Backpacking in Vienna and Bratislava on a budget

Bratislava sunset

Vienna and Bratislava are beautiful cities and you can visit both in 24 hours as they are only 35 miles apart. Perfect for backpackers wanting to explore both in one day, you can wake up in Slovakia, visit Austria and get back home in time for tea. They are so close that Ryanair flies into an airport called ‘Bratislava-Vienna’.

Transport options

But how is it possible to visit two cities in 24 hours and on a budget? It’s really easy, all it takes is a bus or train ticket to commute between countries and a free walking tour.

Most backpackers choose to stay in Bratislava and travel over to Vienna for a day trip. The journey is quick and easy, but there are several options to consider, so here’s how to get from Bratislava to Vienna (and back).

Image by Schnitzel_bank (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Schnitzel_bank (Flickr/Creative Commons)
  • The Bratislava-Vienna bus is the cheapest form of transportation and cost as little as €13 for a return. The trip takes about 60 mins and there are busses every hour too, which is great for flexibility.
  • Trains from Vienna Hauptbahnhof take only an hour to reach Bratislava and cost €17; where else in Europe can you travel between capital cities at that price?
  • If you want to take the scenic route then you can travel by Hydrofoil along the River Danube. The boat journey takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and operates from April to October. However, this option is not budget friendly as it can cost from €40 to €70 for a return.
  • Whether you’re in Bratislava and Vienna avoid taxis at all costs, both city’s train and bus stations are within walking distance of the centre and majority of hostels too.

Freedom of movement

You can travel freely from Slovakia to Austria and not have to show your passport or ID. You only notice you’ve entered another country when your phone operator sends you a welcoming text.

Free walking tours

Image by Miroslav Petrasko (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Miroslav Petrasko (Flickr/Creative Commons)

There are a host of spectacular things to see and do in both cities. But if you’re on a budget and only have one day spare, then the cheapest option is to go on a free walking tour.

These tours are operated by local guides and are available in most big cities. Ask at your local hostel for more information, there will be leaflets advertising them at the reception.

Going on a walking tour helps you get a better understanding of the city and also discover more about its history and local culture too. It’s a great deal bearing in mind most of them llast about 2.5 hours.

Budget accommodation in Vienna and Bratislava

Image by PROKurt Bauschardt (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by PROKurt Bauschardt (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Staying in either Vienna or Bratislava is perfect for backpackers, as you can take advantage of the close proximity of other major cities such as Budapest or Prague. You can stay in all of these cities for less than €10 per night if you book in advance. Find out more when you book with HostelsClub.

*Header image by Miroslav Petrasko (Flickr/Creative Commons)