“I could live here.”
These were my first words as we walked along the bright and leafy banks of the Ljubljanica River, making our way towards the Preseren Square past a cheerful row of cafés and restaurants. These are words I haven’t said about a capital city in a long time – not since I moved from a hectic megacity to the idyllic Czech countryside and became a small-town dwelling convert.
But Ljubljana didn’t feel like other European capital cities. It was greener and brighter; the tempo more relaxed and laidback. The old town didn’t feel like a grand, self-important open-air museum flanked with tourist traps – it felt more like a place where locals and tourists can chill and lounge and watch the day go by.
The city’s cozy vibe was not the only thing that set it apart. Everyone I met was friendly and helpful. After several years of living and traveling in Europe, I’ve gotten quite good at mime and used to communicating with Google Translate on hand. But there was no need for that this time. While language barriers never stopped me from visiting and even living somewhere, it was a nice mental break to be able to chat in English and take conversations beyond the basic greetings and to the stories that make the most ordinary things wonderful.
As we explored Ljubljana and then the rest of Slovenia over the next days, I found more to love in this very lovable destination. A green, cozy, and livable capital. Smooth roads, ease of traveling, and beautiful countryside. Stunning and diverse natural landscapes, all of which can be explored on day trips from Ljubljana. Delicious food, laidback tempo, friendly locals.
I didn’t know anything about Ljubljana before driving here on the second leg of our Croatia and Slovenia road trip. But it ended up being one of the best cities I’ve ever been to, and one that I can’t wait to visit again.
Where to stay in Ljubljana – a quick guide to the city’s best neighborhoods and hotels
Ljubljana is an excellent base for short and sweet city breaks and for extended stays.
While the city itself is compact and can be explored in 2-3 days, Ljubljana’s relaxed and laidback pace will have you wishing to stay a bit longer. You can also explore much of Slovenia while based in Ljubljana, making the city a great base for road trips around the country.
Here are my quick recommendations to help you choose where to stay in Ljubljana.
- If you want to explore Ljubljana’s cultural and historical highlights easily, stay in the Old Town. This is great for you if you’re in Ljubljana for the first time and coming over for a quick city break. You’ll have a convenient base for sightseeing, and you’ll get to enjoy the old town’s romantic cobbled alleys and charming medieval ambiance.
- If you’re here to discover Ljubljana’s hip nightlife scene, stay in the City Center. You’ll be in a central location that’s great for sightseeing and cultural walks during the day and checking out the bars and clubs at night.
- If you love lively, artsy neighborhoods and a taste of local living, stay in Krakovo or Trnovo. These village-like suburbs will treat you to plenty of green spaces, trendy cafes and restaurants, and cheaper accommodations. It’s a great base if you’re in Ljubljana for a longer stay and want to check out the local hangouts.
- If you want a totally relaxed stay away from the crowds, stay in Koseze. This quiet neighborhood is great for families and couples looking for an intimate and laidback holiday. It’s also ideal if you plan to stay in Ljubljana while exploring the rest of Slovenia on day trips around the country – you’ll be near enough the old town to explore it for a day or two, but detached enough to enjoy peaceful evenings after adventure-filled days.
Plan your trip to Slovenia with this comprehensive PDF guide.
Map – essential landmarks in Ljubljana
Use this Google map to help you explore Ljubljana and the rest of Slovenia. I added all the important landmarks, the best places to visit, and the best areas and hotels to stay in.
The Old Town is Ljubljana’s medieval area between the river and the castle. Baroque buildings and cobbled alleys leading to hidden courtyards give the area a romantic old-world atmosphere.
You’ll find the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, the Robba fountain, and the Town Hall here, and the castle is a short walk or funicular ride away. This is also a great place to look for unique local souvenirs and buy Slovenian wine. You’ll find lots of restaurants serving local and international cuisine – Klobasarna and Robba are some of our favorites.
Best hotels in Ljubljana’s Old Town
★Top Pick: Vander Urbani Resort is a modern and quirky boutique hotel in the heart of Ljubljana’s old town. It’s the perfect base for a short and sweet stay in the city – all of Ljubljana’s main historical and cultural sites are within walking distance, but if you want to go farther, the hotel staff are happy to organize car and bike rentals for you. You can also enjoy stylish and comfortable rooms, gorgeous rooftop views, and an in-house restaurant serving local cuisine. Double rooms start at EUR 180/night.
If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, though, you have to check out Hotel Cubo. This is definitely Ljubljana’s most luxurious hotel – the hotel is housed in a historic building but with a fresh, modern design, all of which gives it an elegant vibe. If you don’t mind a bit of a splurge, you’ll have a fabulous stay here. Double rooms start at EUR 170/night.
If you’re looking for a home away from home, check out Tromostovje Apartments. They have spacious and fully-equipped studios and apartments that can fit groups of up to 7 persons in a convenient location perfect for going around the Old Town – right across the Tromostovje Bridge. Their studios start at EUR 215/night.
A lot of Ljubljana’s cultural day and night activities happen around the city center, particularly the area around Preseren Square. Restaurants and cafés line the leafy, pedestrianized banks of the Ljubljanica River, which spill out onto the streets during warm months, giving the whole place a fun street party vibe.
Apart from bars and restaurants to keep you busy and sated, you’ll also find lots of museums and art galleries in Ljubljana’s city center. A visit to the National Gallery and the Jakopič Gallery is a great start to discovering Slovenia’s art heritage.
If you’re looking to make the most of your stay in Ljubljana, have expert and friendly locals show you the way – from pub crawls, to architecture walks, to food and wine tours, there’s a lot you can learn about Ljubljana’s vibrant culture in a short city break.
Best hotels in Ljubljana’s City Center
★Top Pick: Urban Hotel lies just outside the historic old town and in the middle of the hip city center where you’ll find rows of restaurants, bars, and shops to keep you busy during your stay. You’ll also get to enjoy spacious rooms, a lounge area, and friendly staff. Double rooms start at EUR 120/night. They also have family rooms for bigger groups.
If you’re looking for more hotel amenities – a swimming pool, a spa, and an in-house restaurant, perhaps? – check out the uHotel. You’ll get to enjoy spacious rooms and suites perfect for couples and families plus 4-star hotel amenities. Double rooms start at EUR 135/night.
If you want a cozy guesthouse option, check out Old Towns Rooms and Apartments. It’s closer to the historic center sights and near the restaurants and bars along the river. The apartments are well-equipped, so you can live like a local in the center of Ljubljana. The apartments start at EUR 130/night.
With Ljubljana being so compact and walkable, you really don’t have to stay in the city center, especially if you’re planning to stay for more than a couple of days. By staying in the city center’s outskirts, you’ll get to experience a calmer, more local living side of Ljubljana.
Krakovo and Trnovo are Ljubljana’s fun and trendy neighborhoods. It’s near enough the city center to be able to enjoy the city’s prime cultural hotspots but detached enough to develop its own mood and vibe. You’ll find a village-like atmosphere in Krakovo and Trnovo, with trendy bars and restaurants, as well as chill hang-out spots for the city’s expat and student population. It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for those hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall places you only discover once you’ve traveled to a destination.
Best hotels in Krakovo and Trnovo, Ljubljana
★Top Pick: House Trta is a great place to stay just outside Ljubljana’s busy center. With comfortable rooms and apartments, a parking space, a restaurant, and a warm and friendly guesthouse atmosphere, it’s the perfect home for an extended stay in the city. Double rooms start at EUR 110/night.
If you’re craving for a more intimate stay, check out the Central Apartments. It’s your own home away from home along a quiet street, with free parking, and a comfortable walking distance from the historical sights. Studios start at EUR 110/night.
Koseze lies to the northwest of the city center, near the beautiful Tivoli Park, and a 10-minute drive or bus ride away from the historic old town. It’s the perfect base if you’re looking for somewhere intimate and peaceful, with plenty of opportunities for hikes and outdoor activities.
Koseze is also near the A2 motorway, which makes it an ideal base if you’re planning to drive around Slovenia for most of your stay in Ljubljana.
Best hotels in Koseze, Ljubljana
★Top Pick: Vila Minka checks all our boxes when looking for a place to stay during a laidback city break filled with road trips around the country. The aparthotel is located in a quiet neighborhood a few minutes’ drive from the city center and within a short walk from Tivoli Park. It’s also close to the A2 motorway so you can get an early start on your road trips. The rooms itself are elegant and bright, with a Baroque-style lobby, a wellness studio, free parking, and hotel-like amenities. Double rooms start at EUR 125/night.
Another great option around Koseze is White House Bela Hisa. They have large rooms and apartments with super chic and bright interiors, free parking spaces, plus they are pet-friendly! This is an excellent option if you’re traveling with family or bigger groups. Their double room starts at EUR 90/night.
If you prefer having all the trappings and convenience of a hotel, though – like room service, a 24-hour front desk, and a minibar – you’ll love staying at the stylish and modern M Hotel. Double rooms start at EUR 75/night.
Tell us: What are you most excited about your trip to Slovenia?
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Ready to plan your trip? Here’s how to spend 5 days in Slovenia. It’s the perfect introduction to the country with lots of diverse sights and experiences, all wrapped up in a fun and adventurous road trip.
Plan to spend at least 3 days in Ljubljana. Take your time exploring the city then go on day trips around the country. You can use Ljubljana as a base while exploring the rest of Slovenia.
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I hope this quick and easy guide helps you decide where to stay in Ljubljana! Like everyone else who’s been captivated by this totally underrated but surprisingly lovable city, you’ll be charmed by Ljubljana from day 1 – and you just might have to extend your trip or plan your return right away!
Make sure to download the PDF guide to plan your holiday in Slovenia. If you need extra help planning your trip or you’re looking for custom recommendations, send me a message, and I’ll be happy to help you out.
Thanks for reading and happy travels to Slovenia!
First published – 27 January 2020
Last updated – 30 July 2021 – updated links, hotel prices, and travel information