Attractions in Ljubljana
For many, walking around the old town of Ljubljana is the biggest attraction in itself. Strolling around in narrow cobbled streets surrounded by small houses with baroque facades, and then finding open spaces with beautiful fountains and bustling folk life is a good experience to bring. Alternatively, you can get around the waterway with the help of organized boat trips. The old town is halfway surrounded by the Ljubljanica river. But Ljubljana has a number of sights beyond the old-town folk.
In the middle of the city, Ljubljana Castle ruins its surroundings [see image first in article]. Today’s fortifications come from the 16th century, but there has probably been a fort here since the 9th century. The fortifications are almost in perfect condition.
You come here by taking the cable car up to the top of Slottsbakken (Grad). Enjoy lunch in the beautiful courtyard, surrounded by cannons and flower beds. Open from 1000 to 2100, in the summer months from 0900 to 2300. Free admission.
National Museum of Ljubljana
The National Museum of Slovenia (Narodni Muzej Slovenije) was founded in 1821 and has largely preserved its appearance since. The purpose of the museum is to preserve and present the Slovenian cultural heritage for future generations. It is located in Muzejska ulica 1 and is open daily from 10am to 6pm, Thursdays to 8pm. Entry about 18 kroner.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
St. Nicholas Cathedral (Cerkev sv. Nikolaja), is one of Ljubljana’s baroque churches, with roots dating back at least to 1262, although it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times since then.
Today’s structure dates back to around 1703. Notice the front doors that describe Slovenia’s history. Dolničarjeva ulica 1. Free admission, and worship is held nine times daily.
Ljubljana has around 50 art galleries, but the National Gallery (Narodna galerija) in Presernova cesta 24 is the largest and best. Here you can see art from the 13th century until about 1920, from all styles and artists from all over Europe. Open Tuesday to Sunday 1000 to 1800, entry about 40 NOK. Free admission Saturdays after 1400
Ljubljana City Hall
Ljubljana City Hall (Mestna hisa) is located in Mestni trg 1 and was built in the late 1400s. It has clear Venetian features in the facade. The city authorities have lived here for years.
Tivoli Park is not an amusement park, but a large green park at the center of Ljubljana at almost 5 square kilometers. Here is an outdoor swimming pool, a botanical garden, a sports park and playground, fountains and statues, walking trails and an artificial lake. This is a favorite outing for the city’s residents, and a comfortable place to relax.
Tourist in Ljubljana
Although Ljubljana’s history stretches back two thousand years, you will not find buildings older than the 16th century in the old town once, thanks to two earthquakes that left the city in ruins, one in 1510 and one in 1895. Ljubljana was rebuilt in Renaissance, Baroque – and Art Nouveau, styles that still characterize the center.
For almost six hundred years, until the end of the First World War, Ljubljana was under Austrian Habsburg rule. As of 2007, Ljubljana has grown into a city with around 300,000 residents and is Slovenia’s highest city.
As soon as you arrive in Ljubljana you will notice the city’s foremost attraction. From the top of a 100-meter-high hill in the middle of the city, Ljubljana Castle ruins its surroundings [see image first in the article]. There has been a fortress here since the 9th century, although today’s buildings date from the 16th century. The fortifications are still in almost perfect condition.
You can walk or take a newly opened (2007) funicular up to the top of Slottsbakken (Grad). Here you can stroll through the old castle halls, admire the view from the towers, visit the museum or have a cup of coffee or lunch at the café in the beautiful courtyard, surrounded by cannons and flower beds. Open from 1000 to 2100, in the summer months from 0900 to 2300. Free admission.
Ljubljana’s old town, located under the castle, is an attraction in itself. Here, narrow cobblestone streets scramble among low houses with baroque facades, with beautiful squares and fountains scattered throughout. The Old Town is halfway surrounded by the Ljubljanica River, and two of the city’s symbols and meeting points are the Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge.
The Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most) is a beautiful Art Nouveau bridge with the gates guarded by four dragon statues. It is also an important thoroughfare, so do not back out of the way while focusing the camera, as too many tourists do with bangs and falls.
The triple bridge (Tromostovje) is three white, ornate bridges next to each other, located where the river makes an arc in the center.
Nice and very active nightlife in Ljubljana
Thanks to Ljubljana’s over 35,000 university students, the city has a vibrant nightlife, with many trendy clubs and bars in addition to old, dark beer halls. In the Old Town and along the river banks, the cafes and outdoor cafés are close together, but it never feels as though Ljubljana has been as flooded by western tourists as Prague and Budapest have.
Ljubljana’s hotel deals are not yet the most varied or comprehensive, and in high season you may struggle to find available rooms if you have not booked accommodation in advance. But you can still find everything from youth hostels to one 5-star hotel (Hotel Lev), and the price level is also very comfortable for Norwegian wage earners.
Most affordable hotels are around the train station, and the closer you get to the old town, the more expensive it becomes.
For more information about Ljubljana, visit Ljubljana’s excellent tourist information page with interactive city map.