Travel Guide to Ljubljana, Slovenia
Can you imagine being in an ultra-modern metropolis where everything is perfect, the streets are clean, and the people are nice? Can you further imagine crossing a small bridge and enter a whole new universe of castles, cobblestone streets, and dragon statues? That is my experience of Ljubljana, the Capital of Slovenia. I was truly amazed by this charming metropolis, which easily became one of my personal favorites when it comes to capital cities worldwide.
Ljubljana is small in comparison to other ex-Yugoslavian capitols such as Belgrade and Zagreb. Nonetheless, everything it lacks in size is made up by nature, landmarks, and perfection.
Table of Contents
Means of transportation?
How many people traveling?
How many nights?
0 – only a day trip to Ljubljana
Type of vacation?
Exploring, photographing, food tasting.
Date of trip?
August 16th, 2018
First Impressions of Ljubljana
Perfect roads lead to Ljubljana, thus you arrive in the city quite relaxed. The drivers seemed patient and nobody was yelling at us for not being sure where we go. We parked the car at a parking lot outside the center and then walked to the Old Town – a short walk to the city center.
Everything seemed calm and clean. It was surprising really as the streets seemed empty. Once we arrived at the center and then to the Old Town, a completely new city was waiting for us. People were everywhere; locals rushing to work, tourists taking photos, teenagers enjoying life. It was a busy European city!
The place in general – If I had to use one word to describe Ljubljana it would be clean. It’s funny because spending lots of time in Skopje I got used to dirty streets and stray dog; neither of these things is found in Ljubljana. The city itself is quite charming and for me, it was the perfect combination of history in the Old Town and urban lifestyle in the new part of the city;
Parking – As far as I could notice, there were special parking zones around the Ljubljana city center as well as some expensive parking lots. We took the advice of our friend who lives in Kranj and parked at Tivoli II; just like Parking Tivoli I, this is affordable parking option. It has many spaces and it is not too far from the center and Old Town. We easily found a free spot and walked to the center of Ljubljana. After many hours spent exploring the city, we paid less than 5 EUR for parking as the price is 0.60 EUR for the first two hours and then an additional 0.60 EUR for every other hour;
Nature – Ljubljana is a wonderful city and you will certainly enjoy its nature. There is lots of greenery everywhere you go, plus the Ljubljanica River flows around the Old Town, providing for wonderful scenery. Nature lover would surely enjoy Ljubljana and especially the hike to the Ljubljana Castle;
Shops – There are lots of shops in Ljubljana and we managed to spend 35 EUR on souvenirs only. Really, the place is perfect for those that want to spend money on awesome and cool stuff such as books, all kinds of souvenirs and even expensive clothes;
Food – Eating is one of the many things to do in Ljubljana. The town boasts with restaurants and adorable spots where you can try local Slovenian cuisine, drink delicious coffee or do some wine tasting. As we did a fabulous food tour in Ljubljana, we tried many different things including shtruklji, waffles, cheese, prosciutto, and sardines. I’d say the Slovenia cuisine is different than what I’m used to from the USA or Macedonia; yet, it was delicious. There are many international dishes available as well; don’t worry pizza fans;
Currency – Slovenia, just like the majority of the EU countries, uses the Euro. Exchange offices are found throughout Ljubljana and especially in the center of the city;
Vignette – Those traveling to Slovenia by car will have to purchase a vignette upon arrival in the country. We traveled with Milena’s Renault Captur and stayed for four days in the country; so, we bought a 7-days vignette for 15 EUR. You can find more info regarding the vignette in Slovenia here.
During the Stay
We were in the city for a single day and therefore I cannot provide any special insider information on accommodation in Ljubljana. However, I can list the must-see things in Ljubljana, even for those spending less than 10 hours in the city.
Things to see:
Old Town – Nobody can miss the Old Town as long as they go to the city center. On top of a hill, overlooking the city, the Old Town offers a magical glimpse into the life of the past. Up there is another must-see landmark – the Ljubljana Castle mentioned below;
Ljubljana Dragon Bridge – There are several bridges connecting the center and the rest of the city; however, the Dragon Bridge is definitely the coolest one. Dragons are seen everywhere in Ljubljana, including four big dragons on each side of the bridge guarding the Dragon Bridge. It was actually quite cool to see them honestly;
Ljubljana Triple Bridge – Another awesome construction are the three bridges that actually form a single bridge widely known as the Triple Bridge in Ljubljana. It connects the medieval and historical part of the city with the modern one;
Ljubljana Castle – High on a hill is the amazing Ljubljana Castle. It is possibly the most popular landmark in the city, so you should expect crowds at all times really. You can get to the Castle either by taking the popular cable car (long waiting line) or by hiking there (around 10-15 minutes, depending on pace). In case you decide to do the hike, I recommend you wear comfortable shoes, a hat to protect you from the sun and maybe even top-quality trekking poles;
Preseren Square – This is the central square in Ljubljana and part of the pedestrian zone in the city. It leads to the Triple Bridge mentioned above straight to the old part of Ljubljana;
Central Market – Just like any other central market, it offers various fresh produce, fresh fish and other products such as clothes or accessories;
Hercules Fountain – Standing tall in the Levstikov Trg (Trg means a square in Slovenian) is the Hercules Fountain. This interesting fountain was erected back in 1991 and presented on the eve of Slovenia’s independence;
Ljubljana Cathedral – Bearing the name of St. Nicholas, the Ljubljana Cathedral was built in Baroque architectural style. However, what is interesting about this religious building is the fact it used to be a church in Gothic style, which was replaced by the one we see now;
Other – If you have time to visit other things as well, you can go to museums such as the House of Experiments or take a walk through the Park Tivoli. You can also visit one of the Escape Rooms or take a boat tour along the Ljubljanica River.
Sad to Leave
Oh well, when you have a single day in a city such as Ljubljana, you are bound to feel sad to leave.
We managed to see most of the things on our bucket list and even did our Ljubljana BiteMojo Food Tour in less than 10 hours. We explored the Old Town, went up to the Ljubljana Castle and tried local specialties. Yet, we felt like there was so much more to experience, even if it was getting lost in small streets or enjoying ice-cream on a bench.
That said, I really hope to visit this city at least once more in this lifetime. If nothing else, I’d love to take a walk across the Old Town and enjoy some authentic shtruklji.
- Clean and charming
- Free Wi-Fi zone
- Amazing Old Town
- Lots of free sights
- English is widely spoken
- Employees at restaurants not always nice
- Extremely crowded during the summer season
- Expensive in comparison to other Balkan countries