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Bratislava or Vienna?

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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:00 AM
  #1
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Bratislava or Vienna?

Hi everyone,

I've booked flights for a weekend away early next month, leaving London very early on Sat morning and arriving back late on Sunday night. I chose Bratislava because the flight times were handy and give us almost the whole weekend away, but having looked through the forum, it seems that most people find it very underwhelming and there may not be enough to do to fill 2 whole days.

The other option is to go to straight to Vienna instead and stay there. I've never been to either city before. What's putting me off Vienna a bit is the idea that it may not be enough time to fully enjoy it and that we're on quite a budget (Bratislava is meant to be quite cheap) but we may not ever make it back to Vienna, as we're hoping to do a couple of big long-haul trips this year, so perhaps it'd be a great opportunity to go.

What would you do?
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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Hi clementine,

We spent half a day and a night in Bratislava and liked it a lot, and would liked to have spent longer, but we were due to travel onto Vienna, which we did by taking the hydrofoil up the Danube, which takes just over an hour.

However it appears that the hydrofoil doesn't run in the winter so you'd have to use the train or the bus.

I still think it would be worth doing though, and would enable you to have a look at Vienna whilst enjoying the cheaper delights of Bratislava. However you would have to factor in the cost of the train/bus tickets to see if it's actually cheaper.

There were a lot of nice looking eating-places in Bratislava, including what seemed to us to be a lot of sushi restaurants.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for the info! Just to clarify - we're flying into Bratislava airport, so can either get a train/bus to Vienna or just head into Bratislava itself. It seems that most people who use the London-Bratislava Ryanair route do so to visit Vienna.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:24 AM
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Hotels seem much cheaper in Bratislava, but I think a 'day trip' to Vienna would be too much, as we effectively don't have any full days, seeing as we're arriving Sat and leaving Sun, so I think we'd have to choose one or the other.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Your trip is VERY short and is a budget trip. Stick with Bratislava. Vienna will wait for when you have more time and money.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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Clementine, I live in Vienna and take day trips to Bratislava whenever there is something of interest going on across the Danube. With your limited travel, I would spend the first day in Vienna and the second in Bratislava (spend the night in Bratislava--it will be less expensive).

For your Vienna day, I might take a Vienna city walking tour in the morning, have an inexpensive lunch at Tresniewski's, a Vienna institution, then spend the afternoon at Schloss Schönbrunn, the summer palace of the Hapsburgs. Enjoy a melange and Esterhazy Torte at the palace cafe, and return to Bratislava for dinner in the old town; we've popped into several restaurants and have never had "bad" Slovak cuisine. Save Vienna's Schnitzel and Sacher Torte, and the rest of the Imperial history, for another time.

For your Bratislava day, head first to the castle. In the afternoon, enjoy the old town. Some of the little side streets are quite picturesque, and you may find quite a few stores open (all stores are closed in Vienna on Sundays). Take in a museum or two of interest, plus the historical sights, and call it a great weekend.

In terms of transportation costs, Vienna's OBB (state railway) offers €15 round trip tickets (which you can purchase in Bratislava at the train station), and the travel time is a little over an hour. The OBB roundtrip ticket allows you to catch any of the hourly trains back to Bratislava. Keep in mind that the Bratislava train station is a brisk 20 minute walk to the Stare Mesto (Old Town) if that is where you will be staying. There is a bus (the 13X?) that runs between the station and the old town, as well.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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I've had a quick look and was surprised to find that hotel prices are similar, so I don't really need to factor that in anymore.

What are eating/drinking prices like in Vienna? We don't want anything fancy, just something 'local' and unpretentious, but if we do go to Vienna, we don't mind splashing out a little bit on some nice cake and coffee! I've heard that smoking is allowed almost everywhere in Vienna, is that true? Is it also the case in Bratislava?
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Jan 18th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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It seems that most people who use the London-Bratislava Ryanair route do so to visit Vienna.>>

that's why we ended up spending the night in Bratislava. We stayed here:

http://www.hotelmarrols.sk/

i know that it might be a bit outside your budget but if you can stretch to it, do it - it is one of the best places we've ever stayed! no wonder it's no 1 on TA.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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We lived in Washington, DC before moving to Vienna, and find Vienna expensive in general, but particularly for dining out. An ordinary plate of Schnitzel can cost between €10 and €20, depending on where you enjoy it. For example, our family of four had lunch at the Albertinakeller adjacent to the Opera last month; three schnitzels, a backhendl (fried chicken) and drinks (one wine, two beers, one soda) tallied nearly €75.

If you're okay with street food, the many wurstelstands offer great eats at budget prices. With it being winter, though, you'd probably prefer a cozy, sit-down place for lunch. Coffee and torte can be costly, as well, especially in the InnerStadt (tourist area). On a recent Christmasmarkt outing last month the four of us paused at Cafe Landtmann for two coffees and four cakes, and the tab was €50. In contrast, in our neighborhood outside the InnerStadt, the same would only run about €15.

Smoking is rather prevalent in Vienna in restaurants, especially in older, established places. Quite often, as well, one has to pass through the smoking section in order to reach the "non-smoking" areas.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Clementine -the Marols is showing 2 nights early in Feb for €180. I'd be surprised if you found anywhere of anything like similar quality for that price in Vienna, and probably the food will be cheaper too, to judge by what Fourfortravel has been telling us.

OTOH Vienna is a wonderful city with loads to see, albeit at a price.

if you decide on Vienna, a good deal is the Sissi card, which gives entry to the Hapsburg palace and the Schoenbrunn, and has the advantage, if you buy it at the Hapsburg, of allowing you to bypass what can be very long queues at the Schoenbrunn.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 10:35 AM
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The Marol's looks lovely - it is outside our budget (plenty of nice hotels much cheaper in both Bratislava and Vienna) but we could probably stretch to it if it's really lovely and we do decide to stay in Bratislava.

The smoking in Vienna is a bit offputting - it is easy to see if a place is smoking or not before you go in? Are there signs on the door or anything? I was looking at hotels near the Schoenbrunn - is that a nice area? Would cafes/restaurants/bars be cheaper than in central Vienna?
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Jan 18th, 2014, 10:59 AM
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Clementine, Schönbrunn to the InnerStadt (Stephansdom, for example) is about 25 minutes on public. Coming from Bratislava you would have a 15 minute connection at Hauptbahnhof (in Vienna) to Schönbrunn station, plus additional walking time depending on where your hotel is located. The area is pleasant and safe. Restaurants, etc. near the palace will likely be as expensive as those in the InnerStadt (though, the Tyrolean restaurant in the Schönbrunn park is pocketbook-friendly.)

So…if your flight from London arrives before 09:00, you can catch a train and be in Vienna by late morning. That gives you a good 7-8 hours of sightseeing in Vienna on Saturday. I would vote for spending the night in Bratislava; you'll be able to store your luggage easily on both your arrival and departure.

Most restaurants in Vienna's InnerStadt indicate whether they have a "Nicht Rauchen" section. Note that most cafes only offer coffee and sweets, some with an occasional sandwich.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 11:05 AM
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Thanks for the info. I think the flight arrives at 9.30ish, provided there are no delays, of course. Does anyone know if there is a direct bus from Bratislava airport to Vienna? Getting conflicting info from Google.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 11:06 AM
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clementine - I defer to 44travel of course, but i think that you would be better off staying in the centre of Vienna, especially as you have such a short time there. from memory it's at least 30 mins on the U-Bahn from the Schoenbrunn area to the centre, and if you like to go back to your accommodation in the evening before going out to eat, that's 2 hours out of your day.

I'm about as anti-smoking as you can be, but I don't recall the smoking in Vienna being that much of a problem.

you could look at restaurants on TA to see which ones are in your price range.

As for the Marols, at the time I think we rated it as one of the best hotels we'd stayed at, and I'd guess that I'm a good bit older than you. Also, it includes a very good breakfast which means that you can save money on lunch. For the quality of accommodation and service it's positively cheap, but of course, it's not in Vienna! if it were, IMO it would be at least twice as much.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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There is bus service from the Bratislava airport to Vienna, though I am unfamiliar with it. http://www.slovaklines.sk/coach-line...va-vienna.html From the Bratislava airport you would want to go to Vienna Sudtirolerplatz. That is our new main train station with multiple connections to points in the InnerStadt.

I agree with annhig; for your short visit, a more central location would be better. Or, stay in Bratislava.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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44travel - we used that bus to get back from Vienna to Bratislava for our flight home as we had arranged to drop our hire car off at Vienna airport.

When we got to the bus stop [which is right in front of Vienna airport entrance] they were saying that we might not get on it as there were lots of seats already booked but in fact there was plenty of space. I can't remember how long it took [It goes round the houses a bit], but we mainly got it as it went "door to door" as it were. I think that if you were just wanting to go to Vienna for a day trip, the train would be a lot better as it goes to and from the centre of each city.

OTOH were the OP to decide to stay in Vienna for the whole trip, then the Ryanair bus would probably be a better bet as it goes straight from the airport to the centre of Vienna and back again.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 01:38 PM
  #17
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I'm thinking of this as a possible itinerary. Not sure about timings (how often the bus from the airport to the city goes, how long it takes etc):

SATURDAY
09.30 Arrive Bratislava
Get bus into centre of Bratislava
Buy a train ticket and maybe have breakfast
Arrive in Vienna sometime around midday
Have a walk around/have lunch depending on what time it is
Check into hotel (probably city centre)
Sightseeing all afternoon - perhaps Schoenbrunn?
Dinner and drinks (any recommendations more than welcome!)


SUNDAY

Nice breakfast (perhaps coffee and fancy cake?)or brunch
Sightseeing around centre
Train back to Bratislava mid-late afternoon
Early dinner in Bratislava
Head to the airport around 8pm

Would this work or is it trying to do too much?
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Jan 18th, 2014, 02:16 PM
  #18
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If we end up sticking to Bratislava, we were thinking

SATURDAY

09.30 Arrive in Bratislava
Bus to centre
Have coffee/ breakfast
Walk around old town
Lunch around old town
Check into hotel
Have a nap (we'll be tired as we'll be up around 3.30 am)
More sightseeing
Dinner and drinks
Possible opera/show?

SUNDAY

Big breakfast at hotel
Relaxing/walking around
Castle
Early dinner somewhere nice
Head back to airport around 8pm

I imagine sticking to Bratislava may be less interesting sights-wise, but cheaper and more relaxing.
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Jan 18th, 2014, 10:33 PM
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Clementine, I personally like your first itinerary. While it's true that you will not even scratch the surface of what Vienna offers, you may find Bratislava a little too relaxing for two days worth of strolling. Plus, if the weather is inclement, Vienna offers far more warm and cozy places to duck into.

From the Bratislava airport, Bus 61 runs to the train station approximately every 20 minutes, and the train from Bratislava to Vienna takes a little more than an hour, so you're looking at a couple of hours getting from Bratislava to Vienna.

If you linger in Bratislava for breakfast and then head to Vienna, keep in mind that places like Schönbrunn and Hofburg close on Saturday afternoon around 17:30, with many stores closing shortly thereafter. I would maximize Saturday in Vienna, and relax and stroll in Bratislava on Sunday.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 01:16 AM
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Clementine - I would go with no 1 too. I think that I would buy some breakfast to eat on the train, and make sure that my hotel in Vienna knew that I would be arriving early, if only to drop my bags.

Have a good trip!
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