24 hours in: Ljubljana

April 03, 2018
Urban Adventures

Only have one day to see the Slovenian capital? Don’t fret! You can still get a pretty solid overview of the city even on a tight timeline. Our local Ljubljana tour guides have you covered with a plan for the perfect 24 hours in the city. Be prepared — this will involve lots of sightseeing, several cups of coffee and a long but memorable night in one of the quirkiest neighbourhoods in town.

Early morning (7am – 9am)

One of the best ways to start your morning in Ljubljana is with a visit to the Central Market along Ljubljanica River, from the Dragon Bridge to the Triple Bridge. It is a very nice walk along the riverbanks, where you can stop for a coffee or just admire the work of Slovenian-born architect Joze Plecnik, who was responsible for the Triple Bridge and covered colonnade section of the market (as well as numerous other works throughout the city). Pick up some Slovenian delicacies to snack on like Karst prosciutto, local cheeses, homemade bread or traditional potica cake (rolled dough cake with different fillings).

Morning (9am – 12pm)

After exploring the market, a visit to Ljubljana Castle is a must, and the perfect spot to admire Ljubljana from above. You can join a guided tour or just visit one of the exhibitions, like the 3D time machine experience, which leads visitors on a guided tour through six significant periods throughout the castle’s history. You can walk or just take the funicular from Krek Square opposite of Ljubljana Central Market. It is a five-minute walk from Central Market to the lower station of the funicular. If you decide to walk uphill, it should take you half an hour.

Homes in Ljubljana

Picturesque Ljubljana | Photo via Pixabay

Midday (12pm – 2pm)

There are many choices for lunch after your descent from the castle. Enjoy lunch at Gjužina, a restaurant and gourmet store that offers local Slovenian dishes with a trendy twist, or at As Aperitivo, which is popular with the local crowd for business lunches, light snacks and after-work drinks. It’s about a half-hour walk from the castle to Gjužina, and 45 minutes to As Aperitivo, giving you just enough time to work up an appetite! A couple of other good options include Biro Bistro, a trendy place that also serves great breakfast, and Mala Terasa where you can get a quick, healthy lunch on a terrace with the best view of Skyscraper Neboticnik.

Afternoon (2pm – 6pm)

Walk off your lunch with a stroll along Cankarjeva cesta and a visit to Tivoli Park and Tivoli Mansion, about a 30-minute stroll from lunch. The mansion has recently been renovated and now houses the International Centre of Graphic Arts. On the way, you can see the scenic Jakopič Promenade (Jakopičevo sprehajališče), designed by Plečnik in the central part of Tivoli Park. It has become a well-known outdoor venue for exhibitions of large-format photographs, open throughout the year.

Ljubljana river scenery

Scenes along the river | Photo via Pixabay

Evening (6pm onwards)

For dinner, check out Ta Bar, a Slovenian tapas and wine bar, or Špajza, a Mediterranean restaurant on a charming street at Gornji trg. For dessert and a coffee, head to the lounge at Nebotičnik, which offers the best view of the city (it was the seventh highest building in Europe when it was built in 1933). From there, you can see Castle Hill and old Ljubljana on one side, and Tivoli Park with Alpine peaks in the backdrop on the other. End the night at Dvorni Bar, which is the trendiest wine bar in town, or at Cutty Sark Pub, where locals go for a good mix of local and international beers. If you’re more of the adventurous type, check out Metelkova City, an internationally renowned alternative culture community that often draws comparisons to Copenhagen’s Kristiania.

If you want to experience a more upscale scene, go to STRELEC, an award-winning restaurant at Ljubljana Castle that overlooks the city from above. The chef is Igor Jagodic, recognized as one of the top three chefs in Slovenia. A new addition to the city’s dinning scene is JAKOB FRANC, a short walk from the centre by the river in Trnovo.

Every location is centrally located except Metelkova City which you can reach by public transportation, taxi, or half an hour walk through very picturesque Trubarjeva Street.

Shorter stays

For travellers on a short visit, we’d definitely recommend having a layover that will allow you to spend two hours in the city centre, and another hour for travelling to and from the airport.

The best way to get from the airport to the sites is by taxi, which should take you around 30 minutes.

If you want to see Ljubljana in two hours in the morning or afternoon, spend your time in the city centre and walk the streets along Ljubljanica river. Ljubljana is small and very picturesque, and you need less than two hours to walk around the river banks and get a taste of the local life.

If you’re in Ljubljana for an evening or nighttime layover, make your way to Metelkova City for some alternative music and a lively atmosphere, or head to Cutty Sark Pub for some local beer and rock music.