You can visit it in a weekend or you can choose it as base to discover the beautiful Slovenia, the important thing is that you give Ljubljana a chance! Because this city deserves to be visited, to be explored, to be lived!
The Slovenian capital is charming, clean, orderly and colorful... its tiny centre is completely pedestrian and you can walk freely along the Ljubljanica River or through the old town nice streets.
We visited Ljubljana in a weekend and it was the base of our "time travel". You can easily visit it in a full day, maximum two days and then you can start exploring the rest of this beautiful country.
Where to sleep
We booked through booking.com the apartment Domus Romanus ( Airbnb Link ). The location is perfect, just 3 minutes walking distance from the Ljubljanica River and 10 minutes walking distance from Prešernov Trg.
The apartment its the classic example of "Don't judge the book by its cover". The exterior is not well kept (it seems under restoration), but once you're in you'll find anything you need: a kitchen, a sofa, a tv, free wifi, a shower, a washing machine ... The place is clean and it's a good value for money ( € 185 for two nights at New Year's Eve).
The city in a day
Here you find a list of places we liked the most that will let you visit Ljubljana in a single day.
The old city
The streets and the squares of the old city probably are the best part of Ljubljana, totally pedestrian, surrounded by medieval and baroque houses, lively thanks to the various restaurants and shops, dominated by the Castle hill and touched by the Ljubljanica River.
Start your visit from Gornij Trg, entering in complete different era. The first medieval houses mix up with Saint Florian's Church (XVII century) and Saint James's Church (XVIII century). Taking Ulica na Grad you could reach the castle, but we suggest to walk along Stari Trj, the heart of the old city, with its beautiful and colorful houses and its tiny shops. Here you can find Druga Violina, a small restaurant that tries to help disabled people giving them the opportunity to work. We suggest this place also because it's a good value for money.
Continue into Mestni Trg, the only real square of the old city, where the city hall building and the Francesco Robba fountain are the highlights.
Prešernov Trg, on the other side of the river, it's tempting but leave it for later and visit Saint Nicholas Church, the city Cathedral.
You are now at Vodnikov Trg, the end of the old city, where on open market is held daily. It's a food market with stalls selling cheese, ham, fruits ... nice to visit if you love city markets.
In an hour you'll have complete the visit of the Old Town and you'll have time for a nice breakfast at Robba ( Link ), a cozy place in Mestni Trg where you can also dine if you find an available spot!
Ljubljana Castle ( Link )
From its position on the top of a hill, the castle dominates the city and when there's clear sky from the top of its watch tower you can see a third of Slovenian territory.
You can reach it on foot or using the funicular railway from Krekov Trg. The visit of the castle plus funicular railway trip costs € 10 and with two more euros you can get an audioguide.
The things to see are the Chaple of St. George, of XV century, one of the few churches decorated with lay paintings, and the Watch Tower for the beautiful view that offers. Honestly, the castle does not offer much to the visitors, but it has been a fundamental part of the history of the city and it's a sort of a must see.
Prešernov Trg and the Ljubljanica River
This amazing square is located on the other side of the Ljubljanica River and is connected to the old town by the strangest bridge we've ever seen: the Trimostovje, designed by Joze Plečnik, the architect that has changed the shape of the city. Enjoy The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, enjoy the noble buildings, enjoy the view of the castle, enjoy the river that divides and connects the city. Stroll easily along the river that gives the name to the city, enjoy the pubs and cafes full of people despite -5° and a heavy snow. Spare some time for a stop at Lolita, a cute place where you can indulge yourself in sweet temptations and warm infusions.
Finally, Ljubljana is a perfect base for visiting the Carniola Region... but we will talk about this another time ...