nearby Czech Republic, it’s an easy day trip from Bratislava. Multiple trains connect the two destinations via a transfer in Breclav; however, it’s best to rent a car. The scenic drive takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes, but there are a few worthwhile destinations to see en-route. You can also go on a tour from Bratislava to Mikulov – click here for details.
Mikulov is found in the Czech Republic’s leading wine-producing area, so visit the village’s picturesque chateau, or sample a glass from an inviting wine bar. With its pristine location in the Palava Protected Landscape Area, appreciate the views from “Goat Hill.” Behind the charming main plaza, climb up to “Holy Hill,” and find a small chapel and the most stunning views of Mikulov.
Save some time to visit the nearby villages of Valtice and Lednice. Valtice boasts a beautiful palace where it’s possible to sip wine from its vineyards at the Old Gatehouse. In Lednice, tour the lovely Renaissance-style palace, or wander through the majestic gardens. Both places are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mikulov makes a spectacular day trip from Bratislava, so discover one of the Czech Republic’s best-kept secrets.
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Punkva Cave is part of the Moravian complex, the largest karst area in Central Europe. In order to get there from Bratislava, you have to head first to Brno and drive 30km more in the north-east direction. At the entrance, there’s a huge parking lot and a tourist information center. Public transport is also available but takes far longer.
Most people choose to visit Punkva Cave, instead of the other four caverns in the complex, because of the interesting experience of an underground tour partially done by boat.
Here is how it works. You enter the cave accompanied by a guide that will show you beautiful formations, tell stories and take you to the base of the Macocha Abyss. That spot is like a totally different world, full of greenery and lush vegetation.
After that, the group will be loaded on boats and the last half of the tour will be done on the water. Passing through narrow tunnels and spacious halls, you’ll follow the underground stream as it finds its way out of the cave.
This being said, keep in mind that it is recommended to buy tickets online in advance as they sell out quickly.
Day trips from Bratislava to Hungary
Budapest is another capital that you can easily visit as a day trip from Bratislava and just like in Vienna, you can actually see a lot in one day only. The best way to get from Bratislava to Budapest is by train (the journey takes a bit over 2 hours) but buses are also available though they take a bit longer, around 3 hours. I recommend buying a day ticket for public transport – you will need it when sightseeing in Budapest.
Start your day in Budapest on the Buda side of the city where you can visit the beautiful Fishermen’s Bastion from where you can admire the stunning panorama of the other side of the Danube river, with the famous Parliament Building right in front of you.
Continue over the charing streets of Buda to the Royal Castle and then take the funicular to the picturesque Chain Bridge. Once you cross the Danube you will see how different this side of the city is. You will be surrounded by amazing magnificent buildings, a great testimony to the grand past of Budapest.
You can go up to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica to look at the city from above and see it from another perspective. The Pest side of the city offers many attractions too – you can walk the most representative street in Budapest – Andrassy, or sit down for a drink in one of the famous ruined bars.
And if you still have time go and relax a bit in beautiful baths – the most popular one is Széchenyi but the one in the Gellert Hotel isn’t bad either.
Located only an hour away from Bratislava, Gyor makes a perfect day trip if you would like to visit Hungary but don’t necessarily want to go all the way to Budapest. Gyor was first inhabited in the 5th century BC and over the years was one of the most important places in the region, with a big historical value to Hungary.
Today this is a vibrant student city with plenty of attractions. The oldest buildings in Gyor date back to the 13th century (like the dwelling tower) but most of the architecture was made in a beautiful Baroque style. This is yet another unknown gem of Central Europe and if you are in the area you should definitely visit Gyor.
The easiest way to get here from Bratislava is by car but there are also direct buses connecting these two cities.
Map of Bratislava day trips destinations
To give you a better orientation on where all these great places are located, here is the map with all of them.
If you are planning to visit Slovakia I have a few articles that you might find useful or interesting:
- Top places to visit in Slovakia
- Bratislava-more than just a day trip from Vienna
- The ultimate list of things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia
- 30 Great Things to do in Kosice, Slovakia
- 21 Most Instagrammable Places in Kosice, Slovakia
- Slovak Paradise and Kosice Region by train
- Bardejov – the most enjoyable town in Slovakia
- Banska Stiavnica – one of the most beautiful towns in Europe
- Komarno, Slovakia – a perfect stop between Budapest and Bratislava
- and more!
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