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My first visit to Ljubljana was in 2002 and, since then, I’ve recommended the capital city and other places in Slovenia to many of my friends. I’m happy to say everyone who visits has had a fabulous time. It’s the one country I don’t have to caveat with any exceptions ~ there is something for everyone.

On my recent return visit (after a 10 year absence), I was thrilled to find this incredibly charming city as I remembered. There are a few more cafes, bars and activities (paddleboard on the river, Segway tours, etc) but the positive vibe and essence of the city is still fantastic.

Cheeky Bar signVegan RestaurantAn especially nice change for the better are the new vegan restaurants located in the city center. We ate at Ajdovo Zrno for lunch and it was delicious. The restaurant is located at Trubarjeva Cesta 7, Ljubljana.

If you decide to visit, here are my suggestions and recommendations: Spend at least 2-3 days in the capital city of Ljubljana. It’s a great place to base from while exploring the rest of Slovenia. From the city, it’s 40 minutes to Lake Bled, 90 minutes to Piran (on the Adriatic coast) and 38 minutes to Postojna (Castle and Caves).

  • Check out the Visit Ljubljana website. Purchase a city card for 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours. It offers admission to over 15 attractions, free travel on city buses, a guided tour of the city, a boat cruise, a free funicular & tourist road train ride to Ljubljana Castle and 24 hour internet access.
  • If the weather is nice, definitely enjoy a stroll along the river and stop off at a cafe along the river and enjoy a coffee, beer or glass of wine. If you’re a foodie or have special dietary needs, check out Ljubljanajam and their food walks.
  • I didn’t get a chance to take one of their walks but it’s at the TOP of my to do list for my next visit.

  • We took the Roman Tour of Emona by Torchlight. It was a very interesting ~ I had no idea about all the roman history of the city. But I admit to refusing to wear the Roman outfit provided by the tour guide. It’s would have been a fashion disaster 😉
  • Slovenia Vignette

    We’ve always driven to Ljubljana and this time was no exception. We flew into Italy and drove to Slovenia the next day. It’s only a two hour drive from Venice to Ljubljana. If you drive, make sure you purchase a Vignette (toll sticker) or else you will be subject to a fine between €300-€800.

    Where to Stay:

    Castle View Union HotelGrand Union Hotel located directly behind the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation (the pink church)

  • In the past, we’ve stayed at the Grand Hotel Union during the off season when room rates were lower. It’s a beautiful, historic hotel which dates back 110 years. It’s located a block from Prešeren Square and the triple bridge. Fantastic location and superb service. This time, we opted to stay at Central Hotel which is operated by the same hotel group as the Grand Union. Go to Union Hotels for more information. We booked a family room with 2 bedrooms, one bath with a hearty breakfast included. Best part: it was only 2 blocks away from the Grand Union hotel and the river.
  • I haven’t stayed at either of these hostels but they looked like nice places for those backpacking through the area. Hostel Tresor was a former bank and has rooms in the vault. Hostel Celica is in a former prison. Not sure I’d be brave enough to stay there but it looked nice from the outside.
  • Dotto Trains
    Tourist Train in Ljubljana. Didn’t ride the train. We took the funicular:
    Funicular LjubljanaLjubljana Slovenia street leading to Castle Trail
    Street leading to the castle (it’s a tough climb if the temperatures are high)

    Outdoor cafe with cooling mistersOn a hot summer day, look for one of the cafes with the cooling misters. We had a lovely dinner right by the river ~ all the while staying cool with the water mist Sausage and Beer
    Beer and Sausage ~ my husband was in food heaven

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    Observing people in a city is fascinating to me but I don’t want to be too obtrusive when taking photos. I appreciate those who don’t mind. I once had a woman ask me if I wanted her to walk by again so I could get a better shot (and no, it wasn’t in a sarcastic tone).

    People Woman and bikesBikes are very popular in Ljubljana People watching atPreseren Statue in Ljubljana Slovenia II
    Resting at the Preseren Statue near the Triple Bridge

    People two women and vespaI always say “if you work hard for a rockin body, then by all means show it off” People Smoking
    So pretty but wish she’d lose the cigarettes. Smoking is prevalent at the outdoor bars/cafes

    People Hare KrishnaHare Krishna group chanting along the river People First date
    I’m thinking first date ~

    People alone at the cafeAlone at an outdoor cafe People 4 walking
    Too much concentration going on

    People Music drum and hornsWe came across Brass Against The Machine while walking around Ljubljana. Very entertaining. If you ever get a chance to see them play, go! People Music Festival II
    Brass Against the Machine entertaining the crowd. High energy!

    Only thing better than people watching is: DOG WATCHING. Ljubljana is very dog friendly.

    Dog saying hi to hot dog in bike basket Ljubljana SloveniaDog in Bike Basket Ljubljana Slovenia
    “Hot” dog in a bike basket

    People two men and a dogTwo men and their well-coiffed pup People Ice cream eating dog
    Ice cream eating dog

    People Dog waiting for owner
    Waiting on pizza

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    Standing on a hill overlooking Ljubljana is a beautiful castle, Ljubljanski Grad. The views from the top are fabulous especially from the top of the tower. On previous visits, we hiked to the castle from the Old Square in Ljubljana but it was over 36°C so we rode the funicular.

    Ljubljana Church
    View from the top of the Tower of Ljubljanski Grad

    Ljubljana Slovenia penitentary at the castle
    One of the cells in the penitentary

    Looking in the jail cell at the castle Ljubljana Slovenia Looking out to Ljubljana Slovenia Puppet and Logan at the Castle Ljubljana Slovenia Castle stairs Ljubljana Slovenia
    Stairs leading to Castle Tower

    Castle in Ljubljana
    Castle high on the hill

    For more information about visiting the castle, click here.

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    The dragon on the City of Ljubljana’s coat of arms symbolises strength and courage. The dragon is located on the top of the castle.

    Ljubljana coat of arms

    There are four gorgeous dragons on the Dragon bridge:

    Dragon on Dragon Bridge

    Dragon Ljubljana Slovenia complete statue

    Ljubljana Slovenia Dragon
    Dragon Bridge ~ side view

    Dragon backside Ljubljana Slovenia

    There are several versions of the story of the Ljubljana Dragon:

    The Ljubljana dragon is thought to come from the legend of Greek hero Jason and the Argonauts. Jason and his Argonaut comrades stole a golden fleece, which was the coat of a golden ram, from the King of Colchis who lived on the Black Sea. They fled their pursuers but found themselves at the mouth of the Danube River rather than at the Aegean Sea and their Greek homeland. There was no way for them to go back so they continued up the Danube and eventually made it to the River Ljubljanica.

    After wintering at the mouth of the Ljubljanica, they took their ship, the Argo, apart and carried it on their shoulders to the Adriatic sea, then they put their boat back together again and sailed on ending in Ljubljana. The Argonauts stumbled onto a large lake with a marsh which is where a terrible dragon lived. Jason killed the dragon after a heroic battle. The dragon became known as the Ljubljana dragon. It is said that Jason was the first true citizen of Ljubljana.

    The other version of the Dragon story is taken from St George who is the the patron saint of the Castle Chapel. St. George is often depicted as slaying a dragon. In ancient times, Castle Hill was a sacred place then in the Middle Ages, when the foundation of the castle was laid, the builders dedicated the Castle Chapel to St George. And the dragon comes with St. George.

    The dragon is a part of the coat of arms on numerous buildings owned by the city. After WWII, the dragon has been used by various companies such as the name of a torch company, on cigarette packages, as a fashion award and on beer bottle labels like the Union Beer can:

    Union beer dragon

    Who doesn’t love a dragon…

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    Some cities make me feel great and Ljubljana is one of them. It’s clean, safe and vibrant. I find it relaxing to stroll along the beautiful streets of the city absorbing all the fabulous energy it has to offer. London is the only other city that I feel as comfortable in as I do Ljubljana.

    There are hundreds of gorgeous statues and sculptures throughout the city. Here are but a few:

    Preseren Statue in Ljubljana SloveniaFrance Prešeren ~ a prolific Slovenia poet/writer and National Hero in the early 1800s. Mand and Woman statues Ljubljana Slovenia
    Adam & Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden. Located at The Butcher’s Bridge over Ljubljanica River, Ljubljana, Slovenia

    Man statue Ljubljana SloveniaPrometheus statue by Jacov Brdar Dragon Ljubljana Slovenia complete statue
    Another one of the amazing Dragon statues

    Audrey II and pallette Ljubljana Slovenia
    Not sure about this sculpture ~ looks like “Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors.” Logan thinks it symbolises the painter being consumed by his/her artwork. I have to agree with her…

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