At that time, we had already spent 9 days in eastern Europe. We arrived at Ljubljana, the capital City of Slovenia on the 9th day of our trip. For the past nine days, we had already gone around the big cities only and did not have the opportunity to hike. So, knowing that we were about to visit Lake Bled made me super excited. Our plan was to spend two days in Slovenia, where one day dedicated to Lake Bled, and another day for sightseeing at Ljubljana. In this blog post, I will share places that we visited on Ljubljana and how to get around in Ljubljana.
Ljubljana (spelled lub-lee-yana) is the capital city of Slovenia with the population around 280,000. Slovenia population is 2 million, and therefore the smallest countries among capitals in EU. However, it’s also ranked as the most safest countries among EU. Dragon is the symbol of the city and you will fine dragon statue on its Dragon Bridge. It represents power, courage, and greatness.
During Roman times, this city was part of Roman settlement, and it was called Emona. After Emona destroyed by Huns, Slavs arrived and built the town under the castle hill, the origin of medieval Ljubljana, which also known as Laibach. (source:Ljubljana Info)
How to Get to Ljubljana by Train and How to Get Around Ljubljana
Ljubljana Train Stations is also a bus station. My previous destination was Budapest, so I went from Budapest Deli to Ljubljana Train Station. The direct train trip took around 8 hours and I hopped on IC Regional Bus at 08:30 am and arrived at 16:44 pm. It costs 15 EUR for 2nd class and 29 EUR for the 1st class. If you are to take the same route as I do, the ticket cannot be purchased online and must be purchased at Budapest Train Station. I believe the same rule would apply if you are to travel from any other city outside Slovenia to Ljubljana. We chose train instead of airplane because the price almost the same if not cheaper by train than using airplane.
Most places of attractions in Ljubljana are nearby and the best way to experience the city is by foot. However, there are buses operated by Ljubljanski Potniski Ploment (LPP) and the ticket can be purchased at LPP Ticket office. The card costs 2 EUR and can restore up to 50 EUR credit value. A single journey cost 1,3 EUR and valid for 90 minutes regardless how many transfer are made.
To top up the card at newspaper kiosks, news stands, and post offices. Visitor who no longer require the card and purchased the card from Tourist Information Center (and keep the receipt) can return the card to the place of purchase and get a refund of 2 EUR (source:Visit Ljubljana)
Places to Visit in Ljubljana
Ljubljana Castle (and Chapel of St George)
This castle stand firm on the top of the hill surrounded by fortress, and it’s hard to miss its sight from the city. It was constructed on the 11th century. To reach the castle, you can walk or ride a funicular. The cost of entrance ticket plus funicular return is 13 EUR for adult and 9 EUR for children. Castle ticket only without funicular is 10 EUR, while the funicular only cost 2.2 EUR for one way and 4 EUR for return trip. The ticket can be purchased online here. The castle opens from 10 am to 10 pm as well as the funicular.
Ljubljana and Dragon are inseparable. As the symbol of the city, you will find dragon in almost every turn. Perhaps counting dragons status in Ljubljana would be an interesting activity. Dragon Bridge or also called Zmajev Most dated back to the early 20th century when Ljubljana was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. It spans 30 meters.
This bridge replaced the older wooden bridge called The Butcher’s Bridge (I prefer Dragon Bridge any day) which had stood since 1819. The new designed bridge is considered an exceptional technical monument and example of Art Nouveau creation by Jurij Zaninovic (student of Viennese Architect Otto Wagner) (source: wikipedia)
This is the most picturesque bridge in Ljubljana and is a group of Three bridges across Ljubljanica River. The construction of the bridge started at 1931 until 1932.
Old Town Ljubljana During the night at Christmas/New Year
Though most of Christmas Market stand had vanished, we found one or two stands were still open and the Christmas decorations were mostly still intact. So glad we could see them before being dismantled.