The capital of the relatively unknown country of Slovenia isn’t as famous as other European cities. Nevertheless, Ljubljana is a lovely city with many attractions and is undoubtedly worth a visit. Here are the best things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
This article may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclaimer policy here.
Welcome to Ljubljana: the Pretty Capital of Slovenia
The city of Ljubljana was founded in the 12th century and became part of many different empires throughout its history. As such, the nation of Slovenes is ancient, but the modern country of Slovenia has only existed since 1991.
Before that, Slovenia was – among others – part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Yugoslavia.
In Slovenia, the Balkan Wars only lasted for ten days and the young nation soon became part of the UN (1991), NATO (2004), the European Union (2004), and the Eurozone (2004).
Today, Ljubljana is a small yet vibrant capital with a diverse architectural heritage and top-notch infrastructure. Better still, Slovenia’s small size caters to some excellent day trip options.
On this basis, here are the top attractions and best things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Best Things to do in Ljubljana
Most of the top places to visit in Ljubljana are located in the center. Start your visit around the Franciscan Church and explore from there.
Ljubljana Castle is the city’s primary attraction and stands atop a hill that offers sweeping views over the city. Built around 900 years ago, you can hike up or take a funicular train.
You can also visit the castle and learn about the history of the nation of Slovenia. Apart from the museum, there is also a relaxing coffee shop with panoramic views next to the castle.
Old Town & Plečnik Structures
Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) is the most famous architect in the history of Slovenia and was responsible for the city’s layout.
His works include many of the most beautiful structures in Ljubljana, including the iconic Triple Bridge.
As such, strolling around the Old Town and admiring the eclectic architecture is one of the best things to do in Ljubljana.
The dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana and has been present on its coat of arms since the Middle Ages. As such, the Dragon Bridge, a small bridge with several dragon sculptures, is one of the icons of the city and among the top tourist attractions in Ljubljana.
Ljubljana’s central market is where locals shops and mingle. You can find everything from clothes to vegetables and meat here, and the market includes an outdoor section – as well as some covered parts.
Ljubljana Cathedral and Franciscan Church
The two main churches that are among the top attractions in Ljubljana are the Franciscan Church (1660) and Ljubljana Cathedral (1707). Both are unmissable on your Ljubljana itinerary thanks to their distinct architectural styles.
The Best Museums in Ljubljana
Several cultural institutions are well worth a stop in the Slovenian capital.
Among others, the City Museum, the National Museum of Slovenia, the National Gallery, and the Ethnographic Museum will teach you a lot about the history and culture of this fascinating country.
On sunny days, one of the best activities in Ljubljana is to stroll around Tivoli Park. The park has lots of cute walking paths and offers a natural escape in the heart of the city.
The Best Day Trips From Ljubljana
Thanks to the relatively small size of Slovenia, there are many great day trip options from Ljubljana.
You can head to Lake Bled and Triglav National Park, two of the best natural places to visit in Slovenia. You can visit those places by yourself if you have a car or join an organized tour.
Alternatively, you can take a train or bus to Koper on the Slovenian Riviera. You’ll find picturesque villages like Piran and great beaches on the Slovenian coast.
Another popular day trip is Postojna Cave, one of the largest karst monuments in the world. If you don’t have a car, I recommend going on an organized tour that will take you to the cave and other locations in the region.
Where to Stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia
The center of Ljubljana is walkable. So, it’s best to find a place close to the Franciscan Church.
I stayed at the Ibis Styles Hotel which has several options ranging from conventional rooms to capsules. Its location is near-perfect and it also has a lovely rooftop bar.
Find more places to stay in Ljubljana here.
Best Things to do in Ljubljana: Know Before You Go
To complete our guide to the best things to do in Ljubljana, here are some FAQs.
How to Get to Ljubljana
Ljubljana has an international airport with connections to most European hubs.
Apart from flying, you can reach Ljubljana by bus and train from neighboring Croatia, Austria, and Italy.
In the video below, I travel in the other direction, taking a Slovenian train from Ljubljana to Rijeka, Croatia.
How to Get Around Ljubljana
You won’t need any public transportation to get to the center as it’s easily walkable. To get to places further out, the Slovenian capital has a well-integrated municipal bus system.
Prices in Ljubljana
Ljubljana is a lot more expensive than Croatia and other countries in the Balkans. Don’t expect a dirt-cheap location when traveling to Slovenia. The development and standard of life are similar to Austria and Germany, and so are the prices.
Bottom Line: Is Ljubljana Worth Visiting?
Certainly. Both the country of Slovenia and its capital city are well worth a stop on your European itinerary. One to two days are enough for Ljubljana, but you could easily spend a week in Slovenia – and explore the country’s natural and historic treasures.