The Slovenian capital is one of the oldest settlements in Europe and celebrated the massive milestone of being 2000 years old in 2015. Previously known as Emona, it has a heavy Roman influence but also showcases architecture and art from a range of different periods leading up to the present day. With all those years of history to draw upon, Ljubljana is a special place and a destination that loves its role of hosting numerous international events every year.
If you are looking to discover somewhere different, away from the tourist-filled cities in Western Europe, it is the perfect choice. Here is everything you need to know when planning a Ljubljana city break.
There are a few options when flying out, most of which depart from London. Direct flights are offered by EasyJet from London Stansted, by WizzAir from London Luton and by Slovenia’s largest airline Adria Airways from London Gatwick and Manchester. However, if you don’t mind stopping off in another European city on the way, there are non-direct flights offered by a range of other airlines including Finnair and Turkish Airlines. Flight time is between two and two and a half hours.
Once you arrive at Jože Pučnik Airport (or Brnik Airport as it is often known), the best way to get to the city centre is by public bus. Most of these services will take you on the 15-mile journey to the main bus station for no more than three or four pounds per person.
Where To Stay
If you are looking for a modern hotel option, without breaking the bank, look no further than the Hotel Emonec. The rooms were refurbished as recently as 2015 and now offer a stylish, modern feel which features warming colours and murals of natural landscapes. Previous guests rave about the location as the hotel is positioned on a quiet street but still in the central area. A standard double room will cost between £40 and £55 per night.
The City Hotel is a fantastic mid-range choice. It is located right in the city centre and in easy walking distance of the main sites. All the basics that you will need are offered, including a hearty buffet breakfast, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. There’s even a complimentary bike rental service if you want to explore the city on two wheels. The hotel is great for business travellers or for those who plan to be out exploring rather than taking advantage of luxury hotel facilities. A double room during peak season is likely to set you back around £70 a night.
This hotel prides itself on being able to offer all the luxurious extras that the big establishments can whilst still maintaining an intimate feel. The rooms are very modern and spacious, offering bathrobes, minibars, cable TV, free Wi-Fi and international calling, quality bathroom products and soft-top mattresses. The onsite restaurant is great for trying some of the local food and you will find yourself perfectly positioned within the city. With breakfast included, a stay at the Hotel Cubo could be anything from £200 to £350 pounds per night during peak season.
There is no metro network in Ljubljana but it is not really needed in such a compact city. The best way to explore the central area is on foot and if you want to venture further out then cycling is the best mode of transport. If you choose to stay at the City Hotel (see above) you can take advantage of the free bikes available, but even if you don’t, it’s super cheap to get around on two wheels. The Bicikelj system is made up of 32 stations across the city centre and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is head to this website and subscribe for a week’s access and it will only cost you €1. It’s a fantastic way to encourage green travel.
If, on the other hand, you would prefer to travel by less strenuous means, there are 26 different bus routes which run very frequently from 5am until 10.30pm. If you plan on making the most of the nightlife, there are even special night lines that will get you home safely.
Where To Eat
Restauracija Strelec (Archer Restaurant)
If you want a really authentic Slovenian dining experience then there is no better place to eat. Located within the tower of the city’s impressive castle, Archer Restaurant serves a mixture of local and European dishes along with Slovenian wines that will delight your palate. Make your way there via the romantic funicular and admire the stunning views whilst sampling food cooked by one of Ljubljana’s best young chefs.
Harfa (The Harp)
From the historic setting of Ljubljana Castle to the modern ambience of The Harp. This restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on seafood and Slovenian delicacies. The chef likes to bring flavours together so that they form an orchestral symphony on your plate and you will certainly be singing from the same hymn sheet when you try his creations.
Marley & Me
This whimsical restaurant has all the ingredients to make you feel like you are dining in someone’s personal kitchen. The intimate space is filled with little wooden tables and gives you the feeling that you are going to enjoy a true home-cooked meal even before you look at the menu. When you do, you’ll find delicious options such as ‘pork medallions in prosciutto with capers sauce’ and ‘baked monkfish fillet in tartufata sauce’ to make your stomach growl with anticipation. On a side note, the Marley and Me website is possibly one of the most interesting we’ve seen.
Top 3 Things To Do
Peer Into The Past At Ljubljana Castle
If you didn’t really have time to look around whilst dining at Restaurant Sagittarius (see above), the city’s iconic castle is definitely worth experiencing. We mentioned that there has been a settlement here for more than 2000 years and the castle will give you an insight into a large chunk of the history that oozes from the city. The funicular will take you to the summit of the hill that the castle sits atop and guided tours and interactive exhibits will tell you all you need to know about the fortress itself.
Take A Tour Of Tivoli
If you want to escape the built-up areas of Ljubljana for a moment, there’s no better place to do this than in Tivoli Park. It’s no surprise that a green city like this has such an expansive area dedicated to nature and it provides an excellent setting for a romantic stroll or picnic. Various sculptures can be found amongst the trails, whilst water features and follies keep up the charm of this leafy park.
Get Snap Happy At The Triple Bridge
Through the centre of the city flows the Ljubljanica River and this means that there are numerous bridges in every direction. Perhaps the most iconic and popular of these is the Triple Bridge, which lives up to its name by being three bridges side by side. This is an excellent place to grab some beautiful photographs and, due to the fact that the bridges lead to the bustling Prešernov Trg (main square), it’s a fantastic excuse to explore the Old Town.
If you would like to plan your Ljubljana city break, we can tailor-make a trip to your own preferences. Get in touch with our team today and we will piece everything together for you.