Getting around in Bratislava
What’s the best way to get around
Most of the following information is intended for people who plan to stay, or at least spend time, in Old Town. If your destination is located elsewhere in Bratislava, we suggest asking advice directly from your hotel or place of business.
Without a car
Bratislava’s Old Town is simply an inconvenient place to park a car, with only a few guarded car parks (mostly by the biggest hotels) and very few spots to park for free. The expense is also significant, especially in comparison with almost everything else here – two adults could eat and sleep adequately for the cost of parking a car for the day at one of the more expensive car parks.
Many visitors are happy to spend their time in Bratislava without a car. Perhaps three out of four top attractions, including night life and restaurants, are situated within the one square kilometer of Old Town. You can reach almost all the other worthwhile sights by reliable public transportation.
And at the end of the day, taxis are available to reach anywhere in town for a few euros. As of early 2006, approximate rates are as follows:
- from train station to Old Town for 3 euros
- from airport to Old Town for 8 euros
- between two points inside the city for 3 to 6 euros
In fact, you can spend several enjoyable days in Old Town and never leave it. The biggest attractions are all here (Bratislava Castle, the Cathedral of St Martin and the main museums) and so are most of the best restaurants, hotels, galleries, performance halls, pubs and clubs. You can take in an afternoon ballet, eat a very fine dinner, attend an evening concert and go for drinks or dessert all within a space of a few hundred meters, resting in your room in between. Who needs a car?
With a car
On the other hand, a car can get you easily to some really exceptional sights off the beaten track around the edges of the city. And one advantage to having a car is the option of staying in a special place beyond the city centre, or even out in the lovely country near Bratislava, still less than 30 minutes from Old Town.
Another option for drivers is to choose a hotel further from Old Town, and use taxis or public transportation for short trips into Old Town.
If you have decided to bring your car into Old Town, then plan an average of at least 50 Skk per hour parking in a guarded car park (more during business hours, less during weekends). The largest hotels have them adjacent. For other destinations you can drive to some point near your destination and then watch for the large blue and white “P” signs – these have recently been computerized, so that you check their electrical coding to tell whether they have available spaces or not (see www.parkovanieba.sk).
Outdoor car parks, with lower prices and somewhat less tight security, are available around the perimeter of Old Town, but then you will have to walk a few hundred meters to get to Old Town.
There are a few spots to park free of charge in and near Old Town, but these are frustrating to find. Also, they are frequent targets of theft, especially at night and if a stereo or foreign license plates are visible. During daylight on weekdays, even for street parking you will need to buy hourly tickets from yellow-vested attendants or risk being towed.
Bratislava is little by little getting to be more bike-friendly. You can safely cross the Danube on most bridges, and if you carefully choose your time and route get almost anywhere by bicycle. Better still, you can get out in the countryside where the real bike paths are. For more details see Bicycling in Bratislava.
From the airport
A taxi from Bratislava airport to Old Town should cost no more than about 250 crowns (8 euros) – ask the driver before you get in.
Buses directly to the main train station run regularly, and with one transfer you can get to Old Town or anywhere in the city. You must buy your ticket before boarding.
From the train station
Old Town is easily reachable by bus or tram in about ten minutes from the main station and the Petrzalka station. At the bus stop or tram stop, look for destinations “Novy Most” or “Kapucinska”, the closest to most Old Town destinations.