Things to do in Ljubljana: Tips on Culture, Food and Outdoor

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Ljubljana is probably one of the most underrated European capital, even though it has been on travel itinerary of lots of visitors. If you plan your trip to Slovenia, here are some useful tips on things to do in Ljubljana so you have a better idea where to start upon your arrival. 

When we travel, we book our hotels through Booking.com or TripAdvisor, one of the best websites to compare prices.

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Always make sure you travel with travel insurance! Be adventurous, but not careless. Check out some of the most reliable insurance companies out there: True Traveller if you’re European and World Nomads if you’re from elsewhere.

Keen on exploring Italy and Europe via train? Get an Interrail or Eurail pass (for non-European citizens) with convenient deals either you travel around one or multiple countries in Europe. 

Things to do in Ljubljana

 

Bike tour in Ljubljana

 

What to do in Ljubljana “We don’t melt cycling in the rain like sugar does in a cup of tea”, says Tevz.[/caption]

Alright, it wasn’t as colourful as it would have been on a clear day, but the route we did in Ljubljana introduced us to both the central and suburb parts of the city. We took a two-hour tour with Watermelon bike tours and our guide Tevz literally made our day.

With his informative and funny stories we passed important sites in the city, ventured out of the centre, explored the quiet parts of town, saw abandoned buildings, works of influential architect Jože Plečnik, and took enough breaks to listen to the sounds of the places and the stories that Ljubljana hides in her walls and monuments.

What to do in Ljubljana One of the picturesque views we got on the bike trip.[/caption]

The city is pretty flat and most of it is super bike friendly. You can choose a long trip that lasts about four hours and costs $29 or a short one that takes half of the time and costs $23. Bikes, helmets and rain jackets are provided. This is one of our most recommended activities in Ljubljana.

Visit Metelkova city

 

What to do in Ljubljana Scary? Not during the daylight![/caption]

This autonomous alternative culture zone is a place that lives vibrantly after the sunset, but you might be impressed (as we were) when you visit during the daylight, and watch rain pouring from painted roofs. Seven buildings that used to be barracks and a prison (now it’s a famous Celica hostel) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are a great place where artists and art lovers come to socialize.

What to do in LJubljana Colours, colours and more colours in Metelkova City.[/caption]

Concerts and events happen regularly here, and sexual and ethnic minorities can meet openly. Quirky, vibrant and hued; a must visit when in Ljubljana. Watch this video to learn more about the story of Metelkova.

Join some of the local tours in Ljubljana:

 

 Take a boat trip

What to do in Ljubljana Ljubljana’s three bridges from a different angle.[/caption]

You’re sitting on a beautiful handmade wooden boat, with a roof above your head, blanket on your knees, and a cup of hot tea warming your shaking wet palms. The boat takes you to some of the bridges in Ljubljana (Cobblers’ Bridge, Triple Bridge, Butchers’ Bridge, Grain Bridge & Dragon Bridge) and you pass the Ljubljana Castle and some baroque houses along the way. You pay $9 for 45 minutes ride. For booking and more details about the boat trip, please head over to the official website of Barka Ljubljanica: www.barka-ljubljanica.si

What to do in Ljubljana
River Ljubljanica Canal after the rain.

Check out the ruins of Roman Emona in Ljubljana

Going back about 50 BC, the territory of Ljubljana used to be a Roman settlement called Iulia Aemona, or Emona and was fortified with strong walls. These ruins you now can see are not far from the city centre. The ruins are now surrounded by more modern architecture, and a nearby university, which in a way might take away their charm and historical significance.

Cukrarna Factory

What to do in Ljubljana
Where sugar used to be produced.

A former sugar factory that you can see from Fabiani Bridge is indeed one of the most spectacular industrial building in Europe. Lots of stories lay behind the building and currently there are some attempts to create an art factory there.

Have a break at Špica

Špica means “spike” in Slovenian. This green spot near the Ljubljanica river is best to visit on a sunny day, and it’s interesting to see how the river splits in two via an artificial channel built to avoid floods in the city. From above, the point where the river divides looks like a spike, a piece of land pointing into the river, which is where the name of the place comes from.

Here you can just chill out on wooden platforms and grab a drink from a bar on the boat nearby. You’ll get there in about 15 minutes walking from the centre, just head south.

Get your groceries and local snacks at the Central market 

What to do in Ljubljana
Fresh veggies at the Central Market in Ljubljana.

This public market designed by Jože Plečnik stretches from the Dragon Bridge to Triple Bridge, between Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares. It’s open daily till 6 pm (till 4 pm in winter time) and you can find there plenty of fresh organic veggies, fruits, mushrooms, herbs, spices and scrumptious local dishes.

What to do in LJubljana
Silent Ljubljana.

Now that you know what to do in Ljubljana, we’d like to suggest where to stay in Ljubljana and where to grab some food & delicacies. While escaping the rain for two days, we found some pretty good spots to dry our jumpers and take a breath before we got wet again.

Where to stay in Ljubljana

Tresor Hostel

Address: Čopova 38, 1000 Ljubljana
This former bank transformed into an original money-themed hostel is centrally located, and within walking distance from the bus & train stations. You can stay either in a cool “bank dormitory” or in a double room with a view of the castle and the street. The rooms are decorated with money related quotes, and are quite spacious, clean, and come with a simple breakfast and a shared bathroom. Free wifi.
A single bed in 10-bed dormitory room: $10.
A twin room with shared bathroom: $52

Book your room on Booking.com or Tripadvisor.

Celica Hostel

Address: Metelkova 8, 1000 Ljubljana
As mentioned above, this hostel is a part of alternative Metelkova City. The rooms are designed with a prison theme, with iron and wooden furniture and bars on the windows. Walking distance to the centre and main bus & train stations. Wifi available.
A bed in 12-bed dormitory room: $16
A double or twin room with shared bathroom: $38

Book your room on Booking.com or Tripadvisor.

Bed & Breakfast Atticus

Address: Poljanska cesta 6, 1000 Ljubljana
Centrally located, this new cozy hotel has a/c, free wifi, and private bathrooms in some rooms. Simple and modernly furnished.
Twin room: from $38
Double room: from $49

Book your room on Tripadvisor.

Where to eat in Ljubljana

Druga Violina restaurant

Address: Stari Trg 21

What to do in Ljubljana
Homemade “strukli” with mushrooms.

Homemade traditional dishes, nice atmosphere and at a very reasonable price. We got a typical Slovenian “strukli” made of cooked dough with different fillings. Some of the staff in the restaurant have mental disabilities, so by dining there you’ll also support a good cause and help to establish an equal employment policy.

Cha Tea House

Address: Stari Trg 3

What to do in Ljubljana
Refreshing and soothing teas from around the world.

After two hours in the rain, we couldn’t be happier ending up in this cozy & warm place where they serve a good cup of rooibos and pu-erh tea!

Cacao Kavarna

Address:  Petkovškovo nabrežje 3

What to do in Ljubljana
Sweet pleasure in Ljubljana.

If you are an ice-cream lover (as we are!), then head straight to Cacao. We were told to taste this delicacy by our dear Couchsurfing host Lena. And… man, she was so right! Heavenly good taste and we got a beautiful sunny day so we could enjoy it on the river bank in the centre.

Scrumptious burek at Ajda

This traditional leafy dough pie is filled with minced meat, cheese or spinach and is really addictive. We had a few of them while waiting for a bus at the main bus station. A bistro is located just across the road from the station. Look for a green sign “Ajda”. Recommended: cheese version.

Skuhna

A very unique restaurant where you can taste Asian, Africa, and South American cuisines thanks to their diverse team in the kitchen. They also organize cooking workshops and concerts, so make sure you check out the place when visiting Ljubljana. 

These are the places that we would like you to experience. Whether in the rain, mist, snow or heat, Ljubljana will show you how independent and less explored in terms of tourism she is. This makes her even more attractive. Her cobblestone streets, terracotta roofs and cozy feelings amidst varied architectural styles will put you at ease.

Maybe it’s not a city for those who look for a typical western metropolitan experience but we hope she will continue to keep her wild innocence and tranquil homey feeling.

What to do in Ljubljana
Familiar feelings, familiar pictures.

Hopefully you’ve got inspired to visit Ljubljana and make your way throughout the city’s major monuments on foot or on two wheels. Enjoy!

Note: A big thanks goes to Tevz Cernigoj from Watermelone bike tours. The boat trip and our stay in Tresor hostel was provided by Visit Ljubljana. All opinions, suggestions and cravings for ice-cream in Cacao are our own.

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Things to do in Ljubljana: Tips on Culture, Food and Outdoor”

  1. Guys you are making me miss tnis incredible city so much, we loved it and I can see us returning there at some point. I’d have loved to spend more time at Metelkova city, next time perhaps! 🙂

    1. Ivana Greslikova

      Now you are just one border apart, Franca, so it can be done 🙂 And I’m sure you guys will love Metelkova!

  2. I loved my time in Ljubljana. Just beautiful city. I want to go back there soon.

  3. Ah Ljubljana, what a fantastic city! I only spent a day there last year but fell head over heels in love with it – I can’t wait to go back!

    1. Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Lizzie, yes, Ljubljana deserves more days to get know her better. Hope you can travel there soon!

  4. YAAAY, so happy you enjoyed exploring “our” Ljubljana 🙂 It is just too bad that you had bad weather, as Ljubljana is even more beautiful when sun is shining. Welcome back 😉

    1. Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for dropping by, Nina. Yes, the weather wasn’t on our side but we got a bit of sun on our last day, so we indulged in Cacao’s ice cream in style: on a bench near the river 🙂

  5. Glad you enjoyed, even in the rain. 🙂 I’ve been based in Ljubljana for most of the past decade, and have come across many visitors who leave with very positive impressions. For your next visit, I suggest late spring.

    1. Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Rob! Wow, a decade! Ljubljana knows how to allure travellers 🙂 Next time we’ll need to catch up there. Cheers!

    1. Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you, Corinne! Ljubljana is indeed a gorgeous place in Europe, and with so many outdoor places to travel to around, it’s definitely worth of visit 🙂

    1. Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Gretchen, thanks a lot for reading! The link of the “Boat Trip” on the blog is clickable, but I guess it wasn’t so obvious. I’ve updated it now 🙂
      Here is the official website of the company we booked the boat ride with all necessary details: http://www.barka-ljubljanica.si/en/kontakt.html
      Cheers and enjoy Ljubljana!

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