Ljubljana ("lee-oo-blee-AH-nuh") is the small but delightful capital of Slovenia. While the city's population had grown to 295,500 in 2020, the sights and amenities are concentrated in the charming old centre. It's full of artists, museums, and galleries, it's friendly and easy to reach, and it's a good base for exploring the rest of the country.
Ljubljana stands at the entrance to a plain in an otherwise mountainous region, the confluence of several river valleys, so it's been a focus for settlement, trade and transport since prehistory. The first known city was the Roman Colonia Iulia Aemona; in medieval times it became Laibach and this name is still used by some German-speakers (as well as modern Slovenia's most notable cultural export, the band of that name). It fell under the gravity of Austria-Hungary and was a duchy or province of the Hapsburg Empire until 1918. For much of the 20th century it was part of Yugoslavia until independence in 1991. This means that Ljubljana has simply been a regional capital, and has only been the national capital of a relatively small country for a few decades. The city landscape reflects this: it's compact and walkable, cosy and friendly, rather than grandiose. There are no vast ceremonial boulevards, bling palaces or imperial fists of fortification. It's not a place where you hop around ticking off must-see sights, like a bug with a selfie-stick for antennae. Relax, stroll and enjoy the atmosphere.
No-one really knows how its current name came about: it resembles ljubljena - "beloved" - in Slovenian, but that seems to be just a happy coincidence. It sits in the valley of the Ljubljanica river, with green hills hemming it in on either side. The river makes a right angle, with the castle and oldest parts of the city on the hill in the southeast quadrant. A 19th century street grid extends north of the river, then the modern town sprawls to the west and north. Three natural disasters shaped the city architecture. An earthquake of 1511 caused extensive re-building in Renaissance style, and in stone to curb the fires of the wooden city. Another earthquake in 1895 prompted rebuilding in Vienna Secession style. It was flooded by the river multiple times until the Gruber Canal was cut across the southeast quadrant in the 18th century, turning the castle hill into an island. Therefore the main flow bypasses the old centre, which was protected from the devastating 2010 floods of the Danube catchment region. The "Triple" and "Dragon" bridges stand intact as proud symbols of Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is a year-round destination but you need to dress for the Balkan climate. Summers are warm, with daytime highs of 30°C. There are often public events and festivals, with streets converted from traffic thoroughfares to event spaces, but afternoons can be humid with thunderstorms and downpours. Early summer and autumn enjoy more even temperatures, and there's a student buzz as the university is in session. In winter it's near-zero, often with snow, and biting winds off the hills, but as Christmas approaches the streets are decorated by thousands of lights, and food and drink kiosks pop up along the river bank. February is grey, before in spring the city blooms with flowers planted on its streets and crossroads.
- 1 Ljubljana Tourist Information Centre, Stritarjeva (next to the Triple Bridge), ☏ +386 1 306-4583, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:00. Also offers three sightseeing tours in the summer at 10:00, 14:00, and 17:00 for €10. There are nice souvenirs and a free map.
The main language of the city is unsurprisingly Slovenian. Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian is also understood by most and usually spoken fluently by people over 40. Many inhabitants of Ljubljana speak English as well, especially people under the age of 30, with some of them also being able to speak German, Italian, French, Spanish and/or Russian. It's worth trying any major European language you speak.
- 1 Jože Pučnik Airport (Brnik Airport LJU IATA) (27 km north of Ljubljana). This airport has flights from Amsterdam Schiphol, Brussels Airport and Charleroi, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Belgrade, Niš, London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton), Frankfurt Airport, Munich Airport, Helsinki Airport, Madrid Barajas, Warsaw, Podgorica, Zurich Airport, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport and Istanbul, plus seasonal flights to the Med. A new Terminal A opened in June 2021 and serves Schengen flights. It's connected by a short corridor to the old Terminal B, now used for non-Schengen destinations. Both have the usual airport facilities, see map on website, but B is small and frankly tatty. There are over a dozen car rental agents, with all the big names represented.
Getting there and away:
- By bus:
- Arriva Bus[dead link] takes 50 min to the main bus and railway station ("Ljubljana AP", Stand 28), with several stops. It runs every 30 min M-F 05:20-20:10, and Sa Su holidays 06:10–19:10. The fare is €4.10, pay the driver on boarding; cannot pay with Urbana card. (May 2023)
- Bus route 64 (LPP) goes from Ljubljana bus station ("Ljubljana AP", Stand 28). The fare is €4.10, can pay with Urbana card or with cash to the driver.
- Outbound from the city, alternate buses continue from the airport to Bled, so this has an hourly service taking 30 min.
- A bus to Kranj runs every hour or two, taking 20-40 min.
- By shuttle – Several operators offer shuttle transfers, which are €12 per person, more for a door-to-door private transfer. They include Goopti, Nomago, Airtrail Slovenia and TuamV.
- By taxi – You might pay €40 for a metered taxi to the city.
- By car – See airport website for the many car hire agencies. Driving off, follow the one-way system and go west then left onto the link road, which gets you on A2 towards Ljubljana.
Other airports nearby that but might prove convenient are Trieste, Venice Marco Polo, and Treviso (in Italy); Vienna Airport, Klagenfurt, and Graz (in Austria); and Zagreb (in Croatia).
- 2 Ljubljana railway station (1 km north of the river, with the bus station on its south flank.).
- Trains from Munich take 6 hr 15 min, with one direct and one changing daytime service and one sleeper, via Salzburg, Villach and Lesce (for Bled), and dividing at Ljubljana for Rijeka or Zagreb. In early 2021 this route was disrupted by engineering works in the tunnel near Villach, but is now normal. From Paris and points north travel via Munich.
- Trains from Vienna take 6 or 7 hours; most involve a change but there is one direct service via Semmering, Graz, Maribor and Zidani Most.
- Trains from Budapest run daily, taking 7 hr 30 min via Zidani Most. Connections taking 9 hours are available hourly.
- Trains from Zagreb run 4 or 5 times a day, taking 2 hr 30 min via Dobova (the border) and Zidani Most.
- Trains from Rijeka run twice a day, taking 3 hours via Opatija, and being joined at Ljubljana onto the Munich train.
- Trains from Trieste run twice a day, taking 2 hr 30 min via Villa Opicina on the border. From elsewhere in Italy change at Trieste, the direct train from Venice has been axed.
- 3 Ljubljana bus station (avtobusna postaja) (next to the train station), ☏ 090 934230 (domestic). Has services throughout Slovenia, as well as to foreign countries. The station has several useful schedule search engines (also in English) for working out connections. Generally speaking, a bus can take you almost anywhere in Slovenia within a few hours.
Direct international connections: Trieste (2 hours), Zagreb (2 hours), Venice (4 hours), Banja Luka (5 hours), Bihać (6 hours), Bologna (6 hours), Budapest (6 hours), Munich (7 hours), Florence (8 hours), Tuzla (8 hours), Zenica (8 hours), Belgrade (8 hours), Ulm (9 hours), Stuttgart (10 hours), Sarajevo (10 hours), Niš (12 hours), Karlsruhe (12 hours), Mannheim (13 hours), Frankfurt (14 hours), Skopje (15 hours), Tetovo (16 hours), Sofia (16 hours), Pristina (18 hours), Copenhagen (19 hours), Malmö (20 hours), Gothenburg (24 hours), Linköping (28 hours), Örebro (34 hours), Stockholm (36 hours).
Left luggage, available by asking at the ticket windows in the Bus Station for €3.50.
- See also: Brotherhood and Unity Highway
Ljubljana is at the centre of the Slovenian road network, which means that if you're not driving towards the border, you're approaching Ljubljana. Traffic can be frustrating at rush hours, but is generally lighter than in larger European capitals. Huge jams can occur if there's an accident or road works, though, so consult the Traffic-information centre or listen to Radio Si which offers regular traffic information in several European languages.
There are several car parks throughout the city centre, and cheaper ones at the outskirts. Those offer day-long parking with return city bus ticket included in the price. Most car parks are operated by the Municipal company. Short-term street parking in blue zones is payable at parking meters scattered around (€0.70/hr in the city centre, 2 hours max; €0.40/hr further out, 3 hours max; Saturday afternoon and Sunday parking is free). Parking meters don't return change, but they also accept the Urbana card (see below).
Renting a car is also an option, especially to explore rural areas outside the city and during public holidays.
By ride sharing
The main website is Prevoz.org, (click on "mednarodni prevozi" for international rides). The website is only in Slovene, but simple enough to navigate. The columns are "from", "to", "time" (of departure) and "cost", you can sort them by clicking on top row, or use the search engine on top. You have to register to see the phone number, you can use an existing account. Most drivers would speak enough English to arrange the ride. Note however that there is no rating system in place, nor any payment system – you pay cash to the driver. Generally the price is around €5/100-120 km within Slovenia, usually a bit more abroad. If you're arriving in your own car and want to pick some passengers, you can of course also post it on the site.
Much of the country's traffic is either heading into Ljubljana or back out. Outbound you need to know the main hitching spots:
- Northeast to Maribor and Austria: on Dunajska cesta just west of the railway station, take Bus 6, 8 or 11 north to Smelt and the World Trade Centre, 15 min. Turn right and you'll see the entry ramp for Highway H3.
- Southwest to Koper, Rijeka and Italy: on Dunajska cesta or Kongresni trg take Bus 6 south to the end of the line at Dolgi most. The highway is before you, with the entry ramp to A1 and A2 just left - it's A1 you want. You'll also see an entrance to the parking area of a house, stand there as vehicles are better able to pull in.
- East to Novo Mesto and Zagreb: on Dunajska cesta take Bus 3 south to the end of the line at Rudnik. Walk on a further 200 m along Dolenjska cesta to the crossroads and entry ramp opposite the railway crossing. You want A2 eastbound.
The centre of Ljubljana is small enough to cover by foot. You can pick up a free city map at a tourist information centre or in the train station. Navigating or finding a street is easy as streets are clearly marked.
Bicycles are available for rent at the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre (beside the Central Market) as well as some of the hotels in the area (€2 for 2 hours, €8 for the whole day ending 19:00-21:00 depending on season).
There is also a system called BicikeLJ where you can rent bikes (first hour free, second hour €1, third hour €2, each additional hour €4). It is designed for short-term hire. It has 300 bikes on 30 stations around the inner city part and you can subscribe with a credit card online. You can take another bicycle after one hour has elapsed, without any cost.
The city's transportation authority LPP operates 22 bus lines, which are clean and run frequently (every 5–10 minutes, 15–30 minutes during the weekend and summer). Most bus routes operate 05:00-22:30 (Sundays from 06:00). Night routes are: N1 (22:30-05:00), 2, 5 and 6 (03:15–00:00), N3 (21:00–05:00) and N11 (03:15–05:00). Saturdays and Sundays no service on routes 22, 24, 28 and 29. Sundays no service on routes 7L, 8, 18, 20, 21, 27.
To ride the buses, you must first purchase an Urbana card (similar to an Oyster Card in London). These can be bought at self-service stations ("Urbanomat") found at the larger bus stops across the city, LPP sales sites, tourist information centres and newspaper agents for €2 and need to be loaded with an amount ranging from €1 to €50. Upon entering the bus by the front door, you need to position the card next to the reader to pay for the route. The confirmation is a quiet beep and an illuminated green light, while a negative response is a louder beep and a red light. After that, you proceed to take your seat / stand.
The cost per journey is €1.30 and includes an unlimited number of free transfers within 90 minutes from the first entry to the bus.
Most lines operate at least once every 15 minutes. Timetables have departure times.
The (supposedly) cheapest taxi companies are:
- Taxi Ljubljana.
- Taxi Laguna, toll-free: 080 11 17 (in country only).
- Taxi Metro', toll-free: 080 11 90 (in country only).
- Intertours Taxi, ☏ 080 311311 (in country only).
These are free numbers (all numbers starting with 080 are free in Slovenia), so you can use a phone booth to make a free call. Not all taxis charge the same fare.
While taxis ordered by phone are cheap, those waiting on the street will usually charge through the roof, and you can end up paying €25 or more for a short ride! Unless you're in a hurry, always order a taxi by phone!
You can see centre of Ljubljana also with frequent boat tour, they last around 1-2 hours.
In 2021, seven works in Ljubljana by architect Jože Plečnik were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are the Trnovo Bridge, the green promenade along Vegova Street, the promenade along the embankments and bridges of the Ljubljanica River, the Roman walls in Mirje, the Church of St Michael, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the Garden of All Saints (Plečnik’s Žale).
- 1 Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) (At the heart of the old city). The central span is from 1842: it became a bottleneck so in the 1930s footbridges were added on each side, fanning out slightly. On the north bank these lead into Prešeren Square, adorned by the statue of the national poet France Prešeren (1800-1849). It's the obvious rendezvous point in town; the area is pedestrianised. The TIC is south end of the bridge.
- 2 Old Town. Squeezed between the castle hill and Ljubljanica river is the old town with two squares, Mestni trg (City square) with the Robba fountain and the city hall behind it, and, further on, Gornji trg (Upper square). Well preserved medieval buildings now house local designer shops, and several popular cafes and restaurants. Although they may look creepy, the perfectly safe narrow lanes lead to charming little squares and buildings.
- 3 Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most). Completed in 1901, designed by Croatian Jurij Zainovich. It is guarded by four detailed dragon statues from the city's coat-of-arms. Look out for the dragon motif throughout the city. Be careful around the Dragon Bridge area, as it is on a major busy road just outside the pedestrian zone and near misses (and worse) between inattentive tourists and traffic are common. The dragon bridge is located at the end of the Ljubljana Open Market, just a block or two down the river (north-east direction) from the Triple bridge.
- 4 Ljubljana Castle (You can catch the funicular or walk up). The tower has magnificent views all over the city. You can also see the Sava River and Kamnik Alps in the distance. Included is a 3D Movie of the history of Ljubljana from a pre-historic settlement to Roman Empire to modern times (€6.50 for adults, €3 for students, seniors). Entrance to the Castle Courtyard, Chapel and Gift shop is free, but there is a charge for access to the tower.
- 5 Square of the Republic. Where crowds gathered as Slovenia announced its independence from the Yugoslav Federation in 1991. The square has significant importance for Slovene history, as it was a place of important public gatherings (and demonstrations) in the past. Across the road is the Slovene Parliament. Its façade is decorated with artistic nude statues of Slovenes at work and leisure. The square also houses the International Business Centre.
- 6 Roman Ruins. A short walk west of the centre of town are the remains of the Roman City Walls, including a number of pillars from an entrance gate.
- 7 Krakovo. A village-like part of the city connecting the centre to the Trnovo suburb.
- 8 Metelkova City. A self-declared autonomous culture place to gather for alternative artists, many subcultures and youth. What used to be a military barracks is now full of underground artists, bars and nightclubs. Metelkova can get crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. It is within 5 minute of walk from main Train Station, and it is home to a renowned hostel Celica.
- 9 Tivoli Park to the west is the city's main park, with a large pond at its southwest end and the hill of Rožnik behind.
- 10 Ljubljana Zoo (take bus 23). 09:00–16:30 (winter) (open until 19:00 in summer). Closed Christmas Day.. One of the most beautiful zoos in Europe. €5.50–8.
- 11 University Botanic gardens Ljubljana, Ižanska cesta 15, ☏ +386 1 427-1280. Open daily, Apr–Jun 07–19, Jul–Aug 07–20, Sep–Oct 07–19, Nov–Mar 07–17. Tropical glasshouse has reduced hours: Daily 10:00–16:45. Ljubljana Botanic Garden is the oldest Slovene cultural, scientific and educational institution. It was founded in 1810, the time of the Illyrian Provinces, as a garden of native flora and a section of the Central School (École Centrale). In the garden is also tropical glasshouse. Gardens are free, tropical glasshouse €2.80.
- 12 Tomb of National Heroes. a tomb and a monument for the national heroes of the World War II resistance struggle in Slovenia, created in 1949.
- 13 Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity. A Baroque style church built between 1718 and 1726.
- 14 Congress Square (Kongresni trg). One of the central squares, built in 1821. In 1988 the first free mass demonstration was held here, which was the start of the Slovenian spring, leading to the declaration of Slovenia's independence in 1991.
- 15 Nebotičnik. A 13 storey high-rise.built in 1931, designed by Vladimir Šubic, with a cafe & bar on the top floor.
- 16 Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church (Cerkev sv. Cirila in Metoda). An Orthodox Church has five domes with golden crosses at their top. It was built from 1932 to 1936, with interior frescos painted between 1986 and 1997.
- 17 Franciscan Church of the Annunciation (Frančiškanska cerkev Marijinega oznanjenja). Built between 1646 and 1660, with a later front facade and bell tower.
- 18 Ljubljana Cathedral (ljubljanska stolnica). St. Nicholas's Church (cerkev sv. Nikolaja) was built between 1701 and 1706 on a site dating back to 1262. The fine interior includes fresco painted by Giulio Quaglio between 1703 and 1723.
- 19 Architecture Museum of Ljubljana, Pot na Fužine 2, ☏ +386 1 5409798. M-F 09:00-15:00, Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 10:00-15:00. Hosts a permanent exhibition of Jože Plečnik's works. Student €1, adult €2.
- 20 Architecture Museum of Ljubljana: Plečnik Collection, Karunova 4, ☏ +386 1 2801600, email@example.com. An annex of the Architecture Museum devoted to great Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, who lived in this building from 1921 to 1957. The house contains rooms with the artist’s valuable original furniture and personal objects, an archive of his sketches and plans and a collection of clay, plaster and wooden models, a library, Plečnik’s correspondence, a photo archive, thesis projects of Plečnik’s students and an archive of the Academy of Architecture Collection. Access only by guided tour of not more than 7 people, booked at least five days in advance.
- 21 Museum of Modern Art (MG+), Cankarjeva cesta 15. Tu–Su 10:00–18:00. For those who prefer contemporary art, MG+ houses the national collection of 20th-century Slovene art (paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photography, video and electronic media collections), a collection of works from the former Yugoslavia, and the Eastern European collection "Arteast 2000+.". €5 adults, €2.50 students.
- 22 National Gallery, Prešernova 24. Definitely worth visiting if you care about art. It exhibits two important permanent collections that include works of some of the best and most renowned Slovenian (impressionist) painters (Jama, Grohar, Jakopic, Azbe). You can also see there a restored original of the Robba Fountain, a monument of national cultural heritage.
- 23 National Museum of Slovenia - Prešernova, Muzejska ulica 1, ☏ +386 1 2414400, fax: +386 12414422, firstname.lastname@example.org. daily 10:00-18:00, Thursday 10:00-20:00, closed on public holidays.. The oldest and the largest Slovene museum. It was founded in 1821. Existent museum building on the Museum street, was built in 1888 and was the first, building, assigned solely to culture in Slovenia. Today its stores a rich collections of valuable objects. The oldest spring back to the Stone Age, but there are also the newer ones, which are still used in our everyday life. Important columns of museum activity are also rich museum library and unit for preservation and restoring. Free admission each first Sunday of the month.
- 24 National Museum of Slovenia - Metelkova, Maistrova 1, ☏ +386 1 2307030, fax: +386 12414422, email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, closed on public holidays.. In the new building of the National museum of Slovenia on the Metelkova Street, are exhibited collections of the applied art heritage of Slovenia. The permanent exhibition brings together objects of applied arts from the 14th century to the present day.
- 25 National Museum of Contemporary History, Celovška 23 (walk through the pleasant Tivoli park to get here.), ☏ +386 1 3009610. Slovenia's 20th-century history museum gives you a real sense of the country's roller-coaster ride through regime after regime. Its immersive exhibits include a walk-through World War I trench. The last exhibit shows the events around the Declaration of Independence from Yugoslavia and the Ten Day War with the Yugoslav Federal Army. All exhibits are translated to English and some to German too.
- 26 Slovenian Museum of Natural History, Muzejska 1, ☏ +386 1 2410970. F-W 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-20:00. Features an almost complete skeleton of a 20,000 year old mammoth found near Kamnik in 1938, a 200-million-year old fossil fish skeleton found in Triglav National Park, and a new, 13-m skeleton of a fin whale. Also has a large mineral collection.
- 27 Tivoli Gallery (International centre of Graphic Art), Pod turnom 3, ☏ +386 1 2413800. Open Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 12:00-18:00. Specialised in art shows, often in collaboration with international institutions. Adults €5, families €9, other discounts apply.
- 28 City Museum of Ljubljana (Mestni muzej Ljubljana). Tu–Su 10.00–18.00. City history and temporary exhibitions. €6.
- Hot Air Balloon Flights (Balonarski center Barje), ☏ +386 1 512 9220, firstname.lastname@example.org. These launch at sunrise for one-hour flights, weather permitting. The launch spot is chosen on the day so the wind carries you over the historic centre. The whole programme is about 4 hours so reckon on a very early start. From €180 pp.
- 1 Stožice Stadium (Football) (It's off the ring road 2 km north of city centre.). Watch a home game of Olimpija Ljubljana, who play soccer in PrvaLiga, Slovenian's top tier. Their home ground has a capacity of 16,000.
- 2 Water City of Atlantis (Located within the BTC City Shopping District, take bus 27 (27K on Sundays)). A water park offering 14 pools, thermal baths, slides and saunas. Special section is dedicated for children. €6–14.
- 3 Laguna Fun & Spa (located within the Ljubljana Resort, take bus 27 (27K on Sundays)). Only Jun–Sep. Offers open-air pools during the day and themed parties at night. €6–12.
Opera & Theatre
- 4 Cankarjev Dom, email@example.com. Enormous arts and convention centre with concerts and performances.
- 5 Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra (Slovenska Filharmonija). Orchestra dating back to 1701.
- 6 Slovene National Theatre (Narodno Gledalisce), Erjavceva 1.
- 7 Puppet Theatre (Lutkovno Gledalisce), Krekov Trg 2.
- 8 Ljubljana Opera House.
- 9 Križanke Outdoor Theatre (Poletno gledališče Križanke). used for summer festivals.
- 10 Ljubljana City Theatre (Mestno gledališče ljubljansko).
- 11 Ljubljana Summer Festival. Opera, ballet and theatre festival held in July and August.
- 12 Kinoteka, Miklošičeva 28. Open daily, but closed on Sundays and in July and August. Ljubljana's charming film museum where they have at least two movies a day. The movies range from classics to cult movies, from trash and horror to artistic masterpieces. All movies are presented in the original audio language, and equipped with Slovenian subtitles, sometimes also English. On Saturday mornings they have special projections for children. There are also some special events, round tables, premiers etc. all the time. It's a must visit for every film lover. It has also a nice little cafe with small prices €3.
- 13 Kinodvor, Kolodvorska 13 (next to railway station). This is a small and very cool cinema that shows mostly new movies that are not playing in the blockbuster movie complexes. It has also a lot of special events, a great cafe and movies for children (Sundays). €3–5.
- 14 Arena Play & Party (within BTC City Shopping District, take bus 27). A great place to spend an evening. Main features include bowling, pool, laser games and a state-of-the-art 3D XpanD cinema theatre. Movies from €4.59–7.93.
- 15 Kolosej Cinema (within BTC City Shopping District, take bus 27). Ljubljana's main cinema multiplex. Unlike in many other countries, all movies are presented in the original audio language (typically English), and equipped with Slovenian subtitles. Only some showings of computer-rendered and animated movies are dubbed for the children, which is noted. from €5.85–6.55. Special discounts on Tuesdays.
- See also: Hiking around Ljubljana
- Šmarna gora (662 m) is on the northern edge of the city, so it's popular, indeed crowded on fine weekends. For 30–60 minutes of easy climbing you will be rewarded by a nice view over the entire city. Take Bus 8 to Tacenski most.
- Krim (1,107 m) was a military and civilian telecoms centre; the military post has been dismantled and the area is open to the public, with great views. The climb takes 2–3 hours (beware of bears!). Get here by car, which takes 30 min as the last 4 km of road are unpaved and narrow.
Part of the buzz around Ljubljana is from its large student population. The University of Ljubljana has 64,000 students, with departments all over the city. Centre for Slovene within the Arts Faculty offers language courses.
Quite a lot of internationals work in Ljubljana, and it continuously hosts a significant number of freelancers who like to spend some months here due to the good ratio of quality towards cost of living. Coworking options are available, one gravity centre is the former tobacco factory, for example hosting Poligon, Slovenia's biggest coworking space (it is located in the building Tobačna 5, which also hosts the public administration body, "Upravna enota" and a tech startup space called Hekovnik).
Several department stores such as Maximarket, H&M, Müller, Nama, are located in the city centre. Additionally, Čopova street and the Old town have a dense collection of small shops.
- 1 BTC City Shopping District (At the north-eastern edge. Take Bus 27.). One of Ljubljana's two main shopping area.
- 2 Rudnik Shopping District (In the south-eastern edge of the city.). The second major shopping district.
- 3 Sunday flea market, Gallusovo nabrezje. Daily 08:00-14:00. Two dozen or so stalls selling overpriced knick-knacks. Postcards, €10. Tito and Disney memorabilia, broken Chinese-made curios, rusty military paraphernalia.
- 4 Central Market, Vodnikov trg (right bank of the Ljubljanica river, 200 m from the Triple Bridges). The central, open-air market features a wide array of local produce (exact items vary depending on the season), as well as local cheeses, breads and meats in the adjacent building. If you're lucky, you may still find sellers who have wheeled in their vegetables from south of the city centre (Krakovo) by foot—although they are a dying breed. Open every morning and early afternoon except Sunday; most lively on Saturday mornings. On Fridays you can also visit the 'Open Kitchen' 08:00–21:00, March–October.
- 1 Odprta Kuhna. Apr–Oct, F 10:00–21:00. Odprta Kuhna means "open kitchen". It's a collection of food stalls on Pogačarjev trg, just south of Triple Bridge.
- 2 Hot Horse, BTC City, Šmartinska 152; Tivoli Park, Celovška 25, firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 10:00–22:00, closed Su & holidays. Horse-burger chain with four city outlets. Huge burgers and other dishes; you order and pay first at the machine. €4-12.
- 3 Nobel Burek, Miklošičeva 30. 24/7. Open non-stop, so it's popular late at night. Different kinds of burek (a leafy dough pie filled with mince meat or cheese).
- 4 Klobasarna, Ciril Metodov trg 15 (next to Sokol and Mediterano), ☏ +386 51 605 017. Daily 11:00-16:00. Hole-in-the-wall fast food restaurant serving seasonal Slovenian soups with traditional sausages and bread. You order and pay first at the machine.
- 5 Govinda's, Žibertova 23, Ljubljana - Šiška, ☏ +386 590 58381. M-F 11:00-17:00. Self-service buffet with vegetarian and vegan Indian food, great value.
- 6 Cafe Capri (Kavarna Kapri), Ljubljana, Petkovskovo nabrezje, 33, email@example.com. 08:00-14:00. A cozy cafe in the very center of Ljubljana, just a few steps away from the famous Dragon Bridge, offers healthy, delicious and inexpensive breakfasts and brunches. All dishes here are made from scratch and prepared fresh. Full bar always available with variety of any drinks: fragrant coffee, tea, fresh squeezed juices and homemade lemonades, Italian and Slovenian wines, beer, spirits and cocktails. €5-10.
- 7 Gostilna Portal, Zaloška cesta 110 (Bus 11, 20, 25), ☏ +386 1 5400 166, firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 09:00-23:00, F Sa 09:00-01:00. This is a B&B in the eastern burbs, but better known for its Serbian restaurant - it helps if you like your meat. Loud music at weekends.
- 8 Cantina Mexicana, Knafljev prehod 2 (50 m west of Three Bridges.), ☏ +386 1 426 9325. Su-Tu 10:00-01:00, W-Sa 10:00-02:00. Lively Mexican restaurant set in a small yard off main square.
- 9 Da-bu-da, Šubičeva 1a, ☏ +386 1 425 3060. M-F 11:00-22:00, Sa 12:00-22:00. Thai food and cocktail bar, great atmosphere.
- 10 Figovec, Gosposvetska 1, ☏ +386 1 426 4410. Daily 11:00-23:00. Popular place serving pony steaks, horse goulash, and traditional Slovenian food.
- 11 Foculus, Gregorciceva 3, ☏ +386 1 421 9295. Daily 11:00-22:30. Flamboyantly decorated pizzeria and salad restaurant.
- 12 Čad (formerly Pod Rožnikom), Cesta na Roznik 18 (near Zoo), ☏ +386 1 251 3446. Daily 11:00-23:00. Specialises in grilled dishes from the Balkans; good value.
- 13 Gostilna Sokol, Ciril Metodov trg 18, ☏ +386 1 439 6855. M-Sa 07:00-23:00. Authentic Slovenian cuisine, with serving staff got up in traditional costume. So inevitably it's touristy, but good food in huge portions and very good value for money.
- 14 Joe Pena's Cantina, Cankarjeva 6, ☏ +386 1 421 5800. M-Sa 11:00-22:00, Su 12:00-22:00. Popular Mexican restaurant.
- 15 Julija, Stari trg 9, ☏ +386 1 425 6463. Daily 11:30-00:00. Filling fare of Italian pasta and risotto dishes.
- 16 Cafe Romeo, Stari trg 6 (Facing Juilija), ☏ +386 1 40 706 070. M-Sa 10:00-01:00, Su 10:00-00:00. Riverside cafe, the pancakes are their specialty.
- 17 Jurman, Zaloška 151, ☏ +386 51 358 358. Daily 10:00-22:00. Family-friendly reliable comfort-food place in the burbs.
- 18 Ljubljanski Dvor, Dvorni trg 1, ☏ +386 1 251 6555. M-Sa 10:00-00:00, Su 12:00-23:00. Pizzeria with nice patio overlooking the river, the quality of food is uneven.
- 19 Pri Škofu, Rečna 8, ☏ +386 1 426 4508. W Th 12:00-21:00. Mostly trad and Med fare, with vegetarian options.
- 20 Šestica, Slovenska 40, ☏ +386 1 242 0855. M-F 10:00-23:00, Sa 12:00-23:00, Su 12:00-17:00. Serves hearty meat dishes such as sausages, horse fillets, and steak as well as pasta and risotto.
- 21 Špajza, Gornji trg 28, ☏ +386 1 425 3094. M-Sa 11:00-21:00. It's larger than it looks from the street, with several candlelit rooms leading to the outside terrace. Trad cuisine, good reviews for quality and service.
- 22 Zhong Hua, Trubarjeva 50, ☏ +386 1 230 1665. Daily 11:00-21:00. Decent Chinese restaurant near Dragon Bridge.
- 23 Gostilna Pod Vrbo, Ziherlova 36, ☏ +386 1 280 8892, email@example.com. M-F 11:00-22:00, Sa 12:00-22:00. Huge range of Slovenian fare, generous portions.
- 24 AS Aperitivo, Copova Ulica 5A (north side of Triple Bridge.), ☏ +386 1 425 4168. Su-Th 10:00-01:00, F Sa 10:00-02:00. Trendy spot with two areas, for casual dining or the restaurant. Mostly positive reviews.
- 25 Cubo, Šmartinska 55, ☏ +386 1 521 1515. M-Sa 12:00-22:00. Med cuisine, earns consistent good reviews.
- 26 JB, Miklošičeva 17 (south flank of railway station), ☏ +386 1 430 7070, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 12:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00, Sa 18:00-23:00. Modern international fare, pricey by local standards, and mixed reviews on food quality.
- 27 Krpan, 24 Ob Ljubljanici, ☏ +386 1 521 1220. Good seafood restaurant, but it remains closed in 2021.
- 28 Manna, Eipprova 1A, ☏ +386 31 592 974. W-Sa 12:00-23:00, Su 12:00-17:00. Excellent traditional dishes with slick friendly service.
- 29 Strelec, Grajska planota 1 (Within castle), ☏ +386 31 687 648, email@example.com. Tu-F 18:00-23:00, Sa 12:00-22:00. This is within Archer's Tower of the castle, with a terrace overlooking the city. So you're paying for the great location but the food also scores.
Most of Ljubljana’s bars tend to cluster on the streets running parallel to the river, radiating from Prešernov trg, which is the main square in Ljubljana. The more interesting bars tend to be on the backstreets, rather than directly facing the river. Part of the joy of this city is stumbling across these places, but these are few to start you off.
Free tap water locations
The application Tap Water Ljubljana is intended for all who wish to quench their thirst and refresh themselves during the spring and summer months with freely available water from fountains found in 17 locations throughout Ljubljana, mostly they are in city centre. Application is available on App Store.
- 1 Cafe Antico, Stari Trg 17. Great ambiance - bare wooden floors, high tables and stools, and vaulted ceiling.
- 2 Čajna Hiša (The Tea House), Stari trg 3. Closed Su. This is a quirky little coffee and tea room, offering many variations on those warm beverages as well as basic breakfasts and lunches. The background music is impeccably cool, and the atmosphere is ideal for some elegant loafing. Linked to the café is a teashop selling drinking paraphernalia and loads of different fruity flavoured teas by the 100g.
- 3 Le Petite Cafe, Trg Francoske Revolucije 4. Very popular corner cafe.
- 4 Sax Hostel & Sax pub, Eipprova 7. Really cool colourful spray-painted cafe/bar along the canal. The place also serves as a hostel.
- 5 Zvezda, Wolfova 14. Cafe with great ices and pastries.
- 6 Cutty Sark, Knafljev Prehod 1 (Opposite Cantina Mexicana). Lively pub with raucous atmosphere. Usually has live music.
- 7 Lepa Žoga, Celovška 43 (Near Tivoli Park). Main sports cafe/bar with sports regalia along the wall and a good, mixed crowd on most nights. Shows international rugby, all sorts of football games (European, English, Italian and other leagues) and other live sports. Has the best TV coverage in the city, ranging from Sky Sports to local TV stations.
- 8 Od Žmavca sosed pa ud brata prjatu (Žmavc's neighbor and my brother's pal aka Žmavc), Rimska cesta 21, ☏ +386 1 251 0324. Markets to the "creative urban type." Burgers, coffee and alcoholic drinks.
- 9 Patrick's Irish Bar, Prečna 6 (off Trubarjeva), ☏ +386 1 230 1768. M-Sa 16:30-22:30. Standard Irish pub with Guinness and local beers on tap and good bar grub, TV sports.
- 10 Pod Skalco, Gosposka 19 (just opposite to the Križanke auditorium, next to the City Museum of Ljubljana, on the back of the National & University Library). M-F 06:30-03:00, Sa Su 17:30-03:00. Popular student pub with an almost 150-year-long tradition, frequented almost exclusively by locals. Loud music.
- 11 Vinoteka Movia, Mestni trg 2 (Next to the Town Hall). Anyone with any interest in wine should visit here. The cosy, candlelit wine bar comes with knowledgeable barmen who can recommend a wine based on your tastes. The wine glasses are huge, so it's hard to tell if they were being stingy or if it has simply spread out. Be careful about asking for ‘samples’, as they will charge you full price. The prices can vary from modest to a remortgage.
- 12 Sir William's pub, Tavčarjeva ulica 8a, ☏ +386-599-44-825, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:00 - 01:00, Sa 10:00 - 14:00 and 19:00 - 01:00, Su 17:00 - 24:00. Located in the Art Nouveau part of Ljubljana city centre, offers more than 120 beer varieties and a large choice of teas and wines. It is vibrant in the evenings, particularly when it hosts themed events and beer tastings, while during the day it has a more coffee house-like atmosphere, offering its guests an opportunity to browse through a newspaper or read a book in peace. The staff speak several languages. Free wireless internet access is available.
Ljubljana has several good nightclubs (discothèques). The clubs hold special events, they will play a certain syle of music on certain nights, etc. Some will also impose a strict dress code and age limits.
- 13 Metelkova mesto, Metelkova 8 (next to the train station). Daily 22:00-04:00. It's a squat with 6 clubs, each with its own style of music and programme. Gala Hala is the biggest and the music is very diverse - from funk nights to hip-hop and indie to rap and strange fun music. It has also concerts and an outside garden where they also grill in the summer. Gromka is a smaller one usually admission free and the music also differs from night to night. Usually it's rock/alternative hits or rockabilly or fun 90s music. It has also concerts. Menza pri Koritu is the most alternative and it has mainly alternative, metal, punk concerts and after parties. Channel Zero is more about electronics (also concerts) - d'n'b, dub, electro, house. Jalla Jalla is the smallest one with sometimes obscure, experimental music. Tiffany is a gay club with usually electronic parties. In Metelkova everybody can find a place for himself (usually the most is happening on weekends) and you can just walk from one to another club and see what is going on (if there is no admission). free or up to €10.
- 14 K4, Kersnikova 4. Tu-Su 22:00-02:30/04:00. National and international DJs play electronic music.
- 1 Aladin Hostel, Tugomerjeva 56, ☏ +386 41 666 477, email@example.com. Small friendly hostel. Dorm €15.
- 2 Celica, Metelkova 8 (south side of railway station), ☏ +386 1 230 9700. This was the military brig, get caught in town without a pass and The Cells was where you'd spend the night. Then they got the designers in, how come Guantanamo never cottoned on to this concept? Good to know: each cell was individually designed by a Slovenian artist. Dorm €20.
- 3 Hostel Tabor (Dijaški dom), Kotnikova 4, ☏ +386 1 234 8840, fax: +386 1 234 8855, firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean friendly place in student residence, only open July and Aug. In 2021 the dorm is not available. B&B double €50.
- 4 Fluxus Hostel, Tomšičeva 4. Small clean central place with 8- and 6-bed dorm. Dorm €21 ppn.
- 5 Most Hostel, Petkovškovo nabrežje 41 (by Dragon Bridge), ☏ +386 41 662 266. Cute friendly hostel, very central. Dorm €21 ppn, double €60.
- 6 Vila Veselova, Veselova 14 (by Tivoli Park), ☏ +386 5165 5254. Budget / hostel rooms in a 100-year-old villa west side of town.
- 7 BIT Center Hotel, Litijska 57 (2 km east of centre, take bus 5, 9, 13 or 22), ☏ +386 1 548 0055. Basic functional place which also contains a hostel. Dorm €15, B&B double €50.
- 8 City Hotel, Dalmatinova 15, ☏ +386 1 239 0000. Decent central place with clean rooms, thin walls. B&B double €110.
- 9 Hotel Park, Tabor 9, ☏ +386 1 300 2500, fax: +386 1 433 0546, email@example.com. Clean central mid to budget hotel with 145 rooms. They formerly also offered "hostel" rooms, cheaper but bare; these are not on offer in 2021. B&B double €90.
- 10 Hotel Katrca 1905, Rožna Dolina I/26 (Tivoli district), ☏ +386 1 422 8840. Pleasant place in a quiet district, has only five rooms. B&B double €80.
- 11 M Hotel, Derceva 4 (Bus 1, 3, 15 or 16 to Kino Siska), ☏ +386 1 513 7000. Boxy modern place 2 km northwest of centre with neat, spacious rooms. B&B double €90.
- 12 Pension Tavcar, Cesta v Šmartno 7 (Bus 12 to Hrastje, walk back 200 m and make a right), ☏ +386 1 546 6970. Clean well-run place northeast edge of city.
- 13 Hotel Mrak, Rimska 4, ☏ +386 1 421 9650. Colourful rooms, nice restaurant, and great central location. Doesn't have a parking lot so you'd pay pricey central parking rates.
- 14 Austria Trend Hotel, Dunajska cesta 154, ☏ +386 1 588 2525. Modern slab with 214 rooms, spacious and good sound-proofing. All rooms have air-con, safe, minibar, hair dryer, flat screen, satellite TV and radio. B&B double €140.
- 15 Best Western Premier Hotel Slon, Slovenska 34, ☏ +386 1 470 11 00, fax: +386 1 251 71 64, firstname.lastname@example.org. Modern chain hotel with clean and comfy rooms. Their website is uninformative about pets, but it's said that in 1552 Archduke Maximilian stayed at an inn on this spot in the company of an elephant. B&B double €120.
- 16 Grand Hotel Union, Miklosiceva 1, ☏ +386 1 308 12 70. Splendid Art Nouveau building. Large comfy rooms though shoeing their age, some have views of the castle. Restaurant, fitness centre, sauna, and rooftop pool. B&B double €140.
- 17 Hotel Lev, Vošnjakova 1 (by Tivoli Park), ☏ +386 1 433 21 55. Glassy high rise building, smart and comfy. In 2020 / 21 it was mothballed and guests were shifted elsewhere - "re-protected" is their splendidly unctuous euphemism for this. B&B double €100.
- 18 Central Hotel, Miklosiceva 9 (300 m south of bus & train stations), ☏ +386 1 308 43 00. Central boxy modern hotel, comfy and brightly decorated. Reception is on the 7th floor: it's a "concept" apparently. B&B double €90.
- 19 Four Points by Sheraton (formerly Hotel Mons), Pot za Brdom 4 (5 km west of centre), ☏ +386 1 470 2700. 4-star business hotel by the forest west edge of town, convenient for motorists. With spa and fitness centre. B&B double €110.
- 20 Ljubljana Resort (formerly Avtokamp Ježica), Dunajska 270 (5 km north of centre, take bus 6, 8 or 11), ☏ +386 1 589 0130, email@example.com. Camping and tourer caravan site edge of town by River Sava. Also has rooms for B&B plus swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre, badminton, volleyball, bowling, play area and restaurant. Camping €12 ppn.
- 21 Hotel Grandvid, Dolenjska 336, Lavrica (7 km southeast of centre), ☏ +386 1 360 2200, firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean modern place with restaurant, on bus route to city. B&B double €85.
- 22 Kongo Hotel & Casino (formerly Motel Grosuplje), Ljubljanska 65, 1290 Grosuplje (15 km southeast of Ljubljana on A2, city bus 3G), ☏ +386 1 781 0200, email@example.com. 4-star hotel handy for motorists and business travellers. Comfy rooms, restaurant, and of course the casino. B&B double €80.
Ljubljana is possibly one of the safest capitals you'll ever visit. Remarkably safe during the day and night, as a tourist you should have no problems, provided you are not desperately looking for trouble.
Even the rougher parts of Ljubljana, located far from the city centre, are relatively safe, if you don't flash your valuables. These areas, not commonly frequented by tourists, include Fužine, Rakova Jelša, Štepanjsko naselje and parts of Šiška, Moste and Šentvid.
Tivoli Park is generally safe and a very popular destination for picnics or taking an afternoon stroll for an average Ljubljanian, but just as anywhere in the world it is recommended that you don't put your guard down and avoid larger groups of teenagers hanging around in the park late at night, as thefts and sexual assaults have been reported.
As of June 2021, Ljubljana has 4G from A1 and Telemach, and 5G from Telekom.
The city centre is covered with a Wi-Fi network named WiFreeLjubljana that offers free access for 60 minutes a day.
Free internet access is also available at:
- Faculty of Computer and Information Science and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Tržaska 25.
- Simobil, Čopova (up towards the McDonald's from the Triple Bridge) - a phone store, but the laptops upstairs have free internet access.
Almost free internet access is available at:
- Slovenian Tourist Information Centre, Krekov trg 10.
- Greece, Trnovski pristan 14, Ljubljana 1000, ☏ +386 1 420 1400, +386 1 410 1410, +386 51 449 956 (Emergencies), fax: +386 1 281 1114, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:30-16:00.
- Romania, Smrekarjeva 33a, ☏ +386 15057335, fax: +386 15055432, email@example.com. M-F 9:00-17:00.
- United Kingdom, 4th floor Trg Republike 3, Ljubljana 1000, ☏ +386 1 200 3910, fax: +3371 425 0174. M-F 08:00-16:00.
- Other nations with embassies in the city include United States cheek-by-jowl with Russia and Germany by Tivoli Park, plus Turkey, India, Egypt, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden and Switzerland.
Ljubljana is at the hub of transport routes across this relatively small country, so you can easily reach anywhere else in Slovenia and across its borders. Here's a selection:
- Bled is a picturesque town 1 hour away. Hire a rowboat on the lake to visit the island church, then see the castle.
- Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps near Bled for outdoor activities: hiking, mountaineering, rafting, canyoning, paragliding, skydiving and so on.
- Postojna has the vast Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle, an Škocjan Caves are in nearby Divača.
- The coast is short, sandwiched between Croatia's Istrian resorts and the industry and marshes of Italy. Koper is the largest coast resort, Piran is the prettiest.
- Kamnik is a button-cute little town 45 min north of Ljubljana, just below the Kamnik Alps. It has a perfectly preserved medieval town centre, with the ski resort of Krvavec above.
- Zagreb in Croatia, 2 hr 30 min away, has an extensive medieval centre.
- Trieste (1½–2 hr) is in Italy yet redolent of the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
- Rijeka in Croatia (2 hr 30 min) for the Istrian peninsula, ferries to the Adriatic islands, and transport south to Zadar and Split.