Lively, colorful and charming – these are the three words that describe Ljubljana best. The picturesque, lush banks of the Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city center, gave it a 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 is surely enough to fall in love with the charm of this Slovenian capital.
What’s the best time to visit Ljubljana?
Ljubljana is best to visit during the warm months. Basically, any time between April and October would be the ideal time to visit. Since Ljubljana truly is 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.
Few facts about Ljubljana:
Ljubljana is the capital and the largest city of Slovenia. It was titled 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 is declared a pedestrian-only zone which makes the whole city even more charming. Also being very active student city, Ljubljana has a pretty active cultural scene with loads of great events and concerts. Ljubljana is also well known for its rich architectural heritage, especially Art Nouveau buildings and early modern architecture with Jože Plečnik being a leading architect of the movement.
One Day in Ljubljana Itinerary:
Top things to do in Ljubljana, Slovenia
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 which monument stands at the center of the square. Just next to it, you can see the colorful Baroque Franciscan Church. Originally, it was painted in red, which is the symbolic color of the Franciscan order, but today faded to salmon-pink color. The interior boasts Baroque elements and ornate marble, with the 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, or better say the group of three bridges across the river Ljubljanica. It connects the historical, medieval town with the modern city of Ljubljana. First, it was only the Old central bridge, but due to the high traffic, which even included a tram line that was crossing it, in 1930 the two pedestrian bridges were added on each side. It’s a very picturesque place, so you’ll better take some photos while there. A lot of musicians and performers around the bridge make the pretty vibrant atmosphere. It’s a perfect place to stop for a moment and people watch.
Visit the Central Market
Pretty much close to the square, on Vodnikov square, you’ll find the Central Market – open-air daily market with the local farmers’ product. It’s a great place to shop for some fresh fruits or farmers 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, or simply anything that comes to your mind. In the covered market in the colonnades lining the river you can shop for some unique handcraft souvenirs.
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.
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 the nice canal breeze. It’s a great place to drink an espresso and eventually eat some snack.
Have fun at the Museum of Illusions
The museum of illusions is not a kind of museum you’re used to visiting. It’s actually pretty amusing museum that holds many optical illusions and tricks, and can be especially fun to the young ones. However, it’s not just a place for kids, as it widely popular among adults. Make sure to bring your camera, since many illusions can only be seen on the photos.
Take 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. Today the castle is fully restored and it became a venue for cultural events. One of a few museums that can be visited is a Museum of puppets. Don’t miss a chance to climb the tower for an amazing city view.
Relax in the Tivoli Park
The biggest park in the city 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 the alleys with the art exhibitions. On a sunny day, especially on weekends, the park gets full of local. Grab some blanket and some drinks and have a chilli afternoon in a park.
Night out at Metelkova
Metelkova is an alternative cultural center, developed from a squat into the lively, cultural and artistic urban area. With the abundance of bars and clubs, it’s a great place for a night out, meeting locals and a social and intellectual gathering.
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 the of Europe that definitely must be visited!
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 the local and international specialties cooked on site.
In case you have more than just One Day in Ljubljana check out Tripadvisor for detailed list of all the top things to do in Ljubljana.
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