Ljubljana Ultimate Guide – Top Things to do Ljubljana
Local time in Ljubljana:
The capital of Slovenia has so much to offer that we are not sure where to start. Maybe with telling you the it has the most unique Old Town that we have seen in Europe (with Tallinn as a runner-up)? Or maybe that it is so small that you can easily see all the important tourist attractions in just few hours? One way or another, it is a place worth visiting! Keep reading to discover the most amazing things to do Ljubljana.
We don’t know anyone who won’t be charmed by this city. Ljubljana is like a perfect combination of Slovenia, Croatia & Italy, with the bridges and canals like those in Venice. There is something magical about this place. We could spent hours walking around the Old Town, eating gelato and simply relaxing.
Did you know that Ljubljana is called The Green Capital of Europe? No wonder why- it is one of the most peaceful cities we have ever been to.
Best things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia:
Ljubljana activities #1
The castle is definitely one of the best places to visit in Ljubljana. It is visible from any places in the city. The good news even though it is located on the hill, everyone can go there!
There’s a funicular railway that will get you directly to the top of it. The return ticket costs 4 euro.
Skip the line and book a guided tour to Ljubljana castle online here.
You can also take a short hike up the hill. The way is beautiful! You will walk surrounded by the unspoilt Slovenian nature.
The castle itself is nice but not spectacular. What we liked the most is the view from the hill! If the weather is good, you can see the amazing Julian Alps that are located over 100 kilometres away. How awesome is that?
Check out a day trip to Julian Alps from Ljubljana
Things to see in Ljubljana #2
Even though we have visited over 20 European capitals, we have never seen anything like Metelkova street.
It is called the City in The City, the independent area that doesn’t belong to anyone. It is full of street arts, graffitis, weird sculpts and people of all the subcultures.
The rule of Metelkova is simple:
You can be whoever you want, dress and look the way you want to, and we still won’t judge you.
So it may be quite shocking to visit this place for the first time: you will see people riding the weird, double bicycles, having green hair, wearing clothes that you won’t find in any stores. You will see shoes hanging on the wires and hear 8 different kind of musics, including Jazz, Psychobilly, Rock, Punk rock, Heavy metal Techno and more. (It is NOT loud at Metelkova! The music is played inside the buildings). Metelkova is definitely the best place to experience Ljubljana nightlife.
Metelkova has a very interesting history– in the past this place belonged to the Yugoslavian army. When this big country divided into smaller areas, the government of newly formed Slovenia didn’t know what to do with this place.
People started squatting there. They also organised nice events and Metelkova slowly became the cultural centre of Ljubljana. The government tried to do something with this but after protests of Slovenian people, it gave up.
In the heart of Metelkova, there is one of the coolest hostel in the world- Celica. We’ve been lucky enough to stayed there. Keep on reading to find out what it’s like to live behind the bars!
Even though Metelkova is considered as an independent area, it is NOT TRUE that everything is allowed there. It is not a good idea to do drugs there. If you want to smoke weed in Ljubljana or break any other law, don’t do that at Metelkova. Don’t do that at all.
We saw many undercover policemen who were walking around this street, especially at night. They stopped us once to check our IDs. If you don’t want to get in troubles while traveling abroad, think twice before doing anything illegal.
It is TRUE though that it is a very safe place. We’ve been staying at Metelkova for almost a week and we haven’t seen any fights or crimes. Even when we were walking there after the midnight, we felt very safe. That’s why it’s a great place to go to experience Ljubljana nightlife.
Looking for more fun things to do in Ljubljana at night? Book Pub Crawl Ljubljana tour!
Ljubljana sightseeing #3
One of the best things to do in Ljubljana is walking through the Triple Bridge. They connect the Old Town with the new part of the city and are located close to the Prešeren Square.
Three Bridges are the landmark of Ljubljana. In 2012, they were even an official logo of Google, when everyone was celebrating 140th birthday anniversary of its architect, Jože Plečnik.
Ljubljana travel blog #4
Cathedral of St. Nicholas
Ljubljana Cathedral is the most important church in the city. It was built in 18th century and has the beautiful doors made of bronze.
Even though Cathedral of St. Nicholas looks amazing from the outside, we enjoyed its interiors even more. The baroque decorations are breathtaking and mysterious. There are no tickets to the church, the admission is free of charge.
Ljubljana what to see #5
Prešeren Square & Franciscan church
Prešeren Square is our favourite spot at the Old Town of Ljubljana. Its name originates from the statue of France Prešeren (Slovene poet) that is standing in the centre of the square.
The tall, reddish Franciscan Church of the Annunciation is another landmark of this place. In our subjective opinion, it is the most beautiful sacral building in Ljubljana. This baroque church stole our hearts and we kept coming back there almost everyday throughout our stay.
Best things to do in Ljubljana #6
Zoo in Ljubljana is a great alternative to any Ljubljana walking tour. Even though it is not big, we really liked it.
If you are traveling to Ljubljana with kids, zoo is one of the top places you should go to. Visiting places where animals are kept in the cages is always controversial… All we can say is that animals at Ljubljana’s zoo have great conditions of living and they are taken good care of.
Ljubljana sights #7
Ljubljana Museum of Illusion
Visiting Ljubljana Museum of Illusion is a perfect alternative for those of you who are not interested in the history. If walking around the Old Town is too boring for you then, you will enjoy this place. It’s also a great museum for families traveling to Ljubljana with children.
We have mixed feeling about the Ljubljana Museum of Illusion. We had fun there but on the other hand we were quite disappointed. The admission (8 euro) is quite high comparing to other places like this. We thought we would spend there at least few hours. It turned out that the museum is very small and we saw everything in 50 minutes or so.
To sum up- Ljubljana Museum of Illusion may not be the world class but it is definitely nice enough for the small country of Slovenia. Going there is one of the fun things to do in Ljubljana in winter, when it’s too cold to spend the entire day outdoor.
Ljubljana things to do #8
Mestni Trg & Town Hall
TIP: There is a Telemach store located in front of the Town Hall. You can buy there Slovenia SIM card to have an unlimited access to the Internet in your phone!
Town Square (Mestni Trg) is one of the oldest places in Ljubljana. It was the centre of the town in the Middle Ages. The original buildings that were standing there we destroyed by the Earthquake in 16th century.
They were replaced by the new ones later on. The most famous of them all, Town Hall, was renovated in 18th. It is a beautiful example of baroque architectural style.
The thing we liked the most at Mestni Trg is the Robba Fountain. Three men with jugs symbolise the main rivers of Slovenia: Ljubljanica, Krka and Sava.
Town Hall is the starting point of most of the Ljubljana walking tours.
Pick the best Ljubljana walking tour here:
Best places to eat in Ljubljana #9
If you wonder where to eat in Ljubljana, there is no better place. Along the Ljubljanica river, there are many restaurants and cafes. This area is always full of people. Some of them are sitting at the canals, some at the beer gardens.
Cankarjevo Nabrezje it’s where you can find the best food in Ljubljana. Even if you are not hungry, it is worth to go there and take a relaxing walk along the river.
CLICK here to book best Ljubljana food tour.
Ljubljana attractions #10
Slovenska Filharmonija & Kongresni trg
Kongresni trg (Congress Square) is one of the most peaceful areas of Ljubljana’s Old Town. There are two main reasons why it is worth to go there. The first is to see the beautiful building of Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra.
The second is to take some awesome photos of the castle. We love photography and it was one of the most interesting spots that we have found in the Old Town of Ljubljana!
Where to stay in Ljubljana?
Best places to stay in Ljubljana for trendsetters & budget travellers:
Hostel Celica is the most interesting place that we have ever stayed in. It has awesome location: in the former prison at Metelkova street (city inside the city, we are writing about it above).
The rooms are actually the cells, so you can truly experience how it is to live behind the bars. You don’t have to be afraid though- you can unlock it whenever you want.
Every room has a separate doors, so you don’t need to worry about the privacy. Celica is called the 5 star hostel because it literally has all the facilities you need: free and fast WiFi, clean shared bathroom, good breakfast, perfect location and awesome staff.
Check out the latest hotel prices for Hostel Celica—> click here.
Where to stay Ljubljana? Nice hotel for everyone:
This is a perfect place to stay for everyone. The rooms at Meksiko are stylish and have beautiful design. Hotel is situated 10 minutes walking from the Old Town.
There are many restaurants and shops around Meksiko, so the location is just perfect. The breakfast is delicious, you can see it on the video below.
What we loved the most about Meksiko is that it has all the facilities that we needed. The WiFi was fast and stable, so we could work online and talk with our family on Skype without loosing signal. The room was really cozy and the bed was super comfy.
We love hotels like this! Our stay was flawless.
Check out the latest hotel prices for Hotel Meksiko—> click here.
Best places to stay in Ljubljana luxury travellers:
Grand Union is one of the most famous hotels in Slovenia. It is 111 years old and has the best location in Ljubljana: in the heart of Old Town, right behind the Franciscan church and Prešeren Square. If you are looking for Ljubljana hotel with pool, it’s your place to go.
Even though it is a four star hotel, we think it deserves 5 stars. Why?
First of all- because of the location. Secondly, because of the amazing interiors. Last but not least… the breakfast! It was honestly the best that we had during our 3 weeks stay in Slovenia. Gluten-free bread, milk without lactose, fresh vegetable & fruit smoothies will satisfy even the most demanding tourists.
If you are looking for the best breakfast Ljubljana, go to Grand Hotel Union! Even if you are not staying at this hotel, go there to start your day with some delicious food.
The hotel is one of the biggest in Ljubljana but it won’t take away your privacy. Even though is is located in the heart of Old Town, it is very quiet in the room at night.
The WiFi at Grand Union is really fast, there is a parking, swimming pool and wellness area available for the guests. We absolutely loved this hotel!
Check out the latest hotel prices for Grand Hotel Union—> click here.
If you don’t want to stay in any hostel or hotel, check out Airbnb Ljubljana (click to get $36 off of your first booking). You will definitely feel like home when staying at one of the apartments Ljubljana. Having the kitchen where you can cook and more than just one room is a great idea, especially if you are traveling in a group.
Find your best apartment Ljubljana here.
How to get around?
If you are staying in the city center, you can easily walk to all the important places in Ljubljana.
This eco-friendly option is great, especially in the summer. Ljubljana Bikes (BicikeLJ) are really cheap. The registration costs just 1 euro. The first hour of biking is free. There are more than 50 bike stations in Ljubljana, all located 300-500 meters from each other.
Car rent Ljubljana
We are based in Poland, that’s why we came to Slovenia by our own car. If you will be arriving back a plane, the most convenient option is to rent car Ljubljana.
Search for the lowest car hire in Ljubljana here.
Ljubljana public transport
The main Ljubljana bus station and Ljubljana train station are located next to each other (Trg Osvobodilne fronte Square). You can get there to everywhere in the city, or travel somewhere else (to Piran, Vienna, Trieste, Bled, Zagreb, Budapest or even Venice).
If you decide to use Ljubljana public transport to get around the city, you will be probably traveling by bus, as there is no subway in Slovenia.
It’s very easy to use bus Ljubljana. All you need to do is get a Urbana Card (for 2 euro) and top it up with up to 50 euro. This Ljubljana card can be purchased in many places in the city, including Tourist Information Centers, post offices, kiosks, hotels, and more. Urbana Card works just like the Navigo Pass in Paris or Oyster Card in London.
|Country||Slovenia, European Union|
|Ljubljana best time to visit||April-October|
|Ljubljana Taxi App||Taxi Metro|
|Cheap car rental Ljubljana||Rent Cars|
|Money exchange Ljubljana||At the airport or in the city center. Use Multicurrency Card to reduce the fees.|
What to buy in Ljubljana?
1. Handmade goods:
- Idrija Lace,
- Wooden ware products,
How many days in Ljubljana?
The optimum is 2 days in Ljubljana. You can see everything in just one day but you may get really tired.
What’s the best time to visit Slovenia?
The country is great to visit all year round. The weather is good from April to October, so that would be the best time to visit Ljubljana.
There are many things to do in Ljubljana in summer, that involves walking, biking, and spending a time outdoor.
What are the things to do in Ljubljana when its raining?
Go for a day trip to the neighboring cities or countries (more about best day trips from Ljubljana further in this post).
If you want to stay in the city, go to the museum. Here you will find a list of best museums in Ljubljana.
If you are traveling in a group, go to the Escape Room Ljubljana. It’s so much fun there! You will be locked in the room and have just one hour to escape. In order to find a key, you will need to solve many riddles.
Last but not least- when the weather is not good, you can always do some shopping! Buy souvenirs, clothes or food. Here you can find an interesting Ljubljana shopping guide.
What to eat in Ljubljana?
It’s popular in many countries of Europe. This fast food Ljubljana can be found in many places in the city. Burek is a pastry filled with minced meat, cheese, or vegetables.
Ice cream in Ljubljana is one of the best we have ever eaten! It’s probably because Ljubljana is located so close to Italy.
Bar Fetiche is our favorite place to eat gelato in Ljubljana.
More about the best food in Slovenia here.
Best tours in Ljubljana
Just like in Venice, it’s impossible to take Ljubljana bus tour. Most of the important tourist attractions can’t be reached by any vehicle. Maybe there will be a Ljubljana sightseeing bus in the future but for now, here are the best tours in the capital of Slovenia:
Castle & City Walking tour
The capital of Slovenia in a nutshell. You will visit all the Ljubljana top sights in just 2 hours, and pay less than $20.
Book Ljubljana City Tour here.
2. Ljubljana beer tour
Try 6 Ljubljana craft beer, play games, have fun, and listen to the beer-related stories. Everything in one place, no need to do any pub crawling.
Book Ljubljana beer tour here.
3. River cruise / Ljubljana boat tour
While in Ljubljana, you need to cruise along the Ljubljanica river! The best option is to combine it with the walking tour. After 1,5h of sightseeing, relax on a boat and enjoy the beautiful view of the city.
Book Ljubljana boat tour here.
4. Ljubljana wine tour
You will be surprised how delicious Slovenian wine is. Not only you will have a chance to try it during the Ljubljana wine tour, but you will get to know the history of the region as well.
Book Ljubljana wine tour online here.
Check out more recommended Ljubljana excursions:
Best day trips from Ljubljana
Slovenia is a really small country. Ljubljana is located in the very center of it. You can easily travel to anywhere in Slovenia in less than 2,5h. There are many places to visit near Ljubljana that you can reach by car or public transport. You can even travel abroad to Italy, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, and Slovakia.
In this post you will find all the full list places in Slovenia, where you can travel from Ljubljana.
Day trips from Ljubljana to other places in Slovenia:
Head to Piran fo a taste of coastal Slovenia on your day trip from Ljubljana. Once ruled by the Venetian Republic, the town is known for its pretty piazzas and picturesque harbour. After climbing the tower of St George’s church, head to the cafes in Piran’s central Tartini Square. Relax here for a while before exploring the narrow cobbled streets that take you to the sea front. On a clear day you can see Italy across the Bay of Trieste.
Want to go to Piran by yourself? Book Ljubljana Piran bus online here.
Want to join a guided tour to Piran from Ljubljana? Book it online here.
Slovenia is quite a small country and therefore it is very easy to go from A to B. Maribor, Slovenia’s second biggest city is only 1,5 hour from Ljubljana and perfect for a day trip. Maribor is a very cute city and you can visit it in 1 to 2 hours. It has very nice coffees and restaurant. Don’t miss Casino, a coffee house on Glavni Trg is Maribor’s central square with traditional Yougoslav furniture. It is absolutely beautiful. Around the corner go to see the view from down the bridge and don’t miss the oldest grape in the world in front of the old wine house! If you go in winter, you might want to spend the morning skiing in the Balkans too! Maribor is 20 minutes away by bus from the city center to the ski slopes of Pohorje! Don’t miss the opportunity!
Book your day trip to Maribor online here.
Bled is one of the most Instagrammable places in Slovenia. The beautiful lake and the Alps, make it a perfect place to relax.
Bled is located less than an hour driving from Ljubljana. You can easily get there either by car or by bus Bled to Ljubljana.
If you want to get the most of your visit to Bled, join a guided tour.
You can book it online here.
See more recommended trips here:
Day trips from Ljubljana to Croatia:
Ljubljana to Zagreb
Ljubljana to Split
Ljubljana to Rijeka
Day trips from Ljubljana to Hungary:
Lubljana to Budapest
If you want to make a day trip to the capital of Hungary, you need to travel by your own car or leave at night by Ljubljana to Budapest bus. The journey will take 6 hours one way, so in order to make it doable, start traveling at 2-4 am.
There is no point in taking Ljubljana to Budapest train, as it leaves only once a day, and the traveling time is almost 9 hours.
Budapest is one of our favorite cities in the world. It has a fairy tale castle, and a beautiful old town. Read more about the capital of Hungary in our Budapest guide.
Book Ljubljana to Budapest bus ticket online here.
Day trips from Ljubljana to Slovakia:
Ljubljana to Bratislava
Book your bus ticket from Bratislava to Ljubljana and / or back here.
Day trips from Ljubljana to Italy:
Ljubljana to Venice
Ljubljana to Trieste
Europe is really small! From the capital of Slovenia, you can get to the coastal city of Trieste in Italy in just 1,5h!
If you want to see the Adriatic Sea, it’s one of the best places to go.
Save your time and book Trieste to Ljubljana bus online here.
Day trips from Ljubljana to Austria:
Ljubljana to Vienna
Ljubljana to Graz
Disclosure: We want to thank Hostel Celica, Hotel Meksiko and Grand Hotel Union for complimentary stay. All opinions presented in this post are honest and our own.