Ljubljana ("lyoo-blah-nah"), the capital of Slovenia, is a charming old city full of artists, museums, and galleries. In Roman times, it was called Colonia Iulia Aemona and was part of Province X "Venetia et Histria" of Italia proper. With a population of 300,000, it is one of the smallest capital cities in Europe. Ljubljana is pronounced similar to 'ljubljena' ('beloved') in Slovenian, but it's not clear if the words are related.
Ljubljana has no world-famous attractions, which is just great: there's no need to hop from one place to another, taking photos and crossing off the items on your checklist. You have all the time to stroll around and enjoy the city itself. Ljubljana is noted as one of the greenest capitals in Europe; a pair of green hills, one of them sporting the city's major attraction (Ljubljana Castle) approach the centre like two opposing wedges, so forest with an extensive network of footpaths is literally across the street from the old town.
In the summer, its centre hosts a number of city sponsored events, from children's workshops and public playgrounds on the streets that get closed for traffic for the occasion, to Trnfest's off-beat street performances and musical events of all genres. In autumn it shows its academic face as it fills again with students of the state's largest university to whom the city owes much of its youthful character. Cold December days are warmed by thousands of lights, the New Year's decorations conceived by local artists, and by food and drinks sold from street stands on the banks of the Ljubljanica river. After surviving the boring grey remaining of winter, the city erupts again with spring flowers planted on its streets and crossroads.
The Ljubljanica river flows through the centre of town, past Baroque buildings and under the ramparts of the ancient castle on the hill. The new city and modern-day commercial core lies to the west of the river, while the old city and the castle are located on the east side of the river. Many bridges cross the river, the most famous of which is the Tromostovje (triple) bridge, designed by architect Jože Plečnik.
- Ljubljana Tourist Information Centre, Stritarjeva (Next to the Triple Bridge), ☎ +386 1 306-4583, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:00-20:00, Sa & Su 10:00-18:00. Also offers three sightseeing tours in the summer at 10AM, 2PM, and 5PM for €10.
Jože Pučnik Airport (commonly referred to as Brnik Airport) IATA: LJU is located 27 km north of Ljubljana. Airport facilities include parking, a bank, money exchange, ATMs, a post office, an information desk, free Wi-Fi in the terminal, a general store, duty-free stores, a self-serve restaurant, bars, and cafes. The following airlines operate service to/from Ljubljana: Adria Airways (Amsterdam, Belgrade, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Istanbul-Atatürk, London-Gatwick, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Podgorica, Prague, Priština, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Vienna, Warsaw, Zürich), Air France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle), EasyJet (London-Stansted) Finnair (Helsinki), Jat Airways (Belgrade), Montenegro Airlines (Podgorica), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk) and Wizzair (London-Luton and Brussels-Charleroi). There are regular public buses (€4.10, 50 min) and minibuses (€5, 30 min) from the airport to the main Ljubljana bus and train station, located next to each other in the city centre. Alternatively, a metered taxi from the airport to the Grosuplje will cost €40-50; However, the following companies offer cheaper options:
- Tima Ekspres. Offers taxis to the city centre for €25.
- Airtrail Slovenia, ☎ +386 41 281 228, e-mail: email@example.com. Offers transfer services to airports in Italy,Austria and Croatia and to tourist spots in Slovenia.
Alternatively, there are several airports around Slovenia with more budget flights that are now well connected to Slovenia by one of many shuttle companies, though you can also use public transport. Look especially for flights to northern Italy: Trieste, Venice (Marco Polo or Treviso), Bologna, Bergamo, Milano-Linate/Malpensa, but also to Munich, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Rijeka, Pula, Zagreb.
By shuttle bus
They are primarily designed for airport transfer, but most can also to drop you off at a central railway/bus station or even provide door-to-door service, sometimes for a small additional fee, sometimes free. The biggest and best organized is GoOpti; however, it can be relatively cheap only if you book enough in advance. On short notice better check some others, here's a nice list.
The Ljubljana bus and train stations are located next to each other at Trg Osvobodilne Fronte ("Trg" means square in Slovenian). The two stations are located just north of the city centre and a short walk from most hotels and attractions. The train station has a tourist information centre, currency exchange, and left-luggage service.
Ljubljana is the hub of Slovenia's rail system. Local trains run throughout the country - no point in Slovenia is more than 3 hours away. Direct international connections include Zagreb (2 hours), Rijeka (3 hours), Graz (3 hours), Salzburg (4 hours), Pula (4 hours), Vienna (6 hours), Munich (6 hours), Belgrade (9 hours), Frankfurt (10 hours), Zürich (11 hours). Getting to Trieste by train is slightly easier than it had been in recent years (although 10 years ago there were frequent connections to Italy). There are now 3 trains per day between Ljubljana and Villa Opicina (an Italian town just above Trieste). From Villa Opicina you can take the bus or taxi into Trieste and from there onwards to anywhere else in Italy. Alternatively there are many services a day to Sezana (the last Slovenian town before the border) and again taxis or buses to Trieste are possible. Expect to pay about 10 euro and it is highly advisable to pre-book the taxi, as none will be waiting.
As of December 2011 direct links to Venice and Budapest are no longer available due to contractual issues between the Italian Railways (Trenitalia) and Hungarian Railways (MAV-START). Direct links to Budapest have since been restored, but there are still no direct trains to Venice as of January 2015.
Ljubljana bus station (avtobusna postaja) is right next to the train station and has services throughout Slovenia, as well as to foreign countries. The station has several useful schedule search engines (also in English) for working out connections. Generally speaking, a bus can take you almost anywhere in Slovenia within a few hours.
Direct international connections: Trieste (2 hours), Venice (4 hours) , Banja Luka (5 hours), Bihać (6 hours), Bologna (6 hours), Munich (7 hours), Florence (8 hours), Tuzla (8 hours) , Zenica (8 hours), Belgrade (8 hours), Ulm (9 hours), Stuttgart (10 hours), Sarajevo (10 hours) , Niš (12 hours), Karlsruhe (12 hours), Mannheim (13 hours), Frankfurt (14 hours), Skopje (15 hours), Tetovo (16 hours), Sofia (16 hours), Pristina (18 hours), Copenhagen (19 hours), Malmö (20 hours), Gothenburg (24 hours), Linköping (28 hours), Örebro (34 hours), Stockholm (36 hours).
- Turanus, ☎ +38640802525. Turanus offers transportation to every destination in Slovenia and several European airports.
Ljubljana Budapest direct bus by Eurobusways
Ljubljana is at the centre of the Slovenian road network, which means that if you're not driving towards the border, you're approaching Ljubljana. Traffic can be frustrating at rush hours, but is generally lighter than in larger European capitals. Huge jams can occur if there's an accident or road works, though, so consult the Traffic-information centre or listen to Radio Si which offers regular traffic information in several European languages.
There are several car parks throughout the city centre, and cheaper ones at the outskirts. Those offer day-long parking with return city bus ticket included in the price. Most car parks are operated by the Municipal company. Short-term street parking in blue zones is payable at parking meters scattered around (€0.7/h in the city centre, 2 hours max; €0.4/h further out, 3 hours max; Saturday afternoon and Sunday parking is free). Parking meters don't return change, but they also accept the Urbana card (see below).
Renting a car is also an option, especially if you are visiting remote destinations outside of Ljubljana.
The main website is Prevoz.org, click on "mednarodni prevozi" for international rides . The website is only in Slovene, but simple enough to navigate. The columns are "from", "to", "time" (of departure) and "cost", you can sort them by clicking on top row, or use the search engine on top. You have to register to see the phone number, you can use an existing account. Most drivers would speak enough English to arrange the ride. Note however that there is no rating system in place, nor any payment system – you pay cash to the driver. Generally the price is around €5/100-120km within Slovenia, usually a bit more abroad. If you're arriving in your own car and want to pick some passengers, you can of course also post it on the site.
The centre of Ljubljana is small enough to cover by foot. You can pick up a free city map at a tourist information centre or in the train station. Navigating or finding a street is easy as streets are clearly marked.
Bikes are available for rent at the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre (beside the Central Market) as well as some of the hotels in the area (€2 for 2 hours, €8 for the whole day ending 7~9PM depending on season).
There is also a system called "Bicikelj" where you can rent bikes (first hour free, second hour €1, third hour €2, each additional hour €4). It is designed for short-term hire. It has 300 bikes on 30 stations around the inner city part and you can subscribe with a credit card online. For more information go to this site: http://en.bicikelj.si/
By city bus
The city's transportation authority LPP operates 22 bus lines, which are clean and run frequently (every 5–10 minutes, 15–30 minutes during the weekend and summer). Most bus routes operate 5AM - 10:30PM (Sundays from 6AM). Night routes are: N1 (10:30PM - 5AM), 2, 5 and 6 (3:15AM - midnight), N3 (9PM- 5AM) and N11 (3:15AM - 5AM). Saturdays and Sundays no service on routes 22, 24, 28 and 29. Sundays no service on routes 7L, 8, 18, 20, 21, 27.
To ride the buses, you must first purchase an Urbana card (similar to an Oyster Card in London). These can be bought at self-service stations ("Urbanomat") found at the larger bus stops across the city, LPP sales sites, Tourist Information Centres and newspaper agents for €2 and need to be loaded with an amount ranging from €1 to €50. Upon entering the bus by the front door, you need to position the card next to the reader to pay for the route. The confirmation is a quiet beep and an illuminated green light, while a negative response is a louder beep and a red light. After that, you proceed to take your seat / stand.
The cost per journey is €1.20 and includes an unlimited number of free transfers within 90 minutes from the first entry to the bus.
Most lines operate at least once every 15 minutes. Timetables (in Slovene) only have departure times from first bus stop so you can use the webpage to obtain predicted departure times for next three buses from every bus stop.
Taxi Ljubljana"http://www.taxi.jezakon.si/"Taxi Laguna (tel. 080 11 17), Taxi Metro (tel. 080 11 90) and Intertours Taxi (tel: 031 311 311) are considered the cheapest taxi companies. These are free numbers (all numbers starting with 080 are free in Slovenia), so you can use a phone booth to make a free call. Note that not all taxis charge the same fare.
While taxis ordered by phone are cheap, those waiting on the street will usually charge through the roof, and you can end up paying €25 for a short ride! Unless you're in a hurry, always order a taxi by phone!
The main language of the city is unsurprisingly Slovenian. Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian is also understood by everyone and usually spoken fluently by people over 30. Many inhabitants of Ljubljana speak English as well, especially people under the age of 30. Some of them also speak German, Italian, French and/or Russian. It's worth trying any major European language you speak.
The easiest and most pleasant way to reach all spots described below is by foot, except for the Zoo and the Architecture Museum.
- Triple Bridge (Tromostovje). Tromostovje consists of three separate picturesque bridges located next to one another. According to design by known Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, the two bridges on the sides were built in the 1930s; the middle bridge is originally from 1842 and has been only redesigned at that time. The neighbouring Prešeren square with the statue of Slovenian greatest poet France Prešeren is the central location of downtown Ljubljana and a common meeting point. From here, cross Ljubljanica and turn left for Open Market and the Dragon Bridge, or go straight and then right for the old town.
- Old Town. Squeezed between the castle hill and Ljubljanica river is the old town with two squares, Mestni trg (City square) with the Robba fountain and the city hall behind it, and, farther on, Gornji trg (Upper square). Well preserved medieval buildings now house local designer shops, and several popular cafes and restaurants. Although they may look creepy, the perfectly safe narrow lanes lead to charming little squares and buildings.
- Zmajski Most (Dragon Bridge). Completed in 1901, designed by Croatian Jurij Zainovich. It is guarded by four detailed dragon statues from the city's coat-of-arms. Look out for the dragon motif throughout the city. Be careful around the Dragon Bridge area, as it is on a major busy road just outside the pedestrian zone and near misses (and worse) between inattentive tourists and traffic are common. The dragon bridge is located at the end of the Ljubljana Open Market, just a block or two down the river (north-east direction) from the Triple bridge.
- Ljubljana Castle (You can catch the funicular or walk up). The tower has magnificent views all over the city. You can also see the Sava River and Kamnik Alps in the distance. Included is a 3D Movie of the history of Ljubljana from a pre-historic settlement to Roman Empire to modern times (€6.50 for adults, €3.00 for students, seniors). Entrance to the Castle Courtyard, Chapel and Gift shop is free, but there is a charge for access to the tower.
- Square of the Republic. Where crowds gathered as Slovenia announced its independence from the Yugoslav Federation in 1991. The square has significant importance for Slovene history, as it was a place of important public gatherings (and demonstrations) in the past. Across the road is the Slovene Parliament. Its façade is decorated with artistic nude statues of Slovenes at work and leisure. The square also houses the International Business Centre.
- Roman Ruins. A short walk west of the centre of town are the remains of the Roman City Walls, including a number of pillars from an entrance gate.
- Metelkova City. A self-declared autonomous culture place to gather for alternative artists, many subcultures and youth. What used to be a military barracks is now full of underground artists, bars and nightclubs. Metelkova can get crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. It is within 5 minute of walk from main Train Station, and it is home to a renowned hostel Celica.
- Tivoli Park (At the western end of the city centre.). The main city park. You can sit down on a park bench and enjoy the sun. Rožnik (the hill overlooking Ljubljana from the west) is a short hike away through the woods. This is a popular weekend destination for the locals.
- University Botanic gardens Ljubljana, Ižanska cesta 15, ☎ +386 1 427-1280. opened every day. Ljubljana Botanic Garden is the oldest Slovene cultural, scientific and educational institution. It was founded in 1810, the time of the Illyrian Provinces, as a garden of native flora and a section of the Central School (École Centrale). In the garden is also tropical glasshouse.
- Architecture Museum of Ljubljana, Pot na Fužine 2, ☎ +386 1 540-9798. M-F 9AM-3PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-3PM. Hosts a permanent exhibition of Jože Plečnik's works. Student: €1; Adult: €2.
- Architecture Museum of Ljubljana: Plečnik Collection, Karunova 4, ☎ +386 1 280-1600, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An annex of the Architecture Museum devoted to great Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, who lived in this building from 1921 to 1957. The house contains rooms with the artist’s valuable original furniture and personal objects, an archive of his sketches and plans and a collection of clay, plaster and wooden models, a library, Plečnik’s correspondence, a photo archive, thesis projects of Plečnik’s students and an archive of the Academy of Architecture Collection. Access only by guided tour of not more than 7 people, booked at least five days in advance.
- Museum of Modern Art, Tomšiceva 14. For those who prefer contemporary art, houses the national collection of 20th century Slovene art (paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings as well as photography, video and electronic media collections), a collection of works from the former Yugoslavia, and the international collection Arteast 2000+. It is being currently restored.
- National Gallery, Prešernova 24. Definitely worth visiting if you care about art. It exhibits two important permanent collections that include works of some of the best and most renowned Slovenian (impressionist) painters (Jama, Grohar, Jakopic, Azbe). Since September 2008 you can also see there a restored original of the Robba Fountain, a monument of national cultural heritage.
- National Museum of Slovenia - Prešernova, Muzejska ulica 1, ☎ +386 1 241-4400, fax: +38612414422, e-mail: email@example.com. daily 10AM-6PM, Thursday 10AM-8PM, closed on public holidays.. The oldest and the largest Slovene museum. It was founded in 1821. Existent museum building on the Museum street, was built in 1888 and was the first, building, assigned solely to culture in Slovenia. Today its stores a rich collections of valuable objects. The oldest spring back to the Stone Age, but there are also the newer ones, which are still used in our everyday life. Important columns of museum activity are also rich museum library and unit for preservation and restoring. Free admission each first Sunday of the month.
- National Museum of Slovenia - Metelkova, Maistrova 1, ☎ +386 1 230-7030, fax: +38612414422, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. daily 10AM-6PM, closed on Mondays and on public holidays.. In the new building of the National museum of Slovenia on the Metelkova Street, are exhibited collections of the applied art heritage of Slovenia. The permanent exhibition brings together objects of applied arts from the 14th century to the present day.
- National Museum of Contemporary History, Celovška 23 (walk through the pleasant Tivoli park to get here.), ☎ +386 1 300-9610. Slovenia's 20th-century history museum gives you a real sense of the country's roller-coaster ride through regime after regime. Its immersive exhibits include a walk-through WWI trench. The last exhibit shows the events around the Declaration of Independence from Yugoslavia and the Ten Day War with the Yugoslav Federal Army. All exhibits are translated to English and some to German too.
- Slovenian Museum of Natural History. Features an almost complete skeleton of a 20,000 year old mammoth found near Kamnik in 1938, a 200 million year old fossil fish skeleton found in Triglav National Park, and a new, 13m skeleton of a fin whale. Also has a large mineral collection.
- Tivoli Gallery - International centre of Graphic Art, Pod turnom 3, ☎ +386 1 241-3800. Open Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 12:00-18:00, Mo closed. Specialised in art shows, often in collaboration with international institutions. .
- Water City of Atlantis (Located within the BTC City Shopping District, take bus 27 (27K on Sundays)). A water park offering 14 pools, thermal baths, slides and saunas. Special section is dedicated for children. €6 to €14.
- Laguna Fun & Spa (located within the Ljubljana Resort, take bus 27 (27K on Sundays)). only open from June to September.. Offers open-air pools during the day and themed parties at night. €6-12.
Opera & Theatre
Shows are performed regularly throughout the year. The opera house is located just behind the Slovene Parliament. There are several theatres scattered all over the city centre.
- Cankarjev Dom. Enormous arts and convention centre with concerts and performances
- Slovenska Filharmonija.
- Slovene National Theatre (Narodno Gledalisce), Erjavceva 1.
- Puppet Theatre (Lutkovno Gledalisce), Krekov Trg 2.
- Kinoteka (Located on Miklošičeva ulica 28, city centre). Ljubljana's charming film museum where they have at least two movies a day. The movies range from classics to cult movies, from trash and horror to artistic masterpieces. All movies are presented in the original audio language, and equipped with Slovenian subtitles, sometimes also English. On Saturday mornings they have special projections for children. There are also some special events, round tables, premiers etc. all the time. It's a must visit for every film lover. It has also a nice little cafe with small prices €3.00. Closed on Sundays and in July and August..
- Kinodvor (Located on Kolodvorska 13, next to the train station). This is a small and very cool cinema that shows mostly new movies that are not playing in the blockbuster movie complexes. It has also a lot of special events, a great cafe and movies for children (Sundays). From €3.00 to 5.00€..
- Arena Play & Party (Located within the BTC City Shopping District, take bus 27 (27K on Sundays)). A great place to spend an evening. Main features include bowling, pool, laser games and a state-of-the-art 3D XpanD cinema theatre (Movies from €4.59 to €7.93).
- Kolosej Cinema (Located within the BTC City Shopping District, take bus 27 (27K on Sundays)). Ljubljana's main cinema multiplex. Unlike in many other countries, all movies are presented in the original audio language (typically English), and equipped with Slovenian subtitles. Only some showings of computer-rendered and animated movies are dubbed for the children, which is noted. from €5.85 to €6.55. Special discounts on Tuesdays..
Student life in Ljubljana is very active and you will notice many young people on the streets when classes are in session from October to May.
- University of Ljubljana. the largest university in Slovenia, with 64,000 students. The different departments (faculties) are scattered all over the city.
- Language Courses. are offered year-round by the Philosophy Faculty at the university, including two-week (€530) or four-week (€900) long summer schools:
Ljubljana's main shopping areas are the BTC City Shopping District (take bus 27), located at the north-eastern edge, and the Rudnik Shopping District (take bus 27) in the south-eastern edge of the city. However, several department stores such as Maximarket, H&M, Müller, Nama, are located in the city centre. Additionally, Čopova street and the Old town have a dense collection of small shops.
- Sunday flea market, Gallusovo nabrezje. 8AM-2PM. Two dozen or so stalls selling overpriced knick-knacks. Postcards, €10. Tito and Disney memorabilia, broken Chinese-made curios, rusty military paraphernalia.
- Central Market, Vodnikov trg (right bank of the Ljubljanica river, 200m from the Triple Bridges). The central, open-air market features a wide array of local produce (exact items vary depending on the season), as well as local cheeses, breads and meats in the adjacent building. If you're lucky, you may still find sellers who have wheeled in their vegetables from south of the city centre (Krakovo) by foot - although they are a dying breed. Open every morning and early afternoon except Sunday; most lively on Saturday mornings. On Fridays you can also visit the 'Open Kitchen' from 8 am until 9 pm, from March until October.
Downtown Ljubljana is full of trendy cafes (outdoor seating in the summer!) and high-quality restaurants. You can find local Slovenian food, and restaurants with ethnic food from many places around the world. Pizza in Ljubljana is of very good quality. Try a burger Slovene style with a horse burger at the Hot Horse! Cheap and good for returning from a night out.
- Hot' Horse, BTC City, Šmartinska 152; Tivoli Park, Celovška 25. Huge burgers and other dishes, focused around horse meat. Made to your liking. Don't be fooled by the pictures on the official website, the burgers are huge, larger than at McDonald's or Burger King. Note that you must use an automatic order machine to place your order and pay for it before picking it up from the counter.
- Falafel, Trubarjeva 40. This Middle-Eastern dish, together with other meat and vegetables dishes is served in the small fast-food restaurant next to the Dragon bridge. €3, including 2 dishes, tea and a sweet.
- Nobel Burek, Miklošičeva 30 (You can't miss it - green and yellow sign, a lot of people standing in line). The place where young people go to get food late in the evening or at night. Different kinds of burek (a leafy dough pie, traditionally with mince meat or cheese filling) available. Considered to be the best burek in town. €2.
- Cafe Romeo, Stari trg 6 (Along the river, to the south of the 3 bridges.). Fusion between cocktail bar and Mexican restaurant. Besides tourists, this place is also popular among the locals. Meal salads: €7.50; Burrito: €5-8, Quasadas: €5-8.
- Cantina Mexicana, Wolfova 4 (just off the central square by the 3 bridges.), ☎ +386 1 426-9325. Mexican restaurant set in a small yard together with another restaurant and a pub. Tex Mex: €13; Fajitas: €10; Salads: €8.
- Da-bu-da, Šubičeva 1a. Thai food and cocktail bar, great atmosphere.
- Emonska Klet, Plecnikov Trg 1. Former Ursuline convent. Cellar restaurant serving pizza, salads, and Slovenian food. Live music every night.
- Figovec, Gosposvetska 1. Serves pony steaks, horse goulash, and traditional Slovenian food.
- Foculus, Gregorciceva 3. Flamboyantly decorated pizzeria and salad restaurant. €6 and up.
- Gostilna Pod Rožnikom, Cesta na Roznik 18 (near Ljubljana Zoo.). Specialises in grilled dishes from southeastern Europe.
- Gostilna Sokol, Ciril Metodov trg 18, ☎ +386 1 439-6855. This restaurant deals up authentic Slovenian cuisine, complete with all waiters and waitresses dressed up in traditional costume. The food is hearty and served in generous gut-busting portions and very good value for money. The fish cooked in a paper bag with vegetables is highly recommended. There is plenty of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes to choose from. The only downside was the house red, which is very sharp and quite cold, but this is a minor quibble.
- Joe Pena's, Cankarjeva 6. Popular Mexican restaurant.
- Julija, Stari trg 9 (Right next to Luka’s). Fare of Italian pasta and risotto dishes. Not quite a nice as Luka’s but still a good filling meal, and at a reasonable price. Pasta or risotto: €6.50.
- Jurman, Zaloška 151. Daily 11:00-23:00. Affordable prices and very diverse choices. They have themed rooms, such as castle room and fishing room. Children can play in a designated indoor and outdoor playgrounds. The staff is friendly and the service is fast; it usually never takes longer than 10 minutes for 2 or 3 people. You are advised to make a reservation in advance.
- Luka Gourmet Lunch Cafe, Stari trg 11. One of a line of cafes on Stari Trg with outside seating. Serves up tasty, mainly pasta dishes with reasonable prices and friendly service. Steak, €19.
- Ljubljanski Dvor, Dvorni trg 1. Offers 100 different kinds of pizza. Beautiful patio overlooking the river. Large pizzas, €6 and up.
- Pri Škofu, Rečna cesta 5 (On a quiet residential street in the Trnovo/Krakovo district). This restaurant is heavily promoted by tourist guides, but delivers an inconsistent experience (i.e. can be very good or simple adequate). Their biggest shortcoming is the lack of wine choice. House specialties are gnocchi, black risotto, tenderloin medallions, or grilled aubergines.
- Šestica, Slovenska 40. Serves hearty meat dishes such as sausages, horse fillets, and steak as well as pasta and risotto.
- Špajza, Gornji trg 28, ☎ +386 1 425-3094. Closed Sun.. This restaurant is much larger than you first expect when you initially enter. You walk through several candlelit rooms before you reach the outside terrace. The waiters are initially quite attentive, serving you a nice little aperitif to get you started. The food is a mixture of Slovenian and European, and the menu is kept to a handful of choices for each course. Because of the service, surroundings and food this felt like an expensive restaurant, although by Western standards, it was quite reasonable. Mains: €10-15.
- Stara Mačka, Krojaška ulica 8 (Next to the Maček bar/lounge, in the middle of the old town). This is one of the best deals in town if you are looking for an intimate steakhouse
- Zhong Hua, Trubarjeva 50, ☎ +386 1 230-1665. Decent Chinese restaurant near the Dragon bridge. The family-run place even has Beijing duck on their menu. Mains: €6-10.
- Zlata Ribica, Cankarjevo Nabrezje 5. Great fish restaurant with outdoor seating facing the river.
- Gostilna Pod Vrbo, Ziherlova Ulika 36 (about 10 minutes' walk south of the old town, or a quick bus ride. In Ziherlova Ulika, off Barjanska Cesta), ☎ +386 1 280-8892, +386 41 712 806, e-mail: email@example.com. Local restaurant serving a huge range of Slovenian food - appetisers, starters, main courses, sweets, salads, meat, fish, etc. Friendly staff speak Slovenian, English and Italian, and the menus are indeed in Slovenian, English and Italian. Depends on guest's choice but a full meal (appetiser, starter, main course, sweet, drink) around €30.
- As, Copova Ulica 5A (located near the Triple Bridge.). Considered by many as Ljubljana's fanciest and most expensive, focusing on seafood and an extensive wine choice
- Cubo, Meteorology 55. Modern International fare.
- JB, Miklošičeva 17 (close to the bus/train stations), ☎ 01 433 13 58, , 01 474 72 19 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. closed on weekends. Modern International fare, can get expensive by Slovenian standards.
- Krpan, 24 Ob Ljubljanici (out of center, close to the main hospital (Klinični center)). specializing mainly in seafood with an amazing grill experience. Unfortunately there have been some reports of inflated bills.
- Manna, Eipprova 1A (South from the main tourist area), ☎ 01 283 52 94. excellent traditional dishes. It advertises "Slow food", but in effect the service is both helpful and fast. The restaurant has friendly and artistic atmosphere. €20-€40.
- Pri Vitezu, Breg 18-20. High-end restaurant serving swordfish, scallops, snails, duck, and horse fillets.
- Govinda's, Žibertova 23, Ljubljana - Šiška, ☎ 059 058 381. 11h - 19h. Vegetarian restaurant with Indian cuisine and vegan options €5-10.
Most of Ljubljana’s bars tend to cluster on the streets running parallel to the river, radiating from Prešernov trg, which is the main square in Ljubljana. The more interesting bars tend to be on the backstreets, rather than directly facing the river. Part of the joy of this city is stumbling across these places, but these are few to start you off.
- Cafe Antico, Stari Trg 17. Great ambiance - bare wooden floors, high tables and stools, and vaulted ceiling.
- Cafe Gaudi, Nazorjeva 10. Nice interior and wide selection of coffees.
- Čajna Hiša (The Tea House), Stari trg 3. Closed Sun. This is a quirky little coffee and tea room, offering many variations on those warm beverages as well as basic breakfasts and lunches. The background music is impeccably cool, and the atmosphere is ideal for some elegant loafing. Linked to the café is a teashop selling drinking paraphernalia and loads of different fruity flavoured teas by the 100g.
- , Kongresni trg 1. Nautically themed cafe/bar with travel map and bookshop. Mellow atmosphere.
- Juice Bar Babo, Krojaška 4. A juice and smoothie bar in the old city center with over 50 combinations of freshly prepared beverages to choose from. Laid-back atmosphere, interesting combination of urban and health freak culture. Good place to meet tourists and interesting locals of all ages.
- Le Petite Cafe, Trg Francoske Revolucije 4. Very popular corner cafe.
- Maček, Krojaška 5. The most popular cafe along the river.
- Samsara, Presernov Trg. Summer-only outdoor cafe offers large selection of ice cream & gelato.
- Sax Pub, Eipprova 7. Really cool colorful spray-painted cafe/bar along the canal.
- Zvezda, Wolfova 14. Cafe with great ices and pastries.
- BI-KO-FE, Židovska steza 2.. A lively artsy little bar that plays excellent jazz music (CD, not live). There is outside seating, but inside is where it seems to be happening. It looks like the place the youngish locals hangout to drink the night away. Coffee, teas, and alcoholic beverages.
- Breg, Breg 2. Classy wine bar along the river.
- Cutty Sark, Knafljev Prehod 1 (Opposite Cantina Mexicana). Lively pub with raucous atmosphere. Usually has live music.
- Lepa Žoga, Celovška 43 (Near Tivoli Park). Main sports cafe/bar with sports regalia along the wall and a good, mixed crowd on most nights. Shows international rugby, all sorts of football games (European, English, Italian and other leagues) and other live sports. Has the best TV coverage in the city, ranging from Sky Sports to local TV stations.
- Od Žmavca sosed pa ud brata prjatu (Žmavc's neighbor and my brother's pal aka Žmavc), Rimska cesta 21, ☎ +386 1 251 0324. Markets to the "creative urban type."
- Patrick's Irish Bar, Prečna 6 (Up a little side street off Trubarjeva). The ubiquitous Irish Pub with Guinness and local beers on tap, with a typical menu of hearty meals available. Also typical is the welcoming atmosphere that seems common to all Irish Pubs. Big Screen TVs show sporting events, (mainly traditionally Irish Gaelic Games and occasionally soccer) but bar staff are happy to change a television to show other sports (Rugby Union, Rugby League, Cricket, AFL, NFL etc.) on request. Watch out for expat and tour groups at popular sporting events from their 'home' country.
- Pr'skelet, Ključavničarska 5. Skeleton-themed basement bar in a side alley. Famous for an extensive variety of cocktails, and you get two for price of one, prices vary from €6 to 13.
- Pod Skalco, Gosposka 19 (just opposite to the Križanke auditorium, next to the City Museum of Ljubljana, on the back of the National & University Library). M-F 6:30AM-3AM, Sa-Su 5:30PM-3AM. Popular student pub with an almost 150 year long tradition, frequented almost exclusively by locals. Loud music.
- Ragamuffin, Krojaska 4. Intimate, reggae cafe-bar with good tunes.
- Vinoteka Movia, Mestni trg 2 (Next to the Town Hall). Anyone with any interest in wine should visit here. The cosy, candlelit wine bar comes with knowledgeable barmen who can recommend a wine based on your tastes. The wine glasses are huge, so it's hard to tell if they were being stingy or if it has simply spread out. Be careful about asking for ‘samples’, as they will charge you full price. The prices can vary from modest to a remortgage.
- Zlata Ladjica, Juricicev trg 1 (Next to the Shoemaker's Bridge, on the left bank of the river). Fun, energetic pub. Serves mulled wine in winter.
- Scratch Rock Bar, Krakovski nasip 4., e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Thu 8-24, Fri 8-1, Sat 18-1. Dedicated to classic, mainstream and underground rock music, offers a wide choice of beers, sandwiches and snacks, and, above all, a varied programme of events related to rock music. The most frequently played styles include classic rock, melodic hard rock, album-oriented rock, progressive rock and blues rock. Metal is played occasionally. The bar hosts themed music evenings, evenings of rock-album music, concerts, party games, etc. One day of the week is dedicated to a selected rock star or band.
- Sir William's pub, Tavčarjeva ulica 8a, ☎ +386-599-44-825, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri 08:00 - 01:00, Sat 10:00 - 14:00 and 19:00 - 01:00, Sun 17:00 - 24:00. Located in the Art Nouveau part of Ljubljana city centre, offers more than 120 beer varieties and a large choice of teas and wines. It is vibrant in the evenings, particularly when it hosts themed events and beer tastings, while during the day it has a more coffee house-like atmosphere, offering its guests an opportunity to browse through a newspaper or read a book in peace. The staff speak several languages. Free wireless internet access is available.
Ljubljana has several good nightclubs (discothèques). The clubs hold special events, they will play a certain syle of music on certain nights, etc. Some will also impose a strict dress code and age limits.
- Metelkova mesto, Metelkova 8 (next to the train station). Mo-Sun, 10PM - 4AM.. It's a squat with 6 clubs, each with its own style of music and program. Gala Hala is the biggest and the music is very diverse - from funk nights to hip-hop and indie to rap and strange fun music. It has also concerts and an outside garden where they also grill in the summer. Gromka is a smaller one usually admission free and the music also differs from night to night. Usually it's rock/alternative hits or rockabilly or fun 90s music. It has also concerts. Menza pri Koritu is the most alternative and it has mainly alternative, metal, punk concerts and after parties. Channel Zero is more about electronics (also concerts) - d'n'b, dub, electro, house. Jalla Jalla is the smallest one with sometimes obscure, experimental music. Tiffany is a gay club with usually electronic parties. In Metelkova everybody can find a place for himself (usually the most is happening on weekends) and you can just walk from one to another club and see what is going on (if there is no admission). free or up to €10.
- K4, Kersnikova 4. Tu-Sun, 10PM - 2.30/4AM.. National and international DJs play electronic music.
- Top, Tomšičeva 2 (opposite main post office that is on Čopova ulica). Located on the top floor/roof of a downtown department store, this trendy nightclub offers fantastic views of downtown Ljubljana. Music varies depending on the day of the week.
Ljubljana offers several hostels and student homes that function as hostels in the summer.
- Alibi Hostel, Cankarjevo nabrežje 27, near the Triple Bridge. The rooms are clean and the internet is free. Dorm bed: €12-€20.
- Celica (The Cell), Metelkova 8 (400m from bus/railway station). A redecorated military prison within the former Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav army base of Metelkova. Each cell of this former prison was individually designed by a Slovenian artist, with a different theme in mind. Free wi-fi and internet access, Coin laundry, small art gallery and library, pleasant cafe-restaurant. Credit cards accepted. Room in a 2-5 bed cell: €21-€28; Room in the 14-bed dorm: €17-€21; Breakfast included.
- Dijaški dom (Youth Hostel) Tabor, Vidovdanska 7 (500m from bus/railway station), ☎ +386 (0)1 234 8840, fax: +386 (0)1 234 8855, e-mail: email@example.com. Open only from th end of June to the end of August. Clean and modern student dorm. Free internet for 15min and a kitchen with dishes is available for cooking. dorm bed in 10-bed room: €11; Single: €26; Breakfast is included.
- Fluxus Hostel, Tomšičeva 4 (Short walk from the bus/train stations). Situated in the small 3-room apartment of a dentist that was killed in World War II. The hostel is small, but the rooms are spacious and a good place to meet people. Dorm bed: €21.
- Most Hostel, Petkovškovo nabrežje 41 (By the river, close to the Dragon Bridge), ☎ +386 31 282816. Cute, small, friendly and recently renovated hostel with a perfect location. There's also one PC with Internet connection for free. Dorm bed: €21; Double with shared bath: €60.
- Vila Veselova, Veselova 14, ☎ +386 59 926 721. Located in a 100 year old Victorian villa on the western side of town near Tivoli park and the American Embassy. VV is a 5 minute walk to the city center. They have free breakfast (cereal and coffee). Self-serve kitchen and laundry. Free WiFi is available down stairs in the common area (but has good reception in the rooms downstairs too). Rooms are large and draughty, located near a main road and train tracks. Rooms aren't numbered, but have colours! (Yellow room, Green room, Lime room....etc.) Most bathrooms aren't en suite, but are locked and you have a key (so if you're in the Turquoise room...every one in that room uses the Turquoise bathroom). 8,6 and 4 bedroom dorms and one private room with en suite facility (Violet room). Prices are €20 and up a night with the private Turquoise room going for about €40 a night. Front desk is staffed in the morning and early evening and you need the code to get in. Contact the hostel if you're going to be late, because no one will be around to let you in or unlock your room (unless you have a cell phone that will work in Slovenia. Phone numbers are posted outside). Reception staff are very friendly and extremely helpful. A nice efficient place to stay, with a good vibe, if you don't mind bare-bones comfort.
- Guest House Martin, Ziherlova Ulika 22 (off Barjanska Cesta: turn into Ziherlova Ulika, then turn second right. Watch out that this is a narrow alley with a small sign at the start with the hotel name on, not immediately obvious. Barjanksa Cesta is south of the centre, off ring-road junction 34, or a 10-minute walk from the old town, or an even shorter bus ride), ☎ +38641791401/fax +38611111, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest house with friendly English-speaking owner. All rooms are double or twin with spotless shared bathroom (clean, hot shower). There is a shared kitchen. Set in a quite, residential zone with all facilities nearby. €40 per double/twin.
- Antiq Hotel, Gornji trg 3 (5 minute walk south from the triple bridge), ☎ +386 1 42 13 560, fax: +386 1 42 135 65, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-out: 11AM. Beautiful but very affordable antique-styled hotel; good breakfast, free Wi-Fi on all rooms, very nice staff. Double: from €90.
- BIT Center Hotel, Litijska 57 (2km east of the center, take buses #5,#9,#13, or #22). Lively sports hotel/hostel. Clean, no-frills rooms. Squash, badminton facilities and fitness center. Use of pool in summer. Bed in 10-bed room: €14.50; Single: €33.50; Double: €44.
- City Hotel Turist, Dalmatinova 15 (5 minute walk from bus & train stations). Features nice refurbished rooms, but a bit pricey.
- Hotel Grandvid, Dolenjska 336 (7km southeast of the center in the suburb of Lavrica). New hotel with shiny ultramodern facilities.
- Hotel Park (Tabor 9) (800m east of the train station), ☎ +386 (0)1 300 2500, fax: +386 (0)1 433 0546, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This 145-room 3-star hotel is also a HI hostel and its accommodation is split between hotel and "hostel" rooms. Hostel rooms are cheaper but are grim and bare and have shared shower/bath and no TV. Staff may request to keep your passport at check in, so it might be useful to have a copy to hand in. Single: €70; Double: €90.
- Katrca, Rožna dolina, c.I/26, (three-minute walk to Park Tivoli and ten-minute walk to Prešeren Square). #-star hotel/restaurant with only five rooms. From €55.
- Ljubljana Resort (formerly known as Avtokamp Ježica), Dunajska 270 (5 km north of the centre, take bus 6, 8 or 11), ☎ +386 (0)1 568 3913, fax: +386 (0)1 568 3912, e-mail: email@example.com. Pleasant location near river Sava. You can pitch a tent or hire a bungalow. Swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre, badminton, volleyball, bowling, children's playground, restaurant, snack bar.
- M Hotel, Derceva 4 (2km northwest of the center. Take buses #1, #3, #15, or #16 to Kino Siska). Modern, neat, spacious rooms. Triples and apartments are available. Single: €70; Double: €90.
- Pension Tavcar (2km northwest of the center. Take bus #12 to Hrastje, walk back 200m, and make a right). Neat and bright.
- Pri Mraku, Rimska 4 (Downtown, near Krizante). Colorful rooms, nice restaurant.
- Austria Trend Hotel, Dunajska cesta 154,. 214 modern and spacious guest rooms in four different categories. All rooms are equipped with air-con, safe, minibar, hair dryer, flat screen, satellite TV and radio. Single: €130; Double: €150.
- Best Western Premier Hotel Slon (Elephant), Slovenska 34 (located in center), ☎ +386 (0)1 470 11 00, fax: +386 (0)1 251 71 64, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Named after Archduke Maximilian who stayed at an inn on the location of the hotel with an elephant in 1552. Rooms are bright, parquet-floored, include desks and chairs. Good restaurant on site. From €100.
- Grand Hotel Union Executive, Miklosiceva 1 (premier city centre location), ☎ +386 (0)1 308 12 70. Splendid art nouveau building. Ljubljana's most refined hotel. Rooms are huge and some have views of the castle. Fitness center, sauna, and rooftop pool. Nice à la carte restaurant. From €150..
- Hotel Lev, Vošnjakova 1 (5 minute walk west of the bus & train stations, opposite Tivoli Park), ☎ +386 (0)1 433 21 55. 5-star hotel. The most expensive hotel in Ljubljana. A gleaming glass high rise building. Popular among business travelers. Lavish rooms have smark oak chairs and desks. From €145.
- Hotel Mons. New 4-star hotel. Hotel facilities include a gymnasium, a sauna, billiard room, Zen meditation, a smaller library with local and international literature, an outlet of the Kompas travel agency, footpaths in the nearby forest, bicycle hire, free-of-charge transfers to the centre of Ljubljana, transfers to and from Ljubljana Airport, excursions and the organisation of wedding receptions. Single: €90; Double: €115.
- Central Hotel (managed by Grand Hotel Union), Miklosiceva 9 (300m south of the bus & train stations), ☎ +386(0)1 308 43 00. 4-star hotel popular among business travelers. Rooms are decorated in bright yellow and green colors. Rooms are well furnished with comfortable beds, a sofa, minibar, and safe. From €100..
- Kongo Hotel & Casino (formerly Motel/Hotel Grosuplje), Ljubljanska 65, 1290 Grosuplje (15km from Ljubljana, accessible with city bus 3G), ☎ +386(0)1 7810 200, fax: +386(0)1 7810 250, e-mail: email@example.com. 24/7. Check-in: 14pm, check-out: 11pm. 4-star hotel popular among business travelers, families travellers and other travellers. Rooms are well furnished with comfortable beds, bathroom, minibar, flat LCD TV, free Wi-Fi and safe box. Casino is open 24/7 and offer different sorts of fun. Restaurant offer each morning hot buffet breakfast. You can use public transport city bus line nr. 3G to reach this accommodation. Room rates from €59..
Ljubljana is possibly one of the safest capitals you'll ever visit. Remarkably safe during the day and night, as a tourist you should have no problems, provided you are not desperately looking for trouble.
Even the rougher parts of Ljubljana, located far from the city centre, are relatively safe, if you don't flash your valuables. These areas, not commonly frequented by tourists, include Fužine, Rakova Jelša, Štepanjsko naselje and parts of Šiška, Moste and Šentvid.
Tivoli Park is generally safe and a very popular destination for picnics or taking an afternoon stroll for an average Ljubljanian, but just as anywhere in the world it is recommended that you don't put your guard down and avoid larger groups of teenagers hanging around in the park late at night, as thefts and sexual assaults have been reported. Avoid speaking English around the teenagers in the park as they are known to attack foreigners.
City center is covered with a Wi-fi network named WiFreeLjubljana that offers free access for 60 minutes a day. Service has just been launched, so coverage is not yet perfect, but is being actively improved.
Free internet access is also available at:
- Kiberpipa, Gosposvetska 2. One of the oldest and locally most important hackerspaces. Closed to the public in the summer.
- CopyLand, Vidovdanska cesta 2, ☎ 0590 77 253, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. MON-FRI 9-17h. Free for first 5 minutes if you pay for prints.
- Simobil, Čopova (up towards the McDonalds from the Triple Bridge) - a Slovenian cell phone providers store, but the laptops upstairs have free internet access..
Almost free internet access is available at:
- Slovenian Tourist Information Center, Krekov trg 10.
- CyberCafe Xplore, Petkovškovo nabrežje 23.
- CopyLand, Vidovdanska cesta 2 (near Trubarjeva / Ilirska), ☎ 0590 77 253, e-mail: email@example.com. MON-FRI 9-17h. Offers also printing, DHL, fax & postal services and coffee.
- Finland, Ajdovščina 4/8, SI-1000, ☎ +386 1-3002120, fax: +386 1-3002139, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Fr 10AM-noon.
- Greece, Trnovski pristan 14, Ljubljana 1000, ☎ +386 1 4201400, +386 1 4101410, +386 51 449956 (Emergencies), fax: +386 1 2811114, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F: 08:30-16:00.
- United Kingdom, 4th floor Trg Republike 3, Ljubljana 1000, ☎ +386 1 200 3910, fax: +3371 425 0174. 1800-1600 M-F.
Hills around the city
- Šmarna gora (662 m), is a popular (and overcrowded, on weekends) hill on the northern outskirts of the city. For 30–60 minutes of easy climbing you will be rewarded by a nice view over the entire city. Bus number 8 will take you to the foothill; get off at Tacenski most.
- Off the beaten track, Krim mountain (1107 m), used to station a military and civilian communication center due to its strategic position overlooking most of Slovenia. With only the civilian part remaining, the top is open for public and offers a great 360 degrees panoramic view on clear days, especially after rain. The climb takes 2–3 hours (beware of bears!), yet the most convenient access is by car. The last 4 kilometers of the road are unpaved and narrow, so even by car the journey will take about 30 minutes each way.
- Hiking around Ljubljana offers even more ideas
- Bled - the most picturesque town in Slovenia, with a scenic lake with an island church, overlooked by a castle. Only 1 hour from Ljubljana.
- Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps - a paradise for outdoor adventurers. Opportunities abound for hiking, mountaineering, rafting, canyoning, paragliding, skydiving, etc...Located just outside of Bled
- Postojna - home to the remarkably huge Postojna Caves and the Predjama Castle
- Škocjan Caves - another set of remarkable caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Skiing - Slovenia's national sport. There are several ski resorts all across the country. One very good one is the Krvavec ski resort in the Kamnik Alps. It is located about 35 kilometers north of Ljubljana.
- Izola, Koper, Piran, and Portorož are located on the coast of Slovenia and offer beautiful scenery. Do a little sailing or water sports or walk around the old city of Piran.
- Kamnik - button-cute little town 45 min north of Ljubljana, just below the Kamnik Alps. It has a perfectly preserved medieval town center.
Hitchhiking out of Ljubljana
Hitchhiking in and/or out of Ljubljana is possible and widely practiced, but take the usual precautions.
- North towards Maribor, Austria - from the main street, West of the Train station (Dunajska Cesta) take buses 6, 8 or 11 in direction of North. Get off in the station "Smelt", 15 minutes later, when you see the "World Trade Center" building. Ahead of you, you will see the highway. On the first turn to the right, go into the highway entry and stand on the side with your sign.
- South towards Koper, Rijeka, Italy - from the city center (Dunajska cesta, Kongresni trg) take bus number 6 in direction south, till the last station (Dolgi most). Get out, and on your left side you will side the entry lane into the highway. There will also be an entry to a parking of a small house, stand on the side there with your sign (you will see where everybody else stands...).
- East towards Novo mesto, Zagreb, Croatia - from the city center (Dunajska cesta) take bus number 3 in direction south, till the last station (Rudnik). Get out, and walk 200 meters more along Dolenjska cesta until you get to the crossroad and the entry point to the highway (left turn, opposite to the railroad crossing). Stand on the side there with your sign (there are some hitchhikers but not all the time ...).