If you’re visiting Ljubljana for the first time and wondering how to visit Ljubljana, our mini travel guide to Ljubljana, Slovenia is for you. From the history of Ljubljana to how to get around to where to stay and eat to Ljubljana attractions…this Ljubljana Travel Guide includes everything you need to know about the capital of Slovenia to plan a perfect Ljubljana vacation.
Slovenia – the world’s most sustainable and greenest country has love in its name.
Hey! Even Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia has love in its name. Ljubljeni means beloved in Slovene.
How can you not feel LOVE when in Ljubljana
Ljubljana, the European Green Capital is an intersection of diverse epochs. A Roman city, Emona stood in place of Ljubljana about 2,000 years ago.
You can witness the ruins of Emona in the contemporary Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is the capital and the biggest city of Slovenia. Located right in the center of the country, it stretches between Vienna (Austria) and Venice (Italy), at an intersection of the major ancient trade route that connects the northern Adriatic to the Danube region.
It lies at the intersection of four major motorways in Slovenia and thus, effortless access from any of the cities in Slovenia and neighboring countries.
Okay. I make sure to learn how to pronounce the name of the city or place I’m planning to visit (especially the tricky ones like Ljubljana and this) because how would you feel if someone pronounces your or your city’s name wrong.
Ljubljana is pronounced as lyoo-blyah-nuh. More often than not, locals pronounce it as loo-blah-na skipping the J’s altogether. Listen here.
So, J’s in Slovenian are pronounced as Y’s in English. J’s make all the difference here!
The Ljubljana Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana. You’ll see it everywhere…buildings, Ljubljana castle, bridges, wall art, even the car registration number plates…literally everywhere.
How did it become the emblem of Ljubljana? There are a few explanations for it.
The most interesting and popular legend about the origin of Ljubljana has it that the city was founded by Jason, the Greek mythological hero. The story goes that he stole the golden fleece from the king Aeëtes and fled with his fellow Argonauts aboard the Argo ship.
Journeying back home (Greece) across the Black Sea and up the Danube, Sava, and Ljubljanica rivers, they made a stop at Ljubljana Marshes, the monster’s habitat. Jason fought and killed the monster, called Ljubljana Dragon now.
Jason thus became the very first citizen of Ljubljana and the dragon found a place on the Ljubljana coat of arms.
Another story about how Ljubljana became the dragon city has to do with Christianity. The wall murals at St George Chapel in the Ljubljana Castle showcase the saint killing the dragon.
You might. Many nationals need a Schengen visa to travel to Europe.
The best time to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia is during the months of April, May, September, and October. These months of spring and autumn offer comfortable weather and lower accommodation prices.
We visited in July and it was too hot and too crowded to enjoy the city.
We were able to explore most of the must-see attractions in a day but yes it was a bit rushed.
If you want to go slow and are keen to discover the museums and galleries, set aside at least 2 days for the wonderfully cozy capital of Slovenia.
Ljubljana’s strategically excellent position makes traveling to and from Central Europe, Western Europe, and the Balkans easy.
Traveling by car is the easiest, fastest, and most flexible way to travel. I’d recommend renting a car especially if you are traveling as a family.
We traveled to Ljubljana from Kranj by a rented car. It’s a quick 40 minutes drive. You can take a detour to Škofja Loka if you have time.
Be aware that a road toll vignette is needed to drive on the Slovenian motorways and highways.
You don’t need a vignette If you drive the regional roads through quaint little villages and towns. Of course, the time to reach your destination will be doubled as the speed limit through village roads (50 km per hour) is nearly half than through motorways (130 km per hour).
Weekly, monthly, annual vignettes are available for sale at all the petrol stations, most newspaper kiosk, some toll booths, and shopping centers in Slovenia. I’d recommend you to purchase one just before entering Slovenia from a petrol station located in a neighboring country (the country you are exiting) close to the border. For more information, visit the website here.
Like all other European Capitals, parking in Ljubljana is a hassle.
There are a number of parking garages, park & ride garages, and parking lots in Ljubljana. Street Parking in the center aka short-term parking has a limited parking time of a maximum of 2 hours.
We parked our car at a centrally located Congress Square parking garage. The parking cost is 1.20 Euros per hour for the first 3 hours and 2.40 Euros after 3 hours.
The Ljubljana bus station, Avtobusna postaja Ljubljana has bus connections throughout Slovenia and to and from other European countries. Check their official website for routes and timetables.
The Ljubljana train station is next to the bus station at Trg Osvobodilne Fronte, a short walk from the center of the city. Local and International rail connections to and from Ljubljana are good.
There are direct train connections to Budapest, Graz, Salzburg, Vienna, Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Belgrade. For more information check the official website of Slovenian Railways (Slovenske Zeleznice).
Joze Pucnik Airport, Ljubljana’s main airport is 26 km away from the center. Adria Airways (Slovenian airlines) serves affordable flights connecting Ljubljana with major European cities. Check Ljubliana Airport’s portal for the details.
We recommend Kiwi.com for the best flight deals.
There’s an hourly public bus service between the airport and the Ljubljana Bus Station daily that costs 4.10 Euros per person. Also, less frequent private shuttle bus service is also available that costs anywhere between 9 Euros to 19 Euros.
A taxi from the airport to the city center can cost about 35 Euros to 40 Euros.
With free admission to the city’s major attractions, museums, and galleries plus unlimited free travel on public transportation during the card validity period, Ljubljana Tourist Card can save you some Euros for sure.
You can purchase the card for 24, 48, or 72 hours. You get a 10% discount if you buy your card online.
Our favorite way to explore any place is on foot. And more so if the city is as compact as Ljubljana.
Ljubljana’s strong bus network connects the entire city and its surrounding areas. To use city buses you need to have the Urbana Card which you can buy from Ljubljana Bus Station, newspaper kiosks (trafika), tourist information centers, post offices, Bicikelj bike-sharing systems, and many other locations in the city. The city buses don’t sell the Urbana Card and don’t take cash either.
The card costs 2 Euros and needs to be topped up. A single bus ride fare starts from 1.20 Euros that covers up to 90 minutes journey and allows you to change as many buses as you can in that time period.
Cycling is our second most preferable way (walking being the first one) to explore the destination.
Ljubljana Tourism runs Ljubljana Bike project that makes bicycle hiring easy. You can hire a bike from the Slovenian Tourist Information Center located at Krekov trg 10.
The bike rental is 2 Euros for 2 hours hire period and 8 Euros for more than 2 hours hire period.
Alternatively, you can rent a bike from Bicike (LJ) who have huge number of docking stations in Ljubljana city center.
The first hour is free, the second hour costs 1 Euro, the third hour costs 2 Euros, and each additional hour after 3 hours costs 4 Euros.
If you are to stay in Ljubljana, you can hire a bike for a full week by paying just the 1 Euro weekly registration fee.
You can save money by returning the bike after an hour and hiring a new bicycle again for an hour. Yes.
You can easily find a taxi in the city center, though the cost will be less if you book one over the phone.
Urban is an environment-friendly train in Ljubljana that takes you on a circular tourist trail connecting the famous tourist attractions. The tour starts at Town Hall and takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to complete.