Much like Slovenia as a whole, the city of Ljubljana grows in popularity by the day. Though one of Europe’s smaller capital cities, Ljubljana is fun, safe, and endearing, earning a reputation as one of Europe’s top places to visit. You’d have to be made of stone not to fall for this picturesque little city.
Thanks to its size, seeing Ljubljana in two days gives you enough time to explore the city’s highlights and even take in a few other Slovenian sights. With this Ljubljana itinerary, you’ll learn what to do in Ljubljana in two days so you can make the most of your visit – and encourage friends and family to visit too!
Best Time to Visit Ljubljana
One of the best things about Ljubljana is that there seems to be no wrong time to go. The city enjoys four distinct seasons, each with its own benefits and quirks. Summer is clearly the high season for Ljubljana (and Slovenia overall), but it sees just a fraction of the crowds that descend on neighboring Italy and Croatia this time of year.
The best time to visit Ljubljana for sightseeing is anytime from May to September, with those two shoulder months still offering good weather while being less crowded. The other spring and autumn months have their charms as well; they just tend to be cooler and wetter.
How to Get Around Ljubljana
When visiting Ljubljana, you’ll immediately notice that it’s not a huge, sprawling city. In terms of sights and attractions, you’ll find the best of Ljubljana almost exclusively within a 1-kilometer radius from its central Prešeren Square. In other words, unless you’re staying well beyond the city center, Ljubljana is best explored on foot.
That also goes for when you’re arriving and leaving Ljubljana. One kilometer north of the city center, you’ll find the train and bus stations. The city center might be one place you’ll want to reach by public transport, especially if you’re traveling with luggage, but the journey won’t be any quicker on a city bus than if you choose to walk.
Of course, there’s also the journey between the Ljubljana Airport and the city center. While taxis and private shuttles are certainly an option, the simplest and cheapest way to and from the airport is the No. 28 bus. The journey takes a little under an hour, with tickets costing around €4 from the bus driver.
Accommodation in Ljubljana
Where to stay in Ljubljana is quite straightforward to figure out, given the city’s compact size. Either the Old Town or the modern city center is going to be your best choice, as you’ll have quick and convenient access to the attractions and restaurants. Being limited to a relatively small area, the best places to stay in Ljubljana are less about location than the quality, amenities, and services of the accommodations.
For a stay where your every need is met, look no further than Hotel Cubo. Even the smallest detail in this elegant and modern hotel seems to have been considered with great care. You’ll particularly appreciate the spacious rooms and tasty breakfast.
Most of Ljubljana’s midrange accommodations are short-stay apartments, though there are exceptions, such as Hotel Center Ljubljana near Tivoli Park. This hotel’s helpful staff and classic decor create quite the welcoming atmosphere.
You’ll also find quite a few budget options in and around the city center, such as H2O Hostel. This clean and cozy hostel right by the Dragon Bridge is a great way to save money on your trip.
For more accommodation options in Ljubljana, check out Booking.com. This site consistently offers the best rates, and its customer service is on point.
The Perfect 2-Day Ljubljana Itinerary
No matter what you hope to get out of your time here, 48 hours in Ljubljana is all it takes to develop a meaningful appreciation of its charms. If you follow this itinerary, you’ll be able to cover the best things to do in Ljubljana and avoid the dreaded FOMO. We’ll not only explore Ljubljana with this itinerary, but also take a day trip to another Slovenian highlight.
However, before we get to our Ljubljana itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
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Now, let’s get back to our Ljubljana travel itinerary and see what you can look forward to with a trip to Ljubljana.
Ljubljana Itinerary: Day 1
With your first day in the city, you’ll have the pleasure of taking in all the best places to visit in Ljubljana. Starting in the Old Town, you’ll see the pretty riverfront and then the sights in the modern half of the city center.
Recommendation: For a full experience of Ljubljana’s historic center, book a guided tour with a local, who will explain the city’s history, architecture, and way of life through its major sights. We highly recommend this two-hour guided tour.
Prešeren Square and Triple Bridge
Finding somewhere to start your visit can be a challenge in some cities, but not Ljubljana. Head for Prešeren Square and the iconic Triple Bridge to find yourself at the very center of the city.
Surrounded by grand old buildings like the former palace of Hauptmann House and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, Prešeren Square is a popular meeting point. It just wouldn’t be the same without the attached Triple Bridge (Tromostovje), though. This group of three bridges links Ljubljana’s Old Town with its modern half, creating one of the city’s most photographed spots. The unconventional bridge setup is sure to attract your curiosity (and camera!).
Ljubljana Old Town
Once you cross the Ljubljanica River from Prešeren Square, you enter the Old Town of Ljubljana. While scenic, it isn’t a large old town. It’s essentially two long streets running through the narrow space between the river and Ljubljana Castle – one right along the riverbank and the other leading from one square to the next.
The two streets will take you past some lovely traditional buildings, including the Ljubljana Town Hall and Ljubljana Cathedral. If you look down, you’ll see some ornate manhole covers with the city’s crest among the cobblestones.
While you’re in the Old Town, it’s hard to ignore the sight of Ljubljana Castle sitting above you. It is the city’s most visited attraction, after all, so head up the hill to take in this historic landmark. You can reach the castle by taking either the funicular or one of the walking trails.
Once you’re up at this medieval castle, you’re free to explore the grounds and venture into its inner courtyards. With a ticket, you can climb the walls and head up the Outlook Tower for superb views over the city below. The pristinely preserved castle also houses museum exhibits on Slovenian history. Between the city views and the historical lessons, this castle is one of the best places to get to know Ljubljana better.
The city’s other iconic bridge that begs for a photo is the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most). As soon as you see it, the reason for its name will be clear. On each corner sits an expressive bronze statue of a dragon, with other dragon figures worked in throughout the bridge’s design. As the dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana, it was an obvious choice of motif when the bridge was constructed in 1901.
Once you’ve seen its iconic bridges, you’ll want to follow the Ljubljanica River. Although the city has built up around it, the riverfront is still the perfect place to admire Ljubljana’s beauty. The architecture of the grand old buildings and palaces, while most of them are shops and other businesses now, gives the illusion of a much larger city.
Depending on which direction you follow the river, it will take you past the Butchers’ Bridge and the Ljubljana Central Market or south to the greener stretches. You can even follow it down to Park Špica, where the two forks of the river meet again.
Back across the river from the Old Town lies another main plaza, Congress Square. Surrounded by grand buildings such as the University of Ljubljana and the Holy Trinity Parish Church, this historic square is one of the more scenic areas in the newer part of the city. With its leafy little park, it’s also a popular spot for local events, so head here if you’re curious about what’s going on in Ljubljana during your visit.
House of Illusions
Although Ljubljana is home to its fair share of history museums and art galleries, it’s always nice to try something a little different – and the House of Illusions is definitely different! Both fun and informative, this museum is full of optical illusions, holograms, and tricks in perspective throughout its interactive exhibits, which include the Anti-Gravity Room and Vortex Tunnel.
Ljubljana is quite a green city, much like the rest of Slovenia. Besides the park that surrounds Ljubljana Castle, the city’s other major green space is Tivoli Park. This large park has a formal garden about the size of the Old Town and sprawls out into pristine woods. You can stroll along its manicured promenades that lead between several beautiful estates, including the graceful Tivoli Mansion.
Traditional Slovenian Cuisine
Since you’re in Slovenia, why not spend your first evening tasting the local cuisine? Among Ljubljana’s many restaurants, one worth making a beeline for is Julija in the Old Town. This popular restaurant is neither overly fancy or expensive, so consider making a reservation if you can! Whether you go for the beef with dumplings or the pasta, follow it up with the gibanica, a layered pastry made with walnuts, apples, and poppy seeds.
Ljubljana Itinerary: Day 2
A weekend in Ljubljana gives you the opportunity to go beyond the city and see a little more of Slovenia. As Slovenia is quite a compact country and Ljubljana is relatively central, you really have your pick of day trips. Here are some popular day trips from Ljubljana to give you ideas.
Of the many possible day trips from Ljubljana, none is more popular than a visit to Lake Bled. Lying northwest of Ljubljana up near the Alps and the Austrian border, Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most famous tourist destinations and one of the most beautiful winter destinations in Europe.
Surrounded by forest-covered hills with the Alps in the distance, this crystal-clear lake looks like something out of a fairy tale. Then there’s the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary on an island in the middle of the lake, reachable only by quaint old boats known as “pletna.” Throw in the clifftop Bled Castle overlooking all this and various viewpoints you can hike to, and you’ll wonder why Lake Bled isn’t even more popular!
Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
Slovenia is quite interesting geographically, resting on top of karst rock that’s ideal for big caves. The Postojna Cave in particular has been welcoming more visitors in recent years. With 24 kilometers of cavernous chambers and tunnels to explore in the cave, you’ll be glad that there’s a little electric train that takes you through.
Often coupled with a visit to Postojna is the nearby Predjama Castle, which claims the unique distinction of the world’s largest cave castle. This medieval fortress is built across the mouth of a giant cave, with cliffs dropping in from above. A mighty castle wedged into a gap in rocky cliffs needs to be seen to be believed.
Travelers love heading for the coastlines of Italy and Croatia along the Adriatic Sea, but few realize that Slovenia has its own little span of wonderful coastline. Of that coastal area, Piran is surely the place to visit. This picturesque little town is full of Venetian architecture and a pleasant old-world atmosphere.
Besides devouring as much fresh seafood as you can manage, you can see some nice attractions in Piran. Some highlights are Tartini Square and St. George’s Parish Church watching over it, not to mention the cute little lighthouse on the point. But the most popular pastime here is sunbathing and swimming, either out by the lighthouse or at the beach along the northern coast. If you’re craving some time by the sea in Slovenia, Piran is the place to be.
Well, there you have it – the ultimate Ljubljana itinerary with everything you need to know to comfortably spend two days in Ljubljana! This all seems like a pretty great way to spend a couple of days, given the chance. What’s even more exciting is that there’s so much more of Slovenia to explore once you’ve gotten a taste.