Speed Tour of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana is a fairly small and compact city that can be seen pretty fully in less than a day. Despite its size, the many small, non-time consuming attractions in Ljubljana make it a perfect place to experience in rapid succession an array of sights, from a castle on a hill to an old town area with remnants of communism to a verdant park that could rival Central Park.
When I visited Ljubljana, I stayed at Hostel 24 which was extremely centrally located – less than a 15 minute walk from the bus stop, and within 5-10 minute walking distance of the old town area, the famed Dragon Bridge, and the funicular that transports visitors up to Ljubljana Castle.
I only had about five hours in the city of Ljubljana before my bus departed in the early afternoon but I felt that I was able to see the main sights and also have time to leisurely enjoy a meal alongside the river. Here are the highlights of Ljubljana:
My first impression of Ljubljana and Slovenia in general had been this symbol of the dragon as I walked over Dragon Bridge. Especially in the early morning light, the bridge is beautiful and the dragons give the city character that is reflected in its souvenirs and memorabilia, like the Ljubljana dragon pin I bought for my worldwide pin collection.
Set atop a hill in the center of the city, Ljubljana is a perfect vantage point for some great views and I imagine it’s a prime spot to watch the sunset. You can either hike about 25 minutes to the top of the hill or pay a few euros to take the funicular and watch the city grow smaller below you as you zoom to the top in under a minute. The castle itself has great exhibits and apparently one of the best restaurants in Slovenia.
Because three bridges are better than one? This serves as a great (and beautiful) central spot to orient yourself with while wandering between old town and the castle.
The old town area is quaint and colorful and perfect for walking around and enjoying some of the beautiful architecture. Although I didn’t take one myself, there are free walking tours about Slovenia during the Communist period, which seems super interesting.
These might not be here every day (I went on a Sunday), but if the various artisan stalls along the river happen to be open when you’re in Ljubljana, definitely stop by and browse! There are many unique handmade goods like watercolor scarves, as well as honey products, typical (economically priced) souvenirs, and paintings.
A bit of a walk outside the city center, but worth it – for a breath of fresh air and some greenery, take a walk through Tivoli Park and admire the many statues and art displays in the park, as well as the graffiti that adorns the pathway under the bridge that leads to the park.
While the above were highlights that allowed me to feel like I had seen the main sights of Ljubljana, I’d always be willing to return there and explore even further since the city is so quaint and friendly.