The bus to Vienna runs regularly and is 7.2o euros one way and takes an hour dropping you at Erdburg station in Vienna, just a few stops on tube from the centre.
The bus leaves from down by the Danube.
It is quite easy to get from Budapest to Bratislava by car - it is a straight highway, about 2 hours easy riding. Buying vignette just for one day really doesn't make sense, as Bratislava lies practically on the borders. Just leave the highway before the border (Rajka on the hungarian side) and use the national road to Bratislava (some 20 km). One week vignette is 150 SKK (5 EUR).
I strongly disagree about the car thefts. These countries are not the "Wild East" anymore. Look at the statistics at http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_car_the_percap-crime-car-thefts-per-capita. Of course, you have to be careful just as anywhere else. Probably the biggest annoyance of the car trip would be nervous local drivers in both Budapest and Bratislava, in the latter especially if you will go slower than 20 km/h above the official limit :-)
As to the parking: depends where you want to go, generally no problem with garages (60-100 SKK / hour). Good tip is a shopping center Aupark, where you can park for free without a time limit and it is just across the river (0,5 km) from the city center.
I would recommend to take a bus from Bratislava to Vienna for the German Wings flight to Dortmund!Schedule see at http://tinyurl.com/528hdj
Most probably a flight Dortmund-Frankfurt wouldn't make much sense, as the distance is rather short (180kms) and Dortmund-FRA-flights land frequently at Hahn-airport, not FRA international. So travelling by railway may be the best option for your return-trip!
German Wings Vienna office: +43 (0) 820 240 554
The motorway runs right past Bratislava airport (mr stefanik/ ivanka)
two lanes run up past Trnava and Trencin. but stop near Povaska Bystricia where you have to take the old road through P.B and rejoin the motorway the other side, it will be completed around 2010 , from there to zilina is ok.
this journey takes around 2.5 hours at the speed limit of 130km.
Bratislava is a very walkable town. The old town is very compact and the castle takes only 15-20mins to get to from there.
There is a tram system for those wanting to venture outside the city centre.
Though you can't walk to Bratislava from too many places, you can certainly walk around much of the city. From the main train station to the old town is just 1 mile (1.5 km). The distance from the castle to the farthest point in old town in about 3/4 mile (1.2 km). From the Presidential Palace to the river is just 2/3 of a mile (1 km)... all very easily walkable in just 10-20 minutes.
Most of the Old Town area is desitgnated for pedestrians only, so you don't have to worry about getting run over. Outside of Old Town, we found wide sidewalks adequate even for our wide American asses (except for the huge amounts of construction in many areas).
I found that the gas stations can be very helpful in Bratislava. It's easy on and easy off. The OMV stations have free Maps in Hungary which include a lot of Slovakia. Getting between Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia wasn't too difficult.
The border guards do want to see passports, so make sure you have them. The Hungary boarder guards want to stamp the passports where the Slovakian ones just looked at the cover, maybe the picture and let us through.
We had rented our car in hungary and really didn't have any problems or even slow down until we got to Croatia where they did really scrutinize our US passports.
We were wondering what are these old fashioned looking "cars" which were parked on the old town square. Soon it became clear that they made sightseeing tours for people with these funny red cars.
This is a good alternative for those who want to save their feet and want to hear something about the city as well.
Bratislava is very nicely located. Those who don't have direct flights there, can fly e.g. to Vienna, which is only a one hour's bus drive away. There are regular bus lines, almost every half an hour, between Vienna and Bratislava. The buses are comfortable.
A more exotic way is to take a ferry, e.g. TwinCity Liner, which lasts a little bit more than an hour. It is nice to watch the Bratislava castle and many other things while floating in Danube.
You can buy refreshements onboard.
If you have time, you can also make a trip by ferry via Danube to Vienna or Budapest.
In Vienna the ferry (TwinCity Liner) arrived in a perfect place - by one of the biggest metro stations so we could easily continue our way to the airport without using the expensive taxi.
Best way of transport in Bratislava during the night is a taxi. It´s very cheap in comparism with other European cities. However, be aware, when you just jump into a taxi on the street without requesting it on the phone, they charge you the double charge. When you call the taxi in advance, you pay normal charge. I think the best and one of the cheapest taxis in Bratislava is Karibik taxi. The number is 02 16555. The drivers are always polite and don´t try to cheat.Minimum charge is 90 Sk.
We wanted to get to Bratislava straight away after our flight to Vienna and avoid any unnecessary hassle at the airport and finding our hotel. We could also stay longer in Bratislava by booking a private transfer back to Vienna. I booked our transfers from www.bratislavahotels.com and it cost 2000 SKK per way. They have a couple of different operators they use and our transfers were operated by a company called A-Noe. The cars were new, spacious and air-conditioned and the drivers were very polite and spoke English. Especially the elder gentleman who drove us from Vienna to Bratislava was great as he told us about many sights on the way. Transfers both ways were also pucntually on time. Considering how easy this whole thing was, I would definitely recommend a private transfer if you have a bit of extra money to spare.
It is perhaps possible to book straight with the taxi/transfer companies in Bratislava and perhaps cheaper that way, but this was so easy I didn't bother searching. A taxi without a booking taken from the Vienna airport will be much more expensive than 2000 SKK.
The main things to see in the historic Old Town are all within walking distances but if you don't feel like walking all day, try the cute trolley. I never used it but I noticed it parking before the Franciscan Church (Main Sq.) where people got on board. The trolley goes happily slowly, and it is has protection against all weather conditions. Guided tours are available in many languages. For more info go to the BIS Tourist Info centre near the Primate Palace or check their website.
Bratislava is not that big and the main attractions are in the centre, so I could walk all over the places and sights I wanted to see. But be aware, streets are main of stones which is not easy to walk with high heels.
Upon arrival at Bratislava Airport we had planned to get a public bus into the city centre.
However on speaking to the lady at the tourist info desk, she said all the ticket machines only take coins, so we would of had to buy a drink etc to get change.
She suggested a taxi might be easier for the 13 of us.
It was and it cost us ?14 for a taxi seating 7 persons from the airport directly to Botel Marina which is located on the Danube in the centre of the city.
We thought this was great value.
As our hotel was located so central we did not have cause to use public transport but the picture shows one of the tram lines near to Novy most.
The Old Town of Bratislava is best explored on foot. Most of the main attractions can be reached by a short walk from the Main Square (Hlavne namestie). Even the Slavin War Memorial which is located on a hill outside the Old Town is still in walking distance.
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