Alex Trembath is the creator of Career Gappers, a blog that will inspire and equip you to take a career break and travel the world. Check it out here for career break advice, travel tips and destination inspiration. You can also follow Career Gappers on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
A brief guide to travel costs in Bratislava
Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city, is full of charm, intrigue and fascinating history. Its magical Old Town is the perfect place to explore Central Europe’s past and sample Slovakia’s hearty national cuisine. But how much does a trip to Bratislava cost?
Bratislava is at a crossroads of many popular backpacker routes in East–Central Europe, interlinking historical cities like Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest and Zagreb. It’s also an ideal launchpad for exploring Slovakia’s rural beauty; just four hours in a train or car will take you to the High Tatras mountain region.
We took a long weekend trip to Bratislava and kept a record of everything we spent during our three-night stay. This article details our costs for a couple’s break in the city, including transport, accommodation, food and drink, and activities.
Hopefully it will help give you an idea of what you expect to spend on your trip. I’ve also included information about how you can get from Bratislava to the High Tatras for your hiking adventure in the mountains.
In Bratislava, we stayed at Hostel Blues, which is ideally located a short walk from the Old Town. With dorm rooms starting at around €14 per night plus a tax of €1.70, it’s an affordable place to stay, and it had everything we needed.
The facilities at Hostel Blues were as good as any hostel we’ve stayed in. It has a spacious and well equipped kitchen, sizeable dorm rooms with comfy beds, powerpoints and large safety lockers, as well as a nice bar and chillout area.
While accommodation is an area where we’re always looking to keep costs down, we’re very careful to check reviews before booking. Hostel Blues is one of the top-rated hostels around Bratislava’s Old Town on HostelWorld.com, along with Hostel Folks and Wild Elephants Hostel.
The Blue Church
Bratislava is a fairly compact city that is very well connected and easy to get around. The Old Town area, the most popular district for travellers, is navigable entirely by foot. From the Old Town, attractions such as Bratislava Castle and the Slavín memorial are also within comfortable walking distance.
There were a couple of occasions that we used public transport in Bratislava. The local system is very easy to use. You simply buy a ticket from a machine for an allocated period of time (ranging from 15, 30 and 60 minutes to daily and weekly passes). This article by Bratislava Guide has the latest price information.
These tickets can be used on any bus or tram. When you first board you need to validate your ticket, and it’s then valid for the specified amount of time.
We used Bratislava public transport for:
Getting between the airport and the city centre. The 61 bus from the airport stops at Trnavské mýto, where you can change onto a number 4 tram to the Old Town. In total, this journey takes about 30 minutes – it’s best to get the 60-minute ticket to be sure.
Taking a day trip to Devín Castle. The 29 bus (and 129 in summer) runs from the Old Town side of UFO Bridge (Most SNP) directly to the castle.
Food and drink
Food and drink was by far our biggest outlay in Bratislava. Even so, we found that eating and drinking out in the city wasn’t too expensive. We just did a lot of it!
We had several meals out during our stay. This included:
Flap Ship, one of Europe’s largest restaurants, set inside an old theatre. Our bill was €23.80 for a Slovakian traditional sharing platter, a homemade sausage with mustard and horseradish, and a large beer each.
Mondieu, a French-style bistro café in the Old Town. We had breakfast here one day when the shops were closed for a national holiday. For €17 we had a satisfying breakfast dish each (egg with avocado on toast, and ham with egg) as well as a coffee each.
Viecha U Sedliaka, which we thought was the best value for money. For a lunch of one garlic soup with cheese starter, two mains of potato pancake with pork stew and pork shoulder with cabbage and dumplings, a side salad and a large beer each, we paid €18.60.
Slovak Pub, a tourist favourite. Our bill was €15.80 for a light evening meal. We had a bowl of kapustnica each (sauerkraut soup with smoked sausage and sour cream), a plate of fries to share, some pickles, a large beer and a large wine.
Prazdroj, a slightly pricier establishment in the Old Town serving Slovak and Czech cuisine. We had a main dish each – pork with cabbage and dumplings, and roast duck with cranberry and potato – plus a jug of water and lemon to share. Altogether this came to €22.50.
Meštiansky Pivovar, a famous old brewery that also serves traditional Slovakian food. This was our last meal so we treated ourselves, splashing out €26.10 on a creamy garlic soup in bread roll, hard sheep’s cheese with forest chanterelles, potato dumplings with smoked pork and sauerkraut, a potato pancake side, and a dark beer each.
To find out more about dining in the city, you can read my article about Slovakian food and where you can eat it in Bratislava.
Old town high street
For inspiration on activities in the city, you can read my article on things to do in Bratislava, which includes a suggested three-day itinerary.
The beauty of Bratislava is that there is so much that you can do for free. The city’s character is embodied in its winding alleyways and diversity of picturesque churches and palaces. It doesn’t cost anything to walk around and look at impressive architecture like the Blue Church or Bratislava Castle.
We took a free walking tour at the beginning of our stay, which is always a great way to find your feet in a city and learn about it. It’s a tip-based model – we paid our guide €10. Our only other activity cost during our stay was a €2 entry fee each for Devín Castle.
When visiting such a pretty place, naturally you may want to see a panoramic view from above. One place you can do this is in the cupola on top of UFO Bridge, which is a great vantage point for seeing the Old Town. It does cost €7.40 to go up, however, and there are other viewing points you can reach for free. We got a brilliant view of the whole city from the Slavín memorial.
We also did some shopping in supermarkets. We made ourselves breakfasts, and prepared one evening meal at our hostel. Here are some prices for typical items in the Tesco near our hostel:
€0.80 for a box of six eggs
€0.59 for a fresh crusty baguette
€0.39 for an Activia fruit yoghurt
€1.19 for a bag of leafy salad mix
€0.52 for 100g ball of light mozzarella
€1.89 for a 0.8-litre carton of fresh fruit juice
When it comes to alcohol, we found (as you might expect) that prices varied depending on the establishment, with bars in the centre of Old Town being more expensive.
A typical large beer (0.5 litres) tends to cost from €1.50 to €2. Short drinks begin at around €1.80 for a standard shot. In our hostel, we paid €5.99 for a bottle of red wine.
Our favourite bars – which all had reasonably priced drinks – were Zbrojnoš (with a cellar for live music), Verne and KGB Bar.
Last on food and drink, but certainly not least: ice cream! Bratislava is famous for its incredible homemade ice cream, and you will find various outlets dotted throughout the city. We tried several of them, the standard price for a single cone being €1.50.
Old town Main Square
Getting from Bratislava to the High Tatras
The journey from Bratislava to the High Tatra mountains is a simple one to make. The best ways are by taking the train, or hiring a car.
Direct trains run from Bratislava to Poprad, the main city in the Slovakian High Tatra region. The journey takes around four hours, with tickets beginning at €19 each way. You can find timetable information and book tickets here. From Poprad, you can take a short bus ride up to Ždiar, where Ginger Monkey hostel is situated, and the starting point for several hiking trails.
As our trip was quite a short one, and we wanted to maximise our time for hiking, we decided to rent a car. This is a more expensive option, but it does give you much greater flexibility and mobility. Our car hire cost for two days was €54.36, which we booked via our airline. The petrol cost for our round trip from Bratislava Airport to Ginger Monkey in Ždiar was €70.65.
Any questions? Feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.