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Discover Ljubljana in 3-Nights: The Best Ljubljana Travel Itinerary

Discover Ljubljana in 3-Nights: The Best Ljubljana Travel Itinerary

Planning a trip to Ljubljana and unsure about what to do? This three-night itinerary shows you all the best things to do in Slovenia’s capital.

Still flying under the radar of many travellers, this Baltic city is full of Bohemian charm. Bridges guarded by Ljubljana’s famous dragons, a fairytale castle, medieval streets, local bric-a-brac markets and cute riverside cafes make this the perfect destination for a European city break.

One of the best things to do in Ljubljana on a 3-night break is simply to wander the cobbled streets and waterways to discover the city’s hidden secrets. Stop in the local cafes for traditional food and watch the world go by at one of the riverside bars.

Further afield, take a day trip to Lake Bled or Predjama Castle, both easily reached from Ljubljana and beautiful places to visit in their own right.

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Pre-book a private airport transfer to take the hassle out of getting to your hotel.

Dragon Bridge

Day One

Walk around the Historic City Centre

We had booked to stay at The Sion Hotel in the modern part of Ljubljana, so to enter the old medieval side, we had to cross Preseren Square and the Triple Bridge. There is great mixture of art nouveau and baroque architecture in Ljubljana which is mainly down to one man, Joze Plecnik.

He is one of the most important pioneers of modern architecture in the world, also shaping the cities of Prague and Vienna. His design influence on Ljubljana’s bridges, buildings and facades is unmissable, making the city one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe.


Eat Authentic Slovenian Food

Our city break in Ljubljana started on a Friday, giving us the chance to check out the Friday Open Kitchen food market. Experience the delights of freshly cooked traditional food prepared by Slovenian chefs, all served from stalls.

The market is a great way to experience local fare and is open on Fridays from March to October. Choose your dish, grab some cutlery, sit on the steps and tuck into some authentic food. Try the Prekmurska Gibanica, a pastry similar to strudel, which was delicious.

Why not book a Ljubljana Food or Wine Tour during your stay?

Hike up to Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle is the main attraction of the city. Standing above the town for 900 years, the castle can be reached by foot or, for the less energetic, the funicular railway.

We chose to take the scenic hike up to the top, which was quite challenging, and we kept hoping a friendly passer-by would offer us a piggyback ride to the top, but no such luck.

The view over the orange and red-roofed houses from the tower was worth our effort, and as we watched other visitors exit the funicular, we felt a real sense of resentment, sorry, I mean achievement!

Ljubljana Castle houses an exhibition on Slovenian history, a puppet museum and several medieval rooms that you can view. Still, our favourite was the restaurant where we sipped on a glass of chilled white wine before our slightly easier descent back down the hill.

Book here for the Ljubljana Castle guided tour and funicular ride

View to the town from the Castle

Old Town Ljubljana

Back on terra firma, we checked out what was in the Old Town. We followed the lattice of cobbled streets that took us to the famous Dragon Bridge.

You may be wondering about the link Ljubljana has with dragons. They are the mythical protectors of Ljubljana and sit on each side of the Dragon Bridge. You will see them displayed on Ljubljana’s coat of arms, symbolising power, courage and wisdom.

The bridge is a tourist hotspot, and you can’t leave Ljubljana without taking at least one photograph of the dragons.

Legend tells that Jason the Greek (of the golden fleece fame) founded Llubljana after fighting and conquering a dragon that had its home in a nearby Slovenian lake.

Afterwards, the dragon became the city’s emblem. Whatever the true story, the dragons, are a crowd-pleaser.

There are also plenty of cultural monuments to visit in the old town. On a Ljubljana walking tour, you will hear about the history and traditions of many of them.

A boat trip along the Ljubljanica river is another way to see the beautiful buildings that sit along its embankment.

Learn how to pack light for a 3-night break

Discover Strange Local Delights

As we wandered along the streets realised that Ljubljana was one of the places in Slovenia you shouldn’t miss.

We saw things that fascinated us, things we had never encountered before and things that were just downright bizarre, including a machine that dispensed milk into bottles and a sign for human fish beer.

Travel gives you the opportunity for new encounters, which was undoubtedly the case here.

Day Two

It is a great idea to book an organised tour from Ljubljana to Lake Bled, one of Slovenia’s most beautiful landmarks. Sit back and enjoy your tour of this stunning setting before continuing to the unique Predjama Castle, built into the rock face and Postojna Caves with its baby dragons!

You can read more here about A day trip to Lake Bled, Predjama Castle and Postojna Caves.

Ljubljana is so close to these tourist spots that you just can’t come all the way here and miss them. Lake Bled rekindles childhood fairytales with its hilltop castle and medieval church seated in the middle of a glistening glacial lake.

It is in a romantic and surreal location and certainly highlights the beauty of Slovenia.

Predjama Castle has a secret to tell, and the story will unfold once you are within its walls. Constructed into the side of a mountain and fortified to keep invaders at bay, this castle oozes with history and is worth exploring.

I booked online to join a Lake Bled tour, Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave, but it is just as easy to get from Ljubljana to Bled by bus if you prefer travelling independently.

Postojna Caves will lead you underground, searching for stalagmites and the “dragons” that live in these caves.

Day Three

Visit the Sunday Morning  Flea Market

Held every Sunday morning along the riverside near Cobbler’s Bridge, a flea market comes to town selling antique goods and bric-a-brac from furniture to WW2 artefacts.

This isn’t something I would typically enjoy, but as we were miles from home, I was interested to see what would be for sale.

We wandered along the river bank, quite mesmerised by what was on display.

So much was WW2 memorabilia, including military war guns, that we hoped were de-commissioned, bullets, Gestapo lapel badges and the like. It gave us an insight into a past life in this area of the world.

We both preferred the calming vibe of the vintage jewellery, clothing and instrument stalls but found it a quirky place to visit on a Sunday morning.

Stay Overnight in a Prison (or visit for the day)

So right now, all sorts of thoughts are running through your mind. What did they do? Have they gone insane? Who would want to do this on a city break?

My travelling companion and I like to search out the strange, odd and sometimes just macabre things when we travel.

We are fascinated by graveyards, epitaphs, weird art and anything out of the normal, but Clare also has a hankering for prisons. On the other hand, I had not bargained for a trip to such an establishment while in Ljubljana!

From November 2023, travel to Europe from previous non-EU visa-exempt countries (that includes the UK) requires an ETIAS visa waiver.

Celica Hostel

Celica Hostel is in the rather run-down, bohemian area of Ljubljana called Metelkova Mesto. This former area housed an artist squatters colony but is now a cultural and social centre spotlighting street art, music and creativity.

Metelkova was reminiscent of Christiania in Copenhagen: an autonomous, alternative community.

Celica had previously held political prisoners but has been re-established as an art hostel, and you can pay to stay the night in a cell.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, as the building is full of art and has a great vibe, and I found the quirkiness of the place quite endearing.

Whether or not you plan to stay a night here, it is fascinating to visit. There is an exhibition explaining the 100 years prisoners were locked up here.

If you are fearless, you can go into the solitary confinement cell to experience first-hand how it would have been. We went in because we are tough old girls, and found it extraordinarily eerie and thought-provoking.

Book Here to Stay Overnight at Celica Hostel

My honest opinion of Ljubljana, Slovenia

What month did I travel? September

How was the weather? It was a mix of scattered showers and sunshine.

Would I recommend the hotel? Yes. Slon Hotel was comfortable and a 5-minute walk to the historic city centre.

Would I recommend three days in Ljubljana? The flight is just 2 hours from the UK, making it one of Europe’s best countries to visit for a weekend. I think it is fair to say that Ljubljana packs a punch for a small European capital. I loved the architecture, cafes and the Slovenian countryside.

If you have longer to spare, then Ljubljana is one of Eastern Europe’s best places to visit and makes a great starting point for a Balkans trip.

Love Eastern Europe?

You might like to read this post – How to See Budapest in 3-Days.


Saturday 17th of October 2020

What was the flight time from the uk.


Wednesday 21st of October 2020

It was 2 hours so really quick.


Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Enjoyed reading the description of this beautiful city. Castle,lake, bridges, narrow streets .....I want to go there! Do you know what is in the 'human fish beer'? :-)


Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Yes Ljubljana is a lovely city to visit. Luckily it’s just normal beer but is named after the brewery that makes it. We didn’t want to try it just in case !!


Wednesday 20th of November 2019

Very good read and I had never heard of it either. I think I’ll pass on the human fish beer also.


Wednesday 20th of November 2019

I’m glad you enjoyed it! Not sure I even want to know what was in the fish beer .


Monday 4th of November 2019

Great post! Slovenia has been on my bucket list for quite a while. Lots of tour companies offer package tours to it, but I'd love to visit by myself to take all the time I need to explore. There's lots of interesting things to do. Thanks for the tips!


Tuesday 5th of November 2019

I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Slovenia is definitely a wonderful place to visit.


Monday 21st of October 2019

Great post! I also enjoy going to different markets even if I never buy anything. And that prison cell room! I don't know if I could it! Does it have another door for more privacy or just the bar door?


Monday 21st of October 2019

Really glad you enjoyed the post. Yes the prison had solid doors for privacy but that kind of makes it even more scary doesn’t it. A really interesting place to visit .