A city break in Ljubljana gives you so many diverse things to do that you should spent at least three nights in the capital of Slovenia. Ljubljana might seem small at first, but you will soon realize that the city offers everything what the big players do.
Best reasons for a city break in Ljubljana
Small, but charming
When planning a city break we normally have too little time to really enjoy the destination, as we are always in a hurry to see as much as possible in the limited time. But a great thing about the city break in Ljubljana is the fact, that comparing it to other cities, Ljubljana is a small one, what makes it charming and perfect for two or three days long escape.
On foot or by bicycle
One of the best things to do in Ljubljana is to explore the old city center on foot. The most magnificent and best known tourist attractions in Ljubljana are close to each other. If you are keen on exploring further out districts in Ljubljana, rent a bicycle as you can reach everything with it as well.
Water activities on Ljubljanica River
Living just 25 kilometers outside Ljubljana it is always nice to see how the city has been developing. In recent years Ljubljanica River became extremely popular for different kind of water activities. You can take a boat ride or rent a canoe/kayak. But one of the best things to do in Ljubljana is for sure taking the SUP tour to the old city center. We have rented SUP at SUP Club several times and love their enthusiasm about the sport. And paddling on the Ljubljanica River, passing all the amazing bridges (including the Triple Bridge), gives you a totally different perspective of Ljubljana. Love it!
Seeing the Ljubljana rose at the botanical garden
Ljubljana has its own botanical garden, which is perfect during the hot summer days, to relax in the shade. The botanical garden has actually been opened ever since 1810 and even though it cannot really compare in size with others in larger cities, it is one of the few in Europe with a free entrance. The entrance fee is charged only for the tropical greenhouse. The botanical garden has its own cafe and it also runs a workshop where you plant your own bee friendly plants. You can even buy plants there, the most popular is for sure the beautiful white Ljubljana rose – specially made for Ljubljana and its bees.
Picnic basket at Špica
Špica was once known as the city beach, but ever since its reconstruction and renovation it is one of the most popular summer areas for locals. Hanging out with friends, sitting in the cafe, sunbathing along the Ljubljanica River and enjoying the summer sun is ideal. To make the whole experience even more romantic, book a picnic basket at one of the Tourist Information centers in Ljubljana or online at www.visitljubljana.com, which awaits for you at the Špica cafe.
Stories and interesting facts in a guided tour
If you ask me, you should never do any kind of city break without a quick (1-2 hour long) guided tour, where you learn more about the city you found yourself in. The city break in Ljubljana will be even more fun, after hearing all the interesting stories and facts, which are many. We had an amazing guide and I would really recommend to book a guided tour through Visit Ljubljana.
House of the architect Jože Plečnik
Jože Plečnik is not just a famous architect for its work in Ljubljana, but also for its work in Vienna and Prague (he renovated the Prague castle). A visit to his house is extremely interesting, but to see his bedroom, working place, kitchen and visitors area, including all the original drawings, items, clothes, personal belongings, you will need to attend a guided tour, which serves you with many interesting stories about the eccentric, but respected genius. Learning more about his life and work will give you a total new meaning and dimensions when walking among his projects in the city.
A true foodie’s paradise
Ljubljana has done a huge step from a dull to an upscale and trendy culinary destination only in few years. You will get something for every taste in the city – from traditional local restaurants, to street food, trendy burgers, tapas bars, international cuisines to top notch restaurants, including one with the Michelin star (Restaurant Atelje).
Numerous festivals and events
City break in Ljubljana is a good idea all year long as Ljubljana is full of different events and festivals. From food festival, Christmas market to open kitchen in the summer, concerts, street theater festival, cinema under the stars…
Sunset with the view and a glass of Slovenian wine
There are several viewing points over Ljubljana, but it is said that the most beautiful one is from the new open wine shop Strelec at Ljubljana castle, where you will be served excluding with Slovenian wines. You can choose among 400 different etiquettes. Is there anything better than a sunset with a good local wine?
Summer vibes along the Ljubljanica River
One of the most charming seasons in Ljubljana is summer – at least for me. Wandering along the Ljubljanica River embankments in the old city center, with the crowds siting in cafes, chit-chatting and listening to the music, creates cheerful atmosphere for which the whole city gets a special charm. Who needs the coast if you have Ljubljana and its Ljubljanica River? The area gets even more spectacular during the evenings, when everything is lightened up.
When coffee becomes art
Nothing is worse than being a coffee lover and being served with bad coffee. It makes me extremely happy that Ljubljana has been getting some amazing coffee shops with its own roasting mills and the knowledgeable baristas who knows how to make good cup of coffee. A very nice cafe (The Stow) can be found at the City Museum where certified baristas work, who will also explain more about coffee varieties if you show some interest.
Relax in the shade
Ljubljana has several nick names and one of them is »Green Ljubljana«. City breaks are much more attractive, especially in the summer, with many green areas and luckily Ljubljana has lots to offer. A popular place for locals is the Koseze pond and Tivoli Park, which is the largest city park in Ljubljana.
Outdoor swimming areas
Ljubljanica River is not the ideal place for a swim (except falling down from the SUP), but that does not mean you cannot freshen up during the summer city break in Ljubljana. You will find several swimming pools in the city (Kolezija, Ilirija, Atlantis, Laguna). If you prefer natural beaches, you will find a wilder one at the Sava River.
If you don’t see yourself without being active during the city break in Ljubljana, we have good news for you. Ljubljana itself has many hiking / jogging possibilities. You can hike up to Rožnik, Šmarna Gora (St. Mary), Golovec or have an easy walk on the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship /Trail along the wire. During WW2, Ljubljana was fenced with a barbed wire by the Italian forces and the path is now a memorial walkway. Close to Ljubljana are also some very popular hiking spots – Grmada and St. Lawrence above Polhov Gradec village. You can see the amazing views from Planina above Vrhnika or Koreno above Horjul. A popular spot is also St. Anna above Lake Podpeč on Ljubljana Marshes. To enjoy some lower temperatures during the hot summer in Ljubljana, a very nice option is Pekel Gorge near Borovnica, which you can join with a visit to the Slovenian Technical Museum. We also put a shine on the Rupnik Line in Zaplana, which is little known even among locals.
Museums and galleries
A city break in Ljubljana would be incomplete with a visit to a museum or a gallery. Sure, we cannot compare them with the ones in Paris, London or New York, but we can still find some nice places to enjoy art and history. Visit the City museum to learn more about Ljubljana or stop at the Slovenian Railway Museum or Slovenian Museum of Natural History, which are perfect when visiting Ljubljana with kids. Don’t forget about the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Slovenia.
Accommodation for every budget
City break in Ljubljana has been getting lots of attention in recent years and due to its popularity, we are lucky enough to have all kinds of accommodation options. You can stay in hostels, budget hotels or decide for beautiful boutique hotels or maybe even for a stay in 5 star hotel. We have stayed at the gorgeous boutique hotel Cubo. The location, service and staff were fantastic, not to mention our room with the castle view.
Day trips from Ljubljana
What makes a city break in Ljubljana even better is the fact, Ljubljana has a really good central location in the country. That means you can stay few more nights in the capital, to enjoy the evenings, but at the same time you can do numerous day trips from Ljubljana and get to know more about Slovenia too. We have done many day trips from Ljubljana already, but this time we visited Litija region, where we took a guided tour to its mine. Later on we stopped at the Bogenšperk Castle and had delicious lunch at its Kuhla restaurant. We closed the day at adventerous park Geoss, to burn off some calories before heading back home. Check out some of the best off the radar day trips from Ljubljana in a special blog post here.
Ljubljana is beautiful – simple as that
Living close by Ljubljana, I might be biased, but Ljubljana really is a very beautiful city. I have done many city breaks, but every time I found myself in Ljubljana, wandering around its old city center, I am impressed over its vibrant vibe, charming scenes and a special energy, for which I am sure that every visitor can feel, if he / she allows enough time to really get to know and enjoy Ljubljana.
There are many more reasons to do a city break in Ljubljana, but if you can tick off all the above reasons, I am sure you will visit Ljubljana over and over, as it is extremely hard not to fall in love with the city.