A day before my flight back to Belgium, I decided to spend one day in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. I had just spent the previous three weeks relaxing at home with family and friends for the first time in 4 years. While I loved every moment of that, I was starting to itch for someplace new. I managed to do a day trip to Serbia in my first week back in Croatia which delighted me. Since my flight back to Belgium was from Zagreb and Ljubljana is only 2 hours away, I knew I had to go.

ljubljana slovenia
dragon bridge ljubljana

While Ljubljana wasn’t at the top of my list of places I want to visit, it still caught my eye. It seemed like the perfect destination for a day trip. And not only because it’s conveniently close to Croatia. While there are a few places you shouldn’t miss in Ljubljana, I only have one piece of advice for you. And that is to let your feet carry you through every street of this city. And make sure you follow the river and explore both sides of it!

ljubljana in the fall

Even though I spent the entire day on my feet, I took my time. I never hurried anywhere and made sure to truly see Ljubljana. With a pedestrian-only center, there’s no bustle or crowds of your usual European capitals. There’s something laid-back and relaxing about Ljubljana. With a wealth of cultural events and museums, I can easily imagine a longer stay here.

Ljubljana is known for its many bridges. My personal favorite one is the Cobbler’s Bridge. A wide pedestrian bridge with a view of Ljubljana castle, it’s beautiful. One row of Corinthian pillars outlines the bridge itself whereas the other row of Ionic pillars bears the streetlamps. The Triple Bridge is the most popular one since it’s on the main square. It’s a group of three bridges that connect two parts of Ljubljana. I found myself wishing I could see it from above. Maybe that’s something I should focus on when I revisit!

cobbler's bridge ljubljana

Art Nouveau in Ljubljana

I had been curious about Ljubljana for quite a while and wanted to discover it for myself. Obviously, seeing it through my own eyes meant focusing on Art Nouveau. My favorite architectural style that always makes me daydream and delights me with its imaginative style. And it was rather easy to find examples of it in Ljubljana!

ljubljana main square

Under the influence of the Viennese secession, it developed into an original architectural style in Slovenia. The most unusual example of it is the Vurnik House, a building you couldn’t miss even if you wanted to. The facade is richly decorated with ornaments in the colors of the Slovene tricolor. Another Art Nouveau creation is the popular Dragon Bridge. Two pairs of dragons flank both sides of this unique bridge built in 1901.

I also really loved the Emporium Gallery, a high-end department store from 1903. The building is gorgeous, full of beautiful little details. The petal-lake canopy above the entrance door is a work of art. While there, it didn’t cross my mind to go inside the gallery. Having seen images of it now, I kind of regret that decision. Another reason to come back to Ljubljana, I guess!

emporium gallery ljubljana

Where to eat

Le Petit Cafe is an adorable bistro where you can sit down for drinks or a meal. With two floors and a terrace, you’ll find room even on the busiest of days, as I did. The interior is adorable, evoking French cafés and their distinctive interiors.

le petit cafe ljubljana

Cafe Nebotičnik, best viewpoint in Ljubljana

One of the most popular destinations in the city, I had to visit the Nebotičnik skyscraper. Formerly a residential building, this Art Deco high-rise is now a place of business. Private residences can still be found on three of its thirteen floors. But the most interesting part is at the top, where you’ll find Cafe Nebotičnik. Undoubtedly the best viewpoint in Ljubljana with drinks and delicious gibanica!

neboticnik view ljubljana

Another landmark is the Ljubljana Castle, rising above the city. I climbed up on foot but you can take the funicular instead. There are even special tickets that combine the funicular with the castle visit. The castle gardens are accessible to everyone and it feels like walking through a park. And if you wish to know more, you can visit the museums inside the castle. I was rather short on time so I chose to skip out on the castle visit. Instead, I admired the woods and the views of Ljubljana below. On a clear day, you might just spot the Julian Alps in the distance!

ljubljana castle

This tiny capital was a lovely surprise. It’s an odd mix of Austrian and Slovenian culture and architecture that somehow works together. Always on the lookout for unique buildings, I loved what Ljubljana had to offer. And I visited at the perfect time. Autumn was slowly rolling into the city and made everything look enchanting.

All in all, one day in Ljubljana flew by. With my intense walking tempo, it was enough to see everything that interested me. Be that as it may, I would still gladly return here. Not only because I found a few places I missed out on but also because I loved this city. And I have plenty of ideas for day trips from Ljubljana!

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