A Ljubljana Travel Guide: Discover the Charming Capital of Slovenia

A full overview of the best travel tips in this Ljubljana travel guide

Ljubljana, the charming capital city of Slovenia, holds a wide range of offerings for travellers that are highlighted in this Ljubljana travel guide. With its beautiful architecture, rich culture, and friendly locals, it undoubtedly deserves a spot on every adventurer’s bucket list. The city holds fascinating contrasts, ranging from the static yet elegant architecture reminiscent of Vienna to the vibrant hipster culture found in Metelkova. Before my visit, I lacked background knowledge and had no acquaintances who had explored the city before. However, this only enhanced my experience, as going somewhere without prior knowledge allows for a more spontaneous and impressive journey. 

In this comprehensive Ljubljana travel guide, you’ll find an overview of the best Ljubljana city tips, including Ljubljana’s hipster area! In fact, in this travel blog, you’ll discover the top things to do, the most beautiful places to visit, and the best bars and restaurants. Moreover, I’ll guide you to the best value-for-money hotels in town to make the most of your stay in this charming capital city.

Lastly, you can combine exploring Ljubljana with a visit to Lake Bled, only a 50-minute drive away and also referred to as the pearl of Slovenia. Read everything you need to know about Lake Bled here. Next to that, it is also possible to visit Lake Bled with a day tour from Ljubljana.

Check out my complete 6-week Balkan itinerary, including Ljubljana

Where to stay in Ljubljana

Intercontinental Ljubljana (€250), Ibis Styles Ljubljana Center hotel (€90), Oh Apartments & Rooms (€70)

Your full Ljubljana city map as a travel guide

Below, you will find an overview of all the recommendations provided in this Ljubljana travel guide. All my Ljubljana travel tips are structured on a Ljubljana City Map, that you can use during your visit. To demonstrate, the travel map includes the best things to do in Ljubljana. Furthermore, it gives you an overview of the best bars and restaurants. Lastly, I’m providing you with some hotel recommendations. 

Get in touch in case you feel that anything is missing to optimize this full Ljubljana city travel guide together.

The best things to do in Ljubljana

1 || Stroll along the river and visit town square

The nickname of Ljubljana is “Little Paris”, mainly because of the beautiful river running through the city. The famous square with the pink town hall is stunning and the whole area is perfect for photographs. Even without following this full Ljubljana Travel guide, you’ll stumble upon great places, simply by leisurely strolling around, as the charming little alleys are bound to surprise you. Notably, along the river, you can find one of the most iconic landmarks of Ljubljana, the Triple Bridge, seamlessly connecting the historic to the modern centre.

Ljubljana City Guide
Ljuljana City View
Ljubljana Town Hall
Ljuljana City Guide Canals
Ljubljana Cafe along the Canal
Bridge in Ljubljana
Ljubljana City Views
Ljubljana City Canals

2 || Enjoy a relaxed afternoon in Tivoli Park

During our visit to Ljubljana, temperatures reached 35 degrees during the day. Therefore, we were forced to spend most of the afternoon somewhere in the shade. Conveniently, our hotel was located next to Tivoli Park, so we passed the park every time we walked into the city centre (just 15 minutes). Due to the high temperatures, we decided to chill in Tivoli Park in the afternoon, after buying some craft beers from a brewery in Ljubljana called Tektonic. 

Fun story, we discovered Tektonic on Google Maps and decided to go there because we thought this would be a taproom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. However, I was walking around with a bag from a small brewery in the Netherlands so one of the locals assumed that we were looking for Tektonic and let us in so we could get some beers straight from production! Fortunately, they do have a tap room now!

Tivoli Park Ljubljana
Tektonic Brewery

3 || Visit Ljubljana Castle and be rewarded with the most beautiful city views

If you don’t like walking up to the castle (as it is located on a hill), you’re lucky as there is a funicular railway you can use to get up. In another case, you can opt for a city tour, that includes the funicular up to the castle; for example this tour. Furthermore, you could purchase tickets upon your arrival at the funicular station. Currently, a return ticket costs €6, but check the latest prices and information on their website. Alternatively, you can walk up the hill, which takes approximately 45 minutes. When arriving at Ljubljana Castle, you are rewarded with views over Ljubljana and there is a restaurant located (more about that later). 

Ljubljana Castle Views, prepared for dinner at Strelec

4 || Visit Metelkova, the alternative hipster area of Ljubljana

Metelkova is part of this Ljubljana City Travel Guide as it is THE alternative and hipster area of Ljubljana and one of the most famous neighborhoods in Europe. You’ll find loads of graffiti and street art during the day, where a wide range of bars and clubs open here at night. It was quite impressive that when we visited during the day, there was so little to do, it almost felt a little creepy. Therefore, I would advise you to also visit Metelkova in the evenings, to explore the nightlife that is going on. Also, regular events are organized, so if you want to be fully up-to-date, check out the Metelkova Event Agenda. In the evening, you will find some people having drinks on the terrain, but you can also head to one of the smaller bars or clubs such as Channel Zero, Jalla Jalla, and Klub Gromka.

Metelkova - Ljubljana Hipster Area
Metelkova - Ljubljana Hipster Area
Metelkova - Ljubljana Hipster Area. A Ljubljana Travel Guide.
Metelkova - Ljubljana Hipster Area. A Ljubljana Travel Guide.
Metelkova - Ljubljana Hipster Area. A Ljubljana Travel Guide.
Metelkova - Ljubljana Hipster Area. A Ljubljana Travel Guide.

5 || Visit the outside & inside market

In Ljubljana, you can explore two main markets. The first one is an outdoor market, open every day except Sundays. Adjacent to this, you’ll find an indoor market boasting a variety of delightful pastries and other items. Take a moment to glance around or simply sit back and immerse yourself in the vibrant day-to-day life of Ljubljana passing by. This bustling market is conveniently located at one of the ends of the main city center, easily searchable on maps under “Central Market” or “Marketplace.” Don’t miss the chance to experience the lively atmosphere and local delights at this bustling marketplace.

Ljubljana City Market, Enjoy Ljubljana's great Atmosphere
Ljubljana City Market

6 || Head to Dragon's Bridge

What is a travel blog without mentioning Ljubljana’s famous icon? The iconic Dragon’s Bridge crosses the Ljubljana River, located in the heart of the city. The bridge features 4 dragon statues and has become one of the most iconic landmarks of the charming city of Ljubljana. To many, it is an iconic sight that can’t miss in a city travel guide to Ljubljana, but I have to personally say that I was a bit underwhelmed. Therefore, don’t expect too much, however, it is nice to snap a couple of pictures when you pass by the bridge.

7 || Discover more of Ljubljana's City Centre: The Old Town

Like in many cities, the Old Town is worth exploring. Despite having glimpsed various sights while passing through the Town Square and following the canals, delving deeper into the Old Town by leisurely strolling through its little alleys is a great experience to add to your Ljubljana trip. The hidden treasures and unique atmosphere of the Old Town make it an essential part of your Ljubljana exploration.

Ljubljana Old Town
Ljubljana Old Town

8. Visit nearby Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge

Because Slovenia is relatively small, it is easy to visit the nearby Lake Bled as a day trip during your Ljubljana City Trip. On top of that, you could add a visit to the stunning Vintgar Gorge, located close to Lake Bled. If you are going on this trip yourself, definitely check out my guide on Lake Bled.

It is also possible to do a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana.

The best restaurants and bars in Ljubljana

1 || Eat a burger and drink some craft beer at Pop's Place

One of our absolute favorite spots in Ljubljana was Pop’s Place, and it’s perhaps the reason why I don’t have any footage of the food and drinks; we were just enjoying the experience. If you’re a fan of beer and burgers, Pop’s Place is an absolute must-visit. Situated along the canal, the location offers picturesque scenery and a pleasant ambience. Therefore, a visit to Pop’s Place, enjoying a combination of great food and craft beer, is a great addition to your Ljubljana travel guide.

Pop's Place Ljubljana
Pop's Place - Tripadvisor

2 || Have a luxury dinner at Strelec (at the Castle)

On top of the castle, there is a restaurant located called Strelec. While it may fall into the higher price class, it will be a memorable dining experience. Whether you prefer the open-air ambiance or the cozy indoor setting, Strelec caters to both with its outside and inside dining areas. Moreover, this restaurant has received 1 Michelin Star! 

3 || Have brunch (or oysters and prosecco) at Magda

For a delightful brunch, a comforting cup of coffee, or even something stronger, look no further than Magda’s. This  spot offers the perfect setting to spend a leisurely afternoon, sitting in the cool shade and enjoying a refreshing glass of prosecco. 

Magda, Ljubljana
Magda Website

4 || Enjoy a drink at (student) bar Zmauc

This colorful bar has a small terrace where you enjoy a drink in the sun, but also inside there is a great atmosphere. Funnily enough, this isn’t your average tourist bar, even though it is still located quite in the city centre. In my opinion, this is a great bar to add to your Ljubljana itinerary. 

Zmauc, Ljulbjana

5 || Klub Daktari

Enjoy the terrace during the day and an inside space that is decorated with lounge chairs and sofas, so you’ll feel at home straight away. Located at the foot of castle hill, Klub Daktari is one of the most famous bars in Ljubljana. Despite its name, don’t expect a large ‘club’ atmosphere, as it is more like a cultural/music centre.

Klub Daktari, Ljubljana

6 || Sir William's Pub

A place with several beers on tap and a great craft beer list. The outside area is rather small, so chances are great you have to sit inside. Expect an English-style pub where you can cool down and enjoy a nice beer. 

7 || Tektonik Taproom

As a devoted craft beer enthusiast, I was absolutely thrilled to discover this taproom! During our visit, as described before, we initially couldn’t locate the taproom, but the staff was incredibly gracious and offered us a selection of beers to try. Luckily, I can now happily confirm that they have established a taproom in Ljubljana, so it’s an absolute must-visit destination! If you share my passion for craft beer, this is definitely a must visit Ljubljana travel tip!

More bars and restaurants in Ljubljana

Unfortunately, I did not have the time in this beautiful charming city of Ljubljana to explore more bars and restaurants. However, I still want to provide you with other bars and restaurants that were on my list to visit as well as the most popular bars and restaurants now in 2023, otherwise this Ljubljana Travel Guide wouldn’t be complete.

 For breakfast, you could check out Le Petit Cafe, and for some local food and drinks, you can check out Julija. If you are looking for a wine bar, give TaBar or Suklje a shot. One of the most popular places right now, is Todz, so a visit can’t miss out on your travel plan to Ljubljana. Lastly, a great location to have a drink by day or by night is Pritlicje. 

The best hotels in Ljubljana

With the Intercontinental Ljubljana, you can’t go wrong. This beautiful 5-star hotel offers everything you need: beautiful rooms, restaurants, an indoor swimming pool, and a spa area. The hotel has a perfect location, right in the middle of the old town and Tivoli park. Hotel rooms start from €250. 

Looking for a luxury apartment, then Second Home Apartment by Loft is a great option. You pay €350 a night, but an apartment can host 5 visitors.

The Ibis Styles Ljubljana Center hotel is a relatively basic, but great hotel in the city center of Ljubljana, about 500 meters from the main square. They do have a rooftop with co-working spaces available. This is a place that offers you good value for money, paying €90 for a room.

Another great mid-range option in Ljubljana is the City Hotel Ljubljana but is slightly more expensive at €160 for a room.

My top pick!
We did stay at OH Apartments & Rooms for about €45 a night (for one room). The place was decent and delivered good quality for the price. It was located near Tivoli Park and it, therefore, took around 15 to 20 minutes to walk to the city center. Book the apartment here.

In case you are looking for a budget option in a hostel, check out Party Hostel Zzz, where you pay around €35 for a bed and €65 for a twin room.

Oh Apartments & Rooms Ljulbjana

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