A First Timer’s Guide to Visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia [Updated 2022]

By Anjali Chawla

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If you’re visiting Ljubljana for the first time and wondering how to visit Ljubljana, our mini travel guide to Ljubljana, Slovenia is for you. From the history of Ljubljana to how to get around to where to stay and eat to Ljubljana attractions…this Ljubljana Travel Guide includes everything you need to know about the capital of Slovenia to plan a perfect Ljubljana vacation.

Visiting Ljubljana Travel Guide

sLOVEnia – the world’s most sustainable and greenest country has love in its name.

Hey! Even Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia has love in its name. Ljubljeni means beloved in Slovene.

How can you not feel LOVE when in Ljubljana 🙂

Ljubljana, the European Green Capital is an intersection of diverse epochs. A Roman city, Emona stood in place of Ljubljana about 2,000 years ago.

You can witness the ruins of Emona in contemporary Ljubljana.

Read Next: How to visit Vintgar Gorge from Lake Bled

Where is Ljubljana in Slovenia?

Ljubljana is the capital and the biggest city of Slovenia. Located right in the center of the country, it stretches between Vienna (Austria) and Venice (Italy), at an intersection of the major ancient trade route that connects the northern Adriatic to the Danube region.

It lies at the intersection of four major motorways in Slovenia and thus, effortless access from any of the cities in Slovenia and neighboring countries.

slovenia highways motorways map
Map Credits: Wikipedia

How to Pronounce Ljubljana

Okay. I make sure to learn how to pronounce the name of the city or place I’m planning to visit (especially the tricky ones like Ljubljana and this) because how would you feel if someone pronounces your or your city’s name wrong.

Terrible, right?

Ljubljana is pronounced as lyoo-blyah-nuh. More often than not, locals pronounce it as loo-blah-na skipping the J’s altogether. Listen here.

So, J’s in Slovenian are pronounced as Y’s in English. J’s make all the difference here!

The Legend of Ljubljana Dragon

The Ljubljana Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana. You’ll see it everywhere…buildings, Ljubljana castle, bridges, wall art, even the car registration number plates…literally everywhere.

How did it become the emblem of Ljubljana? There are a few explanations for it.

The most interesting and popular legend about the origin of Ljubljana has it that the city was founded by Jason, the Greek mythological hero. The story goes that he stole the golden fleece from the king Aeëtes and fled with his fellow Argonauts aboard the Argo ship.

Journeying back home (Greece) across the Black Sea and up the Danube, Sava, and Ljubljanica rivers, they made a stop at Ljubljana Marshes, the monster’s habitat. Jason fought and killed the monster, called Ljubljana Dragon now.

Jason thus became the very first citizen of Ljubljana and the dragon found a place on the Ljubljana coat of arms.

Another story about how Ljubljana became the dragon city has to do with Christianity. The wall murals at St George Chapel in the Ljubljana Castle showcase the saint killing the dragon.

fierce dragon statue at dragon bridge ljubljana slovenia

Do You Need a Visa to Travel to Ljubljana?

You might. Many nationals need a Schengen visa to travel to Europe. Read our Guide to Schengen Visa to know more.

Read More: Best things to do in Lake Bled, Slovenia

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

A smart traveler never set out without travel Insurance! Don’t forget to buy reliable travel Insurance.

 Heymondo is our favorite when comes to comprehensive protection while traveling. They are the best in the industry!

Purchase a Heymondo policy with a 5% discount.

Best Time to Visit Ljubljana

The best time to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia is during the months of April, May, September, and October. These months of spring and autumn offer comfortable weather and lower accommodation prices.

We visited in July and it was too hot and too crowded to enjoy the city.

How Many Days in Ljubljana Should You Spend?

We were able to explore most of the must-see attractions in a day but yes it was a bit rushed.

If you want to go slow and are keen to discover the museums and galleries, set aside at least 2 days for the wonderfully cozy capital of Slovenia.

Getting to Ljubljana

Ljubljana’s strategically excellent position makes traveling to and from Central Europe, Western Europe, and the Balkans easy.

By Car or Bike

Traveling by car is the easiest, fastest, and most flexible way to travel. I’d recommend renting a car especially if you are traveling as a family.

We traveled to Ljubljana from Kranj in a rented car. It’s a quick 40 minutes drive. You can take a detour to Škofja Loka if you have time.

Read our Guide to Renting a Car in Europe before you plan a European road-trip

Road Toll Vignette

Be aware that a road toll vignette is needed to drive on the Slovenian motorways and highways.

You don’t need a vignette If you drive the regional roads through quaint little villages and towns. Of course, the time to reach your destination will be doubled as the speed limit through village roads (50 km per hour) is nearly half than through motorways (130 km per hour).

Weekly, monthly, and annual vignettes are available for sale at all the petrol stations, most newspaper kiosks, some toll booths, and shopping centers in Slovenia. I’d recommend you purchase one just before entering Slovenia from a petrol station located in a neighboring country (the country you are exiting) close to the border. For more information, visit the website here.

Parking in Ljubljana

Like all other European Capitals, parking in Ljubljana is a hassle.

There are a number of parking garages, park & ride garages, and parking lots in Ljubljana. Street Parking in the center aka short-term parking has a limited parking time of a maximum of 2 hours.

We parked our car at a centrally located Congress Square parking garage. The parking cost is 1.20 Euros per hour for the first 3 hours and 2.40 Euros after 3 hours.

By Bus

The Ljubljana bus station, Avtobusna postaja Ljubljana has bus connections throughout Slovenia and to and from other European countries. Check their official website for routes and timetables.

By Train

The Ljubljana train station is next to the bus station at Trg Osvobodilne Fronte, a short walk from the center of the city. Local and International rail connections to and from Ljubljana are good.

ljubljana train station

There are direct train connections to Budapest, Graz, Salzburg, Vienna, Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Belgrade. For more information check the official website of Slovenian Railways (Slovenske Zeleznice).

By Plane

Joze Pucnik Airport, Ljubljana’s main airport is 26 km away from the center. Adria Airways (Slovenian airlines) serves affordable flights connecting Ljubljana with major European cities. Check Ljubliana Airport’s portal for the details.

We recommend Kiwi.com for the best flight deals.

Airport Transfers

There’s an hourly public bus service between the airport and the Ljubljana Bus Station daily that costs 4.10 Euros per person. Also, a less frequent private shuttle bus service is also available that costs anywhere between 9 Euros to 19 Euros.

A taxi from the airport to the city center can cost about 35 Euros to 40 Euros.

You Might Like: Kranj – A Hidden Gem in Slovenia

Getting Around Ljubljana

Ljubljana Card

With free admission to the city’s major attractions, museums, and galleries plus unlimited free travel on public transportation during the card validity period, Ljubljana Tourist Card can save you some Euros for sure.

You can purchase the card for 24, 48, or 72 hours. You get a 10% discount if you buy your card online.

Click Here to Buy Ljubljana Card Online

On Foot

Our favorite way to explore any place is on foot. And more so if the city is as compact as Ljubljana.

City Bus

Ljubljana’s strong bus network connects the entire city and its surrounding areas. To use city buses you need to have the Urbana Card which you can buy from Ljubljana Bus Station, newspaper kiosks (trafika), tourist information centers, post offices, Bicikelj bike-sharing systems, and many other locations in the city. The city buses don’t sell the Urbana Card and don’t take cash either.

The card costs 2 Euros and needs to be topped up. A single bus ride fare starts from 1.20 Euros covers up to 90 minutes of journey and allows you to change as many buses as you can in that time period.

For more information check LPP’s official website.

Bicycle Hire

Cycling is our second most preferable way (walking being the first one) to explore the destination.

ljubljana bicycle hire

Ljubljana Tourism run the Ljubljana Bike project that makes bicycle hiring easy. You can hire a bike from the Slovenian Tourist Information Center located at Krekov trg 10.

The bike rental is 2 Euros for 2 hours hire period and 8 Euros for more than 2 hour hire period.

Alternatively, you can rent a bike from Bicike (LJ) who has a huge number of docking stations in Ljubljana city center.

The first hour is free, the second hour costs 1 Euro, the third hour costs 2 Euros, and each additional hour after 3 hours costs 4 Euros.

If you are to stay in Ljubljana, you can hire a bike for a full week by paying just the 1 Euro weekly registration fee.

You can save money by returning the bike after an hour and hiring a new bicycle again for an hour. Yes.

Taxi

You can easily find a taxi in the city center, though the cost will be less if you book one over the phone.

Urban Electric Train

Urban is an environment-friendly train in Ljubljana that takes you on a circular tourist trail connecting the famous tourist attractions. The tour starts at Town Hall and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete.

Best Ljubljana Tours

What to do in Ljubljana

From Ljubljana Old Town with its beautiful squares, charming cobbled streets, historic buildings, art nouveau architecture, and cathedrals; Ljubljana Castle; Views over Ljubljana from the castle and the rooftop of Nebotični Skyscraper; intriguing museums, to green urban spaces: Ljubljana has an overwhelming range of amazing things to see and do.

Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Pint-sized Ljubljana has an overwhelming number and variety of accommodation options to choose from.

Here are our recommendations for you-

Hotels in Ljubljana

City Hotel Ljubljana
Art Hotel
Adora Hotel
Grand Hotel Union
Hotel Cubo
Hotel Nox

Hostels in Ljubljana

Hostel Celica Art
Kva Hostel
MS Sparrow Hostel
Turn Hostel
Hostel Vrba
Hostel Tivoli

Apartments in Ljubljana

OH Apartments & Rooms
Apartment EMA
Apartment Central Station between Dragon and Triple Bridges
Royal Vega Apartments
Ljubljana’s Heart
Alpino

Where to Eat in Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a compact capital but there’s no dearth of great restaurants, cafes, bistros, pizzerias, and street food stalls.

Here are some of our favorites plus a few recommended by fellow travelers.

Mid-Range Restaurants in Ljubljana

Julija Restaurant

One of the best in Ljubljana Old Town, Julija is a mid-range restaurant with a great medieval ambiance that serves Mediterranean cuisine with a Slovenian touch.

Address: Stari trg 9, Ljubljana

Luxury Restaurants in Ljubljana

Manna Ljubljana

A nice place to enjoy Slovenian cuisine away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Address: Eipprova ulica 1a, Ljubljana

JB Restaurant Ljubljana

A great place for fine dining and a fancy meal. The restaurant has been featured in San Pellegrino’s Top 100 World’s Best Restaurant list in 2010.

We didn’t get a chance to experience it but have got recommendations from friends and relatives while we were planning our Slovenia trip.

Address: Mikloshicheva cesta 17, Ljubljana

Most Ljubljana

Great Food. Great Service. Great Location. A bit high-priced.

Address: Petkovshkovo nabrezhje 21, Ljubljana

Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants

Taman Organic

This is our other favorite in Ljubljana. Taman serves fresh organic food only. Innovative food served with love. Seriously.

If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you gotta give this place a try.

Address: Nazorjeva ulica 3, Ljubljana

Cheap Eats in Ljubljana

Pop’s Place

Great spot to have a quick bite. Pop’s Place = quality plus quantity both at decent prices. You can enjoy yummy burgers with fries and drinks in beautiful outdoor seating.

Address: Cankarjevo nabhrezhje 3, Ljubljana

Klobasarna

If you love non-vegetarian, you gotta visit here for their famous traditional Slovenian dish, Kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage).

Address: Ciril-Metodov trg 15, Ljubljana

Abi Falafel

I had to visit here for two reasons – 1. I love falafel 2. I’d heard a lot about Abi Falafel

It lives to its name. Such delicious and crispy falafel at such reasonable prices in such large quantity – couldn’t ask for more!

Address: Trubarjeva ceste 40, Ljubljana

Druga Violina

Durga Violina literally translates to Second Violin. This restaurant is special not just because of its food but also because of its noble gesture – they employ people with disabilities.

Address: Stari trg 21, Ljubljana

Best Pizza in Ljubljana

Pizzeria Foculus

Now, this is where you can eat the best pizza in Ljubljana. They have a great choice of vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and gluten-free pizzas.

Address: Gregorchicheva ulica 3, Ljubljana

Verace Ljubljana

Verace has a great selection of pizzas, wines, and snacks. They are consistently rated high for their excellent services.

Address: Streliska ulica 22, Ljubljana

Ljubljana Street Food

Street Food BTC

BTC City apart from being a great shopping destination is an amazing food destination. Its open-air street food market with local and international delicacies attracts foodie travelers from all around the world.

The street food vendors offer anything and everything from burgers, wraps, to international culinary ranges. There’s even a stand that sells vegan Indian food 🙂

Odprta Kuhna

Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen) is a food market where Slovenian chefs cook then and there and sell their Slovenian and other International delicacies on stalls.

The choice is varied from Slovenian to Japanese, Mediterranean, European to fast-foods.

The market takes place every Friday from March until October. You can enjoy live performances with good food.

Address: Pogacharjev trg 1, Ljubljana

Bistro Ljubljana

Ek Bistro

Away from the crowds, located at the junction Petkovškovo bank and Usnjarska street overlooking the river, Ek Bistro is a lovely place to enjoy a good breakfast or just a cup of coffee or a glass of beer with snacks.

Address: Petkovškovo nabrezje 65, Ljubljana

Monstera Bistro

It’s the best in Ljubljana! We had a traditional Ljubljana breakfast here. Tasty food served tastefully.

Address: Gosposka Ulica 9, Ljubljana

Cafe Ljubljana

Le petit Cafe – Okrepčevalnica

Located in the charming quarter of Ljubljana, Le petit is a great place for breakfast or brunch. We had a great cup of coffee with yummy cakes and croissants.

Address: Trg francoske revolucije 4, Ljubljana

Slovenska Hisa

Slovenska Hisa is a great place for drinks and appetizers with a nice seating area overlooking the river.

Address: Cankarjevo nabhrezhje 13, Ljubljana

slovenska hisa ljubljana

Ljubljana Food Tours

Want to know the culinary scene of the place when you travel? Take a food tour!

What to Eat in Ljubljana

Barley Risotto or Beetroot Risotto @ Monstera Bistro

Real Gelato Ice-Cream @ Gelateria Romantika

gelateria romantika dvorni trg ljubljana
mini-me enjoying gelato ice-cream Gelateria Romantika ljubljana

Burek @ Nobel Burek

Kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage) @ Klobasarna

Potica @ lePotičke

Prekmurska gibanica (Prekmurje layered cake) @ Gujžina Prekmurska Gostilna

Štruklji @ Moji Struklji

Štruklji dessert what to eat in ljubljana

Have you ever been to Ljubljana? How did you like it? We’d love to hear from you.

Or Are you visiting Ljubljana sometime soon? Hope our travel guide to Ljubljana helps you plan a great trip. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to help.

Recommended Reading:

Renting a Car in Europe
Schengen Visa for Europe
How to Plan a Trip to Europe
7 Magical Places to Visit in Slovenia
Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary
Best Things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Kranj, Slovenia

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Anjali Chawla

A story-weaver and a travel blogger based in Delhi, Anjali left her corporate job to see what having life exactly feels like and never looked back. Her 14-year-old daughter is her best travel buddy. She aspires to travel to all the seven continents with her family. Antarctica remains her dream destination. Books, mountains, colorful doors and windows, blue skies, sunsets, open roads, cobbled streets, undiscovered places, and beautiful minds inspire her. Join her as she unclothes the beauty around the world, one place at a time.

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