10 Things to do in Lovely Ljubljana

10 Things to do in Lovely Ljubljana

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No one dislikes the very laid – back capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana (‘lyoo-BLYAH-nah’) hard word to say – click here for pronunciation)!  The small city is comfortably discovered by foot, offers interesting architecture to stare at, and there are plenty of things to do in Ljubljana for those on a two or three day city break. Here’s the Ljubljana top 10, in no specific order. If you have longer don’t miss out on the majestic day trip to Lake Bled or think about heading south to the Croatian border for some glamping!

Ljubljana, Slovenia things to do

1. Take It To The Bridge

…as Justin Timberlake once said.

First thoughts of Ljubljana, so many bridges and one of them is even split into three! Regardless of there being so many, each one tells its own unique story. In the past, the bakers who cheated their customers out of quality bread where dunked in the freezing cold waters of the Ljubljanica via the Shoemaker’s Bridge (or Cobbler’s Bridge), an exciting spectacle for all to watch. At present, lovers can secure their passion by hooking a padlock on the Butcher’s Bridge. Some of the architecture might seem curious such as the Greek like podiums with strange fittings but no roof on the Triple bridge, but this was the constructed design of Ljubljana’s resident architect, Jože Plečnik. For more expert explanation on Ljubljana’s confusing architecture and the history of the city (with a ride on the Castle funicular), check out the two-hour official walking tour. Like all city breaks you want to be comfortable so make sure you are wearing your trusty broken in foot gear. I swear by Clarks sandals/flats for style or my Salomon trek shoes for support. Craig lived in his Salomon boots but has recently moved over to Scarpa to try out leather boots. No rain getting through those bad boys.

Bridges I Things to do in Ljubljana

2. Fun Food Tour With Ljubljananjam

What’s the best way to find out about a country’s culture? Fill your belly like one of the locals with Ljubljananjam Food Walks! Ljubljana is a foodie’s dream. Influenced by the Germanic / Austro-Hungarians, Mediterranean, and Yugoslavia, the Slovenian diet features lots  of meats, cheese, veggies, bread, and wine. Iva and her team will present a taste of the Ljubljana’s close-nit culinary community, as well as providing historical knowledge and bowls, plates, cups, and glasses full of Slovenian treats. The trail takes you around some of Ljubljana’s traditional restaurants as well as the more hipster spots, leaving you with local tips and content stomachs for you to savour. Ljubljana best things to do for food and drink lovers. 

Ljuljanajam Food Walk I Things to do in Ljubljana

Ljubljananjam Wine I Things to do in Ljubljana

Orange wine, my new favourite!  Oh Ljubljana what to do? Drink my friend! 

3. Ride Ljubljana’s Mean Streets By Bike

Everyone cycles in Slovenia’s capital, and you can too, at a ridiculously cheap price. Pick up your bike at the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre (STIC) and for 2  euros you can have a wheely good time seeing the sights at a fast(er) pace. An easy and enjoyable route is to pedal east to Ljubljana’s beach in the city. An alternative option is to cycle south to Tivoli Park which, like the rest of Ljubljana, has designated paths for cyclists. Why not check out a bike tour? This is one of our favourite types of tours because you get around quicker than by foot so you can take in more sites. We love tours, I probe the guides for local tips and stories about their lives.

→ Check rates, reviews and availability: Click here
We hope this does not happen to you but people fall, the body fails (and taxi drivers mount pavements like what happened to us in Lima, Peru)- never travel without insurance. We use True Traveller as our insurer and I had to claim in Canada (dizziness caused by ear crystals, nothing serious, just annoying), they paid out quickly. See if their website matches your travel needs here.

Hire a Bike I Things to do in Ljubljana

  • Price: 2 Euros / 2 hours (4 hour cycle included in the Ljubljana Card) – cheap things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia
  • Location: Krekov trg 10, 1000 Ljubljana

4. Life’s a Beach in Ljubljana

Ok so you won’t be making sandcastles at Ljubljana’s tranquil riverfront but the people of Ljubljana are so progressive that they did not let something as insignificant as sand get in the way of relaxation. Pull up a sun lounger, buy a glass beer, and watch the world (and the waves) go by! Apparently, there is even a floating bar but be aware, the river is not for swimming! One of the nicer things to do in Ljubljana in summer. Don’t forget your suntan lotion! I adore La Roche-Posay when I’m splashing it, worth avoiding premature signs of ageing? 

Beach I Things to do in Ljubljana

Plans are always best made with Slovenian wine!

5. Stay in a Prison

Update – I’m saddened to tell you that the City of Ljubljana has closed Hostel Celica. I’m gutted that you will not get to experience this place which had so much soul and a really interesting back story. Here’s what we said before its closure in 2018:

You heard me right; Ljubljana has a converted military prison where the cells have been moulded into special works of art, behind bars of course! Hostel Celica, once home to political prisoners and menacing militarians, is now a bright, modern building oozing with community spirit. This local and tourist hot spot not only offers sleeping arrangements but also has a popular cafe, hosts live music, and an art gallery showcasing local artists of all ages and genres. Travellers can select which cell they wish to sleep in (click here for details). Since each room has been designed by different international artists, they are individually special! A stay also includes a full continental buffet (not gruel, thankfully), Wi-Fi, baggage storage, solitary confinement, and use of the kitchen on the second floor. People of all cultures, religions, sexual preferences, and political beliefs are all welcome to the institution which once silenced its prisoners. Find out more about Slovenia’s history in this Slovenian travel guide book. If you area fan of staying in unique places you may want to check out our guide to staying in castles in Scotland!

Cell Hostel Celica Ljuljana I Things to do in Ljubljana

6. Street Art Attack: Ljubljana things to see and do

Tucked behind Hostel Celica is the abandoned military barracks, which has been taken over by the younger generation, loaded with spray paint. Check out the artwork splattered over the converted buildings and the art gallery, Galerija Alkatraz. Buy a beer and join in the laid back vibe of the Metelkova area. This was not an easy ride for the community, it took nearly a decade of negotiating with the government not to bulldoze it and let Ljubljaneers do what they do best – regenerate!

7. Go Green

It’s no wonder that this small city has won the award for the EU’s greenest city. Years ago, the government pedestrianised the canal streets, there are water fountains on every corner (remember our water bottles, no need for a filtering one as the tap water is clean so something like this one will do the job), and every type of recycling bin the Eco warrior in you could desire. There is even a small bus called a Kavalir, which runs on electricity can take you from A to B in the pedestrianised area. Check out the castle lights at night, guess what colour they shine? It’s not just me that was impressed with how clean Slovenia is, check out Claudia’s views here in her guide of what to do in Slovenia.

Eco Green Ljubljana I Things to do in Ljubljana

8. Chase The Dragon

Warning: Ljubljana is so charming, you will be hooked and looking for your next fix as soon as you leave! However, I don’t mean the consumption of heroin when I say ‘chase the dragon!’ I am referring to Jason’s dragon, that Jason from Jason and The Argonauts – the one he killed on his way back from stealing the gold fleece from King Aetes. You’ll find these mythical beasts on Dragon Bridge, and in every gift shop. Ljubljana to do list, check it off!

Dragon Bridge I Things to do in Ljubljana

9. Get High in LjubljanaTake the lift to the top of Nebotičnik, the 70 meters high skyscraper with the torch – like top. The views from Ljubjlana’s Empire State Building are stunning, day and night, and guess what? A glass of red will only set you back 2 euros! One of the cool things to do in Ljubljana at night. If booze is not your bag, check out this guide to the best coffee shops in Ljubljana.

Views from Nebotičnik I Things to do in Ljubljana

  • Location: Štefanova ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana (a Ljubljana must see)

10. Things to do in Ljubljana: Leave Ljubljana

Although this list of Ljubljana things to do and see could easily fill up a long weekend itinerary I highly recommend leaving the city. It will be tough, but there are lots of lovely day trips from the capital, including the majestic Lake Bled (the town with the church in the middle of the lake) and to the Slovenian/Croatian border where you can go glamping if you are in Slovenia for longer.

Let someone else do the driving! Take a tour to Bled, a short hike to Bled Castle and ride the Pletna boats in Lake Bled. Next, explore the Vintgar Gorge then dine at a local Alpine restaurant. It’s not over yet! See the less touristy Lake Bohinj and wander through the medieval town of Skofja Loka.

Highlights

  • Bled castle + boat trip
  • Vintgar Gorge
  • Lake Bohinj
→ Short on time? Look at Bled, Vintgar Gorge + the less touristy, Lake Bohinj day tour

Views from Castle Funicular I Things to do in Ljubljana

Views of lovely Ljubljana from the castle funicular 

How to get to Ljubljana

Ljubljana is well connected, Slovenia’s capital is home to Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (previously known as Brnik Airport / code: LJU), Ljubljana railway station and a bus station (Avtobusna postaja Ljubljana). We entered Slovenia via the Budapest to Ljubljana train from our previous stop on our European trip, Hungary. Thinking of travelling around Europe? Here’s a guide to how much you can expect to pay on transport, accommodation, food and tours. 

Accommodation in Ljubljana

Considering Slovenia’s capital is a such a small city there are numerous options to meet every budget. For backpackers there are over 15 hostels, with the majority of them located in the centre. Dorm beds start at under £10 and privates from £30. Check out your options and read reviews here. Hotels in Ljubljana on the other hand, are tad more expensive (the wine is cheap so there is a balance!) starting at just over £50 and hitting £200 mark. Airbnb is flourishing; private rooms average at £35 but go below £20 where as entire homes average £62, a few options under £50. Airbnb is our favourite option for when we want to hide away (long-term travel can do that), we are travelling in a group or we want to cook in. Are you new to Airbnb? Sign up using our referral code here for money off which also gives us credit. Hvala (thanks in Slovenian)!

What to do next in Slovenia

Don’t forget your guide

Backpacking in Europe?

This is what much one month costs us 

So obviously I’ve got you all pricing flights for this summer yeah?!

Did you find this useful?
Why not pin it to your Slovenia board?

10 Things to do in Ljubljana

Your Quick Travel Guide I Things to do in Ljubljana

Over to you, any questions?

 

Thanks to Ljubljananjam, Hostel Celica, and Visit Ljubljana for their hospitality, an honest review as always! 

Comments 48

  1. You’ve convinced me that I need to put Ljubljana on my travel list. But thanks to YouTube I can take it off of my “learn how to pronounce” list. 😉 You’ve got some seriously fun activities listed here, and your pictures are gorgeous! This is my first time stopping by your site, but I’ll be back!

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      That’s great to hear Amanda, thank you! I use YT to work out hello and thank you before we move on to other countries! I’m going to stick a link on this page – magic idea genius box!!

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  2. Everyone I know who’s been to Slovenia would recommend Ljubljana – apart from Lake Bled, of course! And reading this, I can just see why. Would love to try out and stay at Hostel Celica, that would be quite an experience, staying in a former prison.

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  3. GASP. I love the Prison accommodations!! Thats so unique. Bookmarked for future planning! Seriously Ljubljana looks like a really beautiful place, plus nothing beats a good food tour.

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  4. I have never been to Ljubljana but my husband often has the opportunity to go for work and I keep meaning to tag along! It looks lovely and spring/summer seems a great time to go – I am intrigued by the floating bar!!

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      Hmm, not sure what you mean by privacy? We had a private double room cell at Hostel Celica – was fully private! The dorms aren’t actually the cells rooms, you’ll find them on the top floor. Shame you missed out, you’ll just need to go back! 🙂

      1. I checked the rooms available then and they didn’t have the bathroom. I don’t know if it was about all the rooms or just about the free ones then, but I preferred a hotel room with a bathroom 😉

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  5. I am not sure how I should pronounce Ljubljana, but doesn’t matter as you said. It seems like a lively city. Being in prison is something unique which I would love to visit, I am not sure when I am there can’t get rid of the former prisoners or not, but I think it is a must to see

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  6. Wow! I never realised Ljubljana has so much to offer. The food tour and wine look awesome and staying in a prison would be epic – not to mention all the amazing street art! I think you have just inspired me to add (yet another) place to my list!

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  7. You definitely just made me want to visit Ljubljana! I would love to do all of this–the food tour with Ljubljananjam looks amazing, the bikes would be a fun way to explore the city, the street art looks fantastic and the architecture looks so interesting. The prison hotel looks super cute, too! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. The prison hostel sounds exactly like something I would like to try! I definitely need to go back to Ljubljana (and Slovenia in general), because one day at the capital was not nearly enough. So many things to do in this small but lively city.

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  9. Not just Ljubljana. There is so much to see and do in Slovenia. The whole compactness of the country lends itself to enjoying the variety on offer.
    The Upper Savinja Valley, for example, is an amazing place – and only an hour away from the capital. From there the fabulous Logarska Dolina (Logar Valley) and the Rinka Waterfall, the breathtaking Solčavsko region and Europe’s most southerly Alp (Golte) can be accessed and are worth a week of anyone’s time.
    That is just one example. I could (and can) go on extolling the virtues. We would be happy to show folks round, by the way, so they don’t miss a thing.

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      1. Bled is at it’s best ‘out of season’ when it isn’t full of coach parties, tbh. The little medieval town centre in Radovljica is worth looking at in that area, there is a great gallery there which always has something worth seeing. The Kolpa is a great place too.
        If you’d like to see something of our area (Upper Savinja Valley), give us a shout. always more than happy to give people the heads up.

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  10. Nice to see more fellow Scots enjoying Slovenia. Fell in love with it 30 years ago and have been going back ever since. Now own a house in the Soca Valley region and just back from spending four months there – will be 6 months next year and hopefully permanent after that (Brexit complications allowing).
    For those who haven’t been Ljubljana is lovely (think Edinburgh with no traffic or hoards of festival goers and with warm weather) and Bled is just a pure fairytale setting, but I definitely prefer the glories of Lake Bohinj and the Soca – stunning mountain scenery that looks different every day as the light and the seasons change, fabulous wine, great food, and some of the friendliest people around.

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  11. This is brilliant, thank you guys for sharing. Heading to Ljubljana in October for the Scotland match and this has given me a great idea for what to check out whilst over there.

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  12. Grat post! I can see you’re into wine and Ljubljana is absolutely perfect for that. Not many people know this but Slovenia has the same latitude as Bordeaux and makes some of the world’s best wine! My company organizes wine tastings in Ljubljana, I guess you have missed us when you were here. Pay us a visit if you come to Ljubljana again, the tasting is on us! :))

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  13. One really fun way to see green Ljubljana is a stand up paddling. Trust me, you are going to love Ljubljana even more. 😉

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  14. We were in Ljubljana last winter and absolutely loved it. I can see from your post that we need to visit in summer, too! While we hung out by the river, it’s not quite the same when you are in a puffy jacket :).
    We also loved the Cat Cafe and the Museum of Illusions. Oh, and walking in Tivoli Park. There is just so much to see and do there!

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