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Complete Guide to visiting Ljubljana (City of Dragons)

Known as the city of dragons, Ljubljana is gaining in popularity amongst travellers. With cheap flights to the Slovenian capital, tourism is expected to continue to grow with visitors from all around the world realising what this relatively young country has to offer.

For those seeking a short city break or backpackers exploring the newer capitals of Europe Ljubljana’s popularity is on the rise.

Where is Ljubljana?

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia which is bordered by Croatia, Austria, Hungary and Italy.

Slovenia, with a population of just over 2 million is one of the youngest countries in Europe. It gained independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Yugoslav federation. 

Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and the currency is the Euro. The dragon is the city emblem of Ljubljana.

There are 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Slovenia.

Things to see and do when visiting Ljubljana

There are lots of things to do and see in Ljubljana and these are the things we managed to fit into our weekend itinerary to Ljubljana.

We also included some great day trips from Ljubljana into our itinerary. I would encourage you to explore Slovenia as there are lots of places to visit from the capital.

If you are visiting Ljubljana whether for a few days or longer there is plenty to see and do. With a great cafe culture if you visit in summer I would recommend spending some time simply relaxing by the river and people watching.

Take a boat trip along the river not to be missed when visiting Ljubljana

The Old Town

The Old Town is quite small. It is centred around the river and there are beautiful buildings, bridges and squares to see.

We were there in summer and I can imagine just how magical this place would be at Christmas!

The centre of Ljubljana is pedestrianised and the atmosphere when sitting by the river enjoying a drink and a meal in the evenings is really good.

We had some tasty meals and some lovely milkshakes. I cannot pass up the chance to try new flavours and a coffee shop called Cacao made terrific ones from a vast array of ice cream flavours. Go and try them – tell me what you think!

Ljubljana Castle as seen from the old city and can't be missed when visiting Ljubljana

There are loads of restaurants and bars so you really are spoilt for choice. We ate at Pop’s Place which, if you like burgers or ribs, I highly recommend!

They also had a fantastic array of craft beers to choose from. The service was excellent everywhere we ate/drank. We also ate at The Wok for some fast food noodles – the food was made to order, was delicious and not expensive.

The tourist advice is also based in the Old Town and is on the left after you cross the Tromostovje or Triple Bridge.

The Triple Bridge – Tromostovje

Well I have never seen anything like this bridge. It is absolutely fantastic and you can cross a different bridge each time. The name does give it away so yes ‘the’ bridge consists of 3 bridges!

You will find numerous bridges along the river to cross.

One of the numerous bridges that can't be missed when visiting Ljubljana

Dragon Bridge – Zmajski Most

The dragon is the symbol of the city of Ljubljana and this bridge with its four guardian dragons is a must-see. And they are very photogenic little dragons too!

Ljubljana Castle

There is a funicular to the castle or if you are feeling energetic you can walk up for some spectacular views of the city.

Not my best shot but the castle is also lit up at night!

If you enjoy looking around castles we recommend heading to Lake Bled – an easy day trip from Lublajana. There you will find a spectacular castle perched high above the lake – spectacular views and a must-visit in Slovenia.

Ljubljana Castle is lit up at night and can't be missed when visiting Ljubljana

Preseren Square

The 3 main bridges to the Old City can be found off Peresen Square.

You can’t miss the large pink Franciscan Church in the square so you will know you are in the right place.

Franciscan Church on Perseren Square can't be missed when visiting Ljubljana

FAQS for visiting Ljubljana

What accommodation options are available in Ljubljana?

We stayed at the Best Western Premier Hotel Slon which is in the centre (Old Town) and within walkable distance from the train station (even with bags/rucksacks).

Click this link to make a booking at the Best Western or search for another hotel.

Fast Facts about Slovenia


Enjoy your trip to Ljubljana

If you wish to explore further one of the best day trips from Ljubljana is to Lake Bled. Lake Bled is one of Europe’s hidden gems and the perfect destination from the city.

Our visit to Slovenia was part of a train trip around Europe starting in Croatia and ending in Switzerland.

If you want to read more about that trip check out our recommended itinerary for Croatia as well as my many posts about Switzerland (where I used to live)

Happy travel planning!