Bratislava is one of the best cities in Europe from which to base a "hubbed" vacation. W-w-what? Did we say "hubbed"? What do we mean by this?
Listen up, Cheapos. We'll explain it all to you, and let you know why hubbed travel is one ticket to budget-friendly travel in Europe.
What is "hubbed" travel?
A "hubbed" holiday involves a shift in the way that many travelers think about travel. Instead of traveling point to point by train or car, a hubbed vacation sets up one or another city as a traveler's base. From this chosen destination, trips of varying destinations can be planned. There are two keys to a perfect Cheapo hub.
The first is a nearby airport served well by low-fare airlines.
The second is proximity to a range of nearby cities and other destinations which, in turn, allow visitors access to different sorts of experiences that involve no more than day trip levels of exertion.
Though hubbed travel won't make sense for all travelers, it has the potential to lower costs and allow for different perspectives on a given country or region within Europe. For travelers who intend to spend a two-week (or longer) period on holiday, hubbed travel is an especially attractive option.
Here we discuss the irresistable "hubbability" of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and one of our favorite cities to boot.
Bratislava's Air Connections
Many airlines run inexpensive flights from Bratislava to some of Europe’s most popular destinations. High on our list are Air Berlin and Germanwings, two of Germany’s top budget airlines which connect Bratislava to several cities within Germany and throughout Europe, including Barcelona, Paris, and Munich.
Not wanting to miss out on a piece of the action, Ryanair also flies between Bratislava and London Stansted, Dublin, Brussels, Milan, and many more European destinations.
Each of these destinations is short-haul, and can be reached within a few hours by air. For a full list of budget flights from Bratislava check out our flights section.
Located about 50 minutes by bus from Vienna, Bratislava is the distance of an easy commute from the Austrian capital. Bratislava is also under a half-day's journey from Brno and Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest and Balaton in Hungary, and Burgenland, Austria's easternmost province.
Then there's Slovakia itself. Slovakia is a gorgeous, compact country. There are plenty of easy day trip destinations within an hour or so from Bratislava. One magnet of a destination is Trenčín, a castle town full of Renaissance buildings, under two hours from Bratislava by train. Farther afield are the beguiling High Tatras mountains, the city of Poprad, and Košice, Slovakia's second city.
Bratislava's Hubbing Upshot
Hubbed travel based in Bratislava is also desirable because most of the city's general costs are very low. Restaurants, tours, city transportation, and train transportation to other parts of Slovakia are all priced nicely for Cheapos on the move. Due to a general lack of competition, hotels aren't quite as great a general deal, though our Bratislava hotel listings should turn up some good deals for you.
Related blog posts:
Updated and edited: November 2010