Nope. That's not my abysmal spelling. That is the name of the capital city of Slovenia.
I only spent a day in Ljubljana, but that's all that's needed to see the famous "sites." That being said, Ljubljana could be a cozy town for a backpacker to curl up in for a while. The city has a relaxed feel and is very charming. Locals are always hanging out outside, no matter the hour, and it's a perfect town for people-watching.
Not many people give Ljubljana much time. Most people hop in for a quick night or two, and then train or bus to Zagreb, Pula, or Trieste. No matter the length of time, you should enjoy all the wonderful things the city has to offer while you're there.
No matter the length of time, you should enjoy all the wonderful things the city has to offer while you're there....
The best things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia:
Many of the "attractions" in Ljubljana are bridges. Being from Pittsburgh, this was something I could get behind.
The most famous bridge in Ljubljana is the Triple Bridge. To capture a decent photo of it, one would need a drone or a helicopter. However, I can explain it like this: it's basically three ornate bridges within arms-reach of each other. It's nice, but I enjoyed the Dragon Bridge more, which inspired the symbol of the city.
My favorite bridge was the "Cobbler's Bridge," which was right near my hostel (the hostel was only eh).
2. The riverbank
Many of the restaurants on the riverbank have more outdoor seating than indoor, and offer large, heated tents. I fondly remember eating ramen under a blanket outside and observing the town. When the restaurant didn't have what I wanted to order I was only able to pout about it for 10 minutes because it was so lovely outside.
I recommend finding a restuarant that is near this part of the riverbank.
It would be correct to say Ljubljana comes alive at night. People are outside playing music and laughing, especially in front of the Cerkev Marijinega oznanjenja (pink church).
We made the trek to the old military barracks turned squatter social center, "Metelkova," later in the evening for a unique night out. If you like art, music, drinks, and GRUNGE, make the trip to Metelkova. Think Christiania in Denmark.
4. Tivoli Park:
Talk about a great place to sit and read a book! Enjoy the intricate paths and public art. You know it is legit when you spot three senior man and a dalmation strolling along (see below photo).
There is also the original Hot-Horse location, a popular chain in Ljubljana where you can consume a horse burgers! If you're an adventurous eater... well, you know what to do, fam.
There are so many unique markets in Ljubljana! It seems like every square in town has something going on! I recommend the "Central Market," a farmers market located between Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares. Expect fresh Slovenian fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers, among other staples like eggs, meat, and bread. Hours and dates for this market fluctuate, so be sure to look it up online.
Foodies cannot miss the Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen) market. Various restaurants and cooks in town have stalls, and you can really taste the city. Check out this guide to the Open Kitchen market from Here to Travel. In general, The Culture Trip has a good guide to Ljubljana markets. I attended the art market mentioned in that article, and it was very cute!
6. Bike around the city
Ljubljana has a great bike rental system called Pravi Kolesar. It's 15 euros to rent a bike, and the city is very bike friendly (limited cars).
7. This cool house by the bus station
Also near the bus station: an American novelty shop selling American junk food. Unfortunately, when we stumbled upon it, it was closed. We were so hungover that the site of a box of Kraft mac & cheese through the glass nearly brought us to tears, like true Americans. We spent a full five mins banging on the glass before we had to leave to catch our bus. Otherwise we might have spent the entire day locked out of that shop.
8. Let's get real... Bled
There is still plenty to do in Ljubljana, and for that, I suggest listening to a local. (No really, that article is so good.)
However, you cannot miss Bled, the stunning lake town less than an hour northwest of Ljubljana. Click here to read our "Best of Bled" article.
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