The 10 Best Things To Do In Ljubljana, Slovenia
What are the 10 best things to do in
I confess. I had never even heard of Ljubljana, and Slovenia had not even been on my bucket list.
Yet after visiting, it has become one of my most favorite places in the world!
I want to tell you all about the best things to do in Ljubljana, but first things first. How do you pronounce it?
Loo-Bli-Ahnna. The more you say it, the more it rolls off your tongue. To visit Ljubljana, is to love Ljubljana!
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, that tiny, chicken shaped country surrounded by Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary.
Slovenia is known for being a green queen of a country and Ljublijana is its crown jewel. It’s nothing short of a fairytale city complete with a castle and a winding river.
It’s hard not to be mesmerized as soon as you arrive. Just outside the old city are it’s modern neighborhoods with a university and thriving commercial hub.
There are plenty of things to do in Ljubljana for everyone.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Many thanks for using these links!
Know before you go
When is the best time to go to Ljubljana?
Ljubljana is most popular between June and August. The summer weather attracts a lot of tourists, but it’s great weather!
It can be foggy in the Fall but less touristy.
December and January can be particularly cold and sometimes snowy. That being said, the holiday season is very festive and beautiful. It’s known as a Christmas Fantasy, so you may really want to consider bundling up and visiting on your December vacation.
There’s a lot to do in Ljubljana in all seasons!
Where to stay in Ljubljana
→ Hotel Lev – This 4.5 star hotel is my top rec. Beautiful rooms, great service, and the breakfasts are amazing! And it’s in walking distance from everything. Prices start at $227.
→ Zlata Ladjica Boutique Hotel – This is a 5 star boutique hotel on the river with excellent reviews, fantastic breakfast, a restaurant, spa, and a walk to all sites. Prices start at $265.
Ljubljana is a very walkable city with a lot to offer in the old city. You will find many hotels and vacation rentals near the center of town. I think you will be amazed at how affordable it is to stay.
How do I get to Ljubljana?
Ljubljana has an airport with regular flights arriving from nearby major cities such as Graz or Vienna, Austria and Zagreb, Croatia.
If you are coming from Italy, you will be closest to Trieste or Venice.
There are also many train options available from within Europe on Rail Europe.
You won’t need a car once in Ljubljana because you can walk most places, use public transportation, or taxi, or ride share.
Tips for traveling in Ljubljana
- The Euro is the official currency of Ljubljana.
- Plug types are types C and F. Type C is the one with two round pins and Type F is the plug with two round pins and two earth clips on the side.
- The language of Ljubljana is Slovenian. Many people speak English, and other European languages, however.
- Take a Free Walking Tour. (Actually, a tip-what-you-can tour).
- Take the cute Urban Tour Train for circular route past all the major landmarks in the city, complete with an audio guide.
The 10 Best Things To Do In
Here are my top recs for 10 things to do in Ljubljana. I recommend 2-3 days, but you will probably want to stay longer. In fact, you may just want to move there permanently!
#1 The Ljubljana Castle & Funicular
Talk about things to do in Ljubljana! As was often the case in medieval times, the Ljubljana Castle was built in the 11th century on the highest hill with the best views.
The Ljubljana Castle is not your average castle because it offers a whole host of activities from self guided tours to full experiences, gourmet food and wines from their vineyards, and evening concerts and films.
One of the best parts is riding the funicular railway to the top.
You can easily walk to the funicular, take a local bus, or even walk all the way up to the castle. I highly recommend the short but smooth and steep funicular railway.
A round trip comes with a purchase of your ticket to the castle, the tower, and audio guide for € 9 per child and € 13 per adult, or € 31 for a family.
#2 Visit Prešeren Square
The center square of Ljubljana is named after a poet France Prešeren, (hence, the statue of him in the square).
The square is part of the pedestrian zone of the old town and is closed to all vehicles.
Look for the Central Pharmacy Building, the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, and the Urbanc House.
#3 Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
This is the red (actually more pink) church in the square that can’t be missed.
The church was built in the mid 1600’s and the color is symbolic of the Franciscan Monastic order, whose monastery is next to the church.
The main altar of the church was built by the famous sculptor Francesco Robba.
Visit the church to see the 100 year old fresco paintings and a cross designed by Jože Plečnik.
#4 Take a Ljubljanica River Cruise
The Ljubljanica River flows through Ljubljana and is the focal point of much of the city’s charm and beauty.
I really recommend you enjoy a cruise from one of the several companies along the river. This may be my favorite of the things to do in Ljubljana. You’ll have a relaxing ride and learn more of the history as you sit back and enjoy beautiful Ljublijana.
The cruises run often from the Triple Bridges and range from € 15 – € 20 per person.
The history of the river is that it has always been considered a sacred place and a spot to place treasures since the stone age.
So many artifacts have been found (13,000) by treasure hunters that the river has been named a site of cultural importance and a permit is required to dive in the river.
#5 The Triple Bridges
The Triple Bridges designed by the famous architect of Ljubljana, Jože Plečnik, are the spot that connects the old town of Ljubljana with the newer part of the city.
The bridges are the beginning of the pedestrian only zone and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for Plečnik’s human centered design.
#6 Walk on the Dragon Bridge
You’re likely to see the image of the Dragon Bridge in most photos of Ljubljana.
The Dragon Bridge opened for traffic in 1901 and its dragons have become a symbol of Ljubljana.
The dragons were made in a factory in Vienna and the bridge was dedicated to Franz of the Habsburg dynasty during their rule of Slovenia.
The legend is that the founder of Ljubljana and his army killed a dragon and folklore says that when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons wag their tails.
Let me know if you see any tail wagging!
#8 Visit theTown Hall
Another Gothic-turned-Baroque style building in Ljubljana, the Town Hall is the seat of the Ljubljana Municipality.
A replica of the famous Robba Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers is in the courtyard, ( the original is in the National Gallery.)
#7 Walk through Congress Square
This historic spot in Ljubljana was built in 1821 on the site of the former Capuchin Monastery.
Many significant protests and speeches have occurred here including a 1945 speech by communist leader Tito, the start of the Slovenian Spring in 1988, and a speech by US President Bill Clinton in 1999.
Visit the star shaped park, the buildings surrounding it, and the many statues throughout, to learn more about why this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ljubljana Fun Facts
~ Ljubljana became the nation’s capital in 1991, when Slovenia gained its independence.
~ Metelkova is an artists’ colony in the city center. It was the military headquarters of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Army, and later the Yugoslav National Army. It has been taken over by artists since September 1993.
~ Slovenia is famous for their traditional Struklji, a special pastry dough stuffed with sweet cottage cheese. You’ll also find plenty of local wines and craft beers to pair with prosciutto and cheeses. Not to worry, a non-red meat eating, dairy-free, and gluten-free soul like myself found plenty of vegetables, fish, and risotto to enjoy! It is also the home of my first of many Aperol Spritz!
#9 Ljubljana Cathedral
The Ljublijana Cathedral, AKA St. Nicholas’ Church, is on the site of a church dating back to 1262.
After a fire in 1361, a Gothic style church was built, only to be burned down in 1469, and later rebuilt in the Baroque style in 1707.
Visit the cathedral’s frescoes, statues, doors, and facades all with their own historic significance, artistic symbolism, and breathtaking beauty.
Entrance is free from 10AM – 12PM and again 3PM – 6PM.
#10 Visit the famous Tivoli Park
About eight blocks from the city center is Ljubljana’s largest park, Tivoli Park.
The park is home to the Tivoli Mansion, a 17th century Jesuit Villa, now the International Center of Graphic Arts.
Enjoy the park’s 2 square miles of beautiful green space, paths for walking, running, and biking.
There, you will also find the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Ljubljana Zoo.
Take a day trip to Lake Bled –
Take a day trip from Ljubljana to the exquisit Lake Bled.
It’s a little over an hour bus ride (39 miles) from Ljubljana to Slovenia’s magical Lake Bled.
There you can spend the day taking a Pletna Boat to the island, visit the castle, swim, stand up paddle, have lunch, and be back in Ljubljana for dinner.
There are 20 buses daily from Ljubljana Bus Station (Avtobusna Postaja Ljubljana) to Bled for only € 3! The Bus Station is not far from the city center at Trg Osvobodilne Fronte 4.