In the northern outskirts of the city is Ljubljana Resort, home to Laguna City Beach. Though it’s not a natural bathing area, you’ll have access to two outdoor pools, a wellness centre and a sports centre. There’s a vibrant programme of activities too, including poolside parties, volleyball and night swimming, and lots of grassy areas for sunbathing next to the river. The Laguna City Beach is easily accessible by public bus and its admission price definitely won't break the bank.
Northeast of Ljubljana is the incredible Atlantis Water Park, or Vodna Mesto Atlantic. Like Laguna City Beach, this indoor and outdoor extravaganza is totally manmade but is a great alternative to the seaside. It has a total of 17 pools, 14 saunas – eight of which are thematic – and a range of facilities for all the family.
This peaceful hangout, located 10 minutes from the city centre, is a renovated river embankment that’s perfect for some afternoon time out. While you can’t actually swim in the river, Park Spica – which translates as ‘pointed tip’, referring to the embankment’s pointed shape – is a tranquil green space ideal for soaking up the sun and admiring the views.
With plenty of markets throughout the week, it’s more than likely that you’ll come across a good steal in Ljubljana. On Saturday, walk along the riverside to browse the art market, or on Sunday peruse the bustling antique flea market. The central market is also a great place to pick up a bargain. This atmospheric hub is full of food and wine stalls as well as vendors selling a range of well-priced gifts and souvenirs. Outdoor fairs are often held in Ljubljana too.
Retail therapy can be found in all corners of Ljubljana. As well as several department stores in the city centre and countless boutiques, you’ll also find huge shopping centres on the outskirts of the city. BTC City Ljubljana, the largest shopping centre in Europe with 450 shops, is particularly popular. Not only will you find high-street brands like Zara and SportsDirect, but plenty of dining options and even a waterpark. Ljubljana’s shops tend to have opening hours of 8am to 7pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Designer labels – including Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and UGG – are also at home in the BTC Shopping Centre. Back in Ljubljana’s city centre, you’ll find Italian high-fashion brands like Maxi and Nama, as well as Slovenian designers such as Katja, Almira Sadar and Barbara K.Germ.
Wind down for the evening at the intimate Wine Bar Sukjle. On the riverbank in Ljubljana’s old town, this ambient bar serves more than 300 types of wines. Their speciality though is Vino Music Mood, where guests are offered wine that reflects the musical atmosphere. Another great option is Chill Out, with its bustling beer garden. Grab a pint or a cocktail and watch the sun set over the city.
As a predominantly young city, it’s no surprise that Ljubljana has nightlife in abundance. If live music is your thing, head down to CinCin Bar, located in the former Tobacna factory – its events all take place under the trees. If you prefer memorable views, then take the lift up to the top of the Nebotik SkyScraper for a cocktail or two. Or for a completely unique experience, have a night out at Metelkova Mesto. Set in an old army barracks, it’s one of the best and largest venues on Ljubljana’s underground club scene.
Ljubljana has Slovenia’s best selection of restaurants. At the crossroads of different culinary cultures, the city combines Mediterranean, Alpine, Pannonian, Balkan and more international flavours to create delectable dishes. While you’re here, make sure you try the popular Kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage), which dates back to 1896. When it comes to bread, order some Potica – a yeast-dough bread with over 80 filling options like tarragon, walnut and poppy seed. If you’re craving something sweet, then go for a slice of Premusrka gibanica. This moist dessert is made up of layers of poppy seeds, cottage cheese, walnut and apple. It’s also protected under the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed, meaning it can only be sold under that name if it’s been made using the traditional recipe.
Listed as one of the best restaurants in Ljubljana for local cuisine, Restavracija Strelec is a quirky fine-dining joint hidden in the towers of Ljubljana’s castle. Guests eat in a circular room adorned with tribal wall art, and miniature horse statues. The tasting menus are extravagant and dishes are interestingly named, too. ‘No need for an apple to fall into the chimney’, for example, consists of smoked apples, horseradish, chestnuts and cheese. You can also choose to eat on the terrace, which offers fabulous views over the city.
Located inside the Grand Hotel Union, but open to the public, is Restaurant Atelje, a simple yet refined space in the centre of Ljubljana where passionate chefs, waiters and sommeliers work together to create a truly memorable experience. Menus change daily, but all the ingredients are seasonal and sourced locally, and the dishes intricate and creative. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday to Friday, dinner Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sunday.
With plenty of high-quality seasonal ingredients at their fingertips, the chefs at Monstera Bistro are in constant search of new flavours. The restaurant, just steps from Congress Square, was also the first Slovenian restaurant to establish ‘zero-waste cuisine’, meaning meals are sustainable and environmentally friendly. If you’re into trying new things, then you’re in luck – the restaurant changes its lunch set menu every week and on the weekends, you can tuck into a 7-course tasting menu which includes dishes like creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup and tapioca pudding.
Ljubljana is a very pleasant city to walk around as most of its paths are predominantly flat. The city is pedestrianised too, so you don’t have to worry about crossing busy roads. As a green city, it has lots of nice, open spaces and plenty of walking routes, from the riverside walking paths to the leafy trails in Tivoli Park. Walking tours are also available in Ljubljana, giving you the chance to see and learn about the city on foot.
See the sights from the water on a tourist boat. Departing from Ribji trg eight times a day, this 1-hour trip cruises down the Ljubljanica River giving you insider info on the city’s major sights along the way. Another option is the Ljubljanica wooden boat, made completely out of larch wood. This carrier can seat up to 48 people and departs every hour from Bred Landing.
Right in the centre of the city is Ljubljana’s Railway Station, connecting you to European cities like Trieste, Munich, Zurich, Prague and Budapest, as well as more local Slovenian destinations like Lake Bled and Bohinj. Trains to Lake Bled depart around once an hour and the journey only takes between 45 minutes and an hour, making it the perfect day trip.
There are lots of public buses operating around Ljubljana and beyond. You’ll have unlimited complimentary use of buses if you purchase the Ljubljana Card, otherwise you’ll have to pick up a reloadable Urbana Card, available from LPP ticket offices, kiosks, newspaper stands and post offices. One journey lasts up to 90 minutes, too, meaning you can change buses during that time free of charge. In the pedestrianised centre, you can also hail down a Kavalir. These electric cars loop around the city centre, are free of charge and run daily between 8am and 8pm.
There’s only one lift in Ljubljana, and that’s the funicular up to the castle. This standing-only lift holds up to 33 people and has floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views across the city. Open from 9am to 11pm, the funicular departs every 10 minutes and only takes one minute to complete its journey. Journeys are free on the Ljubljana Card or cost €4 per adult for a roundtrip.
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