City guide: Ljubljana

Dear Reader,

Let me introduce to you this sleepy city, which will pull you in with its beauty and charm. I will tell you about some of the things to see, do, eat, and experience in this lovely place.

Ljubljana by sunset
Ljubljana city view

First, let’s let’s talk about getting here. Ljubljana does have an airport, but it can be quite expensive to fly to. If you have a little more time, you can fly to one of the closeby airports, rent a car, and drive here. It will also allow you mobility around Slovenia while you are here. Some options for this are Zagreb, Graz, or Trieste, which are all about a two-hour drive away. If you do decide to fly into Ljubljana, there is a shuttle that will take you into the city. Once you are in the city, you will mostly be walking, and you will only need transport to get to the places outside the city, which you might want to explore on your trip. Regarding the climate, it does rain a lot, and the temperature can undergo drastic changes. Make sure to check the forecast before you travel.

So now that you know, all of that let’s get into the exciting part.

Ljubljana City Center

This charming city has a beautiful center. You can walk along the Ljubljanica (the river flowing through Ljubljana), sit in one of the many cafes or restaurants, buy cute things in the shops along this path and so much more. It will keep you busy for more time than you think. You will love these adorable city center. Here you can find some of the most important monuments of Ljubljana such as the three bridges, the pink church, and the dragon bridge.

Fani & Mary

a sign in front of Fany and Mary
Fany & Mary

If you are looking for a cute restaurant for lunch, you should check them out. Fany & Mary is a small place located on the riverside in the city center. It is one of the few places open every day of the week, and the specialize in burgers and pizzas. The food and service are amazing. You will not be disappointed regardless of your order, but my suggestion is the Veggie Burger. Instead of using a vegetarian patty they stuff the bun with grilled vegetables and this fantastic sauce. It is absolutely genius. Don’t believe me? Go try it yourself.

Ljubljana Castle

You will notice this attraction right away since it is the highest point in the city located on top of the hell in the center of the town. You can walk up the hill if you wish. However, they also provide a funicular to get you up there and have a beautiful view of the city. Once up there, there are a couple of museums which are already included in your ticket to visit, a tower to climb, and of course a cafe to rest in. Great place to get pictures or to enjoy the beauty of the city.

Neputicnik

This small cafe is another view spot. Located on the 11th floor, it is one of the cafes with the most amazing view. You can see the city, the mountains, and the overall beauty of the city and the country. Try their cakes; they are delicious. It is the perfect place to spend a morning with some coffee and friends. It can get quite busy but do not worry; you will still find a seat. They also have a restaurant on the 10th floor which is open for lunch and dinner.

Market

Ljubljana has a great open market that takes place every day of the week. Here you can get some of the freshest products in the whole region. They will sell everything from fruits and vegetables to meat and dairy. There is a separate area for bread products and a small fish market. You will find all the seasonal products here that your heart desires and at a fair price. Even if you don’t end up buying anything you can enjoy the beautiful displays.

Ek Bistro

Now, this tiny bistro is a real insider tip. It is located about fifteen minutes walk from the main square along the Ljubljanica. With only about ten tables total it is a great place to enjoy some escape from the full cafes in the center. They are a place known for breakfast and brunch food. You can have eggs in any way you want, oatmeal, but also sandwiches. It has a beautiful ambiance, and the staff is always accommodating and friendly. When we are in town, we come here at least once. It does tend to get quite full since it is so small, so you can either call ahead or just wait until a table frees up. Also, they only make a specific amount of one dish, so if it sells out, you will have to come back another time to try it.

Open Kitchen

You can see how important food is in this culture, since here is another insider tip regarding food. The Open Kitchen is an open-air food festival that takes place next to the market square every Friday between mid-March and mid-October. The exact dates you can find here on their website. It is one of the cheapest and most delicious ways to not go hungry on a Friday. Almost the whole city will come here at one point during the day. Mothers will stop by after shopping, teens after school, others once they finish work, or whenever they have some time. It is a popular plan to make with friends and something you cannot miss while in Ljubljana. Unfortunately it does get canceled for lousy weather once in a while, but hopefully, it doesn’t happen while you are visiting.

Coffee Shops

One of the many coffee shops in town

Just like other Balkan countries here coffee plays an important part in socializing. You will see most of the cafes are always full and stay that way from morning till evening. Here are some of my favorite ones to try in the city center. If you want good cake or ice cream go to Chocolate. Located right off the main square, it will offer you a calm break in exploring the city. Sit inside in the cosy upstairs area or outside to watch the people passing by. Aroma is known for having swings instead of chairs. Some of the tables have swings for you to sit on while enjoying your coffee. Now if that isn’t a childhood dream come true, I don’t know what is. For the best ice cream in town, you have to go to Vigo. Located on the other side of the river, it still never far from where you are. They also have a cute sitting area upstairs or outside in the summer. The line can be scary, but it is worth it. Whichever one you choose, you will not go wrong.

Day trips

Now let’s venture a little outside of Ljubljana. There is so much to do discover in Slovenia, and because the country is so small, all these places are close and easy to reach. Perfect for a day trip or even just an afternoon.

Bled

One of the most beautiful small cities in the area with an amazing latke. Bled is one of the favorite getaways for the locals. You can easily get here from Ljubljana by bus or car. It is a breathtaking drive through nature. During the summer you can walk around the lake, go swimming, do stand up paddling, and so much more. There is also a cute church on top of a hill on an island in the center of the lake. You can take a rowboat across the lake and walk up many many many steps to reach it. During the winter, it sometimes happens that the lake freezes over and then you can go ice skating or walking on it. So much more fun than on an ice ring. While here make sure you taste the famous Cremeschnitte.

Koper

If you fancy the beach, you can reach it by car in about one hour. This cute village comes alive around Eater until it becomes too cold to swim in October. During this period, there are many restaurants and coffee shops along the promenade and beaches you can relax on. It is the perfect escape if you want to get out of a city and enjoy some simple pleasures. Also if you encounter bad weather in Ljubljana (which is not unusual), coming down here might bring you some sunshine.

If you are here for a while, I would suggest taking a road trip to Zagreb or even Trieste to visit these gorgeous cities close by. Not going to go into much detail here about what do to there, but I am sure you will enjoy your time there for sure.

I hope you enjoyed my little introduction to this gorgeous small city called Ljubljana. While you probably still can’t pronounce that, you will for sure grow to love this city and want nothing more than to come back here and enjoy it for a little longer.

Have you visited Ljubljana yet? DId you like it? Share your stories and experiences with me in the comments below or on Instagram @lettersfromatravelinggirl

Kisses,

Juli

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