Most of us are trying to stay within a budget while traveling. The problem is that it’s hard to find some interesting and free activities. But, as a native Slovenian, I would like to share my top 10 things to do in Ljubljana for free. So if you are planning to visit Ljubljana make sure to read these tips.
Free Ljubljana tours are a perfect way to get to know our little city in a couple of hours. The tour guides are local and are doing a great job based on the reviews online. So if you have 2 hours to stroll around, get more information about the schedule of Ljubljana tours here.
Tivoli park is a beautiful park located in the center of the city. You can spend all afternoon there by just walking around or you can take a blanket with you and make a small picnic for yourself. It’s a much cheaper alternative than going to a restaurant, not to mention the scenery. Location of Tivoli park: here
Some interesting facts about park Tivoli: In the beginning, there were actually two parks, that were united in 1813 (plans were made by French engineer J. Blanchard). Tivoli is approximately 5km2 big.
If you want a perfect view of Ljubljana a visit to the Ljubljana Castle is a must. It is only a few minutes walk, but the view will take your breath away. Walking around and imagining how it was in the Middle ages is something too . There is no entrance fee for most parts of the castle, excluding the view from the tower that will cost you a few bucks. For the location of the castle click here.
Ljubljana castle is standing on the Castle hill above the city Ljubljana. It’s the main part of Ljubljana skyline. The castle itself was built in the 11th century from wood and stone. In the 15th century, it was almost completely demolished and rebuilt with a complete wall and towers at the entrance where a drawbridge was placed. A chapel was also built at that time. In the 16th and 17th centuries, other parts of the structure were gradually added.
If there is a sunny day outside take a day off and start your walk on Prešernov trg – where there is Ljubljana triple bridge towards Kongresni trg and even further – as long as you feel like it. The Ljubljana River bank is really nice so you can take some time off and just chill-out by the river, as many locals do. A hint: It is also a nice picnic location.
Gala hala Metelkova is actually a small city in the city of Ljubljana (map to the location) . The place is the center of art,crafts and independent cultural production in the field of music, theater, painting, video, comics, sculpture and other arts. Beside that, it’s also known as a relaxed and inspiring urban space.
You can take a walk from the center and wander around Metelkova city. If you’re lucky you might even come across some artists doing their projects, and if you visit by night, Metelkova city has a diverse music scene, sometimes even with no entry fee to the venues.
The central market is located at the Pogačarjev square (2 minutes away from the Ljubljana triple bridge on Prešernov square) and is open from Monday-Saturday (7AM-4PM, on Saturday until 2PM). There are three separate areas so everybody will find something they like. If you are looking for a quick local snack, this is a great place to pick up an affordable meal for next to nothing. There are local fruits and veggies, cured meats, bread, cheese and nuts. Everything you need for a picnic lunch. You can check more about the market here.
The Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship (Slovene: Pot spominov in tovarištva), also referred to as the Trail Along the Wire (Pot ob žici), is a 32.5km long path around Ljubljana. The path runs along the route of barbed wire that surrounded the city between 1942-1945. Each year since 1957, on the weekend closest to 9 May, the traditional recreational March along the Trail around Ljubljana (Pohod po Poti okoli Ljubljane) takes place to mark the liberation of Ljubljana on 9 May 1945.
Those who walk the entire distance and collect stamps at all eight checkpoints receive a memorial badge and a medal. So if you’re into walking you can start your walk on one of the control points and just finish it whenever you like it. You can read more about the trail here.
My tip for all the sporty souls is visiting Šmarna Gora. It’s not located in the center of Ljubljana but it’s very close to it. This hill is one of the most visited places in Ljubljana. It’s not only about sightseeing but also about socializing with other people, young and old. To avoid crowds go in the early morning, during the weekdays. The only thing you need is to pay your ride there, for the very budget conscious I suggest the bus – it will cost you only a few bucks.
This tip comes in handy mostly during the warm months, but it’s worth mentioning it nevertheless. You don’t necessarily need to go to a fancy restaurant or a bar in the evening to experience Ljubljana’s heartbeat. You can just go to the old part of town, walk around and find a spot you like –near a place where someone is playing some kind of music and just soak in the atmosphere.
Start your way on Prešeren square and the bridges– usually, all the artists are nearby.
Also, some of the bars have music outside so that’s an option too.
Ok, now you’re thinking – this one is too obvious? Well meeting new people, mostly locals, can be a really fun thing to do. You have to know that the locals are really nice and open minded and you never know – maybe you can meet a friend for a lifetime.
We all know that you will experience your holidays in a different way, if you connect with someone who already lives here and knows all the secret places tourists are not familiar with.
I hope these tips come in handy when traveling on a budget. There are a lot of free things to do in Ljubljana, so why don’t you give some of the options above a try.