Go By Boat: Vienna to Bratislava
Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia are two of the closest capital cities in the world. The two cities are historically linked by the Danube River making a boat trip the perfect way to see them both. You can now easily take a train (1 hr), car (1 hr) or bus (1 hr) between them, but nothing is quite like a trip down the Danube.
Twin City Liner runs a high speed hydrofoil between the two cities several times a day. It is best to book your tickets in advance as many sailings (particularly the highly desirable morning departures from Vienna) sell out.
The dock in Vienna is easily reachable by public transportation as well as by the hop-on-hop-off bus included with your Vienna Card. There is plenty of space to store luggage on the boat, including our folding stroller. You can even make arrangements to bring your bike aboard.
Seats are assigned on your ticket. Leaving Vienna (and again re-entering) you must stay seated while in the canal. We had a noon sailing and brought our lunch on board. We spent most of our journey looking out the window and eating our lunch, although Grandma did do some reading with each kid as well.
There is a small concession stand on board. We saw most people ordering small snacks and drinks. You could not make a meal out of the snacks available, so plan ahead.
The seats are arranged three by three by three inside. There is some outside roof seating as well. Once you’re out of the canal you are free to walk around the boat and enjoy different views. We found it much too windy to be up top for long periods of time.
We loved watching the sights go by on the river. The Devon Castle is about as exciting as it gets, but the kids loved watching us pass other boats. We also had the chance to see lots of wildlife as most of the cruise is through Donau-Auen National Park.
There are several small towns that look pristine sitting on the river. The river is mostly lined with fishing huts. These huts are built up on poles and have large hanging nets in front of the house. They are all slightly different in their design, which makes it fun to pick your favorite.
There is a narration that is played inside the boat in both directions. It points out things very briefly and without any specifics. It certainly left us wanting more information.
The boat is very popular for stag parties, who head to Bratislava for cheap drinks. The two parties on board were a bit rowdy upstairs, but they did give our Middle Little a balloon when they departed the boat.
When you arrive in Bratislava you are in the center of town, making it extremely convenient.
Jeff actually took the train to Bratislava departing from Vienna Central Station to Bratislava-Petrzalka station which takes just under an hour. Tickets can be bought day of. He reported that the train ride is drab, but trains were clean. Once you arrive at the station you have to make your way downtown. It’s a 20-minute walk mostly downhill. You can also take the bus between Vienna and Bratislava, which is the cheapest option, and takes about an hour.
The boat was a big win for us since it kept the kids occupied and we were able to eat our lunch aboard on the way there. We loved being centrally located leaving Vienna and arriving in Bratislava.