Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. It is a cultural, economic, historical, and educational center of the county. For some reason, Ljubljana and Slovenia in general had never been on my must-do list and going there I didn’t have any expectations whatsoever. Ljubljana was just our stop between a month in Croatia and another month in Italy. And I thought that four days in this city or even country would be enough, what is there to do, right? Well…no, wrong! Slovenia turned out to be an incredibly beautiful country. The words that come to my mind when I think of Slovenia are clean, soft, relaxing, magical, and mysterious. So here is a list of cool things to do in Ljubljana if you have just a few days and my explanation of why I fell in love with this city and the country in general.
After a month in Croatia we decided to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia for just two reasons. First, no one from our group has been there before and it is always a cool thing to add a new country to your “have been” list. And second, it was very convenient to get from Slovenia to our next destination (Italy). To get to Ljubljana from Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) is extremely easy. We took a comfortable bus (lots of leg room, wi-fi and so on) for six hours. The passport control at the boarder wasn’t a problem as well and it took just 15 – 20 minutes. Unfortunately, we arrived at dusk and couldn’t explore much the first evening. Nevertheless, we went for a walk, saw the famous Dragon bridge and had a delicious first dinner.
After spending our first night in Ljubljana, we decided to lose no more time and start our day early in the morning. The first place we chose to visit was Ljubljana Castle. Ljubljana Castle is actually a castle complex that stands on the city’s Castle Hill. This castle is a highlight of the city and the main historical monument.
Ljubljana Castle was built sometime in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century. Of course, during then until now it had been modified many times and used for many purposes. Nowadays, Ljubljana Castle is a museum and the main tourist attraction.
To get to the castle you can take a Funicular or just walk up. Although, if you choose to walk be prepared to walk up the hill for about 30 – 40 minutes and it isn’t that easy if you are not fit.
Ljubljana castle is quite big and very well maintained. The territory of the castle is clean as well as the bathrooms. At the top of the hill, inside the protective walls, you can see how the old and new styles were combined during the restoration work. And although to me it looked unusual, I still liked the place very much.
On the grounds of the castle there are a few museums that are worth a visit, a small chapel, souvenir store, a few cafes and a tall tower that you can climb up to get a fantastic view of the city. Unfortunately, I got lightheaded and Cody had to climb up without me. But I still got the pictures of the view and of me standing in the castle’s courtyard.
We spent around two hours in Ljubljana castle exploring and then resting in the inside courtyard. I do not recommend to eat at the cafes here, they are quite overpriced, but other than that we enjoyed this castle and the walk up the hill very much.
Price: castle ticket without funicular 10 €; reduced ticket without funicular is 7 €; castle ticket with funicular 13 €; reduced ticket with funicular is 9 €;
Hours: November, January, February, March – daily from 10 AM to 8 PM; April, May, October – daily from 9 AM to 9 PM; June to September – daily from 9 AM to 11 PM; December – daily from 10 AM to 10 PM.
Location: Grajska planota 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia;
Slovenia is all about the dragons, they are everywhere, even on the bridges. Slovenia loves their fairy tales and their legends of dragons. You can even say that the dragon is Slovenia’s magical national animal. Maybe that is why the Dragon bridge is a must-visit place in Ljubljana.
Ljubljana lays on the banks of the Ljubljanica river and throughout the city are built many unique bridges. Possibly the most famous one is the Dragon bridge. The bridge itself is quite wide since it was made for vehicles and pedestrians and nothing is that interesting about its construction except it is decorated with big green dragon statues on each side of the bridge. The big green dragons are quite charming and it is no wonder they are often pictured on post cards.
Price: free of charge;
Location: Resljeva cesta 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia;
Prešeren Square is the main square in Ljubljana. It is part of the pedestrian zone in the old town. Prešeren Square is the main gathering and meeting point. The square often hosts different cultural and political events, concerts, festivals, and carnivals.
The square was renovated quite recently (in 2007) and looks very charming. There are also lots of people all the time. We visited Ljubljana in October and every evening this square was packed with locals and tourists. Nevertheless, it still was a nice place and we enjoyed eating an ice cream and socializing.
Price: free of charge;
Location: Prešernov trg 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia;
Metelkova Art Center is an autonomous cultural and art center in Ljubljana. The art center contains seven buildings that formerly were used as a military base for the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then later for the Yugoslav army.
Metelkova Art Center is a must visit place while you travel in Ljubljana. It is very unique and a very beautiful place full of amazing street art. One bit of advice guys, it is better to visit this place during the day and do not wander around at night. I didn’t experience it myself but heard that after sunset it isn’t the safest place.
Price: free of charge;
Location: Metelkova ulica 10, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia;
While you are travelling in Ljubljana have a walk along the river Ljubljanica. The river goes through the center of the city and has many beautiful scenic spots.
Why do I think “a walk along the river” should be in a must do list? Well, what is so special about Ljubljanica river is that it has many beautiful and unique bridges. I know I already told you to go and see the Dragon bridge, but I do recommend taking a long walk crossing as many bridges as you can.
My second and third favourite bridges are Triple bridge at the Prešeren Square and Cobblers bridge with tall columns along it.
Price: free of charge;
Hours: 24/7 ;
Location: ljubljanica river;
While you are travelling through Slovenia, you definitely must see Lake Bled. One of the most beautiful lakes I have seen. Luckily for you, you can have a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana.
Lake Bled is located just an hour from Ljubljana. What is so special about this lake you might ask? Well, the nature is absolutely amazing with thick greenery surrounding the lake. Then there is the castle overlooking the lake from a tall mountain. And of course a small island in the middle of the lake which you can visit by renting and paddling in a wtooden boat.
Location: 4260 Bled, Slovenia;
If you do have time and want truly to understand why Slovenia is all about dragons, and if you want to see something amazing, then take a day trip to the caves.
Slovenia has the largest underground caves in Europe, and they are truly massive. It seems like a whole civilization lived there before and carved all those fantastic rocks, or it was dragon’s nest where these magical creatures lived far away from people.
Once you are in a cave, you can’t believe that something like this even exists. All the rocks have different shapes and different sizes and it even looks like they are made of different material. Some of the caves have underground lakes which makes everything even more magical.
Price: you can get to Postojna Cave by the train. The train leaves every hour from Ljubljana train station and it costs €5,80 each way; The cave entrance is €25,80;
Hours: from 9 AM to 5 PM;
Location: Jamska cesta 30, 6230 Postojna, Slovenia;