Ljubljana Old Town (Staro mesto)

#1 in Best Things To Do in Ljubljana
Ljubljana Old Town (Staro mesto) picture
Ljubljana Old Town (Staro mesto)
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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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.

Travelers rave about the Ljubljana Old Town region, saying it offers a perfect blend of old and new. Though many suggest a summer visit so you can attend the weekly food market and people-watch while sipping a coffee outdoors, others highly recommend arriving in December to enjoy the city's festive Christmas decorations and holiday markets. No matter when you visit, vacationers say you'll discover well-maintained buildings, friendly locals and a great selection of eateries and watering holes.

The Ljubljana Old Town neighborhood can be found on both the left and right banks of the Ljubljanica river in the heart of the city. The area itself is free to visit 24 hours a day, but opening hours and prices at its shops and restaurants vary by location. The city center is walkable and bike-friendly. On cooler days or when you want to rest your feet, you can also take advantage of the free downtown shuttle service via the city's Kavalirs. The fee-based Urban Train and several bus lines also operate around central Ljubljana. To find out more about the history of central Ljubljana, check out Ljubljana Tourism's Old Town page.

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Ljubljanica
Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad)
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Time to Spend
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#2 Ljubljanica

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.

Today, visitors can enjoy the river in a variety of ways. During the warmer months, the waterway's lush green banks are ideal for picnics. Travelers can also sign up for a two-hour paddleboarding excursion, and for less-active vacationers, there's a two-hour boat cruise that's available every day at 2 p.m. from April through September. No matter the season, the river's multiple bridges – including the Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge – are superb spots for photo ops.

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