24 hours in Ljubljana
It's easy to get lost in the crowd, right? With its red-roofed buildings and beautiful castle, Ljubljana is often overlooked as a pocket-sized Prague or a version of Venice. But trust us, you don't want to make that mistake. With this 24-hour itinerary, discover the delights this colourful capital has to offer.
8am // Sunshine Stroll
Explore Tivoli Park and the city's bridges
Start your day in Tivoli Park, Ljubljana's green haven. Located to the east of the city, it's the perfect place to stretch your legs after a long train ride, joining runners, walkers and skaters out for their daily exercise.
Not a morning person? Set off a little later for the Dragon Bridge, one of Ljubljana's most famous sights, and snap a photo with the iconic dragon statues before the crowds arrive. Then, it's time for bridge hopping.
If Ljubljana had its own Monopoly board, its bridges would take up a whole side. From the romantic Butchers' Bridge (yes, really) to the stunning Triple Bridge at Prešeren Square, you'll be blown away by the structures connecting the city together. Wander south along the promenade to Brickmakers' Bridge, before crossing over to the castle side of the city.
10AM // A fresh perspective
Go low with paddleboarding or climb high to the castle
It's time to see a very different side to Ljubljana's bridges - and by that, we mean the underside. Join one of Bananaway's paddleboarding tours and glide down the Ljubljanica, marvelling at the bridges and buildings lining the riverbank. Whether you're a paddleboarding pro or a nervous novice, this is a great alternative way to see the city.
Not in the mood for a swim? Head up to Ljubljana Castle instead. Rising above the city, this 15th-century stunner has been home to royals, soldiers and even criminals. After touring the castle and its dungeons, we recommend walking back down Castle Hill, with historical monuments hidden in the woods. If you're saving your energy, enjoy the funicular ride instead.
12pm // Riverside Refreshment
Enjoy lunch with a view
Strolling alongside the Ljubljanica river is considered one of the highlights of the city. Here, with café terraces spilling onto the riverbank, pick a spot for lunch. This might be Nabrežje 15, famed for its indulgent milkshakes, or Makalonca Bar, with a delicious selection of burgers and pancakes. Or, head across the river to Le Petit Café, offering French-inspired fare at affordable prices.
3PM // Afternoon Adventures
Join a free walking tour around the city centre
Although you could spend hours wandering through Ljubljana's streets, a free walking tour is always a good idea. Meet your guide in picturesque Prešeren Square, outside the pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, and get ready to take lots of photos. From classical Congress Square, the Town Hall and the remarkable Robba Fountain, learn about the history of this fascinating city. In particular, keep an eye out for the work of Jože Plečnik, Ljubljana's most revered architect. Then, head to Central Market with its delicious aromas for a snapshot of modern life.
5pm // Sweet Satisfaction
Refuel with ice cream and hit the streets
After all that walking, it must be time for dessert, right? Ljubljana is one of the ice cream capitals of the world, so visiting a local gelataria is a necessary stop. Treat yourself to several scoops from Gelataria Romantika, making sure to try their signature flavours. And, if you're vegan or gluten-free, we've got your back. Head over to Cacao, offering plant-based portions and other delicious goodies.
Then, take some time to explore other areas of the city. Return to the Town Square to admire the interior of the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, decorated in the Baroque style. Or, if you fancy seeing the sights of Ljubljana's more recent past, walk west to Republic Square. With its stark design and skyscrapers, this Communist-era plaza was designed as the modern city centre in the 1960s. But now? In the winter, it's great for ice hockey matches.
7PM // Slovenian Specialities
Sample some of Ljubljana's traditional dishes
Slovenian cuisine might not be globally-known, but it's certainly worth trying during your stay. Head to a traditional restaurant such as Julija for affordable main courses like meat golaž and Italian-inspired žlikrofi, or check out Güjžina, a vegetarian restaurant specialising in dishes from the Prekmurje region. For dessert, try prekmurska gibanica: a layered pastry filled with apples, poppy seeds and walnuts. If you can resist another ice cream, of course!
9pm // Night memories
Celebrate your stay with music, drink and dancing
There's plenty to do in Ljubljana at night. If you're searching for something different, Metelkova Mesto is the place for you. The former military barracks of the Yugoslavian National Army, this alternative destination is now a hotspot for underground music and art. You can check this out earlier in the day if you'd prefer to view the art in peace, or arrive just as the night's getting started.
Alternatively, head up Ljubljana's skyscraper, Nebotičnik. As the tallest building in Ljubljana until 1993, Nebotičnik offers stunning vistas across the city, with the striking castle complex in perfect view. You can stop here with a drink to watch the sunset, or climb back down to explore the city after dark. Whatever you decide, you won't forget this trip in a hurry!
With its stunning mountain scenery, hidden lakes and rich culture, Slovenia must be on your bucket list.
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