ROMANTIC ROAD TRIP :
10 Days Itinerary in 3 Different European Capitals
For Cian’s Christmas gift, I bought return flights, spanning 10 days to Bratislava in Slovakia. I didn’t really know anything about either the country or its capital. To be honest, I just wanted to go on holiday with my boyfriend and spend time together because our schedule didn’t allow us to see each other that much.
So, I didn’t really think through the whole process: which accommodation to choose, what to see or what to do, how long to stay, etc. I went to Ryanair’s website and I booked the cheapest tickets available. The flights were very cheap. It was €15,99 each to go and €9,99 euro each to return.
When we exchanged our gifts, Cian’s brother told us that he’d been to Bratislava and 10 days there was too much and that we’d be bored if we stayed only there. So, our simple getaway turned into a road trip. We booked a car with the company EDENcars in Bratislava. Then, we did some research and decided which nearby countries were worth a visit.
In the beginning, we wanted to see everything: Prague, Warsaw, Kiev, Vienna, Zagreb and Bucharest. 10 days wasn’t enough because I was the only driver and I didn’t want to drive too much in the winter. So, we picked 3 capitals to visit: Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava; and we booked accommodation in each city.
We flew from Brussels-Charleroi to Bratislava on January 25th. The first thing we did was to locate the car rental service, conveniently located next to Bratislava’s tiny airport. One of the employees came to greet us and we followed him to complete our payment and collect our car. After getting in our car, I drove to Vienna.
We went first to visit Vienna because it only took an hour to get there. The drive was easy even with the snow. Slovakian roads are very good! We found a park & ride near to our accommodation for the first night. We stayed in Pension Madara. The pension was very nice. We’d a full apartment for ourselves: bathroom, fridge, kettle, plates and a hot plate to cook.
Vienna is very beautiful but also very expensive! We stayed 2 nights and 3 days there.
What to do in Vienna
My impression of Vienna was that it was a very historic city, full of museums, cathedrals and parks. When we arrived, there were no snow but it was very cold minus 4 degree. However, with a big coat, it was easy to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Anyway, our number one recommendation for Vienna is St Stephens Cathedral. It is located right in the city center and just steps from the nearest metro station. It is charming and beautiful and for a small fee you can do an audio tour and even go to the top of the tower. We decided against it as it was our first tourist attraction visited and wanted to see everything, though I regret not going to the tower top now.
St Stephens Cathedral
After visiting the cathedral, we felt like a coffee. It was very cold and early in the morning, so coffee felt like the right choice. Upon finding a cute but busy café on a corner of the main street in Vienna, only a few minutes from the Cathedral, we quickly learned what Vienna is really famous for…PASTRIES!
My boyfriend and I both sampled different cakes from the wide selection available. This was accompanied by two coffees. Being on holidays, Cian took the opportunity to try French Pressed coffee for the first time. He was impressed. The cakes were delicious and the coffee fitting, only to be overshadowed by what we felt was very expensive pricing. However, we would discover that Vienna was marginally more expensive than the two following cities we would visit. By the way, the café is located in Stephansplatz.
Then, we went to Vollpension, it’s my favorite café in Vienna. So I recommend you to give it a try while you’re there. It is a down-to-earth sort of place, with mismatched furniture. The decor is awesome and hilarious. There’s a lot of vintage elements, but also some hipster ones.
Like, the ovens used by the grandmothers to make cakes have neon lighting of different colors! You have to know that Vollpension states on their menu that they are an ‘intergenerational’ cafe. They have both old and young people working, and it shows. Wifi password is on the menu that’s on every table, you may need to hunt for it. Order at the counter.
After doing some shopping and seeing some local monuments, such as Schonbrunn Palace, it was time for dinner.
We wanted to try local cuisine in each city we visited, so being in Austria, it was time for Schnitzel! We went to a restaurant on a side street of Stephansplatz! Cian ordered a turkey schnitzel, which was huge, accompanied by fries. He said the Schnitzel was bland and boring, which, in fairness, it looked. The meal was, again, expensive.
♡ We recommend BIERHOF
Things we hadn’t seen but you should do
- State Opera House
- Imperial Palace
- Wiener Eistraum : we saw it but didn’t do it
- Vienna Zoo: the oldest one in the world
We didn’t go out to nightclub. However, you spent our night out at an Irish and then Scottish Bar. Sorry, we don’t remember the names. Both were very nice. Employees were friendly and the general atmosphere was very hearty compared to the weather outside. Drinks were more expensive than the following cities, but it was all right compared to other countries in Europe.
After Vienna, we went to Budapest and we took less than 3 hours to get there. Budapest was colder than Vienna.
Where to stay in Budapest:
We were staying in an apartment located on the 5th floor on Rákóczi tér 6. We don’t remember the name of the hostel but we won’t recommend anyway. It was very difficult to find our accommodation.
What to do in Budapest:
- Relax in a thermal bath: Soak in the Széchenyi Baths
- Traditional Hungarian food
- See Heroes’ Square and the City Park
Things we hadn’t seen but you should do
- Take a Danube River Cruise
- Explore the Margaret Island
The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the weather. Going to Budapest in the winter was a bad idea. It was freezing. It got to minus 10 which is far, far too cold for us. I couldn’t enjoy the landscape as the winter wind there is a killer. I want to go back there during the summer to really enjoy what this city has to offer.
Our first night in Budapest, it was late, cold and miserable. We wanted to go somewhere nice but it was too annoying to look for places in the cold so we chose a busy Italian restaurant on the high street. Everyone must be enjoying themselves, right? WRONG
Cian ordered a pizza, which was soggy and far too oily and I ordered a bland pasta Bolognese. Just a boring and disappointing meal. It was cheap, however!
The rest of our experience with food in Budapest was quite good. We got Goulash at some stage as to continue our trend of tasting local cuisine and it was tender and juicy and overall very good.
♡ We recommend Ladó Café
The both of us were nervous because Budapest is such a popular spot for tourists to get caught in scams. A popular scam we read about was two, normally pretty, women, approach a man on his own or with another guy, pretending to be lost, ask the men for help, get talking to them and eventually suggest going to a bar together (of the ladies choosing of course) for a drink.
Once there, the group would order a round of drinks. The guys would expect to pay a normal price for 3 or 4 drinks. When the bill arrives, it is common for it to be HUNDREDS OF EUROS! Me and Cian knew about this so did not fall for it but low and behold at one stage we think we saw it happening to an unsuspecting guy.
We went back to Bratislava to spend the rest of our journey.
Bratislava is so small that we saw almost all monuments in one day and this meant we didn’t have to buy public transport because absolutely everything can and should be done by foot.
My favorite part and I have no doubt Cain’s favorite part also 😜 was a restaurant located a few minutes from our hostel, Freddie next to Mercury Hostel & Apartments.
In all, I think Bratislava was clearly my favorite of the 3 capitals. The food, drink, cheap prices and quaintness of the city has a romantic feel and an overall small city vibe.
What to visit in Bratislava
- The Old Town
- Statue of Napoleon’s Army Soldier
- Walk along the Danube River
- Blue Church Bratislava
- Bratislava Castle
- The Slavin War Memorial
- Divny Janko Restaurant
♡ Our recommendation: go to eat at Divny Janko
The restaurant is hidden away down an alleyway and only for TripAdvisor recommending it, would have definitely slipped our radars. It had an old time Slovakian feel to the restaurant and the menu was filled with traditional Slovak foods. Over our 4 days in Bratislava, I think we tried every single item on the menu and that is no joke 😂 🤣We loved it and the thought of this place brings back warm memories.
The prices are unbelievable, too. Every main course was €4.70 (you read that right) and a pint of beer was €0.90. WOW! Two full meals which were by no means small and 2 pints of local beer for under €12? IDEAL. For this price in almost all capitals of Europe, you would be lucky to get one main course. I must say, this restaurant is a big part of why we enjoyed it so much.
After filling up on dinner, we would move towards the nightlife. We visited KBG, which was an old time Russian themed bar, without the troubles 😜MORE cheap beer and cocktails, perfect.
♡ We recommend to drink at Nu Spirit Bar
Nu Spirit Bar is the best bar to be fuck. It was happy hour when we visited, so 2 delicious cocktails were a total of €6.
Things we hadn’t seen but you should do
- Hrad Devín Castle
- UFO Bridge
- Bratislava Opera House
- Slovak Radio
Another thing I haven’t mentioned yet is there weren’t black people there! Wee saw a lot of Asians and white people, maybe a few Indians. I saw less than 5 black people! Kids couldn’t stop staring at me but that was funny to me.
Have you already visited Bratislava, Vienna or Budapest?
Tell me more about your favorite places in comments below!