Small but mighty, Ljubljana Slovenia is a must visit stop on any European excursion. The picturesque city-center is lined with colorful restaurants, along the Ljubljanica river. With hotel prices decreasing and temperatures remaining comfortable, the ideal time to visit is April-May or September to October. Named the first green country in 2016, it’s easy to see why as you stroll through the pristine streets, take a drive to the countryside, or venture to the beautiful Lake Bled.
I worked with Slovenia’s Tourism Board for a portion of this trip to sample to the best that the country has to offer. All opinions are my own.
Where to Stay in Ljubljana
For Solo Travelers
I stayed with Hostel Zzz during my first three nights in Ljubljana. It’s within walking distance to all the main sites, has a restaurant/bar area downstairs, nightly events, large rooms, and plenty of common spaces to meet fellow travelers. Laundry facilities are also available, and you can pay the equivalent of $1 for detergent. It’s a great spot if you want to meet people!
Best Rated Hostels in Ljubljana:
For a Little Luxury
Intercontinental Ljubljana, Slovenia is the definition of luxury. Across from the main bus station and a close proximity to the hustle and bustle of the city, Intercontinental is the best spot if you want to explore all of what Ljubljana has to offer. The hotel is fully equipped with a beautiful restaurant space, pool/spa area, and a rooftop bar area. Read my full review of the Intercontinental here.
Day Trips From Ljubljana & What to Do
Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle Tour:
A short drive from Ljubljana Slovenia, enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the Slovenian countryside, as you make your way to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. While there are various tour operators, I did this tour with Get Your Guide and Kompass. Our first stop was the caves, where you’ll take a small train through the winding caverns and chambers of Postojna. You’ll feel as though you’re taking a ride through Gringotts Bank, as you admire the hanging stalagmites and infamous blind salamanders, or ‘human fish.’ A short car ride away, you’ll find yourself at the enchanting beauty of Predjama Castle. Perched on the side of a cliff, this fairytale castle is one for the books. Admire the Renaissance architecture, with a self-guided audio book option to enjoy at your leisure.
Free Walking Tour
As a solo traveler, the first thing I do in a new country is always a walking tour. It’s the best way to see a new destination from a locals eyes, and to meet other travelers along the way. The Ljubljana Free Tour took us to some of the most famous sites, and along the numerous bridges of the city. Stroll through the food market, admire the church doors, and learn the history of one of Europe’s smallest countries. Tours leave everyday at 11am from Prešeren Square (tours are more frequent in the summer months).
River Boat Tour
What’s better than drinks and friends, as you cruise along the Ljubljanica? There are many boat options along the river to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for. If you do decide to do the free walking tour, many of the guides give out discount coupons for other small businesses around the city (one of these was for a free drink on a boat cruise, so keep this in mind before committing to anything!) Most of the river-cruise companies are stationed along the bridges of the river, so you can easily find them.
A crystal-clear lake home to a fairytale castle, Lake Bled is a must-visit. About an hour away from Ljubljana, this is a nice option to either visit for a day or stay overnight. The main bus station in the city sells tickets; however, I recommend buying them quickly online at Arriva, so you can get a round-trip ticket for about $3 instead of the $15+ round-trip the bus station sells them for (they also have multiple times per day, so this is a flexible option).
From the city, you can make the trek up to Ljubljana Castle. With some of the best views of the city (especially at sunset or sunrise), this is a must do on your trip. During the summer months, the hike up can be steep, humid, and exhausting (so bring water and light layers!) Of course, if you don’t want to climb up, the funicular is a scenic alternative. At the top, you can explore the grounds, or spend half a day venturing inside the castle walls. Tickets are available for purchase online, and the castle is open year round!
Where to Eat in Ljubljana
Slovenia surprised me with its vibrant mix of cuisines. The canals and side-streets of Ljubljana are lined with an array of foodie options for every palate. Comfort foods, locally-grown ingredients, and cozy interiors can be found all around the city. There’s truly something for everyone here. Indulge yourself in the finest of Slovenian cuisines, admire the mix of cultural influences, and visit these favorites!
- Gostilna Sokol – Traditional Slovenian food served on their outdoor patio, or inside in the wooded, gothic interior.
- Druga Violina (Second Violin) – A traditional restaurant, employing staff with special needs.
- Pizzeria Foculus – A favorite for the locals. Fast service, pages of pizzas, and large portions.
- Osha Asian Bistro – If you want a quick snack to go, this is the best spot for Asian food.
- Abi Falafel – Highly rated mediterranean restaurant, with fresh foods.
- Puffy Lil’ Pancakes – A street-stall serving mini pancakes and an array of delicious toppings.