Ljubljana, Slovenia, was one of my favorite stops on my month-long trip around Eastern Europe & the Balkans. I flew to Munich and caught a bus from the main bus station to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. I was originally only going to spend 2 nights in the city during my backpacking trip, but I am so glad that I changed my itinerary to have extra time here.
Here are 7 things you NEED to experience while in Ljubljana!
1) Lake Bled
This picturesque lake sits at the top of the list for many reasons. It’s absolutely beautiful, I wish I would have planned my trip to have one overnight here to get a little more time to swim in the lake and sunbathe on the shores. The town itself is rather expensive, as there aren’t a lot of options for restaurants and bars, but you can get a really good meal with an unbelievable view. It is a nice place for people to visit if you want a beach vacation without having to deal with salt water and sand.
2) Vintgar Gorge
This was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been! It was a collection of pools in a river of the gorge. Get there EARLY as the crowds start to build around noon. We arrived early and didn’t have to wait very long to get a ticket. We walked from Lake Bled, but you could take a shuttle. It was about a 40-minute walk, which was fine for me but it could be a bit intense if you aren’t used to long walks or hikes. Entry cost about €7
3) Postojna Caves
Just a short bus ride outside of Ljubljana is the Postojna cave, a huge collection of caves that is a major tourist attraction and a really cool excursion to take when staying in Ljubljana. You take a train into the depth of the caves and walk around in a big group for a guided tour. Bring warm clothes – it’s super cold way underground!
4) The Triple Bridge
This is a group of 3 bridges (who would have thought) right in the center of Ljubljana. It connects the historical and modern sides of Ljubljana. The pink church on one side is another beautiful, iconic building of the city. This is also a great place to get crepes or ice cream, as there are lots of vendors with every flavor you could imagine around here.
5) Funicular Ride to Castle
This little ride gave a beautiful overlooking view of the city of Ljubljana and a quick tour around the grounds of the Ljubljana Castle. I didn’t do a full tour of the castle, as it was mostly renovated into an art gallery and wasn’t very historically significant. The ride up in the glass funicular car was really cool and it was just a couple of euros for the one-way ticket. I walked the rest of the way down on a marked path.
6) Street Art in Metelkova
An “autonomous” neighborhood in Ljubljana (think Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen) this is a cool spot full of street art and represents a lot of the youth counterculture movement from the Yugoslavia republic. The graffiti is rather striking, so I would definitely suggest walking around during the daytime.
7) Dragon Bridge
Because the Ljubljanica river runs right through the middle of Ljubljana, there are many notable bridges spanning it. This one is probably the most iconic, as the Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana. It’s a basic bridge but the dragon statues are impressive and it is near to Metelkova, the daily market that springs up in the city and the funicular.
Slovenia is an incredibly beautiful country. Ljubljana is a great central spot to take different day trips from. I loved how walkable everything was – the bus station was close to both of my accommodations, and everything I needed was close by. The prices were very reasonable, albeit a bit more expensive than Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. It was all beautiful sunshine for me, I’d highly recommend a trip during the summer months!
Accommodation – Hostel 24 and Tresor Hostel. Both great locations, clean hostels with everything you could possibly need! My only complaint was that Tresor Hostel didn’t have locking safes, and neither included breakfast, but with all the options in Ljubljana, it was alright to go out to cafes to find my own breakfast.