If you’re spending more than 2 or 3 days in Bratislava you might find yourself running out of places to check out and explore in the tourist areas.
Directly across the Danube is a mall and beyond that is the suburb of Petrzalka.
If you head the other way you’ll find even more suburbs until you reach the airport or the forested hills behind the city.
Rather than wandering around aimlessly looking for things to do in the city itself I highly recommend going on one of the many options you have with day trips from Bratislava.
Slovakia is an enormous country and there are countless things to do and places to explore.
Having spent nearly a month in the country I have barely scratched the surface when it comes to what’s left for me to discover.
The Best Day Trips from Bratislava
Depending on how long you’re traveling, and whether you’re visiting Bratislava first and then heading somewhere else, you should consider going on a day trip to Vienna if Austria’s lovely capital city isn’t already in your itinerary.
Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and it’s full of countless things to do, places to explore and different cafes and restaurants to check out.
You can either take the bus, or a cool boat ride, to reach Vienna and it’s only 40 miles (65km) away from Bratislava.
They’re two of the capital cities that are the closest together almost anywhere else in the world and with such a close proximity you’re doing yourself a disservice by not heading to Vienna for the day.
If you’re not sure what to do in the city I recommend going on a walking tour.
The tour I recommend is the Introducing Vienna Walking Tour, which will give you a great introduction to the Austrian capital.
- Transportation to and from Vienna
- Food, drinks and entertainment
How to Get to Vienna
On the outskirts of Bratislava is Devin Castle, an old Slovak fortification.
Built in the 800s, Devin Castle has stood as a defensive fortification for over 1200 years.
Construction ended during the 17th century and it has only been maintained to this day.
Today the ruins of Devin Castle are well preserved and definitely worth the visit if you’re interested in Slovak history and culture.
Since 2008 the upper part of the ruins have been closed due to deterioration and unsafe walking conditions.
Devin Castle is open year-round between 10 and 16:30/17:30.
- 4 euro entrance fee
- Parking or bus ticket
How to get to Devin Castle
- Only 10km away from the Old Town of Bratislava
- Paid parking at the castle
- Take the city bus from under Novy Most
- Lines 29 & 128 run every 30 mins
15-minutes away from the Bratislava city center, just across the Austrian border, are the ruins of Pottenburg Castle.
Towering over the city of Wolfsthal the Pottenburg Castle has stood defending the border for hundreds of years.
Today all you can find is ruins but there’s a nice trail to the top that offers sweeping views of the Danube River valley down below.
- Bus ticket
- The ruins are free to enter and explore
How to get to Pottenburg Castle
- If driving, head to the city of Wolfsthal
- For public transportation, take the 901 Bus from under Novy Most, get off at the Wolfsthal stop
Right behind the city is the forest-park area of Koliba.
Here, where the Kamzik TV Tower stands high above the city, are a network of hiking trails, restaurants, and outdoor activities that you can participate in.
You can go downhill mountain biking through the foothills of the Carpathian’s or take a cable car ride over the densely wooded forests the blanket the area.
Stop at the Kamzik TV Tower for the view and a warm espresso from the cafe in the lookout area. From the top you can even the Tatra’s on a clear and sunny day.
- Bus ticket
- Bike rental or cable car fee
- Lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants
How to Get to Koliba
- Take buses 203 or 516 from Novy Most
- Get off at the Koliba stop at the top of the hill
Poprad and the High Tatras
A visit to Poprad is one of my favourite day trips from Bratislava.
It’s a bit further away, requiring almost 2.5 hours on the train, but the magnificent views you get of the High Tatra’s are completely worth it.
Poprad is a small town in Central Slovakia and is popular for its access to all the resorts and skiing towns in the surrounding area.
Many people only see Poprad as a stopover on their way to other places like Stary Smokovec or Zakopane but it deserves a day on its own to check out and explore.
In the center of the city is a lovely Old Town area and everywhere you look you have panoramic views of the Tatras looming in the distance.
If you can’t make it work as a day trip consider spending the night and exploring more of the region.
- Grab a train from the Bratislava Main Train Station
- A one-way ticket costs 15 euros
How to Get to Poprad
- Take the train using Slovak Rail
Less than hour from Bratislava is Piestany, the biggest and most well known spa town in all of Slovakia.
There are many globally renowned spas across the city and if you’re looking to relax after a few days or weeks of heavy traveling this is the spot to do it.
If the spa isn’t your thing you can spend the day wandering through the narrow streets, hanging out along the Vah River, and marvelling at the 19th and 20th century architecture.
- Train ticket
- 5 euros one way
How to Get to Piestany
- Take the train from Bratislava to the main station in Piestany
- Use Slovak Lines
Explore the Small Carpathian Wine Country
You might not realize it, but Slovakia is home to some of the finest wines in Europe.
In the Small Carpathians you can find a range of wineries and beautiful landscapes that you wouldn’t believe are so close to Bratislava.
If you’re interested in tasting some delicious Slovak wines and exploring some quaint, tucked away villages then you’re definitely going to want to visit the Small Carpathian wine region.
This area can be hard to access on your own and even with a rental car you might not be able to check out some of the best that the region has to offer.
I definitely recommend going on a Small Carpathian Wine Country tour so you’re able to relax with a local guide leading the way while you taste wine and learn more about wine-making in the region.