Technically, I am older than Slovenia. The city of Ljubljana (Loo-blee-ahh-naa) has been an important and influential city for centuries, but it wasn’t until the country declared independence from Yugoslavia 25 years ago, that Slovenia and its capital existed independently as they do today. Nevertheless, as they say in Slovenia; “It is small, but it is ours. So we must be proud”, and they have every right to be proud; Slovenia is a beautiful, rich country, and Ljubljana is a jewel of a capital city.
We were only in Ljubljana for two nights, which doesn’t seem like a lot of time but we found it to be just right. It’s a small city, very clean, with friendly people and good beer. Slovenians have manners and free public toilets, a blessing after months of travel. They have good food and wine. It’s a great place.
We arrived on a Montenegro Airlines flight from Podgorica that cost €76 each and took exactly one hour. From the airport we caught a shuttle directly to our accommodation for €9 each; although there is the number 28 bus that costs around €4 to the city bus station, we were hungry and couldn’t be bothered getting another connecting bus.
You can fly direct to Ljubljana airport from most European countries. Check Skyscanner for your local airlines and prices.
Train services in Slovenia are limited, but there are international lines connecting Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Czech Republic and others. Check out Slovenske železnice for Slovenian services and GoEuro for a quick idea of international services from nearby countries.
Bus services are also frequent, and a common way to travel from nearby countries. I Feel Slovenia has a really good run down of what’s available.
Getting around in Ljubljana doesn’t require transport at all; the city centre can be walked end to end in 15 minutes. If your accommodation is out in the suburbs like ours was then you can take a regular city bus for something like €1 per trip. Our host gave us a transport card that we topped up with €10 credit and only used about €6 over two days.
Hint – Check sites like Flixbus, Easybus and Eurolines for cheap bus tickets.
We chose to stay in a room in a locals apartment, about a 15 minute bus ride from the city centre, using Airbnb. Our room was €28.60 per night including a basic breakfast, and we received a wealth of information about the city from our host.
Bnb’s and apartments range from €15 to €35 for a private room, and €30 to €60 for a whole apartment.
Hotels are available in all price ranges but there are some beautiful examples in the city centre. Prices range from €45 to €90 for a double room somewhere decent, and can go up to €150 per night for somewhere fancy.
We stayed north west behind Tivoli park and found it to be fine, if a bit residential. If we were to return we would stay a bit closer to the city centre, perhaps closer to Metalkova (see below).
Ljubljana is a small city and all the main attractions and sights are within a short walk. As such, I would recommend doing a walking tour when you arrive; it’s a great way to see everything and learn some history as well. We did a two hour tour with Ljubljana Free Tours starting at 11am from in front of the “pink church” (Franciscan Church of the Annunciation). The guides wear yellow and although they offer the walk free of charge, they accept donations at the end of the tour.
Once you’ve walked around the city you will probably be hungry for some authentic kranjska sausage, well we were anyways. Check out Klobsarna for awesome sausage and mustard, our lunch there cost €9.40 for both of us.
Ljubljana Castle is visible from almost everywhere in the city and is worth a walk up the hill to visit, the path up and the surrounding grounds are beautiful and have great views of the city. They also hold concerts in the grounds so check their website in advance. Entry is €7.50 per person and seems like it would be worth it, but we decided against it in order to reserve our daily budget for more pressing matters.
You can find very good craft beer at Pop’s Place on Cankarjevo nabrežje, the street that runs along the south bank of the river. They specialise in Slovenian craft beer and also stock fantastic beers from other Slavic countries, oh and they serve really good burgers. We gorged on burgers and multiple excellent beers each and spent €40 for us both. Not bad.
If you fancy a bit of alternative culture you need to visit Metelkova, an autonomous social centre just outside the city centre. Since 1993, what was once military barracks for the Yugoslav National Army has been a squat. It’s a very cool place, full of bars, clubs, music venues and art spaces; all run independently. Metalkova itself is something of an art exhibition with Geiger-esque sculpting and embellishments, all totally covered in murals and graffiti. We went out on a Monday night and found an awesome bar selling €2 cans of beer and hosting some very Avante-Garde ‘music’ acts.
Hint – There are two large breweries in Slovenia; Union and Laško. When in Ljubljana you drink Union. End of.
Ljubljana for two nights;
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