It took me more than 12 years to tick off the Vienna to Bratislava day trip from my bucket list. My mum visited me to spend a wonderful mother-daughter day and that was the perfect opportunity for it. The most idyllic way to travel from Vienna to Bratislava is by boat: with the Twin City Liner.
About the journey with the Twin City Liner
The gate for the Twin City Liner, a modern catamaran with 2000 horsepowers is at Schwedenplatz in Vienna.
The journey starts through the narrow Vienna Danube Canal, the southern foothills of the Danube until it reaches the 250 meters wide Danube after about 20 minutes. From there, one can move freely on the boat and either go to the upper or rear deck to enjoy the ride from outside. Meanwhile, the Twin City Liner has already reached a speed of 50 km per hour. The inside cabin is conveniently equipped and the upholstered armchairs are very comfortable. In the rear, a bar provides snacks and drinks during the boat trip from Vienna to Bratislava and return.
Castle Theben behind the border
We pass little, charming fishermen’s cottages on the left and right side of the Danube and admire the nature reserve of Donau Auen, which reach as far as Hainburg and observe the cormorants and herons on the shore. Shortly after Hainburg, we can already see the medieval castle Theben on the left side which lies just behind the border in Slovakia. For a short distance, the Danube is the border between Austria and Slovakia. After approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes we reach Bratislava, where we get off pretty much right in the city center. The old town is only a few minutes walk from the Twin City Liner landing pier.
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Things to do in Bratislava?
Bratislava is quite a small city located at the Danube. During a day trip from Vienna by boat you can cover the most frequented and famous spots of the city like the castle, the old town, some museums and galleries. The city has a beautiful architecture and many examples of Socialist architecture. It is worth paying attention on the buildings during your stroll through the city. Watch out the video and get an impression of Bratislava and the things you can do in Slovakia’s capital.
Our first path led us high above the city to the landmark, the castle. The way leads over cobbled streets and stairs. At the top, you have a wonderful view of the city and the Danube. In addition, the castle garden is very beautiful. Those who like to visit museums can have a look at the Historical Museum with the treasure chamber.
The old town
The old town of Bratislava, also called Staré Mesto, is also the center of the city. It is not very big, but a stroll through the alleys of the historic center is definitely recommended. The city is lively and packed with restaurants and cafés. Those who have come to this part for shopping might look in vain. Apart from a few isolated boutiques and souvenir shops, the city is not recommendable for shopping.
Those who like to learn more about the city and its history should book a guided city tour. Flora Tour has an extensive program offering short and longer guided tours.
Here’s another great 24h guide to Bratislava by Lucy.
On the opposite side of the old town, just after the bridge, is the 95 meters high UFO Tower. In just 45 seconds with the elevator you can enjoy a fantastic view, a restaurant and a bar, which are open daily from 10.00 am to 11.00 pm.
Bratislava has a lot of museums and galleries to offer to all who are interested in culture and arts. In the Pharmacy Museum in the pharmacy of the Red Cancer, there are thousands of pharmaceutical scales, objects and books to look at. The clock museum in a rococo house exhibits clocks from the 17th to the 20th century on three floors, and those who are interested in archaeology will get their money’s worth in the archaeological part of the Slovak National Museum. The UMELKA Gallery, one of the oldest cultural institutions in Slovakia, with its innovative and creative exhibitions, is considered home of the fine arts. The Kunsthalle communicates with passers-by through its shop windows, and as a photographer, I always like to go to museums or galleries that deal with photography, such as the House of Photography in Bratislava.
At visitbratislava.com you can find all museums, exhibitions and events.
Eating and drinking recommendations in Bratislava
Especially in the old town you walk from one restaurant to the next and there is something for every taste:
Orbis Street Food in Laurinská 7 advertises, as the name suggests, street food and allegedly the Belgian fries are a dream.
Albrecht in Mudroňova 82 with a famous Slovak chef offers traditional Slovak cuisine. In the summer there is fish and meat from the grill.
For the small appetite the Enjoy Coffee Michalská has 3 salads and sandwiches. I can highly recommend the mozzarella tomato salad.
Tickets for the return trip start at 25 euros in the evening and 35 euros during the day.
Tickets for the Vienna – Bratislava trip are available online or at the ticket counter at Schwedenplatz.
The Twin City Liner travels five times a day during the high season and four times a day during the low season.
The journey time is approx. 75 minutes – depending on the water depth and weather.
You need a valid passport to enter Slovakia.
The boarding starts half an hour before the departure. Make sure to be on time.
My and my mom's résumé
My mom and I we loved our Vienna to Bratislava day trip together. While we sat comfortably in our chairs we had a beautiful view of the nature at the Danube. Bratislava is worth visiting during a day trip from Vienna and you can cover pretty much the whole city in a couple of hours – unless you want to explore all the museums. Going by boat is a different but very nice and convenient way which I can totally recommend.
Disclaimer: Thank you to the Central Danube Region Marketing & Development GmbH for providing two free tickets for the Twin City Liner from Vienna to Bratislava and return. My opinion about the boat trip is my own.