You know when you hear over and over how beautiful a place is that you just think you’re going to be disappointed… how could it possibly live up to the hype? Well, Ljubljana (pronounced lub-lee-ana) will not let you down. The main city centre is brimming with beautiful buildings and architecture lining the river, with the castle always looking down over you. There are so many things to do in Ljubljana, but because of it’s size, you can still see so much in a short stay too. Here are some of our favourite things to do when visiting Ljubljana Slovenia…
Things To Do In Ljubljana Map
Explore The Old Town
The main city centre of Ljubljana is not accessible to cars which makes it a great city to walk and explore. Or why not try another extremely popular activity and cycle around.
We chose walking because we were constantly stopping as everything was so beautiful. The old town actually looks like it’s out of a fairytale. From the bridges to the river to the castle up on the hill to the pretty colourful buildings. Take your camera… and a spare battery. Although its small, there really is a lot of things to do in Ljubljana Old Town.
Bridges In Ljubljana
The little river divides the city centre into two, giving you a great reason to cross all the beautiful bridges. The most famous and unique is the Triple Bridge, a group of three bridges. Although it began as one bridge, the two side bridges were added as pedestrian walkways. Since 2007, all three bridges became part of the pedestrian only zone.
Another bridge to look out for is the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most). Each corner of the bridge has a large Dragon statue whilst the bridge has other smaller dragon statues too.
Squares In Ljubljana
Preseren Square, right near Triple Bridge and the Franciscan Church feels like the heart of the city. With lots of people walking and gathering, music playing and chestnuts roasting, you will find yourself here many times.
Congress Square is another beautiful area, which use to be used for ceremonial purposes during congress. It’s also home to a beautiful park, Zvezda Park.
Another nice open space along the river with a beautiful fountain is New Square (Novi Trg).
Vodnik Square is a town square in Ljubljana. It occupies a large space and is home to the Central Market.
Old Square is home to the Hercules Fountain and in a beautiful part of Ljubljana.
And in one of my favourite areas of Ljubljana is Town Square, also where you will find Robba Fountain and some beautiful cobblestone streets.
Churches In Ljubljana
You will see the beautiful pink church, the Franciscan Church right near the triple bridge.
On the other side of the river, you will find the beautifully detailed St. Nicholas’ Church (don’t miss the bronze doors on the side).
Ljubljana is not all fairytale streets. In fact, outside the pedestrian area, you will find completely different neighbourhoods to explore. In an area just of Metelkova street, what was formerly old barracks is now buildings serving as canvases for street art. Come by day to explore the street art and by night for a drink at one of the bars.
Central Market Ljubljana
The Central Market is a large open-air fresh produce market in Vodnik Square. A great place to experience local life. Its right next to Plečnik’s Covered Market, which has many different shops including bakeries, butchers and pastry shops.
Designed by architect Jože Plečnik, you’ll quickly come to discover that so much of Ljubljana’s iconic sights are also designed by Jože Plečnik.
Day Trip to Lake Bled
Ok, so not technically ‘things to do in Ljubljana’, but Ljubljana actually serves as a great base for day trips. Lake Bled is only about 1 hr 15 minutes away from Ljubljana. If you are staying in Ljubljana and have the time, a day trip to Lake Bled is absolutely worth it. Lake Bled is a beautiful lake with a church on an island in the middle and a castle on the top of a hill. Again with the straight out of a fairytale type scenario. Slovenia is one of the most beautiful countries, it’s definitely worth exploring beyond Ljubljana. See more about our Lake Bled day trip here.
Whilst we usually spend weeks exploring a place, we only had a short time in Ljubljana. We drove past Tivoli Park and it looked beautiful, but ran out of time to explore it. Come here to relax or go for a walk.
I almost didn’t put this in, because you can’t actually access the National Library unless you’re a member. I had come across beautiful photos of it somewhere and wanted to check it out. When we got there we almost got turned away except for some lovely staff that took us in for a look. It’s a really beautiful space, but unless you love design or libraries, considering you can’t technically access the main library room, give it a miss. If you do love design, perhaps try and work your magic with the staff ;)
Shop For Slovenian Designs
There were a couple of little shops that stocked Slovenian designs that were really beautiful. My favourite was GUD shop, definitely worth a look.
IKA was another shop with Slovenian designs and souvenirs.
Eat Slovenian Dishes
When it comes to things to do in Ljubljana, or anywhere for that matter, what better way to explore than through the food. There are some delicious cafes and restaurants in Ljubljana, but if you’re after traditional Slovenian dishes, there were a couple we loved. Klobasarna is a great place to try carniolian sausage and other local dishes. It doesn’t have a lot of seating, so be prepared to take away.
If you are after more of a restaurant, Julija served some local specialities as well as Italian food. I loved the Zlikrofi, a potato filled dumpling. Another place to try which we didn’t get around to but sounds like it would give you a nice variety is TaBar, a Slovenian tapas and wine bar.
You can’t miss Ljubljana Castle, looking out over the city like it’s guardian. Perched up on the hill, you can either walk up or take the funicular.
We took the funicular up and got some great views over the city, and then walked back down. So much of the castle is accessible without a ticket, so it’s definitely worth going up. You can explore different areas of the castle and the internal courtyard, and there’s also a nice park up there too.
If you want some more ideas for things to do in Ljubljana, take a look visitljubljana.com