There are two things that are certain about this 2016 European Green Capital and amazingly enough, they complete each other perfectly. Firstly, Ljubljana is like a box of chocolates – small and full of sweet surprises. With that said, the city centre is charmingly petite, with many cultural and historical attractions centred in the downtown area. You can cover them all in a day or two by simply strolling or cycling around!
And secondly, the people of Ljubljana share a contagious love for coffee. Because their coffee culture plays such an important role in their everyday lives, they have a word for it – kofetkanje, which would roughly translate into a chat over a cup of coffee. Sitting under willow trees while sipping coffee in any of the cafés stretched along Ljubljanica River is their favorite way of daytime socializing. Friendly cafés can be found just about anywhere for you to take a break from your touring and do as the locals do – indulge in a cup of this delicious beverage in your hand and relax with your best company by your side.
Visit some of the many museums and take a short walk west of the town’s centre and see the Roman Ruins. Head over to the village-like part of the city named Krakovo, connecting the center to the Trnovo suburb, also worth a visit. And what to do when the night falls? Clubs, bars and venues are scattered all across the city offering you lots of fun.
If you want to see more of the country, then it’s best to hire a car in Ljubljana, read our suggestions and go on at least one road trip! If you arrive at Ljubljana airport you can rent a car there, otherwise just stop by at one of the numerous offices around the city centre, the offer is diverse.
Basic info and car hire in Ljubljana
- Location: Central Slovenia.
- Population: 2,071,959 (2016 estimate).
- Official language: Slovenian.
- Currency: Euro (€).
- Weather: Oceanic climate bordering on a humid subtropical climate zone. Warm to hot summers with temperatures between 77 °F/25°C and 86 °F/30 °C and moderately cold winters with temperatures around 32 °F/0 °C. Spring and autumn have an average temperature of above 50 °F/10 °C.
- Public holidays in Ljubljana: For public holidays in Slovenia click here »
- Internet coverage: You can use the WiFreeLjubljana network free of charge for 60 minutes a day. Most hotels, bars, restaurants and other public places offer Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Major roads are well maintained and have good connections. Secondary roads and country roads are narrow, so pay attention to drivers coming the other way.
- Car hire in Ljubljana: The most common collection for hiring a vehicle in Ljubljana is the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, also known by its previous name, Brnik Airport. The second pick-up location is the downtown area – the central railway station. Prices for hiring a car at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport are around 8.5 £/day (10€/day) in spring, 12.7£/day (15€/day) in summer, 14.5£/day (17€/day) in autumn and 12€/day in winter. Daily prices for hiring a car in downtown are slightly higher. Keep in mind that car hire prices fluctuate frequently. To ensure you have the lowest car hire price, make a car booking from 3 to 8 weeks prior to your vehicle collection. Alternatively, it's possible to get a great last minute car hire deal also. Find the best car hire deal in Ljubljana!
Driving in Ljubljana
Ljubljana has very good driving connections, minus the fact that the Old Town is closed for traffic. Luckily, there are four main garage houses nearby where you can safely park your rental for approximately 0.85£/hour (1 €/hour). Motorways offer quick travel on large distances, even though you can encounter some road work – especially in the mid spring or summer. Hiring a car in Ljubljana is affordable and with all the car hire agencies, such as Sixt, Hertz, Europcar and more, you’ll surely find a rental that goes hand in hand with your needs and wishes! Please note that while driving, the maximum BAC level is 0.05 %, and there is a Zero Tolerance Law for novice drivers or drivers 21 years of age or younger.
If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Ljubljana, it all comes down to your preferences. Summer is the time to go to the seaside which means that you will not see many locals in the city of Ljubljana during that time. Also, most of the clubs close for the summer because all the partying moves to the coastal cities. If you do not like crowds, then summer might be your best bet. Spring and autumn are a better, slightly rainier option for those who do not like the heat. Winter also has its own charm with its Holiday Winter Fair and the spirit that comes with it.
- Age limits: 21 (Minimum age may vary according to car hire companies. In order to hire a car, some car hire agencies require that a driver has held a driving licence for a minimum of one year.).
- International Driving Permit: No.
- Additional papers: ID (passport) and the proof of insurance (It is advisable to buy insurance at the car hire company; in case your policy does not cover your insurance while driving in Ljubljana).
- Additional requirements: Warning triangles, reflective vests and hands-free equipment with hearing aids are required while driving and talking on the phone.
- Children in the car: All car occupants must wear a seat belt. Children under the age of twelve or shorter than 4ft 11in (1.50 meters) need to be seated in the back seat and in an appropriate child seat.
- Driving side of the road: Right.
- Lights: Dipped headlights must be turned on at all times.
- General speed limits: 80 mph (130 kph) on motorways (70 mph/110 kph in wet weather and on urban motorways), 55 mph (90 kph) on other roads outside residential areas, 30 mph (50 kph) in residential areas.
- Parking suggestions: There is metered parking where you can park from 30 and up to 120 minutes, although some of the streets are narrow. Unless indicated otherwise, parking is free from around 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. and on public holidays. Keep in mind: yellow parking spaces are reserved. Blue spaces allow parking for 30 minutes. White spaces allow parking for longer periods with appropriate fee paid. Parking garages provide plenty of room to park, but some can be expensive.
What to see in Ljubljana
Explore the Old Town of Ljubljana’s city center packed with lovely shops, restaurants and cafés. Go on a balloon trip in Ljubljana Marshes and be speechless by the stunning landscape. A trip would not be complete if you would not climb the Castle Hill and see the impressive Ljubljana Castle from up close. You can also drive to the castle and park on site, or take the funicular situated next to Ljubljana Puppet Theatre at Krek Square. In all fairness though, you don’t need to hire a car if you’ll only be exploring the city of Ljubljana – the main points of interest are easily accessed by foot or by bike.
Our favourite spots
Since Ljubljana’s symbol is a dragon, this city would not be what it is without the iconic Dragon Bridge and the legend behind it. It is said that a Greek hero Jason encountered a lake monster upon his arrival. He killed the monster, which was presumably a dragon and became the founder of Ljubljana. According to the local legend, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the four dragons will wag their tails. Due to its fiery nature, the less known nickname “Mother-in-law” is also used for this structure.
Cars can be parked at Kapitelj-Poljanski nasip parking garage two minutes away. On-street parking in close proximity is also available.
For more parking suggestions click here »
This is a five-square km park situated on the western edge of Ljubljana’s old town. It offers leisurely walks and romantic picnics. A great way to spend your afternoon. From there you can hike the top of Rožnik Hill where you will be rewarded with refreshments, food and a great view, if you complete the 45-minute trek.
Cars can be parked at a huge parking area just as you drive to Tivoli Park. Parking is free on weekends.
For more parking suggestions click here »
This is Ljubljana’s alternative cultural centre. Graffiti-covered buildings, weird looking sculptures, events and street festivals, bars and the cool theme Hostel Celica built in a renovated prison make it a great place to visit during the day or night. The area is especially lively on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at night. Just a 5 min walk away there is an Ethnographic Museum with a lovely café. Try their homemade apple juice after you’re done touring the museum!
Park your rental in an underground garage situated at one of the entrances to Metelkova city. On-street parking in close proximity is also available.
For more parking suggestions click here »
Near the Triple Bridge you will see the central square in Ljubljana and a major meeting point. Take a seat under the bronze statue of the Slovene national poet France Prešeren and watch the world go by. The square is also favored by various street artists. You will definitely notice the Franciscan Church situated in the square. Its pink façade really stands out.
Park your vehicle at Congress Square underground parking garage only four minutes away. On-street parking in close proximity is also available.
For more parking suggestions click here »
Hotels in Ljubljana
Vander Urbani Resort
This hotel is located less than five minutes away from Prešeren Square by foot, and offers a pleasant stay. Underground parking is available.
This hotel is very close to the central railway station on one side, and to the city centre on the other. It offers parking close by, 71 rooms and 3 suites.
Drive your rental car around Ljubljana
Ljubljana city truly is a little gem, but there are a lot of other breathtaking places 2 hours or less away by car that you should really consider visiting, especially if you have time on your hands and of course, a vehicle. If you haven’t hired a car in Ljubljana yet, you can do so while you’re there, and venture out of town to see more!
For nature-lovers, the towns Kobarid, Tolmin and Bovec in north-western Slovenia are simply magical to explore. It’s a 2-hour drive, but should definitely be on your list, if you love nature and all the gifts she offers. For romantics, the same part of the country proudly presents Bohinj with its magnificent – and very refreshing – lake called Bohinjsko jezero, and the nearby glacial Lake Bled with its castle. Like castles? Love Predjama Castle in Postojna, located in south-central part of Slovenia. If you’re an outdoorsy type, you might be interested in visiting Kranjska Gora and Jezersko – these places are great for skiing, hiking, cycling and swimming, and only an hour away. For a slightly different adventure, step inside the underground cave labyrinth in Postojna, the Postojna caves. The Škocjan Caves are just as amazing and really close. If you’re more of a party person, drive your rental to the country’s sea side – about 1 ½-hour drive away. It’s a great spot to be when the temperatures rise up!
Where to eat, drink and party in Ljubljana
Slovenian cuisine is a mixture of Italian, Croatian and Austrian food. Consequently, you can expect everything from delicious pasta, to seafood, stews and sausages. If you prefer Mexican, Asian or Indian cuisine you won’t be disappointed either.
Try their traditional and doughy Žganci with sausage or meat sauce. Their mash potato with beans and cracklings, known as Matevž, is also one of the staple dishes. It’s served with cabbage or turnip. Their famous dessert is called Prekmurska gibanica and it’s made from poppy seeds, apples, walnuts, ricotta filling and raisins. Wine is not to be ignored also, with one of the most loved ones are the red Teran, Merlot and Burja noir, or the white Zelén, Rebula and Sauvignon. When in doubt, feel free to ask the waiter for suggestions.
As mentioned previously, there’s a myriad of restaurants and cafés along Ljubljanica river and in the Old Town.
Major events and festivals in Ljubljana
Want to try local or international cuisine? Here’s your chance and a great start to a Friday –see how the talented chefs prepare delicious meals in front of your eyes at this central outdoor market. Food, music and lively atmosphere!
This is one of the oldest and most loved festivals in Ljubljana! The musical, dance and other performances take place at several locations, all set in the heart of the city.
This is another yearly event lasting for an entire month of August and filled with musical and other fun performances!
This annual festival is for anyone who loves movies and starry nights! Set up out in the open, right on the romantic courtyard of Ljubljana castle and featuring movies from the past season.