Ljubljana Itinerary for 2 days – Things to Do + 1 Day Trip
The best 2 days in Ljubljana itinerary, with the top things to do and see in Ljubljana, Slovenia, plus a day trip to Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle. If you’re planning a trip to Slovenia, this cute capital will be your first stop. Check out my recommendations for the best places to visit in Ljubljana in 2 days, including where to stay, what to eat and the best Ljubljana attractions!
Ljubljana (pronounced Lyoob-lyah-nah) has to be the cutest little European capital I have ever visited. For such a compact city, it just seems to have a bit of everything – history, tradition, style, arts and culture. And its atmosphere is charming, a mixture between Central European and Mediterranean. It doesn’t really feel like a capital, more like a friendly and relaxed small town, but there is always something exciting going on.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is 2 days in Ljubljana enough?
- 2 How to get to Ljubljana
- 3 Where to Stay in Ljubljana
- 4 Itinerary for 2 Days in Ljubljana
- 5 Like this post? Pin and save for later
Is 2 days in Ljubljana enough?
Ljubljana is a small city, with all the major attractions within walking distance or a few minutes by bike, and it’s very easy to navigate. If you are looking to get a good feel for the city, 2 days is enough, however, there are plenty of things to do and see in Ljubljana to keep you here longer.
In fact, I would personally recommend at least one extra day to fit in a day trip from Ljubljana to one of the many attractions and destinations nearby.
How to get to Ljubljana
Slovenians joke that the map of their country looks like a chicken, so with this in mind, Ljubljana is pretty much in the centre of the chicken body. Slovenia is a pretty small country, so besides flying into Ljubljana, there are a lot of well-connected airports in neighbouring countries from which the city is easily accessible.
Getting from Ljubljana Airport to the city centre is pretty straightforward. There is a daily bus service between the airport and Ljubljana Bus Station that takes 47 minutes. The bus runs approximately every hour and it costs €4.10 (~$5). There is also a shuttle service run by GoOpti that stops at different points in the city and costs €11 (~$13). If you are carrying a lot of luggage, you can book a taxi in advance for €43 (~$50).
Other airports you can fly into that are under 2 hours from Ljubljana include:
- Trieste (Italy) – 1 hour / Cost from €16 (~$18) per person / 130km
- Zagreb (Croatia) – 1.5 hours / Cost from €9 (~$10) per person / 140km
- Graz (Austria) – 2 hours / Cost from €37 (~$42) per person / 187km
Prices quoted above are the cost of transfers with GoOpti.
Where to Stay in Ljubljana
As mentioned, Ljubljana is a small city, so nothing is really too far. However, I would recommend staying in the centre of all the action, so you can pop in and out of your accommodation if you feel like a little rest in between sightseeing. Here are my recommendations for where to stay in Ljubljana:
Located within a striking art deco building, Hotel Cubo offers luxurious and stylish rooms, excellent food and the best customer service you would expect. It counts the amenities of a large hotel but managing to keep an intimate boutique feel.
Check Hotel Cubo’s Tripadvisor Reviews to see what others are saying.
A sustainable and environmentally friendly hotel in the centre of Ljubljana, B&B Hotel Ljubljana Park puts a lot of effort into going green. Simply decorated, it has everything a traveller may need, with rooms that are brightly furnished.
Check this hotel’s Tripadvisor Reviews to see what others are saying.
Only a few steps away from Prešeren Square and the iconic Triple Bridge, Hostel Tresor offers both dorms and private rooms. Built in a former bank, it still has the former vaults. There is a bar, a hair dresser and a coworking space.
Check Hostel Tresor’s Tripadvisor Reviews to see what others are saying.
Itinerary for 2 Days in Ljubljana
I’ve laid out a day-by-day itinerary to make it easier to plan your own.
Old Town, Bike Tour, Ljubljana Castle and Dinner by the River
Ljubljana Old Town
Ljubljana’s Old Town is fully pedestrianised, so it is perfect to explore the area on foot. And there’s no better way to find your bearings than going for a wander. The most prominent landmark is Ljubljana Castle, crowning the promontory overlooking the town below. And at the bottom, Ljubljanica River helps with orientation. But don’t be scared of getting lost, it is the best way to get to know the hidden gems of a city after all.
Things to see in Ljubljana Old Town
Prešernov Trg Square
Named after the greatest Slovenian poet France Prešeren, this square is where a lot of the action happens in Ljubljana. It is flanked by the recognisable Franciscan Church of the Annunciation on one side and the Triple Bridge on the other.
Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
Very recognisable with its Baroque pink façade, this 16thcentury church dominates Prešernov Trg Square. Climb the steps and take a seat to enjoy a great view of the square and watch the world go by.
This unique bridge started off its life as a single bridge, but with the arrival of the motorcar, it became too narrow for both cars and pedestrians. Jože Plečnik, the architect responsible for most of Ljubljana’s architectural gems, added two side bridges for pedestrians. Now, with no cars allowed in the Old Town, it’s a joy to cross any of the bridges and enjoying the views up or down river.
Town Square (Mestni Trg)
On the other side of the Triple Bridge you will find the Town Square, with the 15thcentury Town Hall building and a replica of the Baroque Robba Fountain. The original is now at the National Gallery.
Cobblers’ Bridge (Mesarski Most)
Another bridge designed by Jože Plečnik as a square above water. It used to have cobblers’ workshops on the bridge itself, hence the name.
Bike Tour of Ljubljana
This tour is a great way to explore the city and to reach areas that would be a bit of a walk away. This 3-hour bike tour is run by Ljubljana Tourism. It starts in the town centre and it takes you on a circular route through all the highlights in the city and along the river, ending with a picnic at Tivoli Gardens.
Ljubljana Attractions on this Bike Tour
You cycle past the main sights in the Old Town, which you have covered in detail on your wander around earlier on.
Vurnik House (Cooperative Building House)
This is one of Ljubljana’s most famous buildings and it has to be my absolute favourite one. Designed by Ivan Vurnik, it is considered one of the finest examples of Slovenian national style architecture. Unfortunately, it’s not open to the public, so we can only admire its façade.
At over 200 years old, it is Slovenia’s oldest cultural, scientific and educational institution, with more than 4,500 different species and subspecies of plants. There is also a large tropical glasshouse. Here you will stop for a little traditional Slovenian snack.
One of Ljunbljana’s oldest suburbs, it was built outside the city’s medieval town walls. Krakovo has retained its village character, and it is now known for its gardens and its resident gardeners, who continue to sell their products in the Central Market.
This is the city’s largest park. The big promenade leads onto Tivoli Mansion, now Ljubljana’s International Centre of Graphic Arts. If you are lucky and it hasn’t rained that day, you will be able to stop here for a little picnic. It rained just before the bike tour, so the grass was too wet for us to stop for a break.
A few minutes outside the historical centre you’ll find this renovated river embankment that has been landscaped as a park. It used to be a town beach, and today it still attracts residents who want to enjoy the sunny weather. But it’s not just the residents who enjoy it too. You may get lucky and see otters swimming around.
Museum of Contemporary Art +MSUM
One of the best museums in Ljubljana if you are interested in Slovenian art and history. The square where it is located is surrounded by very cool modern architecture, and the museum building itself is worth a look.
This is one of the coolest parts of town and proof that Ljubljana is a very modern city despite it being so historical. Metelkova is an alternative cultural centre that was developed from a squat in what used to be Yugoslavian army barracks. It hosts regular concerts, performances, exhibitions and even a festival. It’s a great place to appreciate a bit of street art too and for an amazing night out.
If you are in Ljubljana on days when this bike tour is not running, you can try this bike tour instead.
And if you have a special interest in Ljubljana’s architecture, you can try the Bicycle Tour through Jože Plečnik’s Ljubljana.
Standing on a hill above the city, Ljubljana Castle is the city’s main attraction. The castle in its current form was built in the 15thcentury as a fortress, to consolidate the influence of Frederick III of the Habsburgs in the area and as defence against Ottoman attacks.
The main points of interest are the Viewing Tower and the ramparts, with some of the best views over the city. In fact, from the Tower on a clear day you can see almost a third of the whole country of Slovenia.
The castle now houses a permanent exhibition of Slovenian History, the Museum of Puppetry, an exhibition called Penitentiary, located in a former solitary confinement cell, and the exhibition called iLjubljana, that shows how much the city has changed over 4,500 years.
There are two ways to get to the castle. I enjoy walking to I walked to the top of the hill through the narrow alleys and steps. But if you’ve had enough of walking for the day, you can take the funicular.
Skip the line and combine a visit to the castle with a 2-hour guided walk.
Evening by the river
The waterfront in the evenings becomes the place to hang out in Ljubljana. Just walking down the street the atmosphere is buzzing. It’s a lovely place to relax after a whole day exploring, so I would really recommend grabbing some dinner by the river if your wallet can afford it, or at least a drink. Another option for food would be to go to Mestni Trg, the street directly behind the waterfront. Very relaxed and atmospheric too, but as you are not paying for a prime riverfront view, it’s a little bit cheaper.
Food Tour, Old Bike Factory and Sunset Cocktails
Bitemojo Tale of the River Food Tour
This may come as a surprise for some, but Ljubljana is a bit of a foodie destination, so one of the things that everyone must do is to explore the local cuisine. Food tours are a great way to do this. But an even better way to do it is a food tour that you can do at your own pace that takes you through some cool tastings as well as some key sights in the city. To do this I downloaded the app Bitemojo and followed the A Tale of The River Food Tour.
Food to try on the Bitemojo Tale of the River Food Tour
Preko Mure with a wine spritzer
Buckwheat bread with a white bean, pumpkin seed and pumpkin seed oil spread, and a slice of pork’s neck. Washed down with a white wine spritzer with raspberry syrup and raspberries, and a river view. A great way to start the tour!
A traditional Slovenian dumpling made from very thin dough. Here you have a choice of sweet or savoury struklji. I went for sweet, filled with cream, strawberry jam and merengue on top, with an iced tea.
Tolminc cheese and Kraški Pršut with wine
Tolminc cheese is a high-fat cheese that originates from the Tolmin region, and it pairs perfectly with Vrtovčan white wine. Kraški pršut, a prosciutto prepared through a long drying process in a traditional Kras cellar, goes beautifully with Teran red wine.
Grilled sardines and marinated anchovies
The grilled sardines are served with marinated vegetables on a slice of bread. The marinated anchovies from the Adriatic Sea are also served with bread. The true taste of the sea.
Smoked trout with wine
Smoked trout and cream cheese spread with bread, with a glass of wine from the region of Bela Krajina.
No better way to end a food tour than with ice cream. I highly recommend the pumpkin seed oil on bourbon vanilla flavour. Absolutely scrumptious!
Ljubljana Attractions on the Bitemojo Tale of the River tour
This famous bridge is a great example of Art Nouveau in the city. With a dragon statue on each corner of the bridge, it is instantly recognisable. It is said that you if visit Ljubljana and you haven’t taken a photo with one of the dragons, then you haven’t visited Ljubljana at all. So you know what to do!
The two-story Central Market building was built in the 1940s and follows the curve of the river. There is also an open-air area where local Slovenian produce is sold. We came across the producer of Zlati Ghee, who supplied our delicious clarified butter when we stayed at Big Berry, in Bela Krajina, and who gave us lots of samples to try.
It was called the Butchers’ Bridge because of its location next to the butchers’ booths in the market. Now it’s a popular bridge with those who like lovelocks. Although I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of lovelocks and I consider them damaging to bridges, in this case, it seems like they have improved the aspect of the bridge.
This Baroque cathedral is dedicated to St Nicholas, and has a magnificent interior with spectacular frescos. It’s definitely worth popping in to see them. Its biggest attraction, however, is its incredible bronze front door, which commemorates the visit of Pope John Paul II to Slovenia. Make sure you rub the artist’s nose for good luck.
This sculpture-cum-fountain is one of Ljubljana’s quirkiest pieces of art. In an alleyway near the Town Square called Kljucavnicarska Ulica, you will find a metal fountain with the shape of a bloated hand. Turn the handle for the water to flow out of one of the fingers onto to a river of over 700 sad faces.
The ROG Factory was the manufacturing centre for ROG’s famous Pony Bicycles, relics of old Yugoslavia. Now, it is an autonomous social and cultural centre set on the premises of the abandoned bicycle factory. Born out of a squat, it occupies 7,000 square metres and is home to multiple gallery spaces, art studios, two skateparks, and concert and clubbing venues amongst other initiatives. Pop over to admire the local artists’ works, which you will no doubt find scattered around the place, and to chill in a creative setting.
Cocktails at sunset
A great way to finish the day is by visiting the Nebotičnik (The Skyscraper) building. As skyscrapers go, at 70m high it is not the highest one you’ve seen in your life, but it was the highest building in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia when it opened in the 1930s.
The café and lounge bar on the top three floors have excellent views of Ljubljana, and it’s perfect to relax while sipping a cocktail and enjoying the sunset over the Alps in the distance. It also offers a fabulous view over the castle.
Have some extra time in Ljubljana?
Here are some extra things to do in Ljubljana if you have more time and need a few more ideas:
The Ljubljanica River flows through the centre of the city, so floating along with it is a great to see the sights. Boats have both outer areas and an enclosed bar in case the weather and the temperatures are not ideal, so this cruise can be done all year round. You can combine a river cruise with a walking tour to make the most of it.
Ljubljana & Idea
A quirky little shop that holds a unique private collection of more than 4,000 pieces of Ex-Yugoslavia items. Part shop, part museum it houses sports memorabilia, old Yugoslavia flags, posters, pins, toys and anything you can imagine. You can even rent a Pony bike.
National Museum of Cotemporary History
Dedicated to the heritage of recent Slovenian history, from the beginning of 20thcentury onwards. It holds collections related to the First and the Second World Wars, the Socialist period and the establishment of independent Slovenia.
Kongresni Trg Square
Congress Square has been at the centre of historic change. It was here that the independence from Austria-Hungary was announced and it was also the place where the first free protest took place in 1988. It is surrounded by pretty civic buildings, and it’s a lovely place to find a bench and sit for a few minutes while you walk around the city.
This is the house of Jože Plečnik, the architect responsible for some of the most famous buildings in Ljubljana. His house now holds a permanent exhibition about his life and work. If you are particularly interested in his work, you can join a Plečnik bike tour around the city.
Day trip to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
One of the best day trips you can do from Ljubljana has to be a day trip to Postojna Cave and to Predjama Castle. They are both located within the Park Postojnska Jama, so it’s very easy to combine them on the same day.
Postojna Cave is a pretty spectacular 24km long limestone cave carved by the Pivka river over a period of 3 million years. Only 2km of those 24km are accessible on foot and it’s a real marvel.
Postojna Cave has just celebrated 200 years since its discovery, so installations have been improved, but its popularity has increased too. A top tip would be to arrive for the first tour of the day at 9am. We were about 15 people in the English language tour group, but on peak hours on busy days it can get up to 200 people per group! So get there early to make the most of it!
The cave tour takes 90 minutes. Make sure you wear comfortable footwear and warm clothes, as the temperature in the cave is around 10 C degrees all year round.
Think of the ultimate fairytale castle built in an impossible place and you will come up with something that looks like Predjama Castle. Perched up in the middle of a vertical 123-metre high cliff, Predjama Castle is the only preserved cave castle in the world and it holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest cave castle in the world.
Built in medieval times, it was the hideaway of the rebellious knight Erasmus, the Slovenian Robin Hood.
Under the castle there is a network of cave passages more than 14km long that reach behind the castle too. It is an important archaeological site that dates back to the Stone Age. To access the cave here you would need an additional ticket, which you can buy onsite.
Getting to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle
Postojna Cave is only 46km from Ljubljana and it’s very easy to get to. You can take the train from Ljubljana Train Station to Postojna and it’s half an hour walk to the cave from there.
There is a free shuttle bus that goes between Postojna Cave to Predjama Castle during the summer.
If you visit outside of summer, I would recommend visiting with a tour from Ljubljana so you don’t have to worry about transportation, and it’s great value, as it also includes the tickets to both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle.
Would you have included anything else in this Ljubljana itinerary?
Let me know in the comments!
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Disclosure: A big thank you to Visit Ljubljana, Hostel Tresor, Park Postojna Jama and bitemojo who hosted me on this trip. As always, all views are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support!