What to See?
Check out the Dragons, the Triple Bridge and the cheating baker. The city of Ljubljana is the historical, cultural, educational, economic, political and administrative centre of Slovenia.
Dragon Bridge – Guarded at each end by a pair of the famous Ljubljana dragons, they are believed to wag their tails whenever a virgin crosses the bridge. Don’t forget to count all the dragons you see – big and small ones…
Triple Bridge – The Triple Bridge is a unique feature of Ljubljana’s architecture. Jože Plečnik redesigned Ljubljana’s oldest stone bridge, adding two side bridges to create the Triple Bridge, which forms an ‘open’ gateway to the Old Town.
Cobbler’s Bridge – It is one of the oldest bridges crossing the Ljubljanica River and was thoroughly renovated by architect Jože Plečnik. On the bridge you will often encounter street vendors and musicians, dancers or comedians performing.
Town Square – The Ljubljana Town Hall is located on the square named Town Square (Mestni trg). The main feature on the square is a baroque fountain made by Francesco Robba in the 18th century and is also known as the Fountain of the Three Carniolan Rivers.
Robba Fountain – Known also as the Fountain of the Three Rivers of Carniola, it was originally located outside the Ljubljana town hall. It was made in the 18th century by Italian sculptor Francesco Robba, inspired by Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers on Piazza Navona during his visit to Rome. In 2006, the fountain was renovated and moved into the National Gallery, while a replica was prepared and placed in its previous location in the Town Square.
Prešeren Square – This is the centre of the centre. It is a perfect meeting point in Ljubljana, whether under the statue of France Prešern, which overlooks the Square or on the staircase of the pinkish Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. The most famous Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, wrote the Slovene national anthem and is on the Slovene 2 € coins. Prešeren’s figure looks toward his love and muse Julia, of whom there is a little statuette across the square on a facade between the windows of the first floor.
Tivoli Park – This largest park in Ljubljana stretches right into the centre. In the 1920s, it was renovated by well-known Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, who designed the Jakopič promenade that runs through the park, creating a linear visual axis going from the Tivoli Castle through Cankarjeva Street and Čopova Street to Prešeren Square, over the Triple Bridge, and ending at the Ljubljana Castle. Several notable buildings stand in the Park, among them are Tivoli Castle, the National Museum of Contemporary History and Tivoli Sports Hall.
City Museum – The City Museum of Ljubljana is situated in Auersperg Palace, which is itself an architectural monument, and holds several millennia of Ljubljana’s cultural heritage. This ranges from the 4,500-year-old prehistoric pile dwelling settlement to the present-day charming capital of Slovenia. Open: Tuesday–Sunday: 10am–6pm, Thursdays: 10am–9pm, Mondays closed
Modern Gallery – Moderna galerija houses the national collection of 20th century Slovene art (paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings as well as photography, video and electronic media collections) and a collection of works from the former Yugoslavia. The national collection presents the basic stages in the development of the Slovene tradition of modern and contemporary art from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. Open: Tuesday–Sunday: 10am–6pm, Mondays closed
National Gallery – Narodna galerija is the main art museum in Slovenia containing the largest visual arts collection from the late medieval period to the early twentieth century. Open: Tuesday–Sunday: 10am–6pm, Mondays closed
Ljubljana Castle – Above the city rises a hill and atop it stands Ljubljana castle. It is the most visited attraction in Ljubljana. You can either walk up – it is a very short walk – or you can ride up the funicular. The courtyard, which is free to enter, has a nice bar, restaurant and a Slovene art & craft shop. From here you can go up to the wall to have a look over Ljubljana, and on a clear day much of this valley all the way up to the Alps. The castle tower offers the best view and has an entrance fee, but it also includes a visit to the Virtual Museum and the (former) Penitentiary.
National Museum – The National Museum of Slovenia, which was founded by the Carniolian State Parliament on the 15th of October 1821, is the oldest of all Slovenian museum institutions. It is located in a Neo-Renaissance style building, shared with the Slovenian Museum of Natural History. Open daily: 10am–6pm
Ethnographic Museum – The museum “about the people for the people” invites you to visit the treasure house of Slovene and non-European heritage of the everyday and the festive. In the museum, as a part of a permanent exhibition, is the Ethnoalphabet, which is a labyrinth of objects from A to Ž, and a space for discovery and play for children. Open: Tuesday–Sunday: 10am–6pm, Mondays closed
Botanical Gardens – At the end of the city centre lies a 200-year-old botanical garden. A green oasis with more than 4500 different varieties of domestic and foreign flora attracts nature lovers and seekers of quietude. Open: April–October 7am–7pm daily, July–August 7am–8pm daily, November–March 7am–5pm daily
Ljubljana ZOO – Observe Slovene indigenous animals as well as animals from all over the world. Ljubljana ZOO is special because it stretches up into the natural habitat of the regional park Tivoli-Rožnik-Šišenski hrib. See the exhibition “Adventures with animals”, where you get the chance to pet or feed some of them.
Central Market – One of the most colourful places in Ljubljana is The Central Market that lies along the Ljubljanica River between the Triple and Dragon bridges. It is full of fruit, vegetables and cheese stalls as well as prepared food stalls with local delicacies, including the famous horse meat, which apparently tastes like beef – just a tad sweeter.
Art&Flea Market – The Art market happens every sunny Saturday during the summer season right in the centre, whereas the Antiques market happens all through the year on Sundays. Open: 8am–approx. 1pm