Is Ljubljana worth visiting in 2024? Pros and cons guide

You might have heard of Slovenia’s magical nature. But is Ljubljana worth visiting, too? Absolutely, if you ask me. Get the pros and cons in this post.

If you’re looking for reasons to visit the capital of Slovenia then you’ve come to the right place. I’m a major Ljubljana fan.

Ljubljana is a cute, little capital with a charming atmosphere, and it has remained a hidden gem.

It’s not the most obvious place to go in Europe as it’s tucked away in the Balkans. But, at least when you do find it, you can treat yourself to a few days of delicious food, a cosy vibe – and dragons.

Make sure to keep reading as my complete guide to whether Ljubljana is worth visiting will give you all the details, plus pros and cons you need to know.

Let’s dig in.

❄️ Read next: 18 magical things to do in Ljubljana in winter

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Is Ljubljana worth visiting?

Facts about Ljubljana

  • Population:  288,359
  • Language: Slovenian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Warmest month: July (21°C / 70°F on average)
  • Coldest month: January (0°C / 32°F on average)
  • Average trip length: 1-2 days in Ljubljana
Is Ljubljana worth visiting - Ljubljana (2)

Is Ljubljana worth visiting? Pros and cons

To give you a better overview of the pros and cons, I’ve listed them here below. As you can see, there aren’t many drawbacks to visiting.

✅ Delicious food Gets cold in the winter
✅ Rich culture and history The nightlife scene in Ljubljana is not be as lively as other European cities.
✅ Free rides around town The city is small and may not have enough activities to keep you occupied for more than a few days.
✅ Less touristy Some of the attractions in Ljubljana, such as the castle and museums, may be underwhelming compared to other European cities.
✅ Very safe for women and LGBTQ
✅ Less expensive

What is Ljubljana known for?

1. The dragons

The first thing I noticed when I visited Ljubljana was the dragons.

The dragon is a huge part of Ljubljana’s identity and it’s the most iconic symbol of the city. It’s been a part of the city’s emblem since the Baroque period and represents courage, grandeur, and power.

You can see the dragon all over the city – on car registration plates, buildings, and the famous Dragon Bridge. It’s even on the city flag and featured in various heraldic signs.

Read next: 10 best things to do in Ljubljana you don’t want to miss

2. Metelkova

The most unique and interesting place in Ljubljana is Metelkova. Full transparency, I don’t really like it, but it’s simply so unique that it’s cool.

Metelkova is a unique cultural centre in Ljubljana that used to be a military barracks.

It’s a really popular spot for artists, musicians, and creatives, and it’s known for its lively nightlife scene. The buildings and outdoor spaces are covered in graffiti and street art, which gives it an edgy vibe.

You can stay at a former prison in Metelkova. I did that and it was a super fun experience.

3. A beautiful old town

Ljubljana’s old town is charming and definitely worth checking out.

It’s located right in the centre of the city and you can easily walk around and explore it or you can take a guided walking tour where you’ll see all the highlights and hidden gems. Check rates and availability here.

You’ll see a lot of historic buildings, narrow streets, and pretty squares that all give you a sense of what the city was like in the past.

There are also lots of restaurants, cafes, and shops in the old town, so it’s a great place to spend some time and soak up the atmosphere.

Don’t miss the Ljubljana Castle, the Triple Bridge, and the Town Hall while you’re there!

4. Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana’s medieval castle sits on a hill overlooking the city. You can walk up there or take the funicular railway.

Inside, you can visit the castle museum and learn about the history of the castle and the city. You can also climb the castle tower for the best views of the city.

Get tickets at the castle or pre-book your ticket which includes a walking tour of Ljubljana.

5. Ljubljana is a green city

One of the things that hit me about Slovenia is its focus on sustainability. And Ljubljana is no exception.

Ljubljana has won awards for being sustainable. The city has done a lot of things to be more environmentally friendly, like having car-free zones, bike-sharing programs, green space, and good public transport.

They even have a green walking tour you can join where you’ll see small hidden gems of Ljubljana in a totally different and sustainable perspective.

There are also some really nice parks in the city, like Tivoli Park, which is a great place to go for a walk or have a picnic.

Is Ljubljana worth visiting - Tivoli Park

6. The Triple Bridge (Tromostovje)

The Triple Bridge in Ljubljana is a famous pedestrian bridge that connects the old town with the newer part of the city.

The bridge is actually three bridges that were put together to make one big bridge. You can walk across it and see some really nice views of the river and the buildings around it.

Is Ljubljana worth visiting

7. The Dragon Bridge

The Dragon bridge is perhaps the most iconic bridge in Ljubljana. It has four dragon statues that represent power and courage.

You can walk across it and take some pictures of the dragons – the symbol of Ljubljana.

Is Ljubljana worth visiting?

8. The Ljubljanica River

This picturesque river runs through the heart of Ljubljana and is lined with cafes, restaurants, and historic buildings.

The thing I first noticed about it is how clear and green the water is. You can even see fish swimming in it sometimes.

There are also boats tours where you can see the city from a different angle.

Is ljubljana worth visiting

9. The Ljubljana Jazz Festival

The Ljubljana Jazz Festival is one of the most important jazz events in Europe and attracts top musicians from around the world.

The festival takes place in June and lasts for a few days, with concerts happening all over the city. There are also some free concerts that you can join, which is nice.

Is Ljubljana worth visiting - Ljubljana jazz festival
Reasons to visit Ljubljana

The pros of visiting Ljubljana

✅ Ljubljana is charming

The best reason to visit the city of Ljubljana is its charm. In my opinion, Ljubljana is the most charming capital in Europe, and part of it has to do with the fact that it’s a small city.

The old town and the river in the centre of Ljubljana is the best part of town, so make sure to go there.

There are also some nice parks where you can hang out and relax.

Is Ljubljana worth visiting?
The lovely Ljubljana

✅ Delicious local food

I’m a huge fan of the food in Balkan. I’ve already raved about Croatan food and the food in Istria many times, but the Slovenian cuisine is also quite good.

You should try some local dishes like sausage or dumplings at one of the local restaurants.

If you’d like the ultimate introduction to Slovenian food and wine, this food tour with Viator is the perfect choice. It has been awarded the Badge of Excellence and has 172 positive reviews, like this one:

Great food and culture tour with Jasmine
Jasmine is amazing. We learned so much about Slovenia’s great food but also about the incredible history of their capital city and their people/culture. This was a very tasty introduction to Ljubljana, its good, and its people.

Houston_P, Jan 2023 (see more reviews here)
Is Ljubljana worth visiting - Slovenian food

✅ Rich culture and history

Ljubljana has a really interesting history and culture that you can get to know while you’re there.

The city has been around since 1146 and has many beautiful Baroque buildings. Walk around the old town and notice the pretty streets, houses and squares.

✅ Free rides in an electric car

Yes, you can get free rides in an electric car in Ljubljana! It’s a program called Kavalir and it’s pretty neat.

Basically, you can take a free bus ride around the city centre. The drivers are really nice and can tell you things about the city.

It’s a good way to get around without having to walk too much or worry about traffic. Plus, the cars are eco-friendly, which is always a good thing.

✅ Less touristy

Ljubljana is a relaxed city that’s not as crowded with tourists as other European cities.

It’s small enough that you can walk around and see everything pretty easily, and there are some cool places, like the castle, that aren’t too crowded.

The locals are really friendly and welcoming, which is my favourite highlight of visiting undiscovered places!

is ljubljana worth visiting

✅ Safest capital in Eastern Europe

Ljubljana Slovenia is one of the safest cities in Europe, even at night.

It’s actually considered the safest capital in Eastern Europe, which is pretty impressive! You don’t have to worry about crime as a tourist, even pickpocketing is pretty rare compared to other capital cities.

When it comes to health, you’re good to go. You can drink the tap water and there aren’t any tropical diseases to worry about since we’re in Europe.

Is Ljubljana worth visiting - Ljubljana

✅ Less expensive

Ljubljana is less expensive than some other European cities.

You can find some good deals on food, accommodation, and transportation. Most things to do in Ljubljana are free, so if you’re on a budget, this city is the perfect choice!

✅ Great English skills

Slovenians in Ljubljana have great English skills. Young people speak English very well, while the older generation generally speak some English too.

No matter where you go in Ljubljana, the customer service is high.


The cons of visiting Ljubljana

Gets cold in the winter

One of the drawbacks of Ljubljana is that it gets cold during the winter. The temperature can drop below freezing and there might be snow on the ground.

But, the city is still pretty and there are some fun things to do during the winter, like visiting the Christmas markets.

Read next: 18 magical things to do in Ljubljana in winter

Is Ljubljana worth visiting - Ljubljana in winter

Less vibrant nightlife

Ljubljana’s nightlife scene is not as wild as other European cities. It’s more laid-back, with smaller bars and pubs instead of big clubs.

But, there are still some great spots to hang out and have a drink. And if you’re looking for a fun night out, this popular pub crawl will take care of it for you!

❌ Underwhelming attractions

Compared to other European capitals and cities, some of the attractions in Ljubljana may be underwhelming. The Ljubljana castle and museums are not the most impressive.

The city is small

The Slovenian capital is small, which means there’s only activities to keep you busy for a few days. But on the bright side, Ljubljana is a great base for exploring the rest of Slovenia.

The top destinations are Lake Bled, Triglav National Park (which includes Bovec, Lake Jasna, Kozjak Waterfall and Lake Bled), the Predjama castle and škocjan caves.

These are the best and highest rated day tours with Viator:

The verdict: Is Ljubljana worth a visit?

A thousand times YES!

Ljubljana is my favourite capital in Europe, and I love the small-town, fairy tale vibe.

There’s so much to experience in Ljubljana, and it’s the perfect gateway to exploring the Julian Alps and the rest of the Balkans.

FAQ about Ljubljana

Is Ljubljana worth going to?

Yes, Ljubljana is absolutely worth going to! It’s a hidden gem in Europe, with a rich history, beautiful architecture, green surroundings, and super friendly people.

How many days do you need in Ljubljana?

You’ll need 1-2 days in Ljubljana to experience the city and its attractions, including the Ljubljana Castle, the Triple Bridge, the National Museum of Slovenia, and the Tivoli Park.

If you have more time, you can also take day trips to nearby attractions such as Lake Bled and Postojna Cave.

Should I go to Zagreb or Ljubljana?

I prefer Ljubljana, because it’s a smaller, more intimate city with a pedestrian-friendly centre and a relaxed atmosphere.

But if you prefer a larger city with more nightlife and cultural events, Zagreb may be a better fit for you.

What is unique about Ljubljana?

Ljubljana is unique for its dragons, the green surroundings, pedestrian-friendly centre, and diverse architectural styles.

Also, Ljubljana is home to numerous museums and galleries, including the Museum of Illusions, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Slovenia.

Why is Ljubljana called the dragon city?

The Ljubljana dragon is undoubtedly the most iconic symbol in the capital city.

Since the Baroque period, the dragon has been an integral part of the city’s emblem, representing courage, grandeur, and power.

The dragon can be seen on car registration plates, buildings, and the majestic Dragon Bridge. It is also featured in various heraldic signs, and even the city flag proudly displays the dragon.

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