Exploring Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia

Castle Hill, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Having seen so many beautiful pictures on Google Images and read so many positive trip reports, we’ve wanted to go to Slovenia for years. So when we were planning the final leg of our trip – three months back in Europe – we made absolutely sure to include it. We spent just over one week in the capital, Ljubljana. It’s definitely our type of city. Not only is it quite pretty and easy to get around, but the symbol of the city is the dragon!
Crest, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Greeted by the Julian Alps

We took the bus from Trieste, Italy, an easy trip which took about two hours. And upon arrival, we were welcomed by a gorgeous sight of the Julian Alps. It’s a good thing we snapped this picture when we did because the sky wasn’t this clear the entire rest of our stay.
View of the Julian Alps, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Republic Square

We stayed at an apartment right off Republic Square. It was on the edge of a residential neighborhood, but within walking distance to major sights and landmarks. We’d definitely recommend staying in the area.
Republic Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Statue, Republic Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Congress Square

A major point in the center of the city is Congress Square. It’s got a big park and pretty buildings and a nice view of Ljubljana Castle. Also nearby are the remains of the walls of the ancient Roman town, Emona.
Congress Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Congress Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana Old Town

Ljubljana Old Town is quaint and colorful and lovely – like many European Old Towns.
Old Town, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Old Town, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Separating the Old Town from the rest of the city is the Lubljanica River. Ljubljana’s bridges are attractions in and of themselves There’s the Triple Bridge – three bridges set together where the river curves.
Old Town, Ljubljana, Slovenia

And the Dragon Bridge is flanked by these great dragon statues.
Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Central Market

One of the main attractions in the Old Town is Central Market. The indoor and outdoor market is open every day except Sunday, but it’s biggest and busiest on Saturday. We wandered through all the stalls checking out all the delicious looking food and souvenirs.
Central Market, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Asparagus, Central Market, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana Castle

High above the Old Town sits Ljubljana Castle as well as the big, green Castle Hill Park. To get up to it you can take one of many paths or set of stairs or a funicular. While we love a good funicular, this time Sarah strapped on the portable oxygen concentrator and we made the climb. There are beautiful views of the city along the way and from the top. We had high hopes, but even though it was a pretty clear day, we still couldn’t see those snow-capped Julian Alps!
View from Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia

View from Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia

You can pay to go inside the castle, but walking around the castle grounds outside is free. Guess which one we did?Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia

Park Tivoli

Ljubljana is also home to the massive Park Tivoli. It has running trails and hiking trails (up the substantial Roznik Hill) and playgrounds and an art museum and a whole bunch of statues. It’s pretty incredible.

Art in Ljubljana

There are quite a few museums in the city. We visited the National Gallery of Slovenia and were introduced to the Slovenian artist Albert Sirk. He mainly painted maritime-themed works, but we particularly loved his paintings of Trieste and Miramare Castle.
Painting of Miramare Castle, Albert Sirk, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana

We also went to an exhibition of photographer Robert Capa at the Culture and Congress Centre. It was right across the street from our apartment, so were able to run right over one day when it was pouring rain.
Robert Capa photograph, Ljubljana, Slovenia

And there are statues and street art to stumble on throughout the city as well.
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Day trips from Ljubljana

We spent eight days in Ljubljana and during that time took two day trips.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled is a little over an hour from Ljubljana by bus. It’s as breathtaking as it looks in pictures, but you must visit on a clear day. Hiking enthusiasts should consider staying over for multiple days. Read more about our day trip to Lake Bled here.
Lake Bled, Slovenia

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia is about two and a half hours from Ljubljana by train. It would probably make for a better stopover than day trip – there is quite a lot to see and do and eat! Read more about our awesome day in Zagreb here.
Ledeni park, Zagreb, Croatia

Digital nomad tip!

Every now and then this year, we had to print something. In Ljubljana, we needed to print our onward tickets to Salzburg, Austria. We discovered the most amazing self-service printer: Printbox! There were several throughout the city, but fortuitously there was one just across the street from our apartment. All we had to do was set up an online account, upload our documents, go to the Printbox, feed it some coins, and voila! We even got free credits since we were new customers. It was super easy and inexpensive.
Printbox, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Eats and drinks

Our apartment had a well-stocked kitchen, and there was an awesome (and cheap!) supermarket nearby, so we cooked a lot during our week in Ljubljana. We went out a few times, and while we’re definitely not experts on the Ljubljana food and drink scene, here are our thoughts.

  • Union is the local beer brand. You can buy it at any supermarket or bar, but the most fun place to get the widest variety is their brewpub, Pivnica Union. It’s a little bit outside the center of the city, but walkable. Our favorite was their unfiltered beer.
  • The only Slovenian meal we had was at Druga Violina. It’s in the Old Town and its mission is to help people with disabilities, who it employs. The food was hearty and super cheap.

Slovenian feast at Druga Violina in Ljubljana

  • We ordered take-out from a nearby bar/Thai food restaurant, Thai Inn Pub. It was some of the best Thai food we’ve had outside Thailand. So good, in fact, we ate it twice. Devastating news, however… per Google Maps, it’s permanently closed! We’re leaving it in this post in the hope that it reopens.
  • We also did as we are prone to do and ate ramen. We’re not even going to mention the name of the place in this post because it wasn’t that good (corn in ramen?). We’re just being honest with our readers. We have a ramen addiction. Someone should just send us back to Japan right now.

Ramen, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Final thoughts

We had a really relaxed and happy week in Ljubljana. It was easy to feel at home there, which we relished. And it was also, as we had hoped, really quite pretty. So we’ll end with just a few more pictures to inspire you to visit.
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljanica River, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Sunset, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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How to spend one week in Ljubljana, Slovenia

29 Replies to “Exploring Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia”

  1. This is somewhere I quite badly want to visit! The architecture looks so neat and cripes… is that PURPLE asparagus?!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Haha yes! I had gotten used to seeing white asparagus, but the purple caught my eye and I had to capture it. Sadly, I didn’t actually eat it.

  2. Lake Bled looks beautiful and the Printbox concept is so cool! Having communal printers in neighborhoods should be a thing. Glad you enjoyed your time in Ljubljana.

  3. That central market is ADORABLE! I’ve never seen carts like that. The food looks great, the mountains and the sunsets are of course beautiful, definitely moving Slovenia up on the travel list! 😀

  4. I’ve just been to Bratislava and it reminds of it. It’s beautiful <3 And I envy you for your trips to Bled and Croatia… I really hope I will be able to go to Slevenia and Croatia, too, next year.

    Thanks for sharing 😀

  5. Ljubljana looks really charming, and I am just like you – the more pictures I see and the more I read about Slovenia, the more I am getting convinced that we should visit. I would definitely be spending more time at Lake Bled – it looks amazing!

  6. I would love to walk around Old Town. The architecture looks fascinating!

  7. That looks so inviting, I love the photos! I hope that I can make it there one day.

  8. Slovenia is one of my favorite countries. It’s so cute yet so beautiful. We didn’t get to Ljubljana, but I’ll have to go back!

  9. This looks like a fairy-tale town, beautiful photos! Yet another place I’m adding to my bucket-list of places to visit 😉

  10. Nice review of Ljubljana. I really like that city. It feels like an one week urban vacation. A middle sized town with a lot of things to do 🙂

  11. I’ve been seeing so much of Eastern Europe recently, I think it will be the next hit place to travel to! Love that view of Lake Bled 🙂

  12. Looks like an incredible place to visit. I’ve been hearing more and more about Ljubljana so it may be time to get over there!

  13. Wooooow! What a pretty city. I’m just now starting to hear more about it. This article makes me feel excited to go!

  14. Your pictures are beautiful! I never would have thought about traveling here but now it’s on the list!

  15. Such a great guide for Ljubljana! I have been there quite a long time ago and I understand I have missed a lot. I love your pictures. Interesting that a dragon is a symbol of the city. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I was there over 30 years ago. Your post brings back nice memories. Thanks for that!

  17. We actually visited about 4 months ago and left such good impression. We liked how chilled the city was, how quiet but lively at the same time. Oh and we absolutely loved the food. The prices sure added to our liking as well

  18. Great post! Ljubljana is one of my favorite cities in the world- and Lake Bled is one of the most peaceful spots we have visited to date. This makes me want to visit again!

  19. I had never heard of this place before, but it looks like it has a little something for everyone! I love all of the amazing art and statues!

  20. Ive been seeing slovenia all over my insta!! I totally wanna go!

  21. crazytravelista says: Reply

    Absolutely loved Ljubljana! It’s so quaint and cute and doesn’t seem like a capital city. I miss the central market, bummer! One of my fav things to do in a city is visit the market to see all the local products. It’s definitely a city I would love to return to.

  22. The more I hear about Slovenia the more I want to go. I like nature more than cities so I think I would prefer lake Bled, but Ljubljana looks very nice too, specially the views from the castle!

  23. I just love the architecture of European towns. It looks like you had a great trip. I probably could have spent all day roaming around that castle and the market! I will definitely be saving your post for later!

  24. been dying to go to Slovenia! This made me want to even more =)

  25. I haven’t explored Ljubljana too much at all, but your post makes it look so cute. I love that you felt so relaxed there. That bowl of ramen looks awesome too.

  26. What lovely photos! I visited Ljubljana recently and I absolutely loved it so these pictures bring back some really fond memories 🙂

  27. You had me at dragon symbol 😀 Honestly, I’ve never thought of going to Ljubljana much, but it looks so incredibly charming! Plus, I now have a super compresensive guide to turn it 😉 Thanks for sharing, great post!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Yeah I’m only slightly obsessed with dragons! Thanks for the kind words. It’s a great city and worthy of a trip!

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