CITY GUIDE,  SLOVENIA

Ljubljana in 2 days: the complete guide

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Ljubljana, the green capital, is a student city in central Slovenia with a population of 280,000, including 50,000 students. It’s a charming little capital and very easy to get around on foot. You’ll be charmed by the gentle atmosphere: the many bars and restaurants along the Ljubljanica River, the pretty, colorful, flower-filled facades, and the typical little streets around Castle Hill. If the city isn’t very big, it’s its atmosphere that you learn to appreciate and discover. There’s a real dolce vita here, and everyone feels right at home.

2-day itinerary for visiting Ljubljana

1 | Walking in Ljubljana’s Old Town

Ljubljana’s Old Town is the Slovenian capital’s main center of interest. It is centered around the Ljubljanica River, which winds its way down from Ljubljana Castle.

1.1 | The Franciscan Church

Around the Place Preseren, you’ll find the 17th-century Franciscan church with its magnificent pink Baroque façade. The fountain in the middle of the square is a real eye-catcher.

1.2 | The Triple Bridge

This is the city’s most famous bridge, the work of architect Jože Plečnik, who also designed many of Ljubljana’s buildings. It is made of stone. The 2 smaller side bridges are for pedestrians.

Ljubljana

1.3 | Bridge of Dragons

The Dragon Bridge crosses the Ljubljanica River. It was built between 1900 and 1901 and is now a listed monument.

1.4 | Butchers’ Bridge

The Pont des Bouchers (Butchers’ Bridge), near the Central Market, is a favorite with lovers, as it’s designed so you can hang a padlock on it!

1.5 | Saint-Nicolas Cathedral

Ljubljana Cathedral, located on Vodnik Square, boasts a verdigris dome and twin towers.

1.6 | Gornji trg, a quiet alleyway

It’s adjacent to Ljubljana’s busiest pedestrian street.

1.7 | Walking along the Ljubljanica river

Ljubljana

1.8 | Art Nouveau in Ljubljana

There are a few Art Nouveau buildings to be found in Ljubljana. There aren’t many, but they’re worth a look when you’re strolling through the city center. They are located in particular around Miklošičeva cesta street.

1.9 | Shopping

A special mention goes to the “dried flower market“, with its stalls of Slovenian grandmothers selling incredible bouquets and wreaths of dried flowers.

2 | Climb to the castle through the narrow streets and enjoy the magnificent view

Ljubljana Castle dominates the city, sitting atop a hill in the city center. Built around 1144, it is over 850 years old! To get up there, you can either take the funicular (€4 return) or climb the hill from the old town. A good option too, as the path is pleasant.

At the top, you have a panoramic view of the city.

Ljubljana

3 | Enjoy a tasty meal on one of the terraces along the Ljubljanica River

Ljubljana

4 | Get off the beaten track to discover charming lanes and unusual places

If your visit is confined to Ljubljana’s pedestrian streets, the old center of the Slovenian capital will seem a little small. At the end of some of the pedestrian streets, there’s no turning back.

Ljubljana

A small village just a stone’s throw from downtown

You’ll be amazed by the Krakovo district, with its Kladezna street. It’s only a few steps from the city center, but with its gardens, traditional houses, small square and alleyways, it’s like being in a village. It won’t take you long to walk around it, but it’s well worth a visit.

5 | Admire the panoramic view of Ljubljana from the top floor of the Neboticnik

Located on the top floor of the Neboticnik, Ljubljana’s oldest skyscraper (completed in 1933), the bar of the same name boasts an incredible view of the city and the castle. We went there at the end of the day, to admire the colors at sunset while sipping a cocktail. Just superb!

6 | Taste street food at the Open Kitchen

If you’re lucky enough to be in Ljubljana on a Friday evening from March to October, don’t miss the Open Kitchen. The concept is simple: to bring together in one square some 30 restaurateurs offering Slovenian and international specialties. You can stroll through this small market and enjoy a variety of dishes at low prices (around €5), all in a very friendly atmosphere. All the best!

Tips for enjoying the best of Ljubljana

  • Spend at least one evening in Ljubljana: the atmosphere along the Ljubljanica is enchanting. Ljubljana is at once cosy, gentle and lively.
  • Don’t look for parking in the city center: the city center is completely closed to cars. You’ll lose time if you look for free or cheap parking in the city center (even around the city center, you have to pay 0.60€/h). Try to find accommodation or a hotel with parking.
  • Don’t take the funicular up to the castle: two pretty, secret pedestrian streets lead up to Ljubljana Castle in a much more entertaining way than the funicular. In fact, the castle is much prettier from afar than within its walls.
Ljubljana

Things to do that we didn’t have time to see

  • Enjoy the green spaces: Slovenia’s capital is very green, with forests just around the corner, notably in Tivoli Park.
  • Stop by the Metelkova Mesto area: an underground art scene with buildings covered in street art, where exhibitions, parties and concerts are held after dark.
  • Enjoy lunch at the central market and sample typical Balkan dishes.

Where to eat in Ljubljana ?

  • Kodila Gourmet: ranked number 1 on tripadvisor, this restaurant deserves its place. The service was very pleasant and, culinarily speaking, we enjoyed ourselves!
  • Don’t order dessert in the restaurants, go for an ice cream at Cacao. It’s the city’s best-known ice cream parlour, an institution that serves generous portions!

Thanks for reading!

Mylène

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