The capital and the largest city of Slovenia, Ljubljana is also one of Europe’s greenest and most liveable capitals: it was the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Situated in the very heart of Slovenia, Ljubljana is also important for road and rail countries between neighbouring countries, connecting Vienna, Budapest, Croatian Seaside, and Belgrade. Restricted car traffic in the centre leaves the leafy banks of the green Ljubljanica River free for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer, cafés set up terrace seating along the river, making it almost feel like a nightly street party.
Things to do
Ljubljana is filled with museums that reflect the history, art, and culture not only of the city but of Slovenia as well. The National Museum of Slovenia and the Slovenian Museum of Natural History share the 19th-century building and are a perfect pick for those who want to explore the ancient human and natural history of Slovenia. Artistic souls will find themselves in the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Slovenia, and the Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia. The Museum of Architecture and Design is the perfect fit for those with great appreciation for all types of art. If you want to find out more about the city itself, make sure to visit the City Museum of Ljubljana. The Plečnik House in Trnovo is a small house in which the local architect Jože Plečnik lived and worked for almost 40 years. Visit the Plečnik House if you want to learn more about the life of the man who made Ljubljana look as stunningly as it does today. Beer lovers will appreciate paying a visit to the Union Experience, whilst train enthusiasts will enjoy the Railway Museum. If you want to see what it was like to go to school in the past, make sure to visit the Slovenian School Museum.
Ljubljana is an ancient city with numerous historical sites such as the town hall, the parliament building, and the Hauptmann House. As you stroll the streets of Ljubljana, you will see all of them and many more, so make sure to stop and gaze at the wonderful architecture that has been standing in Ljubljana for years. Take a look at numerous monuments, stroll through the historical squares, sit at the Robba Fountain and the Hercules Fountain, and take in the mesmerizing beauty of this city.
The Ljubljana Castle crowns a hill east of the Old Town. This architectural mishmash has parts of it dating from the early 16th century when it was largely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake. Rambling around the castle grounds is free, but if you want to enter the Watchtower, the Chapel of St George, and the Slovenian History Exhibition, you’ll have to pay. If you have children, the Puppet Theatre and the Museum of Puppetry will interest them, and the Time Machine Tour will take you back in time.
There are many remarkable religious landmarks in Ljubljana, but one that is truly worth mentioning is the Cathedral of St Nicholas – it has stood there since the 13th century. Inside, pink marble, white stucco and gilt, and baroque frescoes truly make this a wonderful place of worship.
There are four different bridges in Ljubljana worth mentioning, each of them unique in its own way. South from Prešernov trg and going towards the Old Town is the greatly celebrated Triple Bridge which was originally called Špital (Hospital) Bridge. First built as a single span in 1842, it was nothing special, but the superstar architect Jože Plečnik added the two pedestrian side bridges and furnished all three with stone balustrades and lamps. Now, it is one of the most beautiful bridges and the top pick of many tourists. Northeast of the Old Town stands the Dragon Bridge. Four frightening dragons built in the art nouveau style stand on each corner, looking over those who cross the bridge. In the midst of the Old Town, a small street leads to the Cobbler’s Bridge, which was once a place of trade. Another bridge is worth mentioning – the Trnovo Bridge was built in the 1930’s over the picturesque Gradaščica canal.
The Open Kitchen is a food market where you can experience the delights of freshly cooked food prepared by different Slovenian chefs right there in front of you, on the market stalls.
On Fridays from mid-March to October, the Open Kitchen offers you an opportunity to meet Slovenian chefs, taste Slovenian and international dishes, and learn about different methods of food preparation.
Each Saturday during the warm months, Slovenian artists set up their stalls on the Breg embankment on the river Ljubljanica, where they sell and often also create their wares.
The Art Market offers an opportunity to buy original art and creatively designed arts and crafts products. Participating artists include painters, sculptors, architects, jewellery, wood, glass, leather and fashion designers, mosaic makers, and other interesting artists from around Slovenia.
Top places to eat
Many different restaurants can be found in Ljubljana. If you want to try something local, restaurants such as Strelec and Monstera Bistro offer various Slovenian dishes. If you’re craving something closer to home, visit Pop’s Place for the best burgers in town.
Top places to sleep
Ljubljana offers an assortment of different accommodation, such as family hotels, family guesthouses, and campsites – you choose.
1 km from Ljubljana Castle, Kva Hostel is set in Ljubljana and features rooms with free WiFi. Popular points of interest nearby include Cobblers’ Bridge and Slovenian National Drama Theatre of Ljubljana. The property is 600 m from the city Ljubljana City Centre.More on Hostel
B & B
Located in the centre of Ljubljana, Bed & Breakfast Atticus offers air-conditioned rooms that overlook the Ljubljana Castle. Free WiFi access is available.More on B&B
The InterContintenal Ljubljana is a 5-star property located in the centre of Ljubljana. This hotel features a panoramic wellness and spa centre with an indoor pool, as well as a rooftop restaurant serving international and local fare. Free WiFi access is provided in all areas.
You can get to Ljubljana by plane, bus, or car. The Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is well supported by taxis, shuttles, and buses, so you will have no trouble getting to your chosen place of stay.
It’s extremely easy to get around in Ljubljana. The city centre is relatively small, so you can simply walk or rent a bike. Ljubljana never had a subway, but it’s supported by solid public bus system. To ride the buses, you must first purchase an Urbana card (similar to an Oyster Card in London). These can be bought at self-service stations (“Urbanomat”) found at the larger bus stops across the city, LPP sales sites, Tourist Information Centres and newspaper agents for €2 and need to be loaded with an amount ranging from €1 to €50. Upon entering the bus by the front door, you need to position the card next to the reader to pay for the route. The confirmation is a quiet beep and an illuminated green light, while a negative response is a louder beep and a red light. After that, you proceed to take your seat or stand.