When you think of fantastic city break destinations in Europe, most people think of Barcelona or Venice or Paris. Ljubljana isn’t one of the first places that comes to mind.
But the thing is, it really should be.
It’s only 2 hours away from London by plane (I flew with Wizz Air), is small enough to get around on foot and is a beautiful city full of really lovely people. And because it’s a small city, you can see it on a weekender. Perfect, right?
Not yet convinced?
Okay, here’s all the really great things you can do there, kiddo.
What To Do In Ljubljana
1) Explore Ljubljana castle
Ljubljana Castle is the focal point of the city. It’s sits on a hill overlooking the whole city so can be seen from most places in Ljubljana. You can actually walk up to it but it’s way more fun to jump in the funicular to take you up! Plus you get lovely views as you go up. The little capsules run every 10 mins and cost just €2.20 to ride (or €4 return).
Tickets to the castle itself cost €7.50 if you book online (10% cheaper) or €10 which includes the return funicular in the ticket price. Not too shabby right?
And why should you care? I mean the views alone are great. But it’s also really interesting to learn a bit about Ljubljana in the museum, wander the dungeons and get an idea of the city’s history from this medieval fortress.
But wait that’s not all…
2) Views for days at the top of the Panoramic Tower
The ticket for Ljubljana castle also includes entry to the Panoramic Tower. Walk up the red spiral staircase and you’ll find yourself looking out over the entire city.
I’ve put this as a separate point because it was one of my fave things to do in Ljubljana. Bitches love views.
You get gorgeous 360 degree views and can see the pretty surrounding mountains. It’s just really relaxed and peaceful up here. Would recommend.
3) Anyone for the puppet museum?
Okay this was pretty creepy but I put it on here anyway because it’s unique at least, right? The Museum of Puppetry is also within the grounds of the castle. (You see this ticket is pretty thrifty, huh?)
Puppetry is a part of Slovenian culture and tradition apparently, so this is a permanent exhibition in the castle. It’s quite small but worth a wander if only to be creeped out. Or maybe you’re a puppet connoisseur? Who knows.
4) Take a delightful canal boat ride
Cute little flat-rooved boats offer trips up and down the canal in Ljubljana. And I would totaly recommend you have a go on one (only€5 each), if only to get your bearings.
Jump on near the Triple Bridge and it will take you up and down the river so you get a good view of the city. Spot which riverside restaurant you want to eat at later, take in the scenery (this city is so green) and try to find the lock bridge. (Because it’s not Europe if there isn’t a lock bridge.)
5) Try ALL the food
I’m always hesitant about Eastern European cuisine. I’m a bit fussy with meat and everything seems to be meaty in this part of the world. But in Slovenia, I actually loved everything I ate. I mean it’s right next door to Italy so some of that pizza-pasta-goodness definitely spills over. I had great pasta and a delicious truffle soup at MOST restaurant (bit pricey but tasty) and incredible Turkish food at Abi Falafel.
I also went on a Food Tour whilst I was there with Roundabout Travel (full blog post over here) which was a lot of fun and I got to try lots of traditional Slovenian cuisine. If you want to do it yourself, try out some Carniolan Sausage (Klobasarna is a good shout) or Zilkrofi Dumplings (try Pod Lipo).
And if you’re a wino, go for the cvichek wine which is actually a combination of red and white wine!
6) Appreciate the Insta-worthy architecture
Ljubljana is a pretty city. So you’re gonna take a tonne of photos here.
The architecture in particular is so colourful and ornate, with my absolute fave being Vurnik House. This pretty pink building has a colourful patterned facade and is total insta goals.
There’s also the famous Franciscan Church of the Annunciation by the canal and the University of Ljubljana building in Congress Square. V nice on the eyes, fellas.
7) Check out the Dragon Bridge
This is a city of bridges and it’s fun to wander the city, crossing from one side of the river to the other. But the most impressive and famous of Ljubljana’s bridges is the Dragon Bridge.
There’s this legend that Jason and the Argonauts apparently fought a dragon here and then founded the city of Ljubljana. So dragons are all over the city!
8) Discover the street art in Metelkova
Metelkova is an alternative area city and a former army barracks. It was taken over by squatters in the nineties and turned into a mecca for artists, nightlife and live music.
At night it’s filled with party-goers but it was a bit too techno for me. Head there in the day to take a look at the colourful street art and scultpures.
9) Explore the Town Square (Mestni Trg)
The Town Square is a good place to visit to soak up the buzz of Ljubljana. There are lots of traditional restaurants nearby, boutique shops and if you’re lucky, some Slovenian dancers!
It’s also where you can find some landmarks such as Town Hall, the Robba Fountain and Ljubljana Cathedral.
10) Grab some cake in the “skyscraper”
The Skyscraper, or Neboticnik, is a tall building in Ljubljana and was the tallest building in the Balkans when it was built in 1933. But don’t be picturing New York skyscrapers because this kinda pales in comparison at 70 metres tall.
It does however offer beautiful views of the city. Right at the top of the building is a cafe that gives you 360 degree views once again of Ljubljana. The views from Ljubljana Castle are definitely better in terms of height and distance covered, but here you actually get the castle in the view. So it’s really pretty. Plus you can see all the way to the Alps on a clear day.
This is also a great place to try Slovenia’s famous “moving cake” (Prekmurska gibanica). Give it a go!
11) Have a unique stay at Hostel Celica
I love a quirky hostel so Hostel Celica was right up my street. Located in the Metelokova area, this building is a former prison and you can actually sleep in the cells!
Each cell has been transformed by local artists and is definitely an experience to try out whilst you’re Ljubljana! Check out the full hostel review over here.
There you have it my friend, all the best things to do in Ljubljana. Isn’t it fab?
Want more? Check out this video from my trip to Ljubljana:
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