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Courtesy of Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Ljubljana

If you have extra time, Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad) is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Ljubljana Old Town (Staro mesto)
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    #1 in Ljubljana
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Ljubljana's past is hard to miss in its historical city center. Home to must-see sights like Prešeren Square, the Triple Bridge and Ljubljana Castle, the Ljubljana Old Town area features a mix of Gothic, Baroque and art nouveau architecture. Throughout the neighborhood, you'll find colorful buildings, pedestrian-only thoroughfares, ample shops and charming open-air cafes that overlook the Ljubljanica river. Plus, several of Slovenian architect Jože Plecnik's most iconic structures reside in this part of town. Don't miss the Plecnik-designed Central Market, which hosts a popular food market (Open Kitchen) every Friday from mid-March through October.

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  • #2
    Ljubljanica
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    #2 in Ljubljana
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Some of Ljubljana's most stunning vistas are front and center from the Ljubljanica River. Weaving its way from the Sava River in Podgrad (an area east of Ljubljana) through the Ljubljana Old Town area to Slovenia's Inner Carniola region, this waterway has played an important role in Slovenia's history for years. Several archaeological sites lie in the Ljubljana Marshes, which the river passes through to get to the city. Additionally, the Ljubljanica river served as a major trade route from when the Romans conquered the region up until the country's rail network was constructed in the mid-19th century.

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  • #3
    Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad)
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    #3 in Ljubljana
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Built in the Middle Ages on Castle Hill, Ljubljana Castle is a fixture on the city's skyline. The medieval castle boasts thick stone walls and houses a plethora of historical spaces, including a chapel, an open-air prison, a gunpowder room and a lookout tower. Additionally, the property offers modern amenities like two restaurants, a coffee shop, a gift shop, a jazz club, a museum about puppetry and an escape room.

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  • #4
    Triple Bridge (Tromostovje)
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    #4 in Ljubljana
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of Ljubljana's most recognizable sights is its Triple Bridge. Featuring a three-bridge design that includes a central stone bridge from 1842 and two matching side bridges designed by Jože Plecnik in the early 1900s, this thoroughfare helps bicyclists and pedestrians cross the Ljubljanica river. By its northern entrances, visitors will find Prešeren Square and its historical attractions. Meanwhile, the southern access points sit within walking distance of the medieval Ljubljana Castle and Ljubljana Cathedral. Various shops and restaurants are also accessible from both ends.

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  • #5
    Prešeren Square (Prešernov trg)
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    #5 in Ljubljana
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Considered one of the top places to visit in the Ljubljana Old Town neighborhood, Prešeren Square sits on a plot of land that once featured a set of medieval gates. Although the gates were removed in the 19th century, the square continues to draw visitors thanks to its proximity to the Triple Bridge and its recognizable sights. At the center of the square lies the Prešeren Monument, a tribute to Slovenian poet France Prešeren. It faces another statue depicting the poet's love, Julija Primic. And next to the Prešeren Monument lies one of Ljubljana's most well-known buildings, the 17th-century Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.

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  • #6
    Lake Bled
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    #6 in Ljubljana
    Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though you may be tempted to stick to Ljubljana's city limits, you'd miss seeing one of Slovenia's most breathtaking natural wonders: Lake Bled. Located about 35 miles northwest of Ljubljana, this Alpine lake is home to the country's only island, where the quaint Assumption of Mary Church resides. On the lake's shoreline, you'll discover the 12th-century Bled Castle, a few cafes and shops, multiple thermal springs, a beach and a nearly 4-mile-long walking and bike trail.

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  • #7
    Ljubljana Cathedral (Ljubljanska stolnica)
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    #7 in Ljubljana
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Also known as the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Ljubljana Cathedral has welcomed parishioners since at least 1262. Burned down and altered throughout the years, today's rendition of the church features a cross-shaped design devised by Italian Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo. Inside, you'll discover all kinds of Baroque details, including ceiling frescoes painted by Italian artist Giulio Quaglio, statues made by Italian sculptor Angelo de Putti and a dome fresco created by Slovenian painter Matevž Langus. The church's two bronze doors are also noteworthy: Added during a visit from former pope St. John Paul II in 1996, both feature scenes that tell the stories of Christianity in Ljubljana and Slovenia.

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  • #8
    Tivoli Park
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    #8 in Ljubljana
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Voted the European Green Capital by the European Commission in 2016, Slovenia's capital offers multiple places to reconnect with nature, including Tivoli Park. This expansive park – which measures about 2 square miles – features chestnut tree-lined paths, a fish pond, a botanical garden and a variety of statues and fountains. On-site amenities range from an outdoor pool to sports courts to an open-air gallery designed by Jože Plecnik.

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  • #9
    Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most)
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    #9 in Ljubljana
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Flanked by – you guessed it – four dragon statues, the Dragon Bridge is a photographer's dream. Located within walking distance of Ljubljana Cathedral and Ljubljana Castle in the Ljubljana Old Town neighborhood, this prime example of Slovenian art nouveau architecture is one of the largest concrete bridges in Europe. The bridge, which was designed by Dalmatian architect Jurij Zaninovi? and built in the early 1900s, was Slovenia's first structure to be paved with asphalt. In addition to featuring its iconic copper dragon statues, the bridge is adorned with balustrades and parapet lamps.

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  • #10
    Metelkova mesto
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    #10 in Ljubljana
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you need a break from Ljubljana's old-world attractions, immerse yourself in its alternative side in Metelkova mesto. Occupying former army barracks that were abandoned after the breakup of Yugoslavia, this urban neighborhood – which was originally established by 200 squatting volunteers – is a haven for Slovenian artists and musicians. Comparable to Copenhagen, Denmark's Christiania area (minus the anarchist attitude), autonomous Metelkova mesto boasts a cool vibe complete with eclectic artwork from highly regarded and lesser-known Slovenian artists. Its colorful buildings house everything from art galleries to nightlife venues to a few retail stalls and shops.

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  • Butchers' Bridge (Mesarski most)
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    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

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