Ljubljana is the capital and largest city in Slovenia. Although I guess you are wondering how to even say that? Pronounced loo-ble-ah-nah. It’s a lovely city, perfect for a short break or as a base to see the rest of the beautiful country. Here’s a list of some of the great things you can do in this beautiful and sustainable European city.
Ljubljana is overlooked greatly by other places in Slovenia, such as the famous Lake Bled, although Ljubljana is well worth a visit too! The city is very small so it’s easy to see all the sights in a day by foot. Also the city centre is completely pedestrianized so no worries of being run over!
Ljubljana celebrates is green factor, It’s been voted one of the most sustainable destinations consistently over the years. It’s extremely clean and you can tell the residents really care for their city, looking after it’s natural environment and encouraging a relaxed lifestyle.
1. Preseren square
This picturesque square is the best place to start your visit in Ljubljana. Surrounded by restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and stalls. Grab some food or a drink by the banks of the river Ljubljanica, soak up the atmosphere and watch the world go by. Besides prices are cheap so treat yoself to a nice meal and bev.
2. Visit the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje)
Right next to Preseren square, this bridge is probably the most regularly crossed bridge in the city, connecting the medieval old town to modern day Ljubljana. Preseren square and the Triple bridge are definitely at the heart of the city.
3. Walk around the old town
Take a relaxing stroll around the old town. There’s loads of cute cobbled streets to explore, all of which are exceptionally safe and clean! The historic buildings are also kept looking beautiful. However If you want you can take a free walking tour to learn a little more about this city. Grab a cake and coffee or wine, and sit outside in a cafe chilling like the locals.
4. Visit Ljubljana Castle
The castle is free to enter but if you want to visit certain areas such as the archers’ tower, then you have to pay. However the places which are free are lovely. The castle is a twist on modern and medieval architecture, and is very beautiful! You can get some great views over the city, or check out some of the cultural events going on (we saw a portrait exhibition underground). To get to the castle you can walk up the various paths, all leading to the castle, some parts are quite steep! Or there is a funicular which cost about €4 for a return.
5. Cathedral of St. Nicholas (Stolnica Sv. Nikolaja)
Take a moment to chill in this pretty cathedral! The main entrance door is a work of art itself. Without a doubt it was hard to distinguish whether that was actually the entrance. As It took us a while actually to find the door. This probably made my list as I have a great memory of walking in with two of my friends with our soaking wet and squeaking shoes, while locals were quietly sitting. It was definitely one of them moments where you need to laugh so bad but really not the place for it. Holding in our laughter and tears we had to leave. Ditch them squeaky shoes and try to appreciate this peaceful cathedral.
6. Visit the Dragon bridge (Zmajski Most)
The dragon is the iconic symbol of Ljubljana, legend is that a dragon used to lurk around the marshes of the river. The origins of the Ljubljana dragon are linked to the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, (apparently Jason killed the dragon). Check out the four massive beasts perched on each corner of this bridge. It was tempting to climb onto one of the backs and pretend to be Daenerys from Game of Thrones. But I thought I’d be more respectful and not climb over these beautiful statues, or risk falling in the river. Definitely would have made a good picture though
7. Take a boat ride down the river Ljubljanica.
See some beautiful sights by boat, and head into the natural end of the city. Costing around €8 for a student ticket, including a drink, if they offer that deal. And about €10 for an adult, the ticket operators were open to haggle with us, so feel free! We bought our tickets from the Mesarski most, Ljubljana’s very own love lock bridge. Which is the bridge between Triple and Dragon bridge. Our tour ran from the pier underneath the bridge. Other companies run various boat tours from different points along the river, you just need to look out for them. Our tour was non guided, so we just sat back and enjoyed the peaceful views! Watch out for Nutria (Coypu), which look like a cross between an otter and a giant rat. They play along the banks of the river and are super cute!
8. Water Activities
If your visiting in summer or in warm weather, book onto a stand-up paddle board lesson and tour to see the city from a different perspective. Also you could head to some of the many cute riverside spots for a picnic on a nice sunny day.
9. Tivoli City Park
Escape the cobbled streets into nature, which is situated right in the city. The park is vast! and about a 15-20 minute walk from the city centre. Though we didn’t go due to bad weather but nature can never disappoint. Especially if it’s as well kept as the city is!
10. Take a day trip
Without a doubt Ljubljana is a great place to take a day trip from! There’s many amazing places to visit nearby (within a few hours), such as Predjama Castle, Postojna or Skocjan Caves, Piran or Lake Bled and Bohinj. We took a small group day tour to Piran, Skocjan caves and Predjama castle, the tour was great and cost us £50 for the whole day, not including entrance fees.
Check out my post on How to visit Lake Bled and Bohinj in 1 day from Ljubljana.