Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a fairytale city filled with iconic sights, delectable cuisine, interesting art, nature parks, good craft beer and incredible community events. There are enough Ljubljana things to do to fill an entire week, but for visitors who have just one day in Ljubljana, we’ve rounded up a list of the city’s essential experiences. The day is packed with top things to do in Ljubljana that visitors will not want to miss!
One Day in Ljubljana Itinerary
Wondering what to do in Ljubljana in one day? In the heart of the city, visitors can find everything from Ljubljana must-see sights and local eateries-with-a-twist to reinvented neighborhoods and amazing nature. This 1 Day in Ljubljana Itinerary is designed for travelers who are short on time, but want to explore the iconic sights, taste the local food and experience the best of the city.
How Many Days in Ljubljana is Enough?
We think 1 day in Ljubljana is just enough time to get a peek at the city. Our advice of what to see in Ljubljana in one day is absolutely packed with the must-see sights of the city. Ideally, we think visitors need at least 2 days in Ljubljana. Which is why we include tips of what to see in Ljubljana in 2 days at the end of the post. That said, if a single day is all you have, we suggest making the most of it!
What To Do in Ljubljana in One Day
For the best Ljubljana activities and sights, use our timeline to plan what to see in Ljubljana in one day. Top Tip: Save, Bookmark or Pin our Ljubljana travel blog post so that you can easily access it while planning – and during! – your trip!
8:30AM – Coffee
Start your day with one of the most popular Ljubljana activities: coffee in a cafe. The Ljubljana cafe culture provides a fascinating introduction to the city. If the weather is nice, sit outside and watch the city wake up. The people watching is phenomenal.
Ljubljana Cafe Culture
In our observations of the Ljubljana cafe culture, there are no rules. It is as casual and comfortable as a family room couch. A single person can enjoy a coffee and a book, while next to them seven gossiping teenagers crowd around one small table. Young families catch up with old friends and younger couples sit side-by-side holding hands and making out.
Upon seeing friends, a passerby will stop to join them, have a drink and then break away from the group and continue on about their day. Some people linger, while others sit/order/drink/pay/leave before we even get the waiter’s attention.
The Best Ljubljana Cafes
We think the best cafe in Ljubljana is TOZD. The small shop serves gourmet coffee (some say it’s the best coffee in Ljubljana!), local wines and craft brews. TOZD, which is located on the east side of the Ljubljanica River, has a fun, shabby chic interior and a focus on delivering the best local products (they even team up with worthwhile community projects!).
Another great spot for a coffee is at the trendy line of Ljubljana cafes between the Triple Bridge and Butchers’ Bridge. Popular with locals and tourists, most seats offer a nice view over the river to the city’s cathedral spires and Ljubljana Castle.
While locals can linger over a cup of coffee (or beer…remember, anything goes!) for hours, if you are trying see Ljubljana in a day, you will need to fuel up and get moving!
9AM – Old Town Ljubljana Sightseeing
Most Ljubljana attractions are located in the city center – making it easy to see the top Ljubljana sights on foot. Hike up to the hilltop castle, cross Triple Bridge to Preseren Square and Franciscan Church, shop at the Central Market and photograph Dragon Bridge – these are all essential items for your checklist of things to see in Ljubljana.
However, there is more to discover in the city than just the iconic Ljubljana sights – so you will want to plan your route of where to go in Ljubljana in advance of your trip. We’ve made it easy to see all the top sights in Ljubljana in one day with our list of 17 Ljubljana Sights – all labeled on a helpful map!
11AM – Ljubljananjam Food Tour
Eating Slovenian cuisine is a necessity when visiting Ljubljana! The motto at Ljubljananjam is ‘Eat like a local, with a local,’ and that’s exactly how Iva runs her culinary tours. The small tours – max 6 people – are personalized and guided by a local to the best eateries in town. This food tour is a must-do in Ljubljana!
On our Ljubljananjam tour, we requested local cuisine and craft beer and we got it! We were led through the city to the hottest spots and hidden gems as we sampled locally sourced products, feasted on traditional cuisine and sipped the newest additions to Slovenia’s craft beer scene.
The highlights for us: soup made from locally-grown vegetables, perfectly prepared rumsteak and an Istrian dish of prosciutto served in teran wine sauce with polenta (and these were just the highlights!). Tell Iva and her team what you like – whether it is local food, hidden gems, wine, craft beer…or all of the above! – and they’ll create a tour designed to suit you. You can now also plan your own Ljubljana food tour with their new foodie e-guide, available here!
2PM – Nature in Ljubljana
There is no better place to go after a big Slovenian lunch than one of the Ljubljana parks. And, it just so happens that spending time in the city parks is one of the top Ljubljana, Slovenia things to do!
Whether you hit the trails in Tivoli City Park (where you will find the Tivoli Castle, another one of the Ljubljana points of interest) or climb to the top of Roznik Hill or slowly stroll through the Botanical Gardens, the parks are a wonderful place to spend a few hours of your Ljubljana one-day trip.
4PM – Ljubljana Graffiti Tour & Metelkova
With a day in Ljubljana, anyone can walk on the streets of Ljubljana and seek out graffiti, but on the Ljubljana Graffiti Tour, the fascinating street art scene is introduced to groups by a local guide – and ends with a hands-on workshop.
The personalized tours are like walking through an outdoor art museum. Not only does the guide explain the history of the art form, but also tells tales of the artists – or writers – behind the work. Taking the Graffiti Tour is one of the cool things to do in Ljubljana – especially the workshop! The tour starts in the historic city center and wanders through some of Ljubljana’s most colorful streets (literally) and ends in the edgy and artsy Metelkova district – one of the more alternative places to see in Ljubljana.
7PM – Sip Slovenian Craft Beer
With the popularity of craft beer around the world, some may not think sipping a Slovenian craft beer is an essential Ljubljana experience. However, the craft brew in the city is some of our favorite from around the world – and we think it’s one of the Ljubljana top things to do.
New breweries, like Tektonik, are opening in the heart of the city (not open yet to visitors, but sold around town and mighty tasty!) and more bars and cafes are offering local suds. Our favorite craft beer in Slovenia is by Pivovarna Pelicon and Reservoir Dogs Brewery. Runners up are tastes of goodness from Human Fish, Mali Grad and Carniola.
A handful of outdoor cafes along the river serve Slovenian craft beer, but Sir William’s Pub has the widest selection in stock. For a completely unique Ljubljana experience, stop by one of local beer shops, like Za Popent Pivoteka, let the staff help select a few local beers and choose a spot along the river to taste test.
8PM – Dinner in Ljubljana
Our favorite restaurants in Ljubljana are along the oldest lane in the city, at the base of the castle hill, where there is something for every taste…and budget.
Our pick for fine dining is the upscale Altroke; the menu features local (but inventive) dishes and regional wine. For a traditional classic, we love the fare at Gujzina Prekmurska Gostilna – especially the hearty stews and pork dishes. When we want something quick (or are looking for a budget meal), we go to Klobasarna, a small restaurant that specializes in Slovenian-style sausages.
Open Kitchen (Odprta Kuhna)
Visitors who are lucky enough to be visiting Ljubljana on a Friday (from the end of March through October) can feast at Open Kitchen. Odprta Kuhna, which takes place in Pogacarjev Square, is a gathering spot for locals and tourists to sample fare from a variety of restaurants.
Chefs from local restaurants set up in booths to cook a variety of cuisine from classic to creative. The options seemed endless with traditional Slovenia fare, Thai, Mexican, Argentinian, burgers and desserts on offer (just to name a few). The festival is free and each booth sets their own menu and cash-only price structure, ranging from about €2-7.
10PM – Ljubljana at Night
End your Ljubljana one-day tour with a stroll around the city after dark. Ljubljana is a walkable city that glows under the street lights. Ramble through the city and you are sure to find unique happenings or events during your visit.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find pop-up food markets in Preseren Square and swing dancers taking over the street in front of the Grand Hotel Union.
Street performers will certainly be around. We’ve seen everything from a single man playing the accordion to a heavy metal band rocking out. Wander around and see what unique Ljubljana things you discover!
Tips for your Slovenia Itinerary
We are guessing that you are no longer wondering, “Is Ljubljana worth visiting?” and instead asking, “How many days in Ljubljana?” With so many places to visit in Ljubljana, Slovenia, we recommend spending at least 2 full days in the city.
What To See in Ljubljana in 2 Days
With 2 days in Ljubljana, visitors will have more time to experience the best of the city. Rather than cramming everything into one day in Ljubljana, visitors can enjoy the city at a more leisurely pace. And, with the extra time, visitors can squeeze in a half-day trip to nearby Lake Bled – like this one.
In fact, there are so many possible day trips from Ljubljana, that we recommend making the city your base for your entire Slovenia trip! There are numerous day trips from Ljubljana – from lakes to castles to caves to the sea!
Top Tips for Your Trip to Ljubljana
Now that you know how to spend one day in Ljubljana (or two…or more!), we have a few more tips for your trip.
Where To Stay in Ljubljana
Guests staying overnight in Ljubljana have several options when it comes to accommodations.
During our visits to Ljubljana, we stay in Airbnb Apartments. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) We find that Ljubljana holiday apartments often have more space than hotels – and the added benefit of a kitchen. And, they are usually more affordable than hotels, too.
However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip: Hotel Cubo, Adora Hotel or the classy Grand Hotel Union.
For a really unique stay, visitors should check out Hostel Celica – a former prison-turned-hostel that features decor by local artists and a jovial atmosphere.
What To Pack
Just a few things you won’t want to forget to pack! Looking for more packing tips? Check out my complete Packing List.
Ljubljana is a walkable city…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
Map and Guidebook
We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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