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The capital of Slovenia is a city resort that's just the right size for a holiday. Ljubljana’s heart and soul is the mediaeval Old Town and there are plentiful low-key attractions and activities to suit everyone. It may not have any globally renowned headline sights, but that certainly doesn’t mean it lacks interest; rather, you should take your time to uncover the many charming gems all around the city. Discover the best of the Slovenian capital with this Finnair travel guide to Ljubljana.
Sights in Ljubljana
Stroll through the historic streets of the Old Town and admire the abundance of Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, pausing on your wanders to step inside small boutiques and take a break at quaint open-air cafes. The Ljubljana Castle and the city's high-class museums, such as the National Gallery, the National Museum of Contemporary History and the Museum of Modern Art, are places where you could easily spend a day, or more. History lovers will surely enjoy seeing the remains of the Roman City Walls. Don’t miss Metelkova City, the former army barracks that is now a self-declared autonomous area for arts and culture. It’s a great place for fans of alternative culture and a thriving night scene. When it comes to parks, Tivoli Park and the University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana are perfect for some peace and quiet in a natural setting. Adults and children alike can see an array of animals in the zoo, and the two water parks offer lots of fun on a warm summer’s day. Sample local wines at the Vinoteka by the City Hall, try to break free from MindMaze Escape Room or Labyrinth Ljubljana, spend an evening at the opera and, for something different, visit the delightful puppet theatre of Lutkovno Gledališče. At sunset, enjoy a stroll on the riverside boulevard, designed by Slovenia's most famous architect, Jože Plečnik. The slow-flowing river and its ornamented bridges, in particular the Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge leading to the Old Town, create an unhurried and romantic ambience in Ljubljana.
Things to See and Do Near Ljubljana
- Krakovo – One of Ljubljana’s most historic suburbs, spend a few hours enjoying Roman remains, cute dwellings and vegetable gardens. Step inside the small church along Krakovska Ulica Street to see some beautiful religious art.
- Kranj – Around half an hour away from central Ljubljana, this medieval city boasts yet more scenic streets and striking architecture, museums, churches and statues.
- Mount Krim – Step away from the tried-and-trodden track and enjoy tranquil hiking up this mountain for sweeping views over the city. You can also reach the summit by car if you’re not feeling particularly energetic or if you’re worried about coming face to face with bears that inhabit the woods!
- Postojna – Situated around an hour outside of the capital, Postojna is famous for its large and fascinating cave systems and fairy tale-like castle.
Shopping in Ljubljana
As the nation’s capital city, shopping in Ljubljana is vibrant and diverse and combines large malls, local markets and everything in between.
- Old Town – Small stores, boutiques and souvenir shops are scattered throughout the historic Old Town. Prices can be a little higher here, however, due to it being a major tourist area.
- BTC City Shopping District – Located a short distance outside of the city centre, this is one of the main shopping areas around the capital. One of the biggest retail complexes in all of Europe, you’ll find more than 500 stores selling an assortment of goods. The main shopping centre is called CityPark, although there are several others to provide even more retail diversity.
- Rudnik Shopping District – This is a former industrial area, where today’s visitors can browse in many shopping halls. Most outlets are dedicated to household furnishings and appliances, though there are also some fashion stores and shops that sell cosmetics and food items.
- Central Market – A large open-air market that operates every morning and afternoon except on Sundays, this is a great place to see fresh local produce and stock up on picnic supplies.
Food and Drink
- Obara – One of Slovenia’s national dishes, this stew contains various meats and vegetables. Although unlikely to be found on many menus today, one type of the traditional dish included dormouse.
- Ričet – A common dish in Slovenia and surrounding countries, this thick soup contains barley, potatoes, beans, onion, garlic, pork and various vegetables.
- Matevž – Another national dish from Slovenia, this is made from potatoes and beans. Once eaten as a main meal, today it is often a side dish as part of a larger meal.
- Zlikrofi – Originating close to the capital, these pasta pockets are filled with spiced pork, onions and herbs. They are served with various sauces.
- Štruklji – Small parcels of dough that can be both sweet and savoury, common fillings include tarragon, cheese, and various fruits.
- Water – With numerous water fountains around the city and some of the best-quality drinking water on the planet, fill a bottle for free and enjoy the crisp local water on a warm day.
Transport in Ljubljana
There are various ways of travelling around Ljubljana. Public transportation is widely available and several areas are easy to explore by foot.
- By foot – Walking is the best way to enjoy the sights within the compact city centre. Several parts of the city have been completely pedestrianised.
- By bicycle – There are several bike rental outlets around the city, offering a more environmentally friendly way of covering more ground.
- Buses – Bus services in Ljubljana are frequent and there are more than 20 lines around the city and its suburbs. Vehicles are clean and safe. Several services operate at night. An Urbana card is needed to pay for bus journeys; cards are available from tourist information centres, newsagents and machines at selected bus stops. You must pre-load funds onto the card before travelling. Set fees apply for trips, although you can change lines and vehicles as many times as you need within 90 minutes of your first journey.
- Tourist train – A small tourist sightseeing train runs from the heart of the city to Ljubljana Castle.
- Boats – Boats traverse the river, departing from near the Triple Bridge. Although mainly used for pleasure rides and sightseeing, there are several stops along the river.
- Taxis – It is cheaper to use a pre-booked taxi than it is to hail one on the street; taxis can be booked by telephone or mobile application. Pre-booked taxis are affordable and plentiful.
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