With a population of around 280,000 (compared to London population which is an estimated 8.63 million) Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. Having never really heard anything about Ljubljana and only ever really seeing pictures of it, I was pleasantly surprised with what the city had to offer. Whilst Ljubljana may not seem like the most exciting capital to visit, you can expect all the conveniences other European capitals have to offer and more.
The overall feel of the city was relaxed and safe. It was easy to explore on foot – something I needed after 14 days of hectic traveling.
I found that to understand Ljubljana as a city, I had to have a basic understanding of its culture. In 1895 an earthquake destroyed much of Ljubljana. The town was then rebuilt to supplement the buildings that remained. In the 20th century, the Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik put his stamp on the city by designing and constructing the majority Ljubljana’s landmarks.
Country: Ljubljana – Slovenia
Nights stayed: 3
Method of transportation: Train
Travel Breakdown: Budapest Kelenford (Hungary) à Ljubljana – (Slovenia) – 8 hours
Mode of transport to accommodation: App called: ‘HopInTaxi’ – Similar to Uber and Taxify
Overall experience: 9/10
You will find the Triple Bridge in the heart of the city, and will undoubtedly cross it several times during your stay in Ljubljana.
The original Triple Bridge was strategically important during medieval times as it connected the lands of north – western Europe with the Balkans or south eastern Europe. The further two footbridges were added in order to link Preseren Square with the old town quarter.
♥ Ljubljana Central Market
Ljubljana’s Central Market is located near Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares.
We brought various souvenirs at the picturesque central market and there were small food stands which looked really good.
There are various sections which have different opening times. But the open air sections are normally open: Weekdays 6:00-18:00, Saturday 6:00-16:00 during summer, 6:00-16:00 in winter. Sundays and holidays closed.
– You can follow this link to find the opening times of the market.
Trivoli Park is the cities largest green space and very close to the city centre. The park includes children play areas, bike rental stations and rose gardens. The Tibvoli Mansion had a little café which you can buy refreshments from, however we just found a spot near the park and people watched.
Recommendation: Both myself and Ryan really enjoyed the park, if we had more time in Ljubljana we would have taken a picnic and spent a couple of hours just chilling and exploring the park.
This funicular connects the old Town Quauar with the Castle Hill. You can either make your way to Krekov Trg square in order to buy tickets and board, or buy tickets when you are already on Caslte Hill. There are various paths you can take that leads up to the castle, however it was too hot (and I’m lazy) to walk, so I paid €3 for a return ticket.
I would 100% recommend this Funicular. Unlike the funicular at Buda Hill (review found here), the views were incredible, the funicular was not overcrowded and lasted a few minutes.
♥ Ljubljana Castle
Situated on a hill, the Ljubljana Castle offers specular views over the city. I found the funicular ride the most convenient way to reach the castle as it was close to our accommodation and the ticket was reasonably cheap.
After visiting both Prague Castle and Buda Castle, Ljubljana Castle was completely different. The inside of the castle (the free area) was open and airy, although many areas had been destroyed. There were several expeditions, including: the prison, a puppet museum and historical room Chapel of St George.
During Slovenian holidays the ground space also serves as a venue for cultural events, and even weddings! The surrounding gardens were also a hot spot for dog walkers.
Recommendation: If you are on a tight budget, don’t buy a ticket to enter the castle as in my opinion the best part is the view – which is free.
♥ Dragon Bridge
What’s Ljubljana most associated with? Dragons. Many of Jože Plečnik’s designs feature the cities symbol, a green dragon. Everywhere you go in Ljubljana you will see green dragons dotted around. The Dragon Bridge is the most obvious place to capture a photo of the city symbol.
♥ Old Town
The Old Town can be seen as the hub of this small city, providing you with everything you need.
The Old Town is split into two parts on either side of the Ljubljanica River. From the main square, we crossed the Triple Bridge to visit the medieval section of the town.
From the Old Town you can walk down the Ljubljanica River. This allows you to explore different areas and cross various bridges which all have their own unique story.
♥ Night Life:
At first, I did not know what to expect from the night life in Ljubljana. However, after dark there is a vibrant and dynamic pulse to the city, which is fuelled by 50,000 university students a year. The town also seems to accommodate for this, with various pub crawl reps dotted around to try and lure you in.
Walking around Ljubljana at night was something I had not experienced before. Living in London, you expect the huge crowds, big clubs and always a feeling of insecurity – Ljubljana is another world away. It felt safe, relaxed, cheerful and had plenty to do.
♥ AKC Metelkova City
The Metelkova region is a cultural centre located in the centre of Ljubljana in the northern part of the former barracks complex from the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You can find graffiti and art throughout the various buildings in the area.
We were lucky enough to book in advance and find this amazing Airbnb for a fraction of hotel prices. The Airbnb was in a fantastic location, right in the city centre – so central that it was in the pedestrian only area!
Things I’d do if I had more time:
- Stand up paddle boarding on the Ljubljanica River.
Overall, Ljubljana is a cracking place to visit. The city has history, tradition, style, arts and culture. There is a laid back ambiance to Ljubljana that is missing in a lot of cities. Whilst it can, and does, get busy, I rarely felt the tension to move around quickly as you do in a larger cities.