Holding the title as the capital of Slovenia and its largest city, Ljubljana absolutely blew us away! This modern metropolis has everything that a traveler is looking for and more. After just a few short days of visiting Ljubljana, we proclaimed that it was already one of our favorite European cities. Join us for the best things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia as our travel guide takes you inside this booming capital!
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Ljubljana Travel Guide General Info
Official Language: Slovenian
How Long to Visit: 3+ Days
Airport: Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU)
Best Time to Visit: Mid April – Mid October
15 Amazing Things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia
So what makes it so special? Ljubljana is quite small, which makes it easy to navigate and get around. We much prefer this to other large major cities that we’ve felt lost in very quickly. This gave us the opportunity to really embrace and understand the culture of the unique country of Slovenia.
So what are we trying to tell you? Go to Ljubljana and the rest of Slovenia, and fast! This well-kept secret is exploding onto the tourism radar, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone else feels the same way as we do.
1. Stay in Ljubljana Old Town
Situated right in the center of the city, the old town is the best place to stay while visiting Ljubljana in Slovenia. Cafes and bars fill the walking streets that run along the Ljubljana River.
Ice cream stands are packed with dozens of different flavors, and the life of the city can be felt in the streets. There is no better place to stay than in the heart of all the action. Make sure to check out the bottom of our Ljubljana travel guide for where to stay!
2. Explore Tivoli City Park
When we checked into our hotel this was the first thing the friendly women at the desk told us to do. Not only is Tivoli City Park beautiful, but the national geographic exhibit is the perfect way to spend the morning. Featuring works of art from Slovenian artists, the main promenade of the park is lined with dozens of these amazing pieces on display.
At the end of the exhibit, you will arrive at Tivoli Mansion. You can explore the museum, or enjoy a coffee outside overlooking the grounds. Even if you are only visiting Ljubljana Slovenia for one day we recommended a quick stroll through the park.
3. Relax on a Ljubljana River Boat
Along the river, you will see boats glide past with people relaxing, and even enjoying a cocktail as they take in Ljubljana from a different perspective. These tours are set up all down the river, and we never saw a boat that was too overcrowded.
Riverboat rides cost around 10-12 Euros and take just over an hour to complete. This is a great and inexpensive way to see more if you’re looking for fun things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia!
4. Get Around on Foot
We arrived in Ljubljana Slovenia by bus from Munich Germany and didn’t have any problem exploring the whole city on foot. As we mentioned before, the whole area (especially Ljubljana old town) is not very large.
Now don’t take that as a bad thing.!There are still many small neighborhoods to be explored so make sure to pack your walking shoes.
→ Book a Two Hour Walking Tour and River Cruise of Ljubljana
5. Go Shopping in Ljubljana Slovenia
Before visiting Ljubljana we listened to a podcast that mentioned how cutting edge and well-dressed everyone in the city was. Quickly after getting off the bus, we could see what they were talking about!
Ljubljana has everything from H&M to high-end designer stores, all packed into the small city center. Who would have thought Slovenia was so fashionable?!
6. Eat Some Local Ice Cream
I know this might sound a little strange, but we really don’t know how to explain it. Before we visited Ljubljana Slovenia, we kept coming across travelers who raved about the ice cream. We’re used to taking advantage of the cheap one Euro ice cream in Europe, but we didn’t expect to find the same in this region.
So with all the hype about the ice cream, we were excited to try it… And all we can really say is that it blew us away! Nowhere in Germany, Croatia, Greece, or Montenegro did we find ice cream that we enjoyed as much as in Ljubljana Slovenia. Plan to have this yummy treat at least once a day (or twice!) while here.
7. Have a Drink On The Waterfront
All along the Ljubljana Slovenia river, there is an abundance of bars and restaurants and small tables packed with people. Overlooking the beautiful city and water, these places are the best to sit in the late afternoon and enjoy a cold drink.
In Ljubljana Slovenia beers will cost about 3-4 Euros with cocktails being slightly more. With that said, the cocktail of choice here seemed to be Aperol spritzers. There is also supposed to be great wine in Slovenia if you’re a fan!
→ Book Wine Tasting in a 300 Year Old Ljubljana Cellar
8. Hike to Ljubljana Castle
The Ljubljana Castle sits high above the old town, and you can hike up to it for a spectacular view of the city. Let us be careful with how we use the word “hike” here though. It is not that the Ljubljana Castle is very far, or will take you more than 20-30 minutes to reach… However, be warned that it is VERY steep!
The Ljubljana Castle itself is beautiful with several high-end restaurants and shops in the main courtyard. You can see some of the castle for free. Yet, for the best views, it’s a small fee of 7 euros to the lookout spots.
It is definitely worth it to go inside and experience this 11th-century landmark of the city! Whether you go inside the ancient castle or not, it’s still more than worth the climb up to see.
9. Watch the Sunset From Above Ljubljana Slovenia
Building off of what we just said, make sure to climb way up to the Ljubljana Castle for the views! If you wrap around the front of the castle walls there are several benches that overlook the entire city. Of course, it’s incredible at all times of the day, but if you can plan to make it for sunset it’s truly magical.
10. Rent a Bicycle in Ljubljana Slovenia
The city has by far one of the coolest bike-share programs we have seen, and no Ljubljana travel guide would be complete without it. The bikes give you a cheap and fun way to get out of the city center and see more of Ljubljana’s smaller neighborhoods.
Simply register online with your email and credit card for $1 per week, or $3 for the whole year… No this is not a joke. When you take out the bike it’s even free for the first hour. So essentially you can bike all around the city for only one dollar! Clearly, this is one of the most fun things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia.
11. See History at the City Museum of Ljubljana
Ljubljana has a deep-rooted history that goes beyond the ancient castle and even the story of Jason and the Argonaut’s dragon slaying. It really is interesting, and the city museum of Ljubljana is the place to see it all.
The collection details from the 16th century when Slovenia first started to gain a sense of nationalism, all the way up to Yugoslavia and the present day. Stop in here and learn about how this country came to be!
12. Cross the Three Bridges of Ljubljana
Without even trying you will go past the Three Bridges countless times while visiting Ljubljana Slovenia. The bridges connect the city’s historical and medieval section on one side of the river, with the more upscale modern side on the other. Also, the pink Franciscan church serves as the backdrop for Ljubljana and has become the most recognized view of the capital.
13. Experience the Daily Market
Just beyond the three bridges in the old town of Ljubljana Slovenia lies a huge open-air market. Small restaurants line the river to the left, and rows of fresh fruits and vegetable stands fill the right.
Just before the stands is a discrete building with meats, cheeses, and fresh-baked goodies. You can also shop for clothing in this area. Needless to say, this daily market has a mix of everything!
14. Eat Your Way Through Ljubljana Slovenia
While we’re on the topic of food, One of the best things to do in Ljubljana is to eat! Loads of seafood is served throughout the city, along with traditional favorites from Slovenia and the Balkans.
There are also some untraditional places as well that we loved such as Abi Falafel. You can always try the house burger, served at many restaurants, too!
15. Day Trip to Lake Bled
Only a 40 minute bus ride from the city is the world-famous Lake Bled. If you go early in the morning you can easily spend all day circling the lake, taking a boat to Bled Island, and hiking to the famous viewpoints.
If you have the extra time we highly recommend spending the night. Do not miss out on this beautiful part of Slovenia!
→ Walk Around Lake Bled Slovenia: What to Expect and Best Swim Spots
Continue on the Coast From Ljubljana in Slovenia
First off, yes! Slovenia has a coast and it’s absolutely stunning. We spent two nights in the small seaside town of Piran and easily could have stayed longer.
Less than an hour from Italy and half an hour from Croatia, this small coastline is packed with a mix of cultures, history, and yummy food. Also, not to mention it has some of the clearest and most beautiful water we’ve ever seen!
→ Fun One Week Slovenia Itinerary: Famous Lake Bled, Ljubljana, & More!
Have any questions about this Ljubljana travel guide or have your own recommendations for things to do in Ljubljana Slovenia? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Ljubljana Slovenia
Ultra Luxury –InterContinental – Opening in late 2017, this 5-star hotel is unlike any other in Ljubljana Slovenia. Highlights include the panoramic wellness and spa, rooftop restaurant, and close proximity to the city center.
Fun Vacation – Studio Emmi – Stylish studio apartments located in the best area of Ljubljana. This is the perfect hub to explore the city for a vacation to Ljubljana.
Hostel Life – Hostel Celica Art – This is a unique stay inside a hostel that used to be a former prison! The entire building has been designed by different artists making the rooms and common areas super fun. This hostel is centrally located and great for solo and group travelers.
For more places to stay while visiting Ljubljana Slovenia you can explore the latest prices here!
Slovenia Travel Planning
Rental Car: Having a car is hands down the best way to see the country. Check Discover Cars to compare companies and find the best deals.
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for day trips and activities around Slovenia. From visiting the biggest zip-line park in Europe to rafting the Soča River and e-bike tour of Vintgar Gorge!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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