Top 11 Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

(Last Updated On: November 30, 2017)

Ljubljana the Slovenia’s capital city and the largest city is one of the charming and laidback destinations. The first thing that comes to mind when you see the word Ljubljana is how to pronounce it! But it isn’t as difficult as it seems, Ljubljana is pronounced as [lyoo-BLYAH-nah] as simple as that? The city center is very compact packed with attractions, cafes, bakeries, and pastel-colored houses all set around the serene Ljubljanica River.

Top things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

1. The Marvelous Bridges

The calm Ljubljanica River flows through the city dividing the old and the new city of Ljubljana. Several of the bridges span the river with each of them having a charm of their own.

The Tromostovje (Triple Bridge)

The Triple Bridge is the most popular bridge in Ljubljana the model of which is exhibited at Mini-Europe in Brussels amidst the other major European landmarks.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Though the central bridge of the three bridges dates back to 1842, the two side bridges forming the Triple bridge was designed by architect Joze Plecnik and completed only in 1932.

Dragon’s Bridge

The Dragon Bridge is yet another popular bridge and a symbol of the Ljubljana city. The bridge is flanked by 4 large green dragons two on each end of the bridge and bedecked with sixteen smaller dragon statues along the span.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

The dragon is ubiquitous in Ljubljana can be found on city’s coat of arms, flag, and in almost every souvenir shops.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Cobblers’ Bridge

The Cobblers’ Bridge or the Shoemakers’ Bridge one of the oldest bridge dating back to the 13th century and is dotted with pillars supporting lamps and stone balls.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

It is said that the bridge was originally a wooden bridge with butchers shop on it but was relocated as per the orders of the Emperor owing to the stench from the meat. These shops were later occupied by the shoemakers who gave the bridge its present name.

You can find a larger than life-sized statue of Ivan Hribar the former mayor of the city of Ljubljana standing next to the bridge.

Butcher’s Bridge

The Butchers’ Bridge is a footbridge leading to the Ljubljana Central Market. The most prominent features of the bridge are the sculptures and grotesque artworks installed all over the bridge which are works by the sculptor Jakov Brdar.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

The other interesting feature you would notice are the numerous lovelocks that adorn the fences of the bridge. We had seen them before in Florence, Paris, and Cologne but one in Ljubljana was unexpected. Perhaps the charm of the enchanting Ljubljana city is an inspiration for the numerous couples to locked their love for eternity here on the Butchers’ Bridge.

2. Magnificient Churches and Beautiful Squares

Franciscan Church of the Annunciation

The Franciscan Church or the Pink Church strikingly visible for its pink color dominates the main square of the city – the Preseren Square. Do not miss the remarkable frescoes and artwork in the church interior.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

The Preseren Square dominated by the statue of the greatest Slovenian poet France Preseren has a lovely aura with street musicians, open cafes, and aroma of chestnut wafting through the air. The square is connected to the old town and the central market through the Triple Bridge.

The Cathedral of St.Nicholas

The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is the main church of Ljubljana with two twin bell towers dominating the city skyline. The church is located at the Vodnik Square next to the central market. The baroque cathedral is decorated with rich frescoes, statues, and reliefs on the exterior as well as the interior which, in particular, is spectacular enough to leave you spellbound. Do not miss the bronze sculptured door depicting six bishops from the history of the Ljubljana diocese on the south door.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity

The Ursuline church stands opposite the Congress Square and is one of the beautiful baroque churches in Ljubljana. The Holy Trinity Column stands in front of the church.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

The Congress Square built in 1821 is surrounded by lush greenscape and some of the most prominent Ljubljana buildings like Ursuline Church, the Slovenian Philharmonic and the University of Ljubljana.

University of Ljubljana

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

3. Historical Ljubljana Castle

The 15th century Ljubljana Castle perched on the hill dominates the entire city and is visible from any part of the city. The castle can either be reached by a funicular, by hiking the steep hill for some 15 minutes or by a tourist train that runs every hour from old town to the castle. As there was a long queue for the funicular we decided to hike up which was one of the best decisions as the way up offers some of the incredible panoramic vistas of the city.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Most parts of the castle and its grounds are free to enter and you may want to take a ticket if you want to visit the puppetry museum or the Outlook Tower.

Display from Puppetry Museum

Tours at the Castle

There are two kinds of tours one can take at the Ljubljana castle one is the Classic guided tour, the tour that lasts for an hour walks you through the history and parts of the castle. The other tour is a unique and interesting tour – the Time Machine Tours, wherein you will have an opportunity to meet six costumed characters from different historical periods and let you experience the different important times in the history of the castle as well as the city of Ljubljana.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

When you are heading to the castle enter the old town from the Triple bridge and you will come across the Square with Robbo Fountain and the Town Hall. The 15th century Baroque Town Hall houses the municipal government, you can also join a tour of the building held every Saturday at 1 pm by Ljubljana tourism.

4. Ljubljana Central Market

The Central Market set up in the huge Vodnik square is a lively open-air flea market selling fresh vegetables, fruits, local handicrafts, clothes, meat, dairy products and more. We were specially ensorcelled by the rare and unique variety of flowers that were put up for sale most of them we had never seen before and the roses in surreal bright shades were astoundingly real. The market is open daily except for Sundays.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

5. Riverside Cafes and Restaurants

The Ljubljanica River dividing the city is lined with open-air cafes which makes for a great place to sit back and relax and watch as the world goes by. After dusk, these same cafes lit up throwing their reflection in the calm river backed by soft music.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

Do not miss to try some local special delicacies like Burek or indulge in some delicious gelatos and some yummy cakes, pastries, and hot chocolates. We recommend trying gelatos from a shop near the Preseren Square and cakes from Cacao close to the Butcher’s Bridge.

6. Relax at the Tivoli Park

Tivoli Park is a great place to spend some time with kids and family. The lush landscape of the park is bedecked with trees, flowerbeds, and fountains. The park features a play area for kids, fish pond, sports park and botanical garden. There is a 17th-century Neoclassical style Tivoli castle which houses the International Centre of Graphic Arts exhibiting a rich collection of prints by  Slovenia’s finest printmakers.

7. Join a Guided City Tour

Join the Ljubljana City Tour by Ljubljana Tourism that walks you through the history and architecture of the city. The tour that lasts for 2 hours also includes a tasting session of local delicacies. If your gastronomical tour is your thing Ljubljana tourism also offers several food tours for traditional Ljubljana dishes, wine tours, and beer experiences.

8. Artwork at Metelkova

Art lovers cannot miss this wonderful part of the city of Ljubljana Metelkova which is brimming with street arts and murals. Apart from the walls painted with a burst of bright colors, there are also some interesting artworks on display. Metelkova neighborhood is home to several bars, pubs, and art galleries. Head here early in the morning and explore the place at your own pace and take pictures without the crowd.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

9. Take a Boat Tour

Hop onto one of the boat tours and explore the important sights and landmarks of the city accompanied by an audio guide from a different view. Few of the boats can also be hired for private parties.

10. Marvel at the City Skyline

The Skyscraper or the Neboticnik in Ljubljana is one of the most popular buildings in the city. The skyscraper houses an open cafe on the 11th floor which is accessible by a lift and is open to the public. The cafe offers breathtaking views of the city rooftops topped by the magnificent castle perched on the hill.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

11. Day Trips from Ljubljana

Slovenia is a treasure trove of picturesque landscapes and green valleys and gorgeous lakes few of which can be visited on a day trip from Ljubljana. If you have more than a day in Ljubljana consider these awesome day trips:

1. Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj

Lake Bled is a beautiful lake in the Julian Alps with the Medieval Bled Castle overlooking the lake there is a church in the midst of the lake which can be reached by boat. From Ljubljana, there are hourly buses to Lake Bled which continues to Lake Bohinj which is another gorgeous lake. 

2. Piran Town

Piran is a small coastal town known for Venetian and Gothic architectural buildings. There are several historical cathedrals and buildings in the city which can be explored on a day trip from Ljubljana. There are a couple of daily buses to Piran. As per our information, the frequency of buses to Piran is not very good. We recommend you to check the timings and buy tickets for the same from the Ljubljana main bus station.

3. Postojna Cave

The 24 km long cave system of Postojna is one of the top tourist sites in the country. There is a good frequency of buses from Ljubljana. The buses to Piran have a stop at the Postjana caves too.

4. Day trip to Croatia

Yes, the Croatian capital city Zagreb is just a couple of hours bus/train ride from Ljubljana. There is a good frequency of trains/buses to Rijeka as well as Istria though the travel time is around 3 hours and day trip may not be recommendable.

Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Ljubljana has many hostels and hotels around the old city. We stayed in two hotels during our time in Ljubljana both of which we can recommend:

1. Hostel Vrba

The rooms come with twin beds and shared bathrooms. There are several bathrooms clean and spacious but may be a drawback when in the morning everyone on your floor occupies them to rush out for sightseeing.

Top Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

The locality is very calm in the vicinity of Ljubljanica River some 5 to 7 minutes walk from Cobblers Bridge.

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2. Hotel Center

The hotel comes with an attached bathroom and is located on the busy street of Slovenska right at the bus stop. The hotel is around 5 to 7 minutes walk from the main bus/train station.

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Have you been to this lovely city of Ljubljana? What was your favorite part of Ljubljana sightseeing?

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21 thoughts on “Top 11 Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia

  • November 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm
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    This is very useful for me as I plan to visit Slovenia next year! The bridges and cathedral in the city look great, especially in photos! Of course I’d love to see Lake Bled and the caves too (who doesn’t?!)

    Reply
  • November 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm
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    So much to do in Slovenia’s Ljubljana that there’s no bored time. I like the concept behind the Time Machine Tours. Tahts a good way of discovering the history of such a place as Slovenia. I love going to local markets whenever I travel. One can learn much about the locals and their culture. I must say you had a busy time during your tour of Ljubljana.

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  • November 16, 2017 at 12:37 am
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    Thanks for your detailed post on what to do in Ljublijana, I love how each of the ten ideas is stacked often with more than one spot – like all those bridges! I would love to shop at the market too, what great looking wares and multiple rose shades yes please! The streetart as Metelkova sounds unmissable too!

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  • November 16, 2017 at 6:42 am
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    I love these kind of charming and laidback destinations. Ljubljana in Slovenia have all stunning things like river, castle, cathedrals and small bridges. I would love the take round in Central Market as there are so many handmade stuff.

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  • November 17, 2017 at 10:49 am
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    Ljublijana looks so beautiful. This is the essence of the non-touristy places with no crowd! Love those love locks in the butchers bridge! I won’t stop shopping those handicrafts in the flea markets…

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    • mm
      November 17, 2017 at 2:53 pm
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      Good to know! Ljubljana is a wonderful city which should definitely be on the list of must-visit European cities.

      Reply
  • November 18, 2017 at 2:06 am
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    This is a great post as I am visiting Slovenia in 2018. That Cathedral looks beautiful and that bridge at night is amazing all lit up. Your number 10 skyline wow how amazing is that and that fact it all looks so piece full undisturbed by city life. Really helpful post thank you.

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  • November 18, 2017 at 9:03 am
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    Ljubljana is my type of laidback city , full of history, architectures and food. I am so fascinated by the bridges there. Especially the dragon bridge. I would love to visit this stunning location someday.

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  • November 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm
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    We LOVE Slovenia. It is such a wonderful country. Your post reminded me of how many things we did not get to see when we were there. We ought to visit Slovenia again.

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  • November 18, 2017 at 9:12 pm
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    Wow what a wonderful, thorough post about Ljubljana! I’ve wanted to visit Slovenia but haven’t done much research so this was fun to read. I especially like Cathedral of St. Nicholas – I’m not usually a big fan of churches because I try to stick to the outdoors but after seeing it I think I’d definitely go in at least for the photo opp! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  • November 19, 2017 at 6:14 am
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    I can’t believe I guessed the pronunciation right! Haha! Ljubljana looks so laid-back based on your descriptions and photos. But the artwork from Metelkova looks disturbing…
    It has never crossed my mind to visit Slovenia, but after reading your comprehensive post, I’m definitely putting it on my list. It also helps that Croatia is a bus ride away!

    Reply
  • November 19, 2017 at 8:27 am
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    Ljubljana looks so lovely in your photos. I hope to visit next time I’m in Europe — would love to visit the Butcher’s Bridge and the Castle. I also love all the dragons everywhere 🙂

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  • November 19, 2017 at 8:41 am
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    Thanks for such a detailed post on Ljubljana. I was in the city last year and absolutely fell in love, with the city as well Slovenia overall. It is so beautiful, especially during fall time. The vibe is also amazing. Unfortunately I did not visit Piran but I did go to Lake Bled and Bohinj and they’re not so far from Ljubljana which was great. The dragon bridge, central market and the castle were my favourite in Ljbuljana.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 10:37 am
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    This is such a comprehensive post! Slovenia is top of my list for Europe so I’ll keep this list in mind for later on. I think that Lake Bled seems to be the one place that is mentioned the most in Slovenia and the cities get a bit overlooked on the surface. Ljubljana (that was so hard to spell!) looks like it has some truly gorgeous architecture, particularly the castle and the Dragon’s Bridge.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 11:06 am
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    I wanted to visit Slovenia for a long time and your description about the capital Ljubljana makes me think of a city trip just for that reason during winter time. The different bridges with their funny names, Ljubljana castle with so many parts to see without having to pay entry, the market and obviously the riverside restaurants would be on my bucket list. Maybe a few day tours like the one to Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj could be added to our journey if the time suffices.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2017 at 6:34 pm
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    Finally, I find in one place what waits for me in Llubijana, including what possible day trips. Definitely, I will see Croatia from there. And we will stay with a friend!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2017 at 5:58 pm
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    I keep getting Slovenia and Slovakia confused lol. I can’t wait to visit Slovenia it looks like a beautiful country. I love the idea of day trips to Croatia. You get to visit 2 countries for the price of one.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm
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    Wow it is beautiful that time of year with the leaves changing!! Personally I love visiting new cities to see their little markets and all the different food/drink/trinket items they have for sale! Tells you a lot about a city. Going through the castles though would be amazing too!

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  • November 21, 2017 at 3:55 pm
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    Bridges, markets, castles and more! What a fabulous post of suggestions on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Ljubljana! Great photos too! They capture the essence of the place very well. Looks just beautiful.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2017 at 8:24 am
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    A well done guide to Ljubljana. There seems so much to do and see out here. So much of history and culture. My favorite would be those squares and the castle, seems like that itself might take a complete day for me. I also, like the sound of the boat tour to cover the place.

    Reply

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