We love discovering hidden gems within a city and traveling to not so famous destinations. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in a way is a hidden gem in Europe. Ljubljana is also the Green Capital of the world which is pretty epic for such an small city with a push for every aspect of the city life to be eco-friendly.
This small and beautiful European destination is easily discovered in a day. Even though there are many things to do in Ljubljana, the majority of attractions are within the downtown area making it the perfect destination to be discovered by foot.
In this guide we are sharing our favorite things to do in Ljubljana in one day but also make sure to check out our blog post about our day trip to Lake Bled.
Travel to Slovenia is on the rise to visit Lake Bled, yet visitors forget to plan their trip around Ljubljana and do not know what they are missing. Ljubljana is a mix between Venice and a Eastern European city and you can have a full experience in just one day. From Ljubljana you can take several day trips, as it is in the center of this small country close to many cities including Vienna, Venice, Budapest, Zagreb and Bratislava. Some of our favorite day trips are Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge, Predjama Castle, and the Skocjan or Postojna Caves.
Ljubljana is pronounced ju’bleeyana. The Slovenian language is a little hard to pronounce so I thought it was important to share how to say the name of the city, as I saw many tourist struggling with the name of the city.
The best things to do in Ljubljana walking map
How much time should I spend in Ljubljana?
As I mentioned before you only need a day or two to explore the city. It all depends on the amount of museums you want to visit or how long you want to stay in each cafe. We explore the main things to do in Ljubljana in one day but with two days you can slow your pace and really get to know this city. I will spend other days doing either day trips to different locations or staying at other destinations within Slovenia.
What is there to do in Ljubljana travel video
Top 19 Things to do in Ljubljana:
1. Get lost in the Old Town Ljubljana
Ljubljana has a really small Old Town and the best thing to do is to just walk around and get lost so you can find more hidden gems. Sit for a moment at an outdoor cafe and drink a beer by the Ljubljana River to enjoy the atmosphere.
Make sure to go for a stroll along the pedestrian-only street, Cankarjevo Nabrezje. Some of the best restaurants and boutique shops are located on the pedestrian streets of Mestni trg, Stari trg, and of course, Gornji trg.
2. Zmajski Most AKA the Dragon’s Bridge
Dragon’s bridge is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the city and by far the most famous bridge in Ljubljana. The bridge is adorned with several dragons as the dragon represents power, courage and greatness.
➳ Fun Fact: The dragon is also the symbol of the city and you will see it incorporated into many things across the city.
Without a doubt taking a selfie at the Dragon’s bridge is one of the top things to do in Ljubljana.
3. Get the best view of the Ljubljana from the Castle
The Ljubljana castle is located at the top the hill which you can either walk up or take a funicular for a small fee. We choose to take the funicular as walking can take 40 to 60 minutes. You can just wander around the castle grounds for free and still enjoy a beautiful view. If you want to visit the museum or the climb the tower for the best panoramic view of Ljubljana it does require an entry fee.
Cost: €10 adults, €7 children 7 to 18 years; admission + audio guide €13; admission. Buy your tickets online and save 10%.
Hours: 9 AM to 11 PM June through September.
Getting there by funicular: €4 round trip or €13 bundle which includes round trip and the Castle entrance ticket.
4. The St. Nicholas Cathedral
The 18th century Gothic cathedral is an icon of the city with its green dome and tall bell towers. Visit the inside the cathedral to see the wonderful frescoes that adorn the walls and ceiling.
Check out bronze sculptured doors outside of the cathedral as you can see the reliefs illustrating a scene from Slovenian history and portraits of the bishops of Ljubljana.
5. The Roman Walls
These 2,000 year old Roman walls were built to last for an eternity to help protect this historic city.
6. Tromostovje also known as the Triple Bridge
Tromostovje is also known as the Triple Bridge as it is actually three adjacent pedestrian bridges stretching the Ljubljanica River to connect the old city with the modern.
The reason why there is three bridges sitting side by side, is that in 1842, the central bridge was built to replace the original wooden medieval bridge and almost a century later the adjacent bridges were constructed on either side of the central bridge to deal with more traffic. Today, all three bridges are pedestrian only.
7. Preseren Square
Preseren Square is one of the main squares and the central square in the old town Ljubljana. In this square you will find the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation and a scale model of Ljubljana on display.
Make sure to visit the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation to see the frescoes inside.
8. Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
This beautiful red church is located in Preseren Square, built in the 1600s.
9. Congress Square
Congress Square is another on the main squares of the city. This green area is surrounded by many significant buildings including the Casino Building and the Slovenian Philharmonic.
10. Robba Fountain
This 18th century fountain consists of three representative male figures surrounding a 10-meter obelisk.
11. Town Square and Ljubljana Town Hall
The town hall of Ljubljana was originally built in the late 1400’s but has undergone several major renovations altering its architectural style. You can take a guided tour through the Town Hall for €5.
12. Cobblers’ Bridge
The Cobblers’ Bridge dates back to being one of the first bridges in Ljubljana and was most recently reconstructed in 1931. As its name suggests it was once home to work booths of shoemakers.
13. Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
The grand building of the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ljubljana offers not only a beautiful façade but a breathtaking interior as well.
14. Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity
The intriguing Baroque design of the Ursuline Church offers one of the more unique church designs that we have encountered in Europe.
15. Butchers’ Bridge
The modern Butchers’ Bridge is often referred to the love bridge as well, due to the prominence of love locks placed on bridge. This pedestrian bridge is also home to several statues and sculptures by the Slovenian sculptor Jakov Brdar.
16. Enjoy local food and buy souvenirs at the Central Market
In the Central Market you will find a little bit of everything from handmade products to cloth, arts and crafts to delicious food. It is good place to try some Langos. The prices and options are similar to other markets in the city. On Sunday the market is closed.
Ljubljana has many museums you can visit and learn more about the city, the country and their culture. Our favorites include the City Museum, National Museum of Slovenia, Museum of Illusions, and the Ljubljana Museum of Modern Art.
The Museum of Illusions is a great place to go with kids. They can learn more about the world of illusions in a fun and interactive way.
18. Metelkova Mesto
We love Metelkova Mesto because of its crazy street art and the freedom you can perceive. It used to be abandoned army barracks filled with squatters and has developed into a cool art district that comes alive at night with its many clubs. We went during the day to appreciate the unique art in the walls, and it was quite an experience.
19 . Learn the history of Ljubljana
It is a good idea to learn the long history of Ljubljana and Slovenia by enjoying either a free or paid walking tour of the city.
20. Enjoy a panoramic view of Ljubljana from Neboticnik
The two best places to get a panoramic view of the city are from the Ljubljana Castle and the rooftop of Neboticnik, a 70-meters high skyscraper with a rooftop terrace and observation deck at the top. It is free to visit the observation deck at the rooftop terrace.
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