Persistent sunlight, loud songbirds and fragrant flowers in full-bloom: spring in Slovakia is the perfect time to explore the more lush and beautiful parts of the city on a bike. I decided it was time to try sightseeing from a different angle, so I set out on a day trip, biking my way around Bratislava's tourist sites.
How to choose your bike
- Daily ticket: €6 + €64 refundable deposit
- Monthly: €9/month
- Annual student: €19.20/year
- Annual classic: €29.40/year
- Annual premium: €38.40/year
The bright yellow bikes, parked at docking stations throughout the city, are hard to miss. Tourists can take advantage of this service for just €6 a day and ride their bikes for up to 12 hours per day before returning it to one of the many docking stations spread throughout the city.
After I registered online , I purchased the daily package for €70. €6 of that sum went towards the daily ticket while the remaining €64 was used as a deposit. This €64 deposit was returned to my credit card within a few days. After payment, I received a PIN code to my phone and unlocked a bike from the stand.
Biking around Bratislava turned out to be a fun and quick way to see the best of Bratislava. Those who ride for more than 12 hours in a day will be charged an extra fee of 12 cents per each 6 min, which will be subtracted from the deposit. But, I found that 12 hours was more than enough time to explore the city.
Bicycles can be used only within the Bratislava territory. However, popular attractions further away from the city centre like the Devín Castle, Danubiana Museum and the Zlaté Piesky summer resort are still considered a part of Bratislava.
My day on a bike in Bratislava
Although Bratislava is small compared to other European capitals, there are plenty of places to explore on bike. Here's how I spent my day biking around the Slovak capital.
A morning around Old Town
I decided to beat the swarms of tourists by taking an early morning spin around Old Town. I took one of the bikes from the docking station at Hurbanovo námestie and set off for my trip past St.Michael's Gate.
I circled around Hlavné námestie, where the magnificent Primate's Palace and some legendary neighbouring statues reside, and took some time to reflect by St Martin's cathedral.
The cobblestone streets of Old Town add to its charm, but they can pose a challenge to even the most practised cyclist, so I cycled with caution. When I grew hungry, I parked my bike at the Kapucínska - Župné námestie station. Old Town’s many restaurants, cafés, and shops are just a few steps away and once the bike is locked at a nearby docking station, rest time does not count towards the daily quota of 12 hours.
An afternoon along the Danube
How to use bike-sharing
1) Register at https://slovnaftbajk.sk/en
2) Choose the program that suits you best and make an online payment.
3) After payment, your personal PIN code will be sent to you via SMS and through the email address you used to register.
4) At the docking station of your choice, enter the PIN code into one of the bikes, unlock it, and enjoy the ride.
5) Return the BAjk to any docking station with an empty space, ensuring the bike is locked completely in place.
6) Information about the ride will be saved to your account.
After I appeased my appetite for food and history, I walked toward the Danube river to shake out my legs and took a bike from the Most SNP docking station. On the right side of the river (the closest to Old Town) I passed by many other cyclists and pedestrians as I cycled along the bustling promenade. For a change of pace, I crossed the Most SNP bridge to the other side. From there, I spent a little time weaving through Sad Janka Kráľa park before connecting to the long bike path running from the Petržalka dam all the way to the Gabčíkovo dam.This route proved to be much more peaceful as the official bike path is flanked by forests on either side. I even took time to notice some partially-hidden World War II bunkers and a distant view of the Bratislava Castle peeking between the trees.
I was feeling especially ambitious, so I decided to ride on the south bank of the Danube all the way to the Danubiana Museum. There are no docking stations by the museum, but I was able to borrow a lock free of charge at the reception desk. If I had cycled their on the first Sunday of the month, I could have taken a break after the long ride and looked around the museum for free.
If I hadn't hiked there just a few days before, I would have biked on the same side of the bank in the opposite direction toward Devin castle. Various sign posts make it hard to get lost, but the trail gets more bumpy as the impressive fortress comes into view.
I rewarded myself after a long ride along the Danube with some delicious gelato from one of the several highly-rated gelato stands in Hviezdoslavovo Námestie square. I returned my bike to the Most SNP docking station, which is less than five minutes on foot from the square.
Keeping track of the time
After you have unlocked the bike from the docking station, click the lock into the designated place by the front wheel. The screen on the bicycle will then keep track of how long you have been riding for. Once you have completed your ride, make sure the bike is completely locked in place. The bicycle’s screen will confirm whether or not the bike is properly locked.
Sunset at Slavín
After a well-deserved ice cream break, I ended the day with a challenge and a view. I took a bike from the Kapucínska - Župné námestie station and braved the long hill leading all the way up to the Slavín memorial. I took a breather at the Bratislava Castle and admired the UFO bridge from afar before continuing to the top, taking several more much needed breaks along the way. I did my best to be mindful of traffic and travel on the right side of the road (with traffic), but cars tend to drive quickly around the turns, so extra caution should always be taken. At the top, I watched the sunset from Slavín.
Slovnaft bikes have adjustable seating and several gears, so they can be used by anyone. However, the Slovnaft BAjk service is intended for users who are at least 16 years of age. Children up to 15 years of age are required by law to wear a helmet and while adults are not required to do so within the city's limits, it is highly recommended (the yellow bikes do not come with helmets, so you need to bring your own).
You can find the nearest docking station to you by using the website’s map:
This article was created with the support of Slovnaft BAJK, which provided the author with several complementary PIN codes for bike-sharing in Bratislava.
12. Apr 2019 at 14:11 | Anna Fay