When people ask for recommendations of a lesser-known, yet completely hip spot to see in Europe, I immediately think of Ljubljana (pronounced “lyoo-BLYAH-nah”), Slovenia.
A richly historical city full of friendly, easy-going people, delicious restaurants, noteworthy sights, a quaint downtown area, decent nightlife and shopping galore, Ljubljana aims to please even the savviest traveller.
On my quick research, there are several major air carriers flying from the U.S. and Europe to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Prices will vary by travel dates and city of origin.
When travelling to Ljubljana by train, you will likely arrive in the main train station, called Železniška Postaja Ljubljana. Here’s a photo, for your reference.
If you wish to purchase bus tickets, walk through the main lobby, directly out the front door and cross the street. There are several bus ticket sales offices located throughout the city. In Ljubljana, you first purchase a “travel card”. You purchase credits in set increments to load onto your travel card. When you ride public transport, you simply scan your travel card and the fare is automatically debited from your card balance. When your travel card is empty, you reload. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.
* I make no claim to be a travel agent or expert on booking travel. I am simply offering a general idea for what to expect when booking travel from the U.S. or Europe to Ljubljana, and while travelling within Ljubljana.
Plaza Hotel Ljubljana – Bratislavska Cesta 8, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
We can’t say enough about this gorgeous property in Ljubljana! We were travelling among several cities in Eastern Europe including Budapest, Vienna and several cities in Croatia. This property was far and away the BEST one in which we stayed on our 2-week journey. The price is also surprisingly reasonable – an added bonus!
By now you realize I often plan our travel based on the culinary offerings in a city or country. Hey, “you can take the Girl outta the City…”
If you’re lucky enough to score a patio table along the canal, you may just witness some excellent people watching. Yep, those are players from medieval theatrical performances in Preseren Square.
Ljubljana is no exception. Here are my top recommendations for delicious cuisine in this gorgeous, historically-rich city. See below for my “Helpful Resources for Travel in Ljubljana” section where you’ll find contact and website information for each venue listed.
Plaza Hotel Ljubljana – Not only will you absolutely love the brunch offerings, but the gourmet menu is a diverse selection of tastes for every palate. Gorgeous environment, and lots of entertainment options in the area after you dine.
Manna – I agree with the description among several reviewers: modern cuisine in a traditional interior. Arguably some of the best European, Mediterranean, and Slovenian food in Ljubljana.
Lolita – Combine a contemporary design with a flirty dessert menu. Add a dynamic location. Voila! You have Lolita. Mainly a quaint dessert place, Lolita also offers options for breakfast/brunch, lunch and late night.
To See/To Do…
Old Town Ljubljana is a gem. It’s rich in history, kid-friendly, easily navigable, and has a helpful, welcoming Tourist Information Centre. There is plenty to see, do, eat and buy over a two-day trip.
We were lucky enough to have two days in Ljubljana. The reason I mention this is two-fold:
First, two days gave us a chance to arrive, relax, get to know the transportation system well and survey the city a bit on day 1.
Second, two days gave us the time to go back and spend more time eating, exploring and shopping on day 2. Afterall, we hit the lavish brunch early and stayed for 2+ hours. One couldn’t have the full brunch experience if only in the city for a day, right? ;)
Some of our most favorite things to do were…
– strolling through Preseren Square, where we saw merchants peddling their wares, historical landmarks and buildings, and street musicians and performers.
After exploring Preseren Square, we walked over to the Triple Bridge (“Tromostovje”/”Tromostje”). The Triple Bridge is a group of three bridges which cross the Ljubljanica River. The bridge connects the Old Town with the New/Modern Town.
We took time to stroll along the Kanal, shopping and eating along the way. Ljubljana’s Old Town has one-off art, jewelry and textiles artisans create and sell all along the River Ljubljanica. The food is delectable! There is a wide variety of Mediterranean and European cuisine from which to choose.
One of the highlights of our second day was our relaxed, 1-hour River Ljubljanica Kanal boat cruise. Our guide was born and raised in Ljubljana, and painted the colorful history of the city’s origins through its present day life. You may purchase your timed tickets through the Tourist Information Centre just beyond Preseren Square.
Old Town Ljubljana has several small boutique shops, street vendors selling souvenirs, and small tables of artisanal offerings sprinkled throughout the city and surrounding areas. The BTC City area is where I recommend finding any items you may have missed in the shops or artisanal offerings in the downtown area.
Highlights in Ljubljana…
- Old Town Ljubljana
- Preseren Square
- Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) in the Old City Center
- River Ljubljanica Kanal walk or boat cruise
- Medieval Days in September
- ARTish Festival – the last Saturday of every month, Slovenian creators and artists sell their unique wares and offer free creative workshops for adults and children.
- Tourism Information Centre – tons of ideas for things to do in the city, as well as day- or nighttime excursions
Helpful Resources for Travel in Ljubljana…
Plaza Hotel Ljubljana | website | Bratislavska Cesta 8, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
Manna | website | +386 599 22308 | Eipprova ulica 1a, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
Lolita | website | Cankarjevo Nabrezje 1, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana Tourist Information Centre (TIC) | +386 1 306 12 15 | Adamič-Lundrovo nabrežje 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia