The complete guide to: Ljubljana travel

The complete guide to: Ljubljana travel

Considered a bit of a hidden gem in Europe, pretty Ljubljana is well worth discovering. The capital of the Republic of Slovenia is home to historic castles, mansions and unique museums, and hosts numerous cultural festivals and events all year long. Plus it’s also in the midst of a culinary boom. If that wasn’t enough, the central European city was named the European Green Capital 2016 thanks to its abundance of green space and city centre that is mostly dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists. Ready to pack your bags? Good idea! Our local Ljubljana tour guides are here to help get you there and around with ease, while also sharing their best picks for what to see and do.

Getting to and from LJU

Public bus No. 28 operates between Ljubljana bus station in the city centre and Ljubljana airport, and runs every hour from 5am to 8pm. The journey takes 45 minutes and the cost is EUR 4.10. You can buy your tickets directly from the driver.

If you prefer to take a taxi, they are in front of the arrivals terminal and a taxi ride to the centre of town will cost between EUR 30 and 50, depending on where you’re going.

Getting around Ljubljana

If you intend to use bus transportation in Ljubljana, you’ll need to buy an Urbana card, which you can then load with money to be used for getting around. You can get it for a one-time fee of EUR 2 at tourist information centres, most city street kiosks and post offices. One journey costs EUR 1.20 and allows you to change as many buses as you need in a period of 90 minutes. Buses operate from 5:30am to 10:30pm with several night buses operating in the interim.

Walking in Ljubljana is a great option, especially in the pedestrian-friendly city centre. There is also the option of getting around on two wheels. The city’s BicikeLJ bicycle-sharing system gives you an opportunity to hire bikes from self-service terminals located across the wider Ljubljana city centre.

Things to do in Ljubljana

One of the best ways to experience the Ljubljanica River (a highlight in the city) is on a stand-up paddle board. The river goes directly through the vibrant old part of the city, so in addition to getting some fresh air and exercise, you’ll also be seeing the city from a unique perspective. You can book a tour through Bananaway, which are suitable for even beginners. Ljubljana is currently the only European capital where you can paddle board right through the very heart of town. Tours are offered from May to September.

River in Ljubljana

Ljubljanica River | Photo by Ljubljana Urban Adventures

There’s also a year-round boat tour (heated in the winter) on the Ljubljanica River which departs daily at 1pm and 3pm. The hour-long cruise costs EUR 8 and is a great vantage point for seeing the city’s beauty as well as experiencing the river, which is crossed by picturesque bridges.

You don’t want to visit Ljubljana without checking out the city’s main attraction: Ljubljana Castle. Standing on a hill above the city for about 900 years, this is a must for history buffs and anyone with even a passing interest in castles. The Outlook Tower and ramparts offer beautiful views of the city, and you’ll also find a museum exhibition on Slovenian history here, a puppet museum and several historical rooms. The castle also provides space for art exhibitions and various cultural events including dance evenings and and open-air film screenings. You can get to the castle via a funicular railway, and a visit costs EUR 10 (including return funicular fare).

City of Ljubljana

Ljubljana from above | Photo by Ljubljana Urban Adventures

Foodies and anyone who loves to experience a destination’s culinary offerings should put Ljubljana’s Central Market on their city itinerary. The complex consists of an open-air market, a covered market and a series of small food shops along the river, so there’s plenty of opportunity to browse, buy and eat. Some of what you’ll come across includes fresh Slovenian fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers, homemade bread baked in a wood-fired oven, various kinds of homemade cheeses, dried fruits and nuts, homemade olive and many more edible goodies.

Taking place from the end of June to the end of September is the Ljubljana Festival, the biggest and oldest festival in Slovenia. The popular festival features a variety of music, theatre and dance performances by both international and domestic artists, and you can expect everything from classical, rock and jazz music to opera and ballet.

Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna) is a place where people come every Friday from mid-March to October for good food and drinks with friends. This is a great opportunity to meet Slovenian chefs and taste Slovenian and international dishes. Still hungry? We don’t blame you — there’s lots to eat here. Which is why our Ljubljana Bites and Sights tour is perfect for anyone with some culinary curiosity!

Ljubljana Day Tours

Looking for more things to do? Urban Adventures offers day tours in Ljubljana, all led by local experts that will give you a taste for local life:

Ljubljana Bites & Sights
Those who have been dreaming of picturesque Europe can put Italy or France on the back burner for now – it’s time Slovenia got some recognition! Discover the truly magical streets of Slovenia’s capital on this Ljubljana bites tour that delicately clinks glasses with the city’s unique culture, history, and delectable snacks. With a chilled glass of wine and a view over Ljubljana, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of visiting Slovenia before.

Socialism and the City
Discover why Slovenians look back on their past with pride, and find out how life was lived just a couple of decades ago. Immerse yourself in one of the most authentic urban adventures as you visit socialist-era sites and learn about the good and not-so-good of Yugoslavian socialism.

Bohemian Slovenia
Ditch the textbook and brush up on your European history through music, art, architecture, and, yes, even beer. Take in more than 2,000 years of history as you listen to the sounds of street musicians, explore contemporary galleries, and sip some of the best Slovenian brews.

Ljubljana Lights and Delights Pop-up Tour
Ljubljana’s magical charm grows even stronger in wintertime when the city turns into an enchanting wonderland! Neighbourhoods are full of colourful lights, Christmas markets, the aroma of fragrant mulled wine, and, of course, everyone’s favourite winter delights. Come join us on an adventure that is sure to warm your heart on even the coldest winter night!

Ljubljana on the big screen

Get a feel for the city before you visit with a short video put together by Visit Ljubljana depicting some of the city’s highlights.

Ljubljana on record

There is a thriving live music scene in Ljubljana and if you’re planning a visit, listen to some Slovenian artists like five-piece rock band Jardier, indie pop-rock band Koala Voice, or seven-piece band Leni Kravac, who blend funk, jazz, hip-hop and Balkan melodies.

Ljubljana in books

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho is a moving book that takes place in Ljubljana.

Get in touch with us

For more info or to book a Ljubljana tour, phone us at +386 51 385823 or email us at info@ljubljanaurbanadventures.com. You can also follow us on Instagram or Facebook for live updates from Ljubljana.

Ljubljana Tours | Urban Adventures

Visit Ljubljana if you want to meet Romans at early dawn, fight with dragons for breakfast, and fall in love at a castle whilst listening to romantic poetry before lunch (we recommend a charcuterie platter, delicious carniolan sausage, and a lovely bottle of Slovene wine). This is a city where you can time travel to the glorious Baroque and Secession periods, wander through the Socialist era, and come back to modern-day glamour.

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