Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. It is a great starting location to get to Lake Bled. I wish I stayed in Ljubljana longer! It was so beautiful, so hipster, and so different than any typical European city. Although I wanted to stay longer, you can definitely see Ljubljana in a day. Ljubljana is a very green city. It was voted for and won the European Green Capital Award in 2016. They closed off the city center area so cars can no longer drive through there. Everyone can walk around without the fear of having to look out for cars. There’s also green mini-cars that drive throughout the city center if you need a free ride. They are called “gentlemen”. I like that name 😉
Join a free walking tour.
First things first, join a free walking tour! Free walking tours are one of my favorite things to do in every city. It’s a great way to see everything in a small amount of time, and it’s super informative. You learn a lot of things that you normally wouldn’t be learning if you were on your own. Some walking tours are better than others, but I really enjoyed the one in Ljubljana. At the end of the walking tour, you pay whatever amount you felt the tour was worth. Please pay. Do not run away before the tour ends so you get out of paying. That’s rude and they work hard!
During high season (May – October) the Ljubljana free walking tour starts at 11 am and 3 pm every day in front of the pink building in the Prešeren Square. During low season (November – April) it’s 11 am daily. Look for the guides in yellow! It covers all the main touristy spots such as Congress Square, Cathedral, Triple Bridge, Butchers bridge, dragons bridge, etc.
Go to the markets.
There’s 3 markets that are located outside, inside, and in a basement of a building. The Central Market is located in the Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg Squares. The Central Market is full of local goods and fresh food. If you’re lucky, your tour guide might even buy you food for the group to sample (so fresh and delicious!!) There’s even vending machines for fresh milk at the market. It’s a great place to walk around and try things!
Walk up and down the canal.
There’s so many beautiful restaurants, cafes, and shops. The canal is gorgeous and has many places to take that perfect Instagram photo.
Support and eat a delicious meal at Druga Violina.
Druga Violina specializes in Slovenian food and they employ several people with special needs. What a great restaurant to support and eat at! Lunch time has a limited menu of 3 options, but it is reasonably priced. I got gnocchi and a salad for only 5.50 euros! If you go during dinner time, make sure you make a reservation. It gets really crowded!
Take the funicular to Ljubljana Castle.
For a small fee, you can take the funicular up and down, visit the tower, and visit 2 museums at the top. There’s a lot of other things you can pay to see while up there. The museum was very unique and interesting. It’s a beautiful view at the top of the tower. You can also opt out of taking the funicular and walk by foot, but if you’re in Ljubljana only for a day, you’ll want to save time and take the funicular.
Enjoy a quick sausage.
I didn’t eat here since I’m vegetarian, but my tour guide recommended going to Klobasarna for some traditional sausages. It’s located in the city center. Some locals say it’s the best place to get sausages! There’s limited seating so this would be a great place to stop for a quick snack!
Embrace yourself in unique art.
Metelkova was formerly army barracks and now is transformed into a community art center. It’s very unique and something I’ve never seen before. There’s a lot of graffiti and art pieces throughout the place. I recommend going during day time. Some people didn’t feel safe going at night. It’s closer to the bus station if you want to check it out.
Hang out in Tivoli Park.
Tivoli Park is massive! It’s very big and beautiful. I went on a mission to get there. I was walking from Metelkova which was a bit of a walk. The park is really nice and there’s a lot of places to sit and enjoy nature. When I went in June, there were a lot of concerts throughout the park. If you have time, I recommend having a picnic there or bring a blanket and sit on the lawn and listen to music.
Stay the night at Vila Veselova.
Depending on where you’re going next and what time you arrive or leave, stay the night at Vila Veselova. It’s a great location. Walking distance to the city center and Tivoli Park. It also includes free breakfast. The staff are so nice and so helpful. They spent a lot of time going over everything I should do within the day. They also have the Bled bus schedule and other cool pamphlets. I stayed in the blue room which had a mini-kitchen and bathroom ensuite. It was pretty spacious and nice.
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I hope you enjoy Ljubljana as much as I did. It’s a beautiful city worth seeing. If you plan to go to Lake Bled, read my top 15 things to do in Bled. What did you enjoy about Ljubljana?