The Art Train will run between the two cities until November 2018
The two capital cities of Vienna and Bratislava provide the city break traveller with a host of possibilities for a fascinating short break. The cities lie only 80 miles apart – the closest pair of capitals in the EU – yet offer such contrasting experiences for the visitor. They combine extremely well into a twin-centre holiday, either flying in and out of Vienna or Bratislava, depending on flight availability, cost etc.
This year there is a particularly good reason to travel by train between the two cities because a special Art Train will be running along this stretch of line. On 19th February a project called TRAM was launched to commemorate a number of cultural jubilees and to boost cultural links between the capitals.
The contemporary art gallery and cultural centre will ply the route between Vienna Hauptbahnhof and Bratislava Hlavna stations 11 times a day. The title TRAM refers to the Vienna tram (in German Pressburger Bahn) which connected Vienna and Bratislava between 1914 and 1945. The Viennese would travel to Bratislava for a cup of coffee or perhaps to visit the opera house. Bratislavans would take the train to Vienna to visit the opera house there or perhaps to see the Stephansdom, wander in the Stadtpark or listen to waltzes being played in the Kursalon.
Passengers will have an opportunity to enjoy contemporary art of various styles as well as listen to performances by a whole variety of musical artists during their journey, which takes between 1 hour 10 and 1½ hours. The outside of the train has been decorated in a distinctive style by Polish artist Marta Kopyt.
It’s very easy indeed to fill a couple of days in both cities. Vienna’s charms are well known. For many, a visit to the opera is a priority. For others, a visit to the Spanish Riding School is something they cannot miss. Others just enjoy wandering through the Stadtpark or perhaps heading to the Prater Park with its famous big wheel.
Bratislava is a smaller and less well-known city, but nevertheless well worth discovering. Also lying on the River Danube, this historic city has a compact pedestrianised city centre which is home to most of the city’s cultural and historical monuments, It also has a wealth of galleries, museums, theatres and historical sights, as well as some high quality and well priced cafés and restaurants. Bratislava Castle, the Old Town Hall and Bratislava City Museum are some of the main attractions for visitors to the city. Prices in Bratislava are generally very reasonable, and you can eat out for a third of the price you can expect to pay in a restaurant in Vienna.
Two great cities and one exciting ride on the Art Train – Vienna and Bratislava must be high up on the list of cities to visit in 2018.