During our one week stay in Vienna we decided to head to Bratislava with kids on one occasion. Slovakia’s capital is just one hour away from Vienna. The bus company Slovak Lines departs once per hour during the day. The ticket is cheap (20€ Return for us 4, 8€ adults, 2€ children) and they provide a water bottle and free Wi-Fi on board. In Bratislava, the bus stops at the main bus station Autobusova Stanica in the Mlynské Nyvi Street.
Here’s when things started to take a wrong turn. As it was already dark and we didn’t know exactly how far the hotel was away, we decided to grab a taxi. We squeezed in the back and after 8 minutes and 1,6 km we arrived at Marrol’s Boutique hotel. Now brace yourself: 22,20€! Hubby had to ask twice because he thought he didn’t understand well! 22,20€ for 1,6km in Bratislava! After asking the staff at the hotel reception, they told us we had no other choice than to pay! So 10€ for a 1 hour bus ride from Vienna and 22,20€ for a 8 minutes taxi ride. It goes without saying that our short getaway in Bratislava started poorly. Being ripped of as soon as you put your feet in a new country doesn’t make you feel welcome! And that feeling lasts for the whole stay!
UPDATE 2017: UBER is now available in Bratislava. So should you need a ride we definitely recommend using their service!
Luckily the welcome at the hotel was better. You can read about our stay at Marrol’s Boutique hotel here.
Bratislava with kids – What to see and do?
Walk around the old Town
Walking around the old town is a must. It is the best way to take in all the sights and discover the back alleys with restaurants and bars. Bratislava has a number of historic buildings and places which can all be easily explored with kids in tow thanks to the compact size of the old town. Some of the main sights a visit to Bratislava should include:
The Slovak National Theatre housed in a beautiful historical building right in the city center on Hviezdoslav Square.
St. Michael’s Gate is the last remnant of the city’s medieval fortifications. The street is very popular with many shops, restaurants and hipster bars. The back alleys have also some well hidden secrets.
The Presidential Palace, Trinity Church, St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Slovak Philharmonic are not to be missed either.
The Novy Most Bridge (beside the castle) is the first glimpse you get of Bratislava when you arrive. The bridge opened in 1972 and houses at the UFO shaped top an observation deck and popular restaurant.
Oldtimer Castle Tour
On the second day of our visit the weather was awful. It was raining and windy like hell. Although we wanted to walk up to Bratislava castle, we soon realized that this would be mission impossible. After 5 minutes, our four umbrellas had been broken by the wind. As we walked back to the hotel we came across a red Oldtimer near the Slovak National Theatre.
It turned out to be a guided audio tour of the city and castle that departed on the minute. It didn’t take us long to decide that if we wanted to see more of Bratislava, this Castle Tour would be our only choice. So we hopped on the Oldtimer and off we went for a one hour tour. We paid 10€ per adult and the kids were free. You can choose from 13 different languages on the audio canal. We learned a lot on Bratislava’s history and some other fun facts we would have ignored if we didn’t came by this city tour by chance!
The majestic castle, built in the 9th century, stands on a hill overlooking the city and the Danube River. On clear days you can see Austria and even parts of Hungary. We recommend going up even if it’s just for the scenery. Nowadays the Castle houses the Slovak National Museum – Museum of History. In the park below the castle you can find a restaurant serving traditional food.
Bratislava with kids
Danube River Promenade
The views on Bratislava castle can be enjoyed during a walk along the Danube River on a sunny day. Parks and benches await you if you want to rest.
Eurovea Shopping Center
As the weather didn’t clear up and without umbrellas, we stopped here before heading back to the bus station. We window shopped and had lunch in this pleasant shopping mall, although we would have preferred exploring more of Bratislava’s old town.
Bratislava with kids – Where to eat?
Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar
If you want to try traditional Slovak food, Bratislavsky Metiansky Pivovar is the place to go. Stop here for some excellent authentic food, cheap homebrewed beer and wine!
Location: Drevena 8 811 06 Bratislava
Pizza Mizza Expres
If you find yourself hungry at Eurovea Shopping Center we can recommend Pizza Mizza Expres. We tried 2 other food outlets at the food court but Pizza Mizza Expres is without a doubt the best. The pizza was fresh, tasty and really cheap! Location: Food Court at Eurovea Shopping Center
Bratislava with kids – Tips
– don’t take a taxi in the street but use UBER
– try Slovak food
– a daytrip is absolutely fine if you don’t have more time