Ljubljana is a charming capital city that has a whole lot to offer. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a place that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. It is known for its beautiful architecture, rich culture, and friendly people. I loved the contrasts in the city, from the more static architecture that gives me a bit of Vienna vibes to the hipster culture to be found in Metelkova. Before visiting Ljubljana, I didn’t have much background and I didn’t know anyone who had already visited. Once again, I have learned that going somewhere without expectations might be better as it leaves room to impress you even more. This city guide describes the best things to do, the most beautiful places to visit, and the best bars, restaurants, and hotels to visit during your stay. A complete Ljubljana Travel Guide on how to best spend your time in the Charming Capital City of Ljubljana.
Tip 1: you can easily combine Ljubljana with other places in mid-/eastern Europe. For me, Ljubljana was part of a 6-week trip exploring the Balkan countries.
Tip 2: Combine 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. If you like, it is also possible to visit Lake Blak with a day tour from Ljubljana.
Below, you will find all the recommendations given in this city travel guide to the charming city of Ljubljana in one overview. I present you your full Ljubljana City Map that you can use during your visit. It includes the best things to do in Ljubljana and the best things to do and see. 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.
Ljubljana’s nickname 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. Just stroll around and you’ll already run into some great places, without even following this full Ljubljana City Guide as the little alleys might surprise you the most. Along the river, you can for example find one of the most noticeable sights of Ljubljana, which is the Triple Bridge, connecting the historic to the modern center.
When we visited Ljubljana it was around 35 degrees during the day. This meant that we were forced to spend most of the afternoon somewhere in the shade. Our hotel was located next to Tivoli Park, so we passed the park every time we walked into the city center (just 15 minutes). We bought some craft beers from a brewery in Ljubljana called Tektonic and chilled in Tivoli Park during the afternoon.
Fun story, we saw 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!
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. You can opt for a city guide tour, that includes the funicular up to the castle; for example this tour. It is also possible to head to the funicular station and buy your tickets there. Currently, a return ticket costs €6, but check the latest prices and information on their website. As an alternative option, you can walk up the hill. This will take 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).
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. There are also regular events 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.
There are two main markets in Ljubljana. One is located outside and is normally open every day except Sundays. Next to the outside market, there is an inside market where you can find nice pastries and other stuff. Have a quick look or have a seat and enjoy Ljubljana’s day-to-day life passing by. The market is located at one of the ends of the main city center and you’ll find it on maps by “Central Market” / “Marketplace”.
Ljubljana’s famous icon is the Dragon’s Bridge crossing 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. Don’t expect too much, but it is nice to snap a couple of pictures when you pass by the bridge during your stay.
As in most cities, the Old Town is always worth discovering. Even though you’ve already seen a lot while passing by the Town Square and by following the canals, it is still worth exploring the Old Town a bit more by strolling through the little alleys.
As Slovenia is relatively small, it is easy to visit the nearby Lake Bled as a day trip during your Ljubljana City Trip, as well as 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. However, GetYourGuide also offers a day trip.
This was one of our favorite places, which could be the reason that I don’t even have my footage of the food and drinks available. However, head to Pop’s Place when you are into beer and burgers. Pop’s Place is located at the canal, so also the scenery and location are good.
On top of the castle, there is a restaurant located called Strelec. It is high in price class, but if you are in for a treat and a special memory, it is a place to consider for your dinner. They have both an outside and inside dining area.
A great place for brunch, a cup of coffee, or something stronger is Magda’s. We spent the whole afternoon here, sitting in the shade and sipping prosecco (I wished I was so fancy I would be able to say champagne here).
This colorful bar has a small terrace where you enjoy a drink in the sun, but also inside there is a great atmosphere. It isn’t your average tourist bar, even though it is still located quite in the city center. I would recommend this one! The colorful outside already tells enough.
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. Klub Daktari is one of the most famous bars in Ljubljana and is found at the foot of castle hill. Don’t expect a large ‘club’ atmosphere, as it is more like a cultural/music center.
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.
As a great fan of craft beer, I am so happy this tap room is here! When we visited, as described, we tried to find the taproom but figured out none was existing. They were so kind to give us some beers to try. Fortunately, at this point in time, they do have a taproom available in Ljubljana, so definitely pay them a visit!
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.
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.