A charming city bursting with magnificent architecture, Ljubljana has a laid-back Mediterranean vibe. The captivating old town, overlooked by the enchanting castle is picturesque and atmospheric.
The Ljubljanica river runs through the centre of Ljubljana’s old town, criss-crossed by a series of pedestrian bridges. The bridges chart Ljubljana’s rich architectural heritage, the sculptures on the art nouveau dragon bridge evoking the beast which was once said to have ruled the Ljubljana marshes. The triple bridge is perhaps one of the city’s best known landmarks, designed by the famous architect Plecnik in 1929. The most recent addition is Butchers’ bridge, opened in 2010, which is adorned by padlocks left here by romantic couples.
The riverside cafes are the perfect place to watch the world go by and simply soak up the atmosphere. The old town is a pedestrian zone, making it ideal for meandering walks, exploring the narrow streets and attractive piazzas. There are some excellent restaurants serving mouth-watering local Slovenian and Mediterranean specialities.
What to do in Ljubljana
A few days in Ljubljana makes for the perfect city break. It’s small enough that you can explore it on foot without feeling overwhelmed. The river and pedestrian zone at its heart makes for an unhurried pace, ideal for unwinding and savouring the ambience and the captivating architecture.
Old town landmarks include the St. Nicholas Cathedral with its distinctive bronze doors, and ornate interior. Meanwhile the new town is home to many of the art nouveau masterpieces including the Grand Hotel Union and the Centromerkur building, now a fashion store.
The distinctive 11th century Ljubljana Castle sits atop a wooded hill, perching above the old town, surveying the red-roofed houses. It can be reached by the funicular railway, and is well worth a visit. The views from the castle walls are spectacular and the castle museum houses a fascinating display, allowing the visitor to journey through Slovenia’s history. During summer evenings, the courtyard is often used for musical performances.
Cobbled streets, markets & boutiques
Make sure you get up early enough to catch the lively outdoor market, which sells all kinds of fruit and vegetables, local produce and handicrafts. Take a walk down the main street, the narrow cobbles of Stari Trg, now home to small boutiques and upmarket shops. Great souvenirs include decorative glass and crystal, hand-woven lace and specialities such as hand-made chocolates, Piran salt crystals, local honey and olive oil. Head out to the sprawling Tivoli Park, laid out during the early 19th century. It is a great place to picnic amidst the formal gardens, verdant lawns and wildflower meadows.
Culture buffs will not be short of things to do with the Modern Gallery displaying Slovene art, the National museum of Slovenia which concentrates on the country’s archaeological heritage and the Natural History Museum which displays its flora and fauna.
However you choose to spend your time in Ljubljana you are sure to be pleasantly surprised by this gem of a city, which is both enticing and entertaining. It is the perfect spot for a relaxed city break.
Slovenia is a compact country, which makes it easy to get around and see more of its diverse landscape. The drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled, with its dramatic mountain scenery, takes only around 1 hour 15 minutes so it is easy to combine the two, whether for a two-centre holiday or just as a day trip.
Transfers and Distances
Ljubljana Airport is just 25 minutes’ transfer time from the main city.
Make sure you....
Take the funicular railway up to the picturesque Ljubljana Castle to admire the views.
Soak up the atmosphere at the bustling outdoor market - it’s worth the early start! You will find it not far from St. Nicholas’s Cathedral.
Picnic in the beautiful setting of Tivoli Park.
Take a day-trip to Lake Bled to enjoy the Slovenian natural landscape at its best.