I guess many popular European places have a castle and YES, also Ljubljana has one! Ljubljana castle is not just one of the popular postcard motives or one of the best recognised city sights – Ljubljana castle is a true symbol of the city! Ljubljana castle has been important for centuries and even nowadays the castle represents an oasis in the middle of the Ljubljana old town to many locals. Ljubljana castle on top of the hill is a place, where people can relax or go for a walk. It is also perfect for all the romantic souls and lovebirds, as nothing can beat a charming night view over Ljubljana city lights.
If you are in Ljubljana, visiting Ljubljana castle is a must thing to do. If you don’t get to know it up close and personal, it’s like being in Paris and skipping the Effiel Tower. Don’t even ask your self to go or not to go, but do it!
How to reach Ljubljana castle?
- drive up with a car (the road is paved and wide enough and on top, just before the castle, is a parking place)
- walk (you can walk up on few different paths – I would recommend the one, which takes you threw the narrow and steep street of Ljubljana old town – start at Gornji trg)
- funicular railway (if you don’t feel like walking, you can also take a funicular, which will take you up to the Ljubljana castle in exactly 60 seconds. The tickets can be bought at the ticket counter in front of the funicular and cost 4EUR/pp return. If you are under 18, you can buy reduce ticket for 3EUR/pp, or if you are traveling with your family, there’s even a family ticket for 10 EUR, which includes 2 adults and at least 1 child. If you ask me, the best way would be a combination of the funicular for up and a short walk to Ljubljana old town for down)
- take a ride with the road train (one more option, which you might enjoy – even more if you are traveling with kids. Tickets for a 15 minutes road train ride cost 4 EUR (adults) and 3 EUR for children under 12 years. The train leaves every full hour from Stritarjeva ulica – Stritar street (between the Triple Bridge and the City Hall).
Once you are up at the Ljubljana castle, you can wander around and visit the courtyard, defensive wall, the chapel and the penitentary completely free of charge. To climb up to the Viewing Tower, you will need to get a ticket. Believe me, it is worth it, as the best panoramic views over the whole Ljubljana city are from here, even more on a clear day!
We visited Ljubljana castle again few days ago. The main reason was to explore it with the eyes of a traveler and to attend its organised tour for reviewing – We don’t really like to recommend things, which we have not tried by ourselves, so we had to check it out. Simon and I have taken a guided tour called “The time machine”, which takes you traveling threw time and gives you unique tour of the castle’s history. The “Time Machine” tour is organised 4 times per day in the summer (11.00, 13.00, 17.00 and 19.00) and is ment for an individual visitors. It is held in English and Slovenian. The Time Machine guided tour diverse greatly from the normal school-sistem tours, as you will travel through time with a help of six different, but important, characters for the history of Ljubljana castle.
All the figures are dressed in the historical costumes and will tell their stories threw acting, what makes the whole tour more interesting and appealing! You will be greeted from the Roman soldier or a priestess, than St. George will tell you his story on how he defeated the terrifying dragon. He will put a big smile on your face, telling that the worst thing from the fight was the dragons bad breath! We will also meet the Emperor, Frederick III of the Hapsburgs or his wife Eleanor Helena of Portugal, the Napoleonic soldier, carbonaroor or an “ordinary woman prisoner”, who will tell you something about her prison’s life. Last but not least, you will also be addressed by Mayor Ivan Hribar (or his daughter), who in 1905 bought the castle from the state authorities and gave it to the town of Ljubljana.
The Ljubljana castle Time machine guided tour will take up to 90 minutes, but you will not be disappointed, when attending it. The tour is well organised, the guide and the characters are very informative and what makes everything better, they are not boring! Forget about the dull history facts and enjoy the show! If you are traveling with kids, the tour is perfect for them as well and after it, they might even start showing interest for the history. If the kids behave nicely, they will be able to take a memory photo with the characters – and what can be better than holding hands with a Roman soldier or the Empiror himself!
The only thing I have noticed is that not many foreign visitors knew about the tour. When we were listening to the stories of the characters, they were impressed and very interested to take part, but they have not heard for it before and did not know something like this even excists. I do wonder if Ljubljana hotels and hostels don’t help with its promotion? Oh well, if nothing else, you know about the tour now. 🙂
Ljubljana castle and its Time Machine guided tour:
- adults: 10 EUR/pp or 12 EUR/pp with the finicular ride
- children (from 7 to 18 years): 50% discount
The ticket includes also the Viewing Tower, Slovenian History exhibition and the Virtual Castle movie.
The guided tour can be done in any weather! The tour is adjusted also for persons on wheelchairs – there are few limits though, as you cannot visit the chapel and go up to the viewing tower.
More info about Ljubljana castle: www.ljubljanskigrad.si
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