One Day in Ljubljana Itinerary – Top things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Lively, colorful and charming – these are the three words that describe Ljubljana perfectly. The picturesque, lush banks of the Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city center, gave the city its nickname – Little Venice. And while visiting Ljubljana means exploring its rich cultural heritage and world class architecture, it also leaves space for checking out some great restaurants and bars and its active clubbing and cultural scene. One day in Ljubljana definitely isn’t much time, but it is surely enough to fall in love with the charm of the Slovenian capital.

One day in Ljubljana Itinerary

What’s the best time to visit Ljubljana?

Ljubljana is best visited during the warm months. Basically, any time between April and October would be the ideal time to visit. Since Ljubljana is truly one of the greenest cities in Europe, spring may be the most beautiful part of the year. The cafes set up terraces along the river bank, and the whole city just turns outdoor. Make sure to always check out the events and festivities, since there are many great concerts and events in Ljubljana at that time.

a Few facts about Ljubljana

Ljubljana is the capital and the largest city of Slovenia. It was given the title of the Green Capital of Europe in 2016, which makes it one of the greenest cities in the EU. And yes, the very center of the city has been declared a pedestrian-only zone, so the whole place is even more charming. Also a very active student city, Ljubljana has a pretty active cultural scene with loads of great events and concerts. Ljubljana is well known for its rich architectural heritage too, especially Art Nouveau buildings and early modern architecture, with Jože Plečnik being the leading architect of the movement.

Art Nouveau building, Ljubljana
Art Nouveau building, Ljubljana, Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Source: Flickr

One Day in Ljubljana Itinerary

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Ljubljana.

Start your day at the Prešeren Square

Start your morning in the heart of the city – Prešeren Square. It’s pretty much the city’s central point and the best place to start your walking tour around the Old Town. It’s named after France Prešeren, Slovenia’s greatest poet whose monument stands at the center of the square. Just next to it, you can see the colorful Baroque Franciscan Church. Originally, it was painted red, which is the symbolic color of the Franciscan order, but today it has faded to salmon-pink. The interior boasts Baroque elements and ornate marble, with a beautifully carved main alter made by Francesco Robba. The entrance is free.

Pass the Triple Bridge

Just next to the Prešeren Square, you’ll find the Triple Bridge across the river Ljubljanica. It connects the historical medieval town with the modern city of Ljubljana. First, there was only the old central bridge, but due to the high traffic, which even included a tram line that was crossing it, two pedestrian bridges were added on each side in 1930.

Triple Bridge and River Ljubljanica, Ljubljana
Triple Bridge and River Ljubljanica, Ljubljana, Author: Shadowgate, Source: Flickr

It’s a very picturesque place, so you’d better take some photos while there. A lot of musicians and performers around the bridge create a pretty vibrant atmosphere. It’s a perfect place to stop for a moment and people watch.

Triple Bridge, Ljubljana
Triple Bridge, Ljubljana, Author: Shadowgate, Source: Flickr

Visit the Central Market

Pretty close, on Vodnikov Square, you’ll find the Central Market – an open-air daily market with products from local farmers. It’s a great place to shop for some fresh fruit or farmer’s products and have an amazing full breakfast or just a morning snack. Pretty close to it, on Pogačarjev Square, you’ll find the stalls with even more local products – cheese, honey, chocolate, sausages, anything that comes to your mind. In the covered part, inside of the colonnade, you can find some unique handcrafted souvenirs.

Central Market Ljubljana
Central Market Ljubljana, Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Source: Flickr

Have an amazing breakfast at Ek Bistro

There are numerous places that serve breakfast in Ljubljana, but you’ll have trouble finding something as amazing as Ek Bistro. The place is so good you mostly need to book your table in advance. They serve amazing egg dishes like Eggs Benedict and Shakshuka, but save some space for their amazing sweet bites. No matter if you pick an outdoor seat near the canal or an inside seat with beautiful decor, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the nice atmosphere.

Eggs Benedict in Ek Bistro, Ljubljana
Eggs Benedict in Ek Bistro, Ljubljana

Stroll the Trubarjeva cesta

There are many nice, narrow streets around the city center. However, one of the most interesting ones that you simply shouldn’t miss is Trubarjeva cesta. The street is lined with small shops, book stores, gift shops and some nice little cafes. Don’t miss to take a stroll around it! Also, check out the Dragon Bridge with the dragon statue just around the corner.

Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana
Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana, Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Source: Flickr

Walk along the River Ljubljanica Canal (Cankarjevo Nabrezje)

River Ljubljanica Canal is a place of lively atmosphere with cafe terraces and lush nature all around. During the warm months, the whole area gets full of people enjoying the sun and some nice canal breeze. It’s a great place to drink coffee and eventually eat something.

Cankarjevo Nabrezje, Ljubljana
Cankarjevo Nabrezje, Ljubljana, Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Source: Flickr

Have fun at the Museum of illusions

The museum of illusions is not the kind of museum you’re used to visiting. It’s actually a pretty amusing museum that holds many optical illusions and tricks, and it can be especially fun for kids. However, it’s not just a place for kids, and it’s widely popular among adults, too. Make sure to bring your camera, since many illusions can only be seen on photos.

Take the funicular to Ljubljana Castle

You can reach the Ljubljana Castle by foot, but taking the funicular is more fun and saves you time, which is nice since you only have one day in Ljubljana. The medieval castle that dates back to the 15th century is situated on a hill 60 meters above the Old Town.

Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle, Author: Klemen Tomše, Source: Flickr

Today the castle is fully restored and it has become a venue for cultural events. One of the few museums that can be visited is the Museum of puppets. Don’t miss the chance to climb the tower for an amazing view.

View from the castle, Ljubljana
View from the castle, Ljubljana, Author: Oiva Eskola, Source: Flickr

Stroll down Gornji trg street and have some lunch there

Get down the castle hill and reach Gornji trg. It’s one of the most picturesque streets in Ljubljana and a great place to have some lunch. If you crave some delicious meat dishes or an amazing pizza, restaurant Gostilnica 5-6 kg is a must try. After your lunch continue your stroll to  the beautiful Stari trg where you’ll find many nice shops and cafe bars.

Relax in the Tivoli Park

The biggest city park and the green heart of Ljubljana is definitely Tivoli Park. It’s a great place to relax after a whole day of walking. Playgrounds, fountains and sport facilities can be found around the park as well as alleys with art exhibitions. On a sunny day, especially on weekends, the park gets full of locals. Grab a blanket and some drinks and have a chill afternoon in the park.

Tivoli Park, Ljubljana
Tivoli Park, Ljubljana, Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Source: Flickr

Night out at Metelkova

Metelkova is an alternative cultural center, developed from a squat into a lively, cultural and artistic urban area. With an abundance of bars and clubs, it’s a great place for a night out, meeting locals and a social and intellectual gathering.

Metelkova, Ljubljana
Metelkova, Ljubljana, Author: Shadowgate, Source: Flickr

The place boasts uniqueness and charm thanks to the many public art and graffiti that cover the whole area. One of the symbols of Ljubljana and one the most amazing creative spaces in Europe that definitely must be visited!

Metelkova Art, Ljubljana
Metelkova Art, Ljubljana, Author: Shadowgate, Source: Flickr

In case you want to stick to the city center, Pritličje is a great place to spend your night in. This trendy bar looks something like a comic book shop and offers a wide range of very affordable drinks, cocktails and even some nice snacks. Check out their events schedule, since they host live concerts and other events at night.

Where to stay in Ljubljana?

In the city center

Vander Urbani Resort

Vander Urbani Resort is a nice boutique hotel in the heart of Ljubljana Old Town. This modern, bright and comfortable accommodation features  an outdoor pool, a sun terrace and one of the most amazing on-site restaurants.

Book here
Vander Urbani Resort
Vander Urbani Resort
Vander Urbani Resort
Vander Urbani Resort

Close to the Airport

Hotel Nox

The Nox Hotel is a boutique hotel with 24 completely uniquely equipped rooms designed by various Slovenian designers. The hotel also features Nox Lounge café and the Nox Interior furniture salon. It is located next to the Ljubljana-Šentvid highway from where you can easily reach Ljubljana Airport.

Book here
Hotel Nox
Hotel Nox
Hotel Nox
Hotel Nox

Hostel stay

In case you prefer hostel stay, but still want to be close to all the best Ljubljana attractions, Kva Hostel and Hostel Tresor may be your best choice. They both offer comfortable and charming rooms for affordable prices.

Book here
Kva Hostel
Kva Hostel
Book here
Hostel Tresor
Hostel Tresor

Find the Best Hotel Deals in Ljubljana

Extra tips for visiting Ljubljana

– Every first Sunday of the month, most of the museums around the city are free.

– From March to October, every Friday the food market Open Kitchen takes place in the Central Market, with local and international specialties cooked on site.

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