Travel to Bratislava
Flying to Bratislava
Ryanair and Air Explore run direct flights to Bratislava from the UK. The cheapest flights are usually midweek and outside school holidays. It's always worth booking well in advance for the lowest fares.
From London - 2 hours 15 minutes; New York - 35 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 43 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 31 hours 20 minutes (including stopover).
Travel by road
In Bratislava, traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 years. The network of roads and supporting services is dense and reliable, and roads are generally in good condition, particularly on the main arteries. Speed limits are 50kph (31mph) in towns, 90kph (56mph) outside towns and 130kph (81mph) on motorways.
If you're planning to drive in Bratislava, you can use your national licence if you're from another EU country, otherwise you may need a valid international driving licence. Third-party insurance is also required. Driving while talking on a mobile phone is prohibited, and the blood alcohol level is zero. You must carry a reflective vest and warning triangle at all times.
If you're going to drive on the motorways, you need to buy a toll sticker (vignette). These are available at border crossings, post offices and petrol stations.
Emergency breakdown services
Autoklub Slovakia Assistance (tel: 18112, in Slovakia only); Slovenský Autoturist Klub (tel: 18124, in Slovakia only).
The major route running from Bratislava via the east of Slovakia is the D-1 to Presov and Košice, via Kralovany and Poprad, while the D-2 runs north and south from the capital. The two are linked, intersecting south of the Danube and avoiding the city centre. Bratislava is also connected to international transport routes and motorways, with the D-1 forming part of the E58 to Austria and the E75 to Poland and Ukraine, and the D-2 forming part of the E65 international transport route to the Czech Republic and Hungary. International transport route E58 connects Bratislava to the Schwechat Airport in Vienna.
Slovak Lines (tel: 18211, in Slovakia only or +421 2 5542 2734; www.slovaklines.sk) operates from the Central Bus Station in Bratislava, Mlynské nivy 31, and provides service to numerous European cities (in partnership with Eurolines). It's advisable to book well in advance. Tickets are available online, at the central ticket office, or from the Slovak Lines/Eurolines office, also in the station. You can buy tickets for national lines from the driver when you board the bus.
Time to city
From Poprad - 3 hours 40 minutes; Košice - 4 hours 40 minutes; Vienna - 1 hour.
Travel by Rail
Travelling by rail is by far the nicest way to get around Slovakia. Trains depart from Bratislava’s Hlavná stanica (Central Station), a 20-minute walk (or short tram ride) from the Old Town at Predstaničné námestie 1, or the newer Petrzalka Station, Kopčianska, across the Danube.
Slovakia's rail network is operated by Slovak Republic Railways (ŽSR) (tel: +421 2 4485 8188; www.slovakrail.sk). Intercity (IC) trains are slightly faster and require seat reservations.
Train services are for the most part modern and fast, with several daily express trains between Bratislava and other main cities and resorts in the region. There are frequent services from Vienna, Austria, which is only an hour away.
You should make reservations in advance on major routes. Fares are low (and there are discounts for those travelling in groups of six or more), but supplements are charged for travel by express trains.
From Vienna - 1 hour; Budapest - 2 hours 45 minutes; Prague - 4 hours 10 minutes; Košice - 5 hours; Žilina - 2 hours 5 minutes; Poprad - 3 hours 45 minutes.
Travel by boat
The Port of Bratislava (tel: +421 2 5827 1110; www.spap.sk) is the country's main port. International connections from Austria and Hungary are possible on the Danube which flows into the Black Sea, and is also linked with the Rhine and the Main.
Services run as follows: Bratislava-Vienna-Bratislava; Bratislava-Hainburg-Bratislava; and Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest, both ways. The Danube runs from west to east through the Bratislava’s city centre, and is connected to Vienna in just 75 minutes by the Austrian-run Twin City Liner (tel: +421 903 610 716; www.twincityliner.com) catamaran service, which runs from the quay at Fajnorovo nabrezie (next to the Slovak National Museum) to Handelskai (Schwedenplatz) in the centre of Vienna. The hydrofoil of Slovak operator Lod (tel: +421 2 5293 2226; www.lod.sk) covers the same route in 1 hour 45 minutes, and also runs boat tours to Devin Castle.