What to See in Ljubljana on A Short City Break

By JoExplores | Jul 1, 2020
Europe > Slovenia > Ljubljana

Ljubljana is the first city I visited in Slovenia and it grabbed me instantly. It’s so peaceful but lively, with vibrant and pretty architecture, bridges stretched over the Ljubljanica River, a castle sitting on the top of the hill, all of this effortlessly mixing with the modern buildings. And you can visit all of the main attractions in one day, easily! Win-win 😉

1. Ljubljana Castle

It’s standing atop of the Castle Hill and towering over the city and it’s visible from everywhere you are.

There are 2 ways of getting to the castle: you can either walk up the hill or save your legs and jump on the 70-m long funicular railway!

The climb is not very strenuous, the path is mostly shaded, but some parts are quite steep.

If you prefer the funicular, head to the station just behind the Old Town’s Vodnikov trg. One way adult ticket costs €4, discounted one €3. The funicular ride takes only 60 seconds, so you don’t have that much time to enjoy the views 😉

Originally a medieval fortress, it was probably constructed in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 16th century after a devastating earthquake. Since the early 19th century it was used for various other purposes (hospital and prison for example) and today is a major cultural venue.

When on top you can explore the castle’s various attractions at your own pace, or join one of the 90-minute Time Machine Tours, led by costumed guides.

For the best panoramic views of the whole of Ljubljana go to the Outlook Tower. The 95-step climb is well worth it!

View from the Outlook Tower

View from the Outlook Tower

The other things to do include the remarkable Chapel of St George, Slovenian History Exhibition and the Museum of Puppetry. And if you get tired, take a seat on one of the benches on the courtyard, grab a coffee from a Castle Café or get something to eat at one of two castle’s restaurants (Strelec and Gostilna na Gradu).

The tickets start at €10 for the entry only to the Castle, but there’s a lot of pricing options, so you can mix and match. For more information, you can visit the Ljubljana Castle Website.

2. Discover the Ljubljanica River and its bridges

The Ljubljanica River and its 6 bridges are one of the most recognisable features if the city. You can of course take a boat tour on the river or rent kayaks and explore Ljubljana from the water!

These 3 bridges are definitely worth your attention:

Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge

It is the most famous one and a symbol of Ljubljana. Decorated with four dragon statues, is a superb example of an early reinforced concrete bridge in the Vienna Secession style.

Fun fact: According to local legends, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails 🙂

Triple Bridge

Triple Bridge

Triple Bridge

It has stood in its place since 1842, but back in the day the then wooden middle bridge was the only one there and it wasn’t wide enough to handle both the vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Jože Plečnik (Slovene architect extraordinaire) designed two side bridges next to it. He gave his three bridges a uniform and unique appearance by adding a Venetian-style balustrade reminiscent of the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Butcher’s Bridge

Butcher's Bridge

Butcher's Bridge

Decorated with mythological bronze sculptures, it is the one most popular with couples, as you can find love padlocks attached to it on both sides.

3. Walk the streets of the Old Town

One of the best things to do is to take a walk down the boulevard-like Mestni Trg – Ljubljana’s Town Square.

Mestni Trg

Mestni Trg

Admire the Town Hall building, a replica of the Baroque Robba Fountain and the St Nicholas Cathedral.
Town Hall and Robba Fountain

Town Hall and Robba Fountain

Wandering the old city streets is pure pleasure, You can also try local food at many restaurants positioned along the whole length of the Trg or buy some local produce (try the chocolates, honey, salts or soap! ).

4. Visit the Nebotičnik Skyscraper

For the great views of Ljubljana venture a little bit further out from the Old Town to the Nebotičnik Skyscraper. It has got a terraced rooftop Café – and that’s another amazing vantage point. Views from the top of the 70-metre building are opening out in all directions.

Views from the Nebotičnik Café

Views from the Nebotičnik Café

Pro tip: you don’t have to pay for the entry to the Café or buy anything to experience the views, just walk straight through and out on the terrace. But it is always nice to buy even just a coffee to contribute to the local business 😉

5. Head to the House of Illusions for some laughs

It is exactly what it says in the name, so you kinda know what to expect. But I had not expected to have as much fun as I did! It's recommended mostly for families with kids, but even adults can really enjoy it.

Check out their website if you’re into such a thing 😉

As Ljubljana's centre is not that big, all these attractions can be done in one quick day or over the weekend. The good thing also is that the historical centre of Ljubljana is closed off for motor traffic, fountains offer naturally potable free water throughout spring and summer and public buses are methane-powered to reduce emissions.

It is also the first capital in the EU to take part in Europe’s Zerowaste program and the diversity of recycling bins is admirable. What’s not to like?

City Break Europe Ljubljana Slovenia Things to do

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Written by Jo
My name is Joanna and I’m a passionate traveller, yoga lover and an avid flat white coffee drinker. In my humble corner of the internet (that is my travel blog and Instagram, feel free to visit!) I share my personal insights, experiences and inspirations of all things travel!

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