Slovenia is one of Europe’s smallest and rather less touristy countries. Thus it has never been among my absolute must-see places in Europe.
One day as I was looking for my next destination, I found a ridiculously cheap bus connection to Ljubljana and booked a ticket right away!
In brief, I spent some really awesome days in this city and discovered all the charming places there. To make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun activities, here are all the best things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Before your trip, make sure to read some helpful tips if you’re traveling to Slovenia – especially when it’s your first time – to be perfectly prepared!
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)
Let’s begin with the most historic and biggest part of Ljubljana: Old Town.
There are three big squares forming the historical old part of Ljubljana: Mestni trg square, Stari trg square, and Gornji trg square.
Probably the most important one of those three is Mestni trg square – simply called Town Square in English.
Town Square & Town Hall
Right at the town square, you can find one of the city’s most essential buildings: The town hall. Constructed during the 15th century, the town hall is the seat of the city administration.
Moreover, you can find many historically interesting artifacts showing the development of the city there.
In front of the town hall, there’s a famous baroque fountain, a true masterpiece made by Francesco Robba.
However, this one is just a copy and you can find the original one in the National Gallery.
Less than 10 minutes from Town Square, you can find a very remarkable bridge with some legendary creatures on it: Dragon Bridge. Four dragon statues in total are placed on that bridge, looking slightly scary and almost real.
People say that if you didn’t take a photo with the dragon, you weren’t really in Ljubljana.
Well, since no one took a photo of me standing next to one of the dragons … I guess I really have to go back!
Simply walk for another 5-10 minutes and you’ll reach Preseren Square. This square is Ljubljana’s most popular square which got its name from the greatest Slovenian poet France Preseren.
For me, one of the most fascinating things there was a man-made rain station right at the square.
Honestly, I didn’t even notice it at first and wondered why the hell it was raining while it was a hot, sunny summer day and there was no single cloud in the sky!
Embarrassing to say but it took me quite some time until I finally found the rain construction! 😀
Besides the super fun rain construction, there’s also a miniature model of the city itself to marvel at.
Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
Undoubtedly, the mightiest and prettiest building at Preseren Square is the light pink Franciscan Church, the most famous sight in Ljubljana per se.
This masterpiece of baroque architecture was built in the 16th century and part of it is now used as a monastery.
If you stand in front of the Franciscan Church and turn around, you’ll face the Triple Bridge. This bridge consists of three bridges – the main one in the middle and two smaller ones on each side of it.
Initially, it was only one but from 1929 to 1932, the architect Joze Plecnik built two smaller ones to create something very special in Ljubljana.
Last but not least and another one of the best things to do in Ljubljana is to visit Cobblers’ Bridge in the old town.
This bridge was built by the same architect who constructed the Triple Bridge. Years ago, it provided space for cobblers, thus the name.
What I loved most about that place was how idyllic and tranquil everything around that bridge felt. There were those gorgeous small houses, the lovely river running through the city and cute cafés everywhere.
I almost didn’t feel like being in a big city but in a small village somewhere else!
Tours you might find interesting:
After I spent enough time in the old town of Ljubljana, it was time for me to climb the most striking sight of the city.
Situated on a hill overlooking the city, Ljubljana Castle attracts a large number of tourists every year. No wonder, as its observation tower offers the best view of the entire city!
In winter, it’s open from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm and in summer from 9:00 am – 11:00 pm.
The best way to get up there is by using the small funicular railway whose route runs right beside the medieval city walls. You can find the starting point right in the very center of the city, close to the sign you can see on the title picture of this blog post!
Thanks to the glass walls of the railway, you can observe the city from above while it’s making its way to the top of the hill.
Of course, it’s also possible to hike there. I need to admit I was simply too lazy and it was a super hot summer day so I went for the funicular railway! 😀
Besides an absolutely stunning view, there’s a lot more to see in the castle complex, for example, a various number of different exhibitions.
One of them is about the Slovenian History showing you the chronological development of the country’s territories from a long time ago to the present day. I enjoyed learning more about the country as I’m a huge fan of history in general!
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you decide to visit the Slovenian capital but exploring the majestic castle is definitely one of the best things to do in Ljubljana!
As soon as you need a little break from the busy and bustling city, Tivoli Park is your place to go!
This park is Ljubljana’s largest park complex, stretching right into the city center. It covers an area of approximately five square kilometers which makes it a real natural paradise in the heart of the city.
The entire park consists of numerous chestnut tree-lined walks, beautifully decorated flower beds and interesting statues and fountains.
In the middle of the park is a grand promenade leading to Tivoli Castle which is used as the centrum of art graphics nowadays.
If you pay attention and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll find some squirrels flitting around in the park.
I saw quite many of them but unfortunately, I couldn’t take a good photo as they were simply too quick for my camera!
Another really lovely place you can find in Tivoli Park is a small pond with ducks and sea roses. Right next to the pond, there’s a small botanical garden with a glasshouse where you can dive into the world of tropical and carnivorous plants.
Back in the city center, another one of the best things to do in Ljubljana is going to Congress Square.
This wide square is home to various important buildings such as the University of Ljubljana or the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall. The latter is one of the oldest music institutions in Europe and even worldwide, founded in 1701.
Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, and Gustav Mahler were just a few of the many members.
In my opinion, this square is also the perfect place to have the best view of Ljubljana Castle!
Hands down, my all-time favorite place in the Slovenian capital was the crazy, artsy, and completely fascinating Metelkova culture center.
Known far beyond the borders of Slovenia, it’s a place you simply can’t find anywhere else in the world. Whereas it was formerly army barracks, it’s now one of the most popular attractions featuring the coolest street art in Ljubljana.
And this is with good reason because Metelkova is a thriving place for creative spirits, hosting art performances and exhibitions.
Especially at night, students, underground music fans and even tourists come to this place to experience an unforgettable night out!
As much as this place fascinated me, it was a bit scary at the same time tho. 😀
Where to Find The Best Things to Do in Ljubljana
As you can see, the Slovenian capital has many awesome attractions and activities to offer. Even though it’s one of the smaller cities in Europe.
Oh and don’t worry if you’re a solo traveler – Slovenia is among the best countries to travel alone!
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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:
Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!
Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.
Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.
Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.