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Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and if you’re visiting the country, chances are you’ll have a day or two here. There are actually a ton of cool things to do in the city, most of them being in or around the historical centre.
Ljubljana is a hub for canal-side restaurants, pretty architecture and a has youthful vibe. It’s not as touristy as nearby western European hotspots, and while it still gets its fair share of tourists, you can still get away from the crowds.
More articles to check out about Slovenia:
- Best time to visit Slovenia
- Easy day trips from Ljubljana
- Where to stay in Ljubljana?
- Grand Hotel Union Ljubljana Review
Read on to find the best things to do in Ljubljana.
1. Take a Stroll at Preseren Square
Named after Slovenia’s national poet France Preseren, Preseren square is a popular local meeting place and a site for events and concerts. The most popular events are Mardi Gras Carnival held in February or March.
However, apart from the open space used for walking and cycling, the square is encircled by a number of wonderful sights. One of the sights is the Magnificent Art Nouveau façade of the Urbanc House, a spectacular piece of early 20th-century flamboyance. In addition, there are other historical buildings to admire while in the square, the triple bridge and the canals.
2. Visit the National Gallery of Slovenia
Founded in 1918, the National Gallery is located in the capital Ljubljana and holds the country’s largest collection of fine art. Being home to nearly 600 works by Slovenian and European artists, the gallery displays works from middle ages to the 1900s.
The famous art pieces are by Italian Baroque painters and sculptors. In addition, the gallery also keeps one of the largest pieces of Baroque art. The art is the Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers by Francesco Robba.
3. Take a 60-Minute Ljubljanica River Trip
To be able to see Ljubljana in a more personal way, take the 60-Minute Ljubljanica River Trip. Departing from the Pier on the Breg embankment, the boat ride will offer you an exceptional view of several sites. The sites will be the majestic urban design from Jaze Plecnik’s, the Triple Bridge and riverside walk among others.
Note that, the Ljubljana is either a traditional boat made of larch and oak or the more modern glass-covered vessels.
4. Visit Ljubljana Zoo
Only a 20-minute walk from the center of Ljubljana, the Ljubljana zoo is a protected nature park found in Roznik hill. The zoo is surrounded by natural forest and meadows and is host to different animal species from all continents. The most popular animals in the zoo are sea lions, cheetahs, Siberian tigers and the Asian Elephant among other animals.
The zookeepers are friendly to everyone that they even let the visitors feed most of the animals. However, you have to be acquainted with the animal at least for half an hour before the zookeeper allows you to feed it.
5. Take an Afternoon Walk on Tivoli Park
To escape the city hustle and bustle, you can take an afternoon walk on Tivoli Park. The park is more than 2 kilometers and begins with elegant gardens and avenues landscapes that stretch to Roznik Hill. In the lower side, there are dignified properties like the Baroque Cekin Mansion that houses the Contemporary History Museum.
What more, the park has an arrow straight known as Jakopic Promenade that runs from the eastern entrance up to Neoclassical Tivoli Castle. However, note that, since the park is vast, there are sitting benches on the park for some relaxation after your walk.
6. Experience a Mind-blowing Time at the Museum of Illusions
Found in a townhouse on Congress Square, the Museum of Illusions is meant to leave your mind blown away. Having different rooms, each room is built to leave you questioning your eyes and mind on how that is possible.
From the 40 exhibits, you will find the Anti-Gravity room where everything seems to float such as balls and water. Furthermore, the Ames room will make you shrink and grow where else the Vortex Tunnel will seem to spin you around. Keep in mind; the exhibits are not intended to disorient you but to educate you on the human brain and perception. It’s super exciting!
7. Walk on the Striking Dragon Bridge
The Dragon Bridge is built over Ljubljanica River in the old town of Ljubljana. Having four striking dragons standing on each corner of the bridge, the bridge is the most famous of all Ljubljana bridges. Apart from the four dragons, the bridge itself is considered an extraordinary piece designed by an Art Nouveau artist.
It is also one of the largest bridges of its kind to be built in Europe and is a popular tourist attraction. Therefore, don’t be left behind and take a walk on the bridge and be photographed next to the striking dragons.
8. Explore Metelkova Mesto
Situated in the old town of Ljubljana, Metelkova Mesto is a cultural center that was started by volunteer squatters in 1993. Being a former army barrack, the squatters occupied the area to prevent it from being torn down. Now one of the best-known attractions of Ljubljana, the center brings together different artistic practices and events.
Running vibrant daily programs and events, the center hosts art performances, exhibitions, and occasional festivals. Due to those events, the center draws a number of crowds every day and night.
9. Escape from Ljubljana Castle
Different from other castles tours, Ljubljana Castle offers it visitors a chance to have fun while exploring the different rooms. The tour consists of five challenges that lead you through various rooms in the castle. To make it more challenging you are supposed to complete the puzzle and save the dragon in one hours’ time.
Interesting right! But there is one catch; the game requires a team of two to four players. Therefore, if you are up to a challenge, team up with your friends and head out to Ljubljana Castle for some fun.
10. Visit the Robba Fountain
Also known as the Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers, the Robba Fountain is found in front of the Town Hall. Although the original Robba Fountain sculpture is in the National Gallery, you should spare some time and visit the replica. The sculpture is a symbol of Ljubljana and just as the name suggests, the fountain is another work of Francesco Robba.
Francesco was a popular sculptor who was considered the greatest Baroque master sculptor working in stone. Sadly, the fountain was the last work Robba did between 1743 and 1751 and after he was done he left Ljubljana.
11. Ride Ljubljana’s Funicular
Running for every 10 minutes, the Ljubljana’s Funicular is the quickest way to reach Ljubljana Castle. The furnace is open all year round and is also the best way to see the city from above. Being an idea from Ivan Hribar a former mayor of the city in 1897, the funicular was built from 2005 to 2006.
Moreover, the Funicular was designed in a unique way that the actual designers were awarded a gold medal in 2008. Having carried millions of passengers since it was opened in 2006, the Funicular is so popular with both locals and tourists.
12. Stroll Through Central Market
Central Market was designed by Joze Plecnik in the early 1930s as part of his beautiful set piece that included the Triple Bridge. The market consists of an open-air market, a covered market and also a series of small food shops.
Packed with fresh produce supplied by the local farmers, the market also holds an open kitchen from mid-March until the end of October. That’s when the chefs of Slovenian restaurants prepare various dishes from all over the world. However, keep in mind that the market is open every day except Sundays and holidays. Furthermore, the covered sections are usually closed earlier than the open-air stalls.