In Ljubljana travelers can experience the small town “feel” while taking advantage of this capital city’s resources, history and culture.
Being centrally located in Slovenia it makes for a good base to explore the country’s mountains, lakes and caves. Partially on the Mediterranean and linking central Europe to the Balkans, a mix of Italian and Austro-Hungarian influences abound here and around Slovenia.
There are few “must-see” attractions, but it is worth a visit for its lively, youthful energy. Absorb the atmosphere with a stroll through the Baroque old town where you will find many quaint cafés along the Ljubljanica river and street performers playing tunes in the main square. The large student population provides for an active nightlife. Some of the hippest clubs have been converted from old army barracks, a reminder of Slovenia’s recent past as part of the former Yugoslavia. This is a progressive place with a kind, helpful folk willing to engage in conversation in a multitude of languages.
In July and August student dormitories are open to the public, but during the off-season there are few options for budget accommodation, so book in advance.
Slovenia’s national air carrier is Adria Airways. Discount airline RyanAir also flies there from its hubs in Trieste, Italy and Klagenfurt, Austria (both are just a short train ride too). From Brnik Airport, bus (lane No. 28), airport shuttle, or taxi will take you the 23km to Ljubljana.
There are a number of buses and trains from Austria, Hungary, Italy and Croatia that all arrive at the same location, Trg Osvobodilne Fronte (Trg OF), which is within walking distance of the center of this compact city. Ferry service from Italy is also available during the high season.
Things to See & Do
There is a Tourist Information office inside the train station and also in the Kresija building (Stritarjeva ul 2) by the triple bridge.
The main point of interest is Castle Hill and its fortress, Ljubljana Castle (5). A typical medieval city with a castle-crowned hill, this site is the symbol of Ljubljana. Climb the tower and check out the view from above. There is also an interactive museum inside.
At the entrance to the old town, this bridge will bring you to Prešernov Trg. The middle portion was built in 1842 while the two outer sides were added in 1931.
The National Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery are located near one another and showcase Slovenian art.
Take in the main sights of the historical center, the cathedral, and architect Joze Plecnik’s works on foot including a funicular ride. April 1-Oct 31, daily at 10am; Jan 7- March 31, daily at 11am. (11.50). Tour starts from the square in front of the Town Hall (Mestna hiša).
Food and Nightlife
Tourist information has several English language guides available, but your best bet is to ask a local about the bars and restaurants.