The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, is a quiet, comfortable and very beautiful city without excessive pomp. The atmosphere of old Europe with castles, fortresses, knights, and legends about dragons has been preserved and strongly felt in it. And although this city is not included in the standard travel routes in Europe, Ljubljana offers attractions for tourists to visit in large numbers. So large that it will take a lot of time to examine them all.
Nevertheless, taking as a basis the selection of the most interesting and most deserving attention presented below, you can see enough for a short period of time!
See also: how to save on sightseeing, how to move around the capital of Slovenia and general information of the city of Ljubljana .
So, what to see in Ljubljana in 2 days, where to go first?
Old town with a picturesque embankment of the Ljubljana river
The old town of Ljubljana (Ljubljana Old Town, Ljubljanski grad) can be called an open-air museum – this becomes quite obvious if you look at the sights of Ljubljana in the photo with a description.
In Old Ljubljana there is the Franciscan Church of Our Lady, and City Square, and the Town Hall, and St. Nicholas Cathedral, and the old Ljubljana Castle with a viewing platform on the main tower, and bright ancient paintings in the chapel of St. George. Even if you do not know the names of all these attractions, it will still be interesting to look at them.
The old city is a pedestrian zone, so tourists traveling by car will have to leave it outside this zone. For example, you can use paid parking at the nearest shopping center.
And the center of Ljubljana is literally riddled with the wonderful river Ljubljana. Bridges across this river – Triple, Dragons, Sapozhnikov – are real tourist “hits” of the capital of Slovenia. For tourists, this turquoise river with its openwork bridges symbolizes a romantic beginning, and for locals it originally meant life. The picturesque banks of the River Ljubljanica Kanal are framed by flowering vegetation, along the river there are walking and sightseeing boats. For example, a walking boat departs from the bridge of lovers every half an hour, a ticket for an adult – 8 €.
It makes sense to tell about some of the sights of the Old Town separately. So, let’s start from the Preshern Square.
This central square of Ljubljana of irregular shape was formed back in the 17th century and was originally named in honor of the Virgin Mary. Since then, the beautiful Church of the Annunciation has been preserved here, which is decorated in the Baroque style.
Preseren Square acquired its current name in 1905 in honor of the prominent Slovenian poet Franze Preshern, who wrote the text of the anthem of Slovenia. Around the same time, a monument to Preshern was erected on the square, and it was installed so that he looks at the window of the house in which the poet’s muse lived in the old days.
Now Prešeren Square is not just a landmark of Ljubljana (Slovenia), it is the heart of the city. Almost all city roads lead to this attraction, so it is impossible not to find it. Concerts and festivities are organized here, many excursions around Ljubljana go from here.
Moving along the square further, we approach the next point of the route – the Triple Bridge.
The main feature of the Triple Bridge is its construction: it consists of three bridges that have a common beginning, and fan out on the other side of the river Ljubljana.
When the old stone bridge, built back in 1842, ceased to cope with the ever-increasing movement of cars and pedestrians, they wanted to remove it and build a new one. But the architect Jozhe Plechnik proposed to preserve the historical monument and developed a unique project. In accordance with this project, in 1931, in addition to the old bridge, another 2 new, pedestrian, concrete ones were built, decorating them all with white “Venetian” railings.
Located in the historical center of Ljubljana, the Triple Bridge connects Prešeren Square with another square – Mestni, and with the attractions located in its area.
Mestni Square and two other squares – Old (Stari) and Upper (Gornji) – form the original core of the historic city. Mestni Square smoothly passes into Stari, and a little to the side there is a descent to the river, where you can see the Cevljarski Most bridge.
In the Middle Ages, the bridge was made of wood and had a roof, under which small shoe shops were arranged – hence the name of the attraction.
Here were the main city gates, but when Ljubljana expanded by the 19th century, the gates in this place became unnecessary. The fire-hazardous bridge was removed from the tree and the structure was built of stone and without a roof. Although the shoemakers and their workshops dispersed throughout the city, the name remained.
In the early twentieth century, under the leadership of the famous architect Plechnik, the Sapozhnikov bridge was reconstructed, after which it began to resemble a square more. A distinctive feature of the structure are decorative columns made in the ancient Roman style.
By the way, this bridge-square could be called musical: orchestras, bands, single musicians often play there.
The Sapozhnikov bridge has another very remarkable property: it offers a wonderful view of the old castle, many of the buildings of the Old Town. Including the Cathedral of St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
When planning what to see in Ljubljana, one cannot ignore the current St. Nicholas Cathedral – it is located at Dolnicharjeva ulica 1, very close to the Central City Square. The cathedral, built in the eighteenth century, stands in the same place where the ancient Romanesque church used to be.
A special place in the interior of the temple is occupied by frescoes, which Giulio Quaglio and Matei Langus adorned the walls and arch of the building. All the interior decoration can be compared to an exhibition of sculptures created by the masters of the Ljubljana school. The baptismal font and the bishop’s chair were executed by the famous architect Joži Plečnik in the twentieth century.
But the biggest miracle of this unique temple is its front door – it is among the 10 most interesting and unusual doors of the world.
Upon arrival in the capital of Slovenia, Pope John Paul II, the sculptor Mirsad Begich engraved on a copper door paintings from the history of Slovenian Christianity. The spectacle is impressive.
On the way from the cathedral you can go to the Castle Hill, and not only admire the view of the city from above from there, but also see the old Ljubljana castle.
The castle with the fortress wall is located at the highest point of the Old Town, the exact address is: Ljubljana, Grajska planota, 1.
This fortress, which has a long history, is not only a symbol of the Slovenian capital, but also an interesting tourist point. Mention of the castle, which stood on this site, found in the chronicles of the XII century, but the building that is now, was erected in the XV century. At the same time, a chapel was also built on the territory of the fortress, and a watchtower was added only at the end of the 19th century.
Since the 1960s, large-scale reconstruction works have been carried out in the castle, which ended only in the 1990s.
On the territory of the attraction, tourists can visit the exhibition of the history of Slovenia, see the 20-minute projection “Virtual Castle”.
In the Ljubljana Castle there is a very interesting Puppet Museum, introducing the centuries-old history of Slovenian dolls and with various techniques for their manufacture. A tour of the puppet exhibition is possible only by prior arrangement, and after watching visitors can check their talents in the art of puppet art. The cost of an excursion to the Puppet Museum for adults is 30 €, and for schoolchildren, students and senior citizens – 25 €.
In the courtyard of the castle of Ljubljana, cafes with cozy street verandas are constantly open. There are also many small shops where you can buy a variety of souvenirs, but it is most profitable to buy them at the Galerija Rustika Gallery.
Ljubljana Castle offers many historical, cultural and recreational activities throughout the year. The schedule is as follows:
- January, February, March, November – from 10.00 to 18.00;
- April, May, October – from 9.00 to 20.00;
- June, July, August, September – from 9.00 to 21.00;
- December – from 10.00 to 19.30.
Entrance to the attractions for an adult is 7.50 €. For children and adolescents under 18 years of age, students, senior citizens, as well as groups of 15 people and more – 5.2 €.
Climb to the hill where the ancient fortress stands, you can walk. If you go from the center of the Old Town, the road will take about 20 minutes.
A tourist train runs from the southern part of the Triple Bridge directly to the castle gates. The fare on the train to the castle and back is 4 €, and the travel time is up to 10 minutes.
The castle can also be reached by funicular, the station of which is located in the Old Town on the Market Square. The cabin of the funicular is completely glass, so the trip on it will be especially pleasant in fine weather, when wonderful views of Ljubljana open. The cable car on the way 10 minutes, the cost of the trip is 7 €, for an additional fee you can use the audio guide.
The funicular station operates according to the following schedule:
- January, February, March – from 10.00 to 20.00;
- April, May and October – from 9.00 to 21.00;
- June, July, August and September – from 9.00 to 23.00;
- December – from 10.00 to 22.00.
Food Central Market is located on Vodnik Square Vodnikov trg, in the old part of Ljubljana. It works from 7.00 to 16:00 from Monday to Friday inclusive, on Saturday from 9.00 to 14.00, and on Sunday – a day off. Given this schedule, it is advisable to come here early in the morning, that is, with a visit to the market, you can start the second day of excursions in Ljubljana.
The Central Market is clean and tidy. Here you can buy almost any product: fruits and vegetables, honey, meat and fish, and much more.
If you come to Ljubljana in the fall, when local winemakers conduct a tasting fair at the market, the impressions and aftertaste will be unforgettable. Having left symbolic money as a deposit, you can rent a glass wine glass and go for a walk, sipping an aromatic drink, from tent to tent. You can immediately buy a snack: local cheeses, smoked meats, sweets. If you really liked some kind of wine, you can buy a few bottles – how many will take with you.
Immediately after a hike in the market, you can go to the Museum of Illusions.
Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions is located among the new buildings of Ljubljana on the opposite bank from Vodnik Square, near the University of Ljubljana.
- Exact address: Kongresni trg 13.
- The museum is open every day from 9.00 to 22.00.
- Ticket price for an adult is 9.5 €, for children from 5 to 15 years old – 5.5 €; family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) – 23.50 €.
This is a museum that allows you to feel the limits of your perception. It contains 40 exhibits: holograms, optical illusions, installations, photographs. And they all change, appear and disappear completely unexpectedly and unpredictably. The most unusual room of illusions:
- a rotated room in which reality is offset by 90 °;
- an anti-gravity room in which everything has a view that conflicts with the laws of gravity;
- Ames’s room in which visitors visually increase and decrease;
- vortex tunnel – everything in it seems to be spinning, and because of this, the desire to maintain equilibrium constantly appears.
The description of the exhibits in the Museum is presented in several languages: Slovenian, English, German and Italian.
It is time to return from the world of illusions to the real world, because there is still something to see in Ljubljana: the sights of Tivoli Park and Ljubljana Zoo are waiting for you.
Tivoli Park is the largest park in Ljubljana, with an area of 5 km². It is located on the outskirts of the city, northwest of the center. This park was created at the time when Slovenia was under occupation by the French, which is why it was called the Tivoli Gardens in Paris.
You can literally walk to the park from the center of Ljubljana in 20 minutes, or you can take buses 18, 27, 148.
By the way, in the park, however, as in the whole city of Ljubljana as a whole, it is very convenient to ride bicycles.
Bike rental locations (BicikeLJ) are located throughout the city, including in the park – you can take a bike at one point and take it at another.
To take a bike, you need to register in advance on the website en.bicikelj.si, choose a short-term subscription, enter a PIN and pay for the service online. After that, an instruction will be sent to the email you specified, in which it is painted in detail how to get a bicycle in any of the 36 city rental points.
In the park you can walk and walk along the well-groomed alleys with trimmed bushes and sprawling trees, see a large flower garden. If you want to eat, you can go to the restaurant Gostilna Cad, which operates in the park.
The most important attraction of Tivoli Park is the castle of the same name located at the foot of the Rozhnik Hill. The castle was recreated in the 17th century on the site of the ruins of an ancient Jesuit building. Already in the nineteenth century, the building was given a modern look, rebuilding it in the neoclassical style. Since 1864, the building has been under the “guard” of 4 cast-iron dogs – the creations of the Austrian sculptor Fernkorn. These animals do not have languages - such a feature of them caused rumors that because of this mistake their creator committed suicide. Currently, the castle premises are at the disposal of the International Center for Graphic Arts; more than 4,000 seals of modernist artists from around the world are represented here.
There is another very interesting object in the park – the Tsekin mansion. It was built in the 18th century, the author of the project was an architect from Vienna, Fischer von Erlach. Somewhere from the mid-19th century, this building houses the National Museum of Modern History of Slovenia.
You can also see the Sports Palace, built in 1965. It is a complex of 2 indoor arenas, designed for the simultaneous reception of about 7,000 fans.
Special attention should be paid to the Ljubljana Zoo, which is also located in Tivoli Park.
The territory of the zoo occupies a small area in the south of Tivoli Park, at the foot of Mount Rozhnik. His exact address is Vecna pot 70.
You can also come to the zoo directly from the city. By car, you need to move from the circuit road by exit number 16 – Brdo to Vecna pot, you can take the shuttle bus number 14. And in the warm season (May-October), flights of a specialized zoo bus are provided – it leaves from the railway station.
Children under 2 years old are admitted to the zoo for free, tickets for preschoolers cost 4.5 €, for schoolchildren 5.5 €, for students and senior citizens 6.5 €, and for adults 8 €.
You can see animals throughout the year:
- in January, February, November, December (December 25th day off) – from 9.00 to 16.00,
- in March and October – from 9.00 to 17.00, in September from 9.00 to 18.00
- in April, May, June, July, August – from 9.00 to 19.00.
The zoo contains almost 150 species of animals, their total number reaches 600 individuals. They all live in comfortable conditions, very close to their natural habitat. Aviaries and cages are made so spacious that animals are practically unlimited in their ability to move around, and thanks to the forest in which the zoo is located, it creates the feeling of being in the wild.
Only once a season, and on condition that a full group is recruited, a “Photosafari” tour is conducted at the zoo. According to her program, you can see what is in parts of the zoo that are closed to visitors.
There is another very attractive side to visiting the Ljubljana Zoo, especially for children. By prior arrangement, the visitor can spend time with any animal, look after him, feed him.
By the way, about the food. Odprta kuhna – during your stay in Ljubljana this event cannot be missed.
Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna)
Only in the warm season (from the end of March to October) and only on Fridays from 8.00 to 20.00 Odprta kuhna in the very heart of Ljubljana – on Pogacharjev trg 1, almost next to the Triple Bridge.
Open kitchen is an amazing place, a real festival of delicious food. There are a lot of stalls and open tables that offer Far East, dishes from almost all cuisines of the world, food for vegetarians. In addition to excellent food, here you can buy good quality wine, craft beer, various soft drinks.
Prices are quite low compared to prices at local restaurants.
What is the Odprta kuhna event in Ljubljana – attractions or food? Both! Have a good rest and bon appetit!
Sights of Ljubljana are marked on the map in Russian.