What to visit in Ljubljana?
Updated: May 30
Legend has it that a dragon lived in the marshes on the outskirts of the city and was slain by Jason, a hero of Greek mythology. Can you believe it?
Known for its student life and green parks, Ljubljana is the capital and biggest city of Slovenia. It’s a crossroads of cultures due to its geographical position - between Western Europe and the Balkan countries of Eastern Europe. Ljubljanica river split the city in two, separating the old town and the business district. This is a very romantic city. In the name of Ljubljana, there is the word "love”. So, bring someone you love and come discover her secrets!
Discover with us:
What not to miss?
Looking for a view and a cultural attraction? Run to the Ljubljana Castle. With its outlook tower and ramparts, you will see one of the most beautiful views of the city. The museum exhibition, the prison, and the historical rooms like the Chapel of St George in the castle houses, allow you to learn more about Slovenian history. To enter, it’s 10€ per person.
To taste and smell new flavors, the central market is the place to go. It’s an open-air market where you find fruits, vegetables, plants, cheese, meat, and alcohol. Traditionally, it’s also a place where locals meet and enjoy themselves together.
Set up in the 1960s, the Slovenian Railway Museum keeps a collection of preserved locomotives, rolling stock, and rail equipment used in the country throughout history. You can even climb into a real locomotive and touch the various controls. Only 8€ per person and even cheaper if you come as a group or if you’re a student.
What else to visit?
If you’re looking for a place to relax after a long day of walking around, Tivoli park is the largest and most beautiful part of the city. Designed in 1813 by Jean Blanchard, a French designer, you can find flowers, large areas of grass, numerous statues, and fountains. This is a charming place if you’re looking for a romantic place to share a picnic basket.
National Gallery of Slovenia
This is the main art museum in the country. It holds fine art from the High middle ages to the 20th century. Nearly 600 works by Slovenian and European artists are exhibited there. You can enjoy the permanent collection with an audio guide in English or use their free mobile appNexto Guide. After an afternoon inside, stop by the cozy café or the museum gift shop.
After a walk in Tivoli park, you will find the Ljubljana zoo. There are 120 different species to discover like the famous Slovenia bears, many forest animals, and even exotics such as antelopes or monkeys. Count 7€ per person for the entrance.
Born from the squatting of an old disused barracks, Metelkova mota is a must-see when you come to Ljubljana. It’s the center of alternative culture in which different artistic groups live. Their objective is to create an artistic and cultural environment. Prepare yourself for concerts, DJ nights, exhibitions, and festivals.
The quays of the Ljubljanica
Need one last idea before booking your flight tickets? It’s very pleasant to walk on the quays, under the three bridges of the central square. Navigate on it by canoe and paddle for a different experience! The river is bordered by terraces where you can rest under the shadow and enjoy ice creams, beers, or a coffee.
How to travel there?
Ljubljana is located at the intersection of major European transportation routes, so it is easily accessible by train, from the highway, and by air, with Ljubljana Jože Pučnik international airport being only a short drive away.
Besides Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, you can also fly to other airports within a reasonable distance like Airport Graz and Klagenfurt in Austria, Airport Zagreb in Croatia, or Airport Trieste and Venice in Italy. And then schedule transfers from these airports to Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is located at the crossroads of Slovenia's most important road routes. Motorway access from any of the neighboring countries is very easy.
The Ljubljana Bus Station has regular services to all of Slovenia's neighboring countries and The Ljubljana Railway Station connects Ljubljana to Trieste, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Prague, Vienna, Graz, Budapest, Zagreb, and Belgrade.
When to travel there?
The best time to visit Ljubljana is from April to June or from September to October. These spring and fall months offer comfortable weather for sightseeing, plus lower hotel prices than the peak summer season and the busy winter holidays.
Ljubljana is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe:
The average price for accommodation in Ljubljana is 43€, and if you have a bigger budget, you will find nice & comfortable hotels for around 80€ per night for two people.
While meal prices in Ljubljana can vary, the average cost of a restaurant meal in Ljubljana per person is 13 € but it can go up to 30 € for a more luxurious dining experience.
To go around Ljubljana we can go on foot, hire a bicycle from The BicikeLJ bicycle-sharing system or use their public transportation. To use buses, you first have to buy a card, which will cost you 2 €, and then you can load credits on it to then use on buses. Every drive will cost you 1,30 €. Also in the center of Ljubljana, you can easily find a vacant taxi. Charges range between 0.80 € and 1.50 € for the starting fee and from 0.70 € to 1.70 € per kilometer.
Where to eat?
If you wish for a unique experience, it’s better to eat locally. We recommend Manna for its Mediterranean cuisine with organic and healthy food. They have an impressive choice of seafood and 300 different wines. Stop there for breakfast and try their see food and the cottage cheese pancakes with tarragon for dessert.
While walking in the old town, also try pea soufflé with porcini mushrooms and prosciutto at Spajza. It’s very popular!
Finally, go to Kararna Cacap for an ice cream after a long day of visits. You will have a huge scoop and the amount of choices are phenomenal.
If you are interested about discovering more typical food, read our article about What to eat in Slovenia!
Odprta kuhna (March to November)
Odprta kuhna (Open kitchen) is a one-of-a-kind food market and one of the most popular culinary projects in Slovenia that brings food lovers and culinary adventurers to Ljubljana's city center every sunny Friday between 10 am and 9 pm from March until November. Culinary events are enriched by occasional visits by top chefs, while street artists and popular DJs will provide additional entertainment.
Concerts on the Ljubljanica river (April to September)
Local brass bands will be giving free concerts for the passers-by on the Ljubljanica river embankments. The concerts are happening on scheduled dates from April to September and begin at 6 p.m. The boat with the members of the orchestra departs at Prule bridge and travels past Triple bridge and all the way to the Dragon bridge and back. While sailing, the band plays a variety of wonderful sounds of wind and brass to create well-known domestic and foreign tunes, entertaining and classical tunes, and fast and romantic rhythms.
The Ljubljana Festival (June to September)
Every year, one of the oldest international festivals of this dimension makes an important contribution to cultural events in the capital with a carefully selected and genre-diverse program, as Ljubljana, especially in the summer months, becomes a meeting place for renowned foreign and domestic artists. Between June and September, we witness ballet and opera performances, musicals, chamber and symphony concerts, master classes of the Ljubljana Festival, International Art Colony, children's and youth workshops, and numerous events before the official start. The ticket prices vary depending on the event you want to attend.
We hope you enjoyed the article, please feel free to like and share it! Check out our article on what to eat in Slovenia, and what to visit in Bled, another city in Slovenia. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot for more adventures!