Visit Ljubljana – unusual things to do and see in the capital of Slovenia

Visit Ljubljana, the most beautiful city in the world“, we could say this is the slogan of the Slovenian capital in recent years ever since Ljubljana has appeared on the world tourist map as one of the cutest and nicest cities to visit. This article offers some “what to see” andwhat to do” in Ljubljana while visiting. Not only the very know ones but also hidden not-as-know gems, which you can discover. As a big fan of less-known sightsees and adventures, I have compiled a list of things to do in Ljubljana. I am sure this will make your stay in Ljubljana even more memorable.

The view over Ljubljana Castle. | FOTO: Visit Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a small capital in comparison to its neighbors like Zagreb, Vienna, or Budapest, with only approximately 300 thousand inhabitants.

It has changed drastically in the last 10, to 15 years. I moved here more than 20 years ago and I remember there were still buses driving through Kongresni Square and over the famous Three Bridges. Yes, cars could drive through the old town of Ljubljana. We could park our car near Park Zvezda. Far more tourists visit the city every year than years ago, and prices went up drastically.

It offers a variety of tourist attractions like Prešernov Square, a hike, or a cable drive on the top of the Ljubljana castle with amazing views over the whole of Ljubljana, in good weather conditions you can also see the Alps. You can use a cable car but you can also walk up the castle through the small streets famous Dragon Bridge, the dragon is a symbol of Ljubljana, the “love” bridge, the embankment of river Ljubljanica full of cafes and restaurants and a very popular walking path and so many more.

This is why I have tried to make a list of hidden not-as-know gems in Ljubljana, which you can discover and at the same time, you can avoid crowds but still experience our small and beautiful capital.

Nebotičnik skyscraper

Nebotičnik skyscraper with its so-called snail’s stairs and its restaurant on the upper floor is one of the symbols of Ljubljana and it offers also an amazing view over the city. Built in 1933 this was the highest building in town. You can reach the top by elevator or on stairs, which have an interesting snail-like shape and are very photogenic to take pictures.

Location: Nebotičnik Location
Nebotičnik is one of the symbols of the Slovenian capital| FOTO: Visit Ljubljana

It was designed in 1933 by architect Vladimir Šubic, at that time, it was the tallest skyscraper in all of Yugoslavia and the tallest residential building in all of Europe. Today, Nebotičnik still towers over central Ljubljana, allowing us to catch some of the most beautiful views of our capital. The top three floors offer a café, a bar, and an observation deck. What’s more, the building holds an Art Deco unique spiral staircase that spins from the bottom to the tenth floor. This is a must-see!

So-called “Snails staircase” which lead to the top of Nebotičnik. | FOTO: Visit Ljubljana

“Dežnikarica” – the last umbrella repair shops in Ljubljana

Ljubljana once had several umbrella repair shops, but only one has survived to today. The one on Trubarjeva Street, where the workshop is successfully run by the last umbrella woman in Ljubljana, Marija Lah. You can find it here in the old town. She repairs 98 percent of the umbrellas she gets in her repair shop. Her motto is: “Repair the old to preserve nature!” So if you break your favorite umbrella, you fix it in Ljubljana.

Location: “Dežnikarica” – the last umbrella repair shops in Ljubljana
You just must visit the last umbrella woman in Ljubljana. | FOTO: Visit Ljubljana

Architect Jože Plečnik and his amazing works

World-renowned legacy of architect Jože Plečnik and his work, which is full of symbolism. Plečnik’s Ljubljana is a world architectural heritage, his selected works have been henceforth on the list of world and natural cultural heritage.

Jože Plečniks work is full of symbolism.| FOTO: Visit Ljubljana

You can visit various works of Plečnik in Ljubljana as the famous library NUK National and University Library of Ljubljana, the embankments of Ljubljanica with the bridges from Trnovski pristan to Zapornice and Trnovski bridge, Vegova Street with the National and University Library, Congress Square with Zvezda Park, the archaeological park at the Roman Wall, Cemetery Žale and the church of St. Michael in Črna vas and St. Francis of Assisi in Šiška and one of the central architectural attractions of Ljubljana – Križanke summer theater. The former monastery of the German Knights of the Cross, built in the 13th century, was remodeled by the architect Jože Plečnik between 1952 and 1956 into one of the city’s central cultural venues.

Famous Three Bridges in Magical December is also one of the of Jože Plečniks works. | FOTO: Tadeja Magdič

Plečnikova Church in Črna vas is a famous wedding destination and venue, because of its photogenic architecture Take a Bus)

Plečnih had a very good sense of integrating symbolism in his architectural work. So, when you visit his works, pay attention.

Like, the doorknob at the entrance to the National University Library is higher than usual, and the horse on it symbolizes the will to progress. What follows is a wide, monumental internal staircase, which is symbolically designed as a steep path from darkness to light, and is just a short excerpt from Andrej Hrausky’s book, which is dedicated to reading the symbolism in Plečnik’s architecture. The large, massive doors that allow entry to the central library here can be seen as a tribute to knowledge. The same applies to the aforementioned staircase, which leads from darkness to light to the central reading room, where generations have studied and are studying, and where it is possible to examine and read those materials that must not leave the premises of Nuka.

The large, massive doors that allow entry to the central library can be seen as a tribute to knowledge. | FOTO: Visit Ljubljana

Golovec, Park Tivoli, Mostec, Grmada and Šmarna Gora

Recreation and walking areas such as Golovec, Park Tivoli, and Mostec are the green heart of Ljubljana and are very popular among people who live in Ljubljana. The area covered with trees, is very popular for hikes, runs, dog walkers, joga, and outdoor fitness. If you like flowers and greens, you can also visit the Botanical garden.

If you still don’t have enough, you can hike Ljubljana’s highest peaks Šmarna Gora and Grmada. Grmada offers an excellent viewpoint, Šmarna Gora a small restaurant with local cuisine and refreshing drinks. From the city center to the starting point, you can either take a city bus to Brod or drive with a bicycle or a car.

Embankment “Špica” of river Ljubljanica

“Špica” is only a 10-minute walk from the historical city center. Špica translates as ‘pointed tip’. Recently, it has become a very popular hangout spot, especially in the summer months with a series of outdoor entertainment with concerts. You can easily reach Špica by just walking down the river Ljubljanica, which gives Ljubljana an unmistakable stamp with its interesting bridges and picturesque embankments in the old town.

Ex-prison turned into a hostel called Celica (The Cell)

Do you want to spend a night in prison? Well, to be more exact, in ex-prison? You can, in a hostel called Celica, which translates as the prison cell

Hostel Celica is located in former military prisons, which began operating in 1883 during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the end of the Second World War, the prison passed into the hands of the Yugoslav People’s Army, which ran it until 1991, when Slovenia gained independence. When the Slovenian army defeated the Yugoslav People’s Army in the ten-day war for independence, the barracks and prisons remained abandoned and empty. 

The uniqueness of Hostel Celica is reflected in 20 artistically renovated former prison cells. Each of them is unique, has its author or group of authors, its own story and concept, and of course also design. However, all 20 cells retained one common feature: the original bars on the doors and windows. For the more traditional traveler, there are eight comfortable, colorful rooms with artistic elements. One of the rooms, located on the ground floor, is intended for the disabled, and all have a bathroom. A larger dormitory with twelve beds is also available to individual travelers.

Navje Memorial Park – Cemetery of the famous

Navje is the necropolis of Slovenian poets and writers – and is the last remnant of this cemetery. Even before the First World War, the new Ljubljana cemetery in Žale was being arranged. Many graves were dug up and moved to Žale, some remain where they are and are mostly abandoned and neglected.

Navje is the old Ljubljana cemetery of deserving men, today converted into a memorial park. From 1779 to 1936, the cemetery of St. Kristofa, which the city authorities moved to the location of today’s Žal. With the opening of the new cemetery, the fate of the old cemetery became uncertain. Many well-known personalities – writers, artists, scientists, and political workers, such as Anton Aškerc, Matija Čop, Josip Jurčič, Tomaž Linhart, Fran Levstik, Valentin Vodnik, Josef Ressel, Ivan Grohar and many others – are resting in Navje today. The Navje Memorial Park hides many interesting stories, which we will get to know in more detail during a walk through the park.

Brewery Union Experience – visit the ex-beer factory in the city.

They call this tour “The real lesson in local beer, which you must fully experience in Ljubljana”. Legendary stories and production secrets will be a topic for interesting conversations with friends for a long time. Walk through the rich history and modern production of Pivovarna Union, and finish with a toast with a mug of fresh beer. After you finish you can enjoy local beer in the Union Pub.

Brewery Union Experience in the Union pub. | FOTO: Damijan Kovač

Janče, the highest peak of Ljubljana with an amazing view point over the city

You need a vehicle to access Janče, which is 784 meters, the highest peak of Ljubljana. In good weather you will have a complete view of the Ljubljana Basin, the Julian and Kamnik-Savinska Alps. A very nice afternoon trip. In Janče there is also a mountain hut, where you can eat something good, because they have homemade food as well as good pizzas from the bread oven.

Geometrical center of Slovenia Geoss and historical Vaška situla

GEOSS is the gravity center of Slovenia country,  the center of an irregular figure, such as the outline of our country’s borders, cannot be determined. For easier understanding, we have simplified the term and called it the Geometric Center of Slovenia, abbreviated GEOSS. If you cut the figure of Slovenia on the cardboard exactly along the national borders and place it at the center of gravity on the tip of the needle, it would remain balanced. Similarly, by moving the model of Slovenia on a supported needle, we first roughly determined the location of the center of gravity.

GEOSS is approximetly 35 minuts drive from Ljubjana, which means you will need a car.

Crowded embankment of river Ljubljanica called Petkovško nabrežje. | FOTO: Tadeja Magdič

The Koseze Pond as a recreational hotspot

The Koseze Pond is a small, popular hotspot whole year round. It’s situated on the edge of Ljubljana and is a small artificial lake in Koseze, the origin home of famous NBA basketball player Goran Dragič. The pond is surrounded by a walking path with benches, next to it there are several wooden platforms and lookout piers. The lake is located near the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, a circular path around Ljubljana and it’s connected also with the recreation area Mostec and Rožnik area.

It’s a small marshy lake and it provides a natural habitat for several rare and endangered plant and animal species, mainly frogs and numerous other amphibians, several fish species, dragonflies, swans, and other bird species. Each year, the Koseze Pond hosts several model boat races. When it freezes in winter, it is a popular natural ice rink.

Are you planning to visit Slovenia and you are looking for a different way of getting to know Slovenia? Do you also want to visit a little less well -known corner of our beautiful countries? A more personal and unique way and in a purely trailor-made?

Contact us on and we will helped organize the best travel plan, just for you

These are just a few spots to visit, for sure I have missed a lot of them. You can find more useful information on the official website of the city of Ljubljana Visit Ljubljana.

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