Introduction
Public transportation in Bratislava consists of buses, trolleybuses and trams operated by Dopravný podnik Bratislava (DPB) and is available 24/7/365 (for more details on night services see below). DPB network is extensive and covers entire city and services are relatively frequent, except for outskirts. While historical center is walkable, public transportation is a good choice if you wish to visit other parts of city, go shopping or need to get from the airport to your hotel.

There is common ticketing system for all DPB lines within Bratislava, so you can combine all three modes of transportation with single ticket. Remember, that your must be purchased in advance - you can't buy tickets on board.

Regional buses and trains are also available if you choose to travel to nearby towns but services are much less frequent and timetables of regional buses can sometimes confuse people. Information on regional transportation is available at the end of this article.

Getting around Bratislava
Good start to planning your journey is website www.imhd.sk which is also available in English offers timetables of all DPB services, journey planner, network maps and many practical information on public transportation in Bratislava. Please mind, that DPB likes to publish new timetables on last minute (even one evening before they go into effect), so if you planned your journey in advance, remember to check if it's still available before you travel. imhd.sk also offers smartphone app with timetables (available also offline) and journey planner (online only) as well as mobile version of the site which offers real time departures from all stops, including delays. 

Timetables are also posted on every stop and are split into three parts: pracovné dni applies Mondays to Fridays (except national holidays and school holidays), školské prázdniny applies on Monday to Fridays on school holidays (except national holidays) and sobota-nedeľa-sviatok applies on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays. If there's no školské prázdniny  section, normal pracovné dni schedule applies on school holidays. Timetables include list of all stops and approximate travel time to each of them.

Please note, that most drivers don't speak English and therefore won't be able to give you directions - though they usually understand some basic words (airport, city center, etc.) and can provide simple yes/no answer to high profile destinations. Asking someone young who's around is usually your safest bet to find someone who speaks English. Most people will be happy to help you.

You can board DPB services (within Bratislava) using any doors as you don't need to show ticket to driver. On some vehicles, you'll need to press button to have doors opened.

Vast majority of vehicles is equipped with displays showing next stop, important stops en route and final stop. Some vehicles are also equipped with voice announcement systems. These may, however, be turned off during short-time or unexpected changes due to road works, traffic accidents, etc.

As a general rule, services will stop at stop at all times. However, increasing number of stops is now zastávka na znamenie (request stop) - these are marked with "z" in timetable. To get off at such stop, press "STOP" button inside the vehicle before the stop. To get on, you must be at stop, visible to driver - waving to your bus is also a good idea at such stops.

Fares

Tickets must be purchased in advance from ticket machines, DPB customer service centers, ZSSK (Slovak Railways) sale points, newspaper stands and some other agents. You can't buy DPB ticket on board (except tickets for international routes). Please note, that if you purchase Bratislava City Card, this is also valid at DPB services within Bratislava.

After buying your ticket, you need to validate it on board. This is done by entering your ticket to a validator which is located close to every door for approximately one second. Time, date and some other data will be automaticaly printed on ticket. Do not validate your ticket again when transfering!

Starting November 1st 2015, there is common ticketing system for DPB services, regional trains (Os and REX) operated by ZSSK and regional buses operated by Slovak Lines, so any ticket will be accepted on all of these services (within it's zone validity). Please note that when using regional buses (numbers 215 or higher) you are required to board using front doors and show ticket to driver and state your destination. You will recieve free "registration ticket". 

Following tickets are most suitable for tourists traveling within Bratislava (all tickets allow transfers): 

  • ticket for 15 minutes costs 0,70€
  • ticket for 30 minutes costs 0,90€
  • ticket for 60 minutes costs 1,20€; this ticket is good for almost all journeys within Bratislava
  • ticket for 24 hours costs 3,50€
  • ticket for 72 hours costs 8,00€
  • ticket for 168 hours costs 11,40€
Ticket validity is limited by time and number of zones you can travel. If you're traveling within Bratislava only (zones 100+101), you don't need to watch for zone validity. All tickets will allow you unlimited travel within Bratislava during their time validity unless you travel out of city. For trips out of town, many tickets are available (depending on distance you travel), including 24 hours ticket for all zones which costs 6,90 euros and allows you to travel around whole Bratislava Region.

Tickets for 30 or more days require smartcard which can be purchased from DPB, Slovak Lines or ZSSK (Slovak Lines smartcard is the best choice as it's the cheapest and doesn't require you to bring photo). Once you have your smartcard, it can be loaded at sale points of these companies or online. 

Please note that some DPB buses run to other countries - special conditions apply for international travelServices running beyond border of Slovakia are:

  • 801 to Rajka (Hungary): Domestic travel is forbidden on this service. For travel to Hungary, international ticket is required and can be bought from driver for 1,50€.
  • 901 to Hainburg (Austria): Domestic travel is forbidden on this service. International ticket is required and can be purchased from driver for 1,50€.

There are random ticket inspections by ticket inspectors in plaing clothing. If you're caught without valid ticket, you'll be fined. You can either pay 40€ fine on spot (credit cards are accepted) or provide ticket inspector with your ID and pay fine later at selected DPB offices (40 euros if paid withing 5 days, 50 euros if paid later).  If you refuse to do so, police will be called. 

Travel on night and Christmas
Daytime services start operating just before 5 am and continue until shortly before midnight (some services may have further restrictions). Night transportation is available from 23:30 till 4:30 and covers all districts of Bratislava. Most night services depart from Hlavná stanica (Central railway station) at 23:30, 0:00, 0:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30. Hlavná stanica is central transfer point during the night and you can change here between most of the lines (this connection is guaranteed and services will wait few minutes for other delayed services, if necessary). Very few night lines are not going to Hlavná stanica - these are usually connected to other lines at other stops. Use journey planner at imhd.sk to find your connection for your route. 

Please note that some tickets are not valid on night lines (see above). 

Some exceptions apply during Christmas and New Year's Eve: 

  • on 24th December, Sunday schedules applies until approximately 18:00. Daytime services will then stop and be replaced with night services starting at 18:30.
  • on 25th December, night services are extended until 6:30. Daytime services will start operating Sunday schedule around 7:00.
  • on 26th December, Sunday schedule applies
  • on 31st December, normal schedule applies with extra services througout the night
  • on 1st January, night services are extended until 6:30. Daytime services will start operating Sunday schedule around 7:00

Timetables for Christmas and New Year's Eve are usually published at imhd.sk few days before Christmas and are then incorporated into its journey planner.

Long distance services

Bratislava has direct long-distance services available to almost every part of the country, as well as to some major cities in Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Germany. To plan your long-distance journey, use journey planner at www.cp.sk. Domestic railway tickets can be purchased online at www.slovakrail.sk. 

Vienna
Many tourists choose to combine visit to Bratislava with Vienna. There are several options to travel between these cities. 

Unless you travel to Vienna airport, your best option is to take train, which takes approximately one hour. These services are operated jointly by Slovak and Austrian railways. There are two routes between Bratislava and Vienna:

  • trains via Marchegg between Bratislava hlavná stanica (Central railway station) and Wien Hautpbahnhof (VIenna Central station) - these also serve some other stops at Vienna (including Simmering and Stadlau)
  • trains via Kittsee to/from Bratislava-Petržalka and Wien Hautpbahnhof (Vienna Central station)

If you wish to walk from station to city centre, use Bratislava hlavná stanica as it is located approximately 1,5 km from city center. However, if you plan to take bus from the station, you can also use Petržalka station which has direct and frequent buses to city center - it takes about 8 minutes to Zochova stop, which is located on the edge of city center (timetable is available here). For other places, use journey planner at imhd.sk to find out which station has better public transport connections to your destination and choose accordingly. 

Trains depart approximately every hour during the day in both directions. On weekends, services to Petržalka are reduced to every two hours.  

While standard international fares are relatively high, discounted tickets are available for this route. These are return tickets and are actually cheaper than standard one-way fare, so you should buy return ticket even when traveling one-way.  

When purchasing ticket in Austria, use offer EURegio Slowakei for 16 euros. This ticket includes unlimited use of DPB services within Bratislava on the first day of ticket validity. When purchasing ticket in Slovakia, two options are available:

  • Wien Ticket - costs 14 euros and only includes rail trip.
  • Wien Ticket + Z100 - costs 18,80 euros and includes rail trip as well as day pass for public transportation in Vienna - you can choose a day (within ticket validity) for day pass in Vienna when purchasing ticket. For example, you can travel to Vienna on 1st January but ask to have your day pass for Vienna valid on 3rd January instead of 1st. This can't be changed once you purchased your ticket.

These promotional offers are valid on both routes mentioned above. You are allowed to use different routes for onward and return journey. These ticket can't be purchased online. Tickets are not issued for specific train - you can take any train but your onward journey must be on first day of ticket validity and return journey must be within 4 days (if purchased in Austria) or 16 days (if purchased in Slovakia). 

Another option is to take bus. It's little less comfortable but it's a good choice if you travel to Vienna airport (buses have stop directly at the airport) or if you're traveling one-way and want to save some money. 

Two companies operate bus services between Bratislava and Vienna (both stops at Vienna airport): 

  • Slovak Lines (in cooperation with Austrian Postbus) uses Autobusová stanica (Bus station) in Bratislava and Hautpbahnhof (Central station) in Vienna. Standard one-way fare is 7,70€ with promotional offers starting at 1,00€ (must be purchased online, subject to availability). Tickets can be purchased from driver (subject to availablity) or from bus ticket offices all around Slovakia as well as on www.slovaklines.sk. Tickets are flexible: If you miss your bus, you can take another one on the same day, subject to availability. This also applies to promotional offer "Horúci lístok" for 1,00€. Some services run to Bratislava airport as well.
  • Blaguss uses Most SNP stop on the edge of Bratislava historical center and Erdgerg station in Vienna. Erdberg is little out of town, but has direct U-Bahn service to Stephansplatz. One-way fare is 7,50€. Ticket can be purchased from driver (subject to availability), Blaguss sale points () as well as on www.blaguss.sk. All services run to Bratislava airport as well.

Blaguss buses have better stop in Bratislava and are little faster as they use highway (while Slovak Lines is routed via some Austrian villages) - difference is about 15 minutes. Slovak Lines buses have better stop in Vienna and are much more frequent.  

Timetables of trains and buses can be found on websites of particular operators, or you can use journey planner at www.cp.sk. 

Finally, if you're willing to pay extra money for experience, you can use Twin City Liner hydrofoil with couple of departures every day. Fares range from 20 to 35 euros for one-way trip. Special offers including sightseeing or combination of boat and bus are also available.