Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and is one of the smallest capital cities in Europe. I can already tell you that after our visit we declared Ljubljana one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. What to do in Ljubljana? Below you can read about all our tips for a city trip Ljubljana, Slovenia. With the most beautiful sights, the best restaurants in Ljubljana and practical tips for your trip.
Although Ljubljana is not known for its many special attractions, there are a number of places in the city that everyone should have seen. Below we share the coolest Ljubljana sights. Because Ljubljana is a small and compact city you can easily explore all the sights on foot. In principle, you can even do this in one full day. However, we recommend you add another day, so you can fully enjoy the delicious food and drink in Ljubljana and also discover the suburbs with the most beautiful street art. These are the best things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
On the map below you can find all the sights in Ljubljana and hotspots mentioned in this article
Ljubljanski Grad: The best view from Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle – Ljubljanski Grad – is one of the most important buildings in the city. The imposing castle built on a 376 meter high hill ensures that from here you have a cool view over the city and the huge mountain peaks in the vicinity. You can choose to walk up to the castle, but another option is to take the cable car that will take you up within a few minutes. The cable car costs €4 per person for a return ticket. Of course, you can also choose to go up by cable car and walk down.
Once you get to the top, not only do you have a great view, you can also admire the castle from the inside. A small part is free to visit, for the rest of the castle you have to pay an entrance fee. There are a number of small museums to visit.
The dragon bridge: Zmaski Most
The historic center of Ljubljana is built around the Ljubljanica River. Different parts of the city are connected by the most beautiful bridges built over the river. One of the most photographed bridges in Ljubljana is the dragon bridge, Zmajski Most. The dragon is the symbol of the city and you will find it in several places. The dragon bridge can be found on the edge of Prešeren Square.
What to do in Ljubljana: Chilling out in Tivoli Park
Although in terms of crowds in Ljubljana really can not be compared to other European capitals, it can also be nice to get out of the city, especially when the weather is nice. Tivoli park is an immense city park where on nice days the locals like to congregate.
Prešeren Square: The center of the city
There are a number of squares in Ljubljana, but the most famous is Prešeren Square, or Preseren Trg, the centerpiece of the city. Several beautiful buildings can be found around the square and the city’s most beautiful bridges can be admired here, such as the pink Franciscan monastery.
Stroll along the Ljubljanica
The river Ljubljanica flows right through the city. Around the river are the nicest bars and restaurants. But not only from the quay is the river a beautiful place. You can also choose to make a trip with a tour boat. A trip takes up to one hour and costs €10 per person.
Tromostovje: The triple bridge
The dragon bridge is not the only beautiful bridge in Ljubljana. Another impost structure is the Tromostovje, or triple bridge. This unusual bridge was designed in 1929 by Jože Plečnik, many of whose other structures can be found in the city (the Žale cemetery and the university library). From the square Presernov Trg you can take the most beautiful photos
To do in Ljubljana: Explore the city by bike
Almost nowhere in the world outside the Netherlands did we see so many bicycles as in Ljubljana. It is also partly because of this that Ljubljana reminded us a bit of Groningen. The city is almost entirely flat and therefore very easy to explore by bike. In many places in the city you can rent a bike for about € 5 per day in Ljubljana.
The artists’ quarter Metelkova
The artists’ district Metelkova is located north of the historic center and is the place where many alternative people and artists meet. Metelkova is now an alternative cultural center and it is said that it is not one of the safest places in the city to visit during the day. However, this is not how it felt to us. We visited Metelkova on a weekday in the early afternoon and feasted our eyes. Not for a moment did we feel unsafe and, on the contrary, everyone nice and friendly. Nowadays several artists live in the complex to prevent it from being demolished. You look your eyes out.
Tovarna ROG: The former bicycle factory
If you are wandering through the city looking for the best sights and street art in Ljubljana, take a look at the ROG. The Tovarna ROG is a former bicycle factory that has now been completely taken over by artists. Since 2017, it has been free for anyone to live here. Not a piece of wall is empty around the building and there is even a real skate park built in the complex.
Although in Metelkova I never for a moment had the idea that it could be unsafe I had this at the ROG. Not only artists spend their days here, we also saw people dealing drugs and staring in front of them under the influence of drugs. So I don’t recommend going here on your own.
The street Trubarjeva Cesta
The most pleasant street in Ljubljana is if you ask me the Trubarjeva Cesta, where you also find the ROG. Also here it is somewhat alternative with street art, hip boutiques, bars with a raw vibe and the best pop-up stores. Do you like special beer, for example? Then be sure to visit the store Beer Shop Pr ‘Primožu.
Eating the best burgers at Pop’s Place
Ljubljana is a small city, but it is filled with the coolest hotspots. One of these fine spots in the city is Pop’s Place, near the famous Dragon Bridge. Pop’s Place is a burger joint where you can eat fantastic and cheap food in Ljubljana. The atmosphere is great and the large terrace with patio heaters is a great place to hang out even during the winter months. The burgers are delicious and you can make your evening complete with one of the many special beers on the menu. The choice is enormous. One of our favorites? The beer Liquid Cocaine. We spent €40 for two persons, two burgers, one fries, two beers and two cocktails. Pop’s Place is without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Ljubljana
Wine and fish at Vino & Ribe: Tapas in Ljubljana
Eating tapas in Ljubljana is not possible in many places, but luckily there is the cozy Vino and Ribe. Vino en Ribe can be found in the shopping street and looks super cool from the outside. You can choose from a number of small fish dishes and salads. The meal is completed with a delicious bottle of wine. We came to Vino en Ribe for drinks at the end of the afternoon and spent €19.30 for a board with different types of fish, a salad, a beer and a glass of wine.
Craft beers at the Holidays Pub
Ljubljana is hipper than hip and it shows in all the pubs where they serve ridiculous amounts of craft beers. One of these pubs is the Holidays Pub in the middle of the historic center of Ljubljana. The menu here is huge and the service super friendly.
Trendy and affordable food and drinks at ČINČIN Tobacna
CinCin is another example of how hip Ljubljana is as a capital city. This establishment is located a bit outside the historic center of the city, but is the place to go if you sleep in as nice an apartment as we did in the former tobacco factory. CinCin is the place where all of hip Ljubljana comes to after work. You can have a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also a nice drink. Especially the burgers and sauces with the fries are great. And the decor inside completes the picture.
Chilling out and having a drink at Kavarna Sem
When you’ve admired all the cool street art in the artists’ quarter Metelkova you must have felt like a cold drink. Luckily, Kaverna Sem is just around the corner. This lounge bar is especially lovely when the weather is better, with cool spots to hang out in the garden. But also inside there is more than enough space. The menu features several special beers, other cold drinks and delicious cakes. Kavarna Sem is one of the hippest and nicest places to eat and drink in Ljubljana
Japanese food at Sato Bento
When you think of Japanese food you quickly think of sushi rolls. Sato Bento is a little different. This small restaurant hidden in a shopping mall – where you would normally probably never go – is extremely popular among the locals. This was evident during our visit, when the place was packed. If you didn’t know this restaurant was here, you would definitely walk right past it and that is why we are sharing this place with you. It is best to walk past Sato Bento on your way from the historic center to the Metelkova district.
Sato Bento is located just north of the ljubljanica river. In the cozy Sata Bento you have a choice of menus. I chose the vegetarian menu and enjoyed a miso soup, this delicious sushi you see in the picture below and a delicious dessert. Erick ordered noodles which were just as delicious. If you like Japanese food, then Sato Bento is the place to go in Ljubljana.
Where to stay in Ljubljana
Finding the perfect accommodation in Ljubljana shouldn’t be too hard as there are so many options. Accommodations in the historic center are quite pricey – especially compared to other cities in the area – so we chose to stay just outside the center. We slept in a super nice studio in Ljubljana ‘s old tobacco factory. From here it’s less than 15 minutes walk to all the Ljubljana sights and the atmosphere around the building is super nice. You can eat at the restaurant Food Porn and drink at Cin Cin which is located in the same building. We paid €40 per night for two people and had access to a private kitchen, bathroom and washing machine
Below we have listed some more fine accommodations in Ljubljana: