Ljubljana is one of the most beautiful and enchanting European cities to enjoy on a short break abroad. It is a place for quiet exploration and relaxation, as well as fine dining and late night bar-club culture. Amazingly, though the city was partly destroyed by an earthquake a century ago, the old town alongside the quiet, narrow Ljubljanica river offers a perfectly natural mix of modernist architecture together with Baroque and classical styles. The most distinctive feature of Slovenia’s largest city is its medieval hilltop Castle which offers a breathtaking panorama of the city together with a birds-eye view of the old town. The city is proud of its rich heritage, lively arts and cultural scene and has many festivals running throughout the year. Ljublana is just the right size to be manageable within two or three days, with all the content & culture of a much larger metropolis. There are churches, castles, boutique shops, river cruises and Lake Bled to be enjoyed. It’s an extremely friendly city, as you’ll notice on your sight seeing explorations. You’ll never be short of a decent view as you stroll the waterside streets and on every new corner, you’re sure to find something of great interest. Truly, Ljubljana city breaks are amazing and great value for money.
A – Z of the best tourists attractions in Ljubljana
The Cankarjev dom cultural and congress centre is a multi functioning venue, with many points of interest for discerning explorers. The many halls inside the centre host theatre shows, musical concerts, operas & ballets, film screenings and political events. The congress centre can be found on Republic square and was designed by ‘Ravnikar’.
Dragon bridge and the triple bridge are two of the most distinguishable features of the city. Thousands of holiday makers flock to these important tourist attractions, to take pictures and walk over history. Dragon Bridge or Zmajski most, which crosses the Ljubljanica River, is an excellent example of Art Nouveau architecture. Interestingly, it replaced a wooden bridge and was the first concrete bridge to be built in Ljubljana and maybe Europe. The bridge received its decorative features from Jurij Zaninović, a very talented architect. The bridge has many unique sheet copper dragon statues, which later became the symbol of the capital.
On Preseren’s square, one can find 17th century Franciscan Monastery. It’s a beautiful & historic place to put on your Ljubljana sightseeing map. It’s hard to miss the Franciscan Church, because of its bright pink exterior and Preseren square isn’t far from the famous Triple Bridge. One should venture inside this tall and impressive pink-church, to find the main altar, designed by Francesco Robba. The monastery also prides itself on a library of more than 60,000 volumes and manuscripts. Today the church belongs to the Franciscan order but it was formerly Augustian church. Many students meet on the steps of the church, so there always seems to be a hub of activity associated with the monastery. Come see your selves on your active Ljubljana holidays.
Joze Plecnik is a name you should know before setting foot in Ljubljana on your Slovenia break. Over three and half decades, architect Joze Plecnik, transformed Ljubljana from a provincial town into a capital. His vision and artistry, gave birth to the majority of popular city attractions to be found in Ljubljana, from St Michaels church and Tivoli Park to Three bridges and the Church of St Francis.
“Undiscovered and unspoilt pleasures lay in wait”
Kranjska Gora, amid Slovenia’s highest and most dramatic peaks, is the country’s largest skiing resort. In summer the area attracts hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts. There is everything here for sports enthusiasts, senior citizens and families.
For a short break holiday, we advise our clients to find the famous Baroque Church of Krizanke, or the Knights of the Cross. Krizanke church is also referred to as the Church of Our Lady of Mercy. The church that stands today, was built in 1714, to the designs of Domenico Rossi and can be found next to the Krizanke summer theatre on Novi trg square. We advise our guests to go to the Krizanke church and learn more about the Teutonian knight order and why it was important to the imperial court in Vienna.
For those on a short break visit to Slovenia, especially Ljubljana city break clients, don’t miss the chance to visit Lake Bled. It’s one of those delightful hidden Eastern Europe treasures that you only think exist in fairy stories. Read more about Lake Bled in ‘Day Excursions’. Lake Bled is a Slovenia holidays must see area.
No sightseeing is complete though without a visit to Ljubljana castle, which stands guard on the hillside above the city. There is a lovely cobbled street linking the old town to the castle which makes for an energetic city breaks walk that is definitely worth the effort. The castle is lovely and hosts a museum, Chapel of St George and a nice restaurant inside; however the highlight is the panoramic view of Slovenia’s capital and stunning countryside. It makes for an inspiring and romantic break view point during your holidays in Slovenia. The magnificent views over the river and the Old Town is simply breath taking and on a clear day the distant Julian Alps can be seen. The castle is a massive tourist site, so don’t miss one of the most popular sightseeing landmarks.
Ljubljana University is an institution with a very rich tradition. With its more than 56,000 undergraduate and post-graduate students, it ranks among the biggest universities in Europe. The University of Ljubljana was established in 1919 on the foundations of a long- established pedagogical tradition, in the centre of the capital where the central university building and the majority of its faculties are located to this day. For almost half a century it remained the only Slovenian university. Why not wander around the buildings and meet the friendly Slovenian students – something ‘off the beaten track’.
Ljubljana is home to many independent & famous art galleries. One to take note of is the Museum of Modern Art. Here, in a strikingly modern building, you’ll find a permanent collection of works by 20th century Slovenian artists and hosts many temporary exhibitions of contemporary art throughout the year. It’s a key venue for art & culture lovers.
If you craving for more art and culture during a Ljubljana weekend break, then try the National Gallery housed in the National Centre. The building is a delightful find, built by Czech architect František Edmund Škabrout in 1896 on the model of Prague’s National Theatre. Inside artistic lovers will discover both Slovenian and foreign works. Exhibitions cover Impressionism, Realism, Gothic, sculptors and painters from the periods of Romanticism and much more. Let the National Gallery make an impression on you and your Slovenia city getaway.
The market is a must-stop on your Slovenian break. The market is an architectural attraction and a great way to get a feel for the life in the city. Built in 1940 by Jože Plečnik, the market runs along the colonnade by the river.
There are many fascinating museums in Ljubljana and too many to review here, but one that needs special attention is the National Museum. Located in a neo-Renaissance styled palace lies a very impressive museum, dating back to 1821. The National Museum is Slovenia’s premier exhibition venue and is home to many important world treasures. The museum features a permanent exhibition covering various archaeological periods. Interestingly, the Museum also preserves the only human Egyptian mummy in Slovenia. If you have time on your sightseeing in Ljubljana, also visit the Museum of Natural History, where they display zoological, botanical and geological collections.
On Republic Square, guests will see the Slovenian Parliament building, the heart of Slovenia’s Political agendas. Republic Square is surrounded by the TR3 skyscraper, Parliament, Ljubljanska banka bank and the Cankarjev dom cultural and congress centre. It’s certainly fulfilled its role as a place for mass gatherings and a place of vibrant activity.
The most famous fountain is the Robba Fountain of Carniolan Rivers, located on the town square. It’s one of the most beautiful Baroque monuments in the capital and symbolizes the three rivers: Sava, Krka, Ljubljanica. It was created by the Venetian-born sculptor and architect Francesco Robba, who was inspired by Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers on Piazza Navona in Rome. The Fountain was Robba’s last creation in Ljubljana, as he moved to Zagreb on completion of the fountain.
Since the 13th century Saint Nicholas’ Cathedral has stood between the Vodnikov trg and the Ljubljanica river. This proud Baroque cathedral is dedicated to the patron and guardian of fishermen and boatmen. Come to St. Nicholas Cathedral and see the amazing Giulio Quaglio frescoes, bronze doors, organ loft and various paintings. Mark it down for your Slovenia city tour excursions.
Schweiger House is the most impressive Baroque building on the Old Town Square. The lower part of the house is adorned by richly decorated windows and a marvelous Baroque balcony supported by two columns and a figure of Atlas with a finger at his lips symbolically illustrating the owner’s name Schweiger, which means ‘one who does not talk much’.
It is largely thanks to Architect Jože Plečnik that Ljubljana locals can enjoy living in a well-planned and pedestrian-friendly city with tree-lined streets and classical forms and dimensions. Plečnik’s Ljubljana is an urban planning phenomenon. One of his highlight designs to be found on your weekends break in Ljubljana is the Shoemakers Bridge. Originally, it was a site of a medieval Butchers’ Bridge, which later became inhabited by shoemakers since the local inhabitants complained of the stench coming from the butchers’ shops. Plečnik intentionally made this bridge wide, creating a sort of town square effect where people could gather together, a vocation very much fulfilled today.
The Three Bridges are probably the most remembered tourist attraction in Ljubljana. Also referred to as the Triple bridges or in Slovenian Tromostovje, they are a fantastic tourism sight and can’t be missed. The 3 Bridges, located in the heart of the city, consist of an old stone bridge built in 1842 and two newer bridges
added in 1931 by Joze Plecnik. The Triple Bridge as a unique architectural presence and is joy to see and walk across. The Three Bridges cross the river Ljubljanica which flows through the city of Ljubljana, leading onto the old part of the town and castle.
Slovenia holidays makers love this bridge, as they can use the pedestrian and smaller bridges all day long and not have to worry about the crossing cars. Don’t miss the Triple bridges. It’s a Ljubljana break highlight for sure.
The Town Hall is also a beautiful building, which you can explore from inside and out. Both the interior and exterior of the Town hall presents a pleasant viewing. Just across the way from the Town Hall is the Robba Fountain, which shows the directions of the three rivers surrounding the capital.
Other places to see in Ljubljana, should include the Town square or in Slovenian, the Mestni trg. This traffic free square, is one of the major cores to medieval Ljubljana. There are many spectacular Baroque town houses and Renaissance buildings that give the Mestni trg its special appeal. Most loved is the Town Hall, and so is the Fountain of the Three Carniolan Rivers, which sits in front of this important building. The Municipal Gallery can also be found on the Mestni trg, in the Haman House. Also on the square, tourists can enjoy the boutiques, antique shops and restaurants, which reside on the street level.
Modelled on a church in Venice, the Ursuline Monastery’s Church of the Holy Trinity is a fine example of Baroque architecture. Built between 1718 – 1726 by Carlo Marinuzzi, it is an unusual but lovely design. Certainly worth seeking out on your site seeing activity adventures in Slovenia.
Vodnik Square is home to a large open market that runs Mondays – Saturdays. The square was named after Valentin Vodnik, a famous poet, whose monument resides there to this day. For flowers, fruit and veg, you won’t have to go any further than Vodnik Square. It’s a pleasant insight into daily working Slovenian life. Enjoy the atmosphere, interact with the people and buy your partner a rose to remember this amazing romantic break journey to Slovenia. The only country with love in its name.