Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Last Updated on July 21, 2022 by Helen E. White

In this article, I want to suggest where to stay in ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Actually, given its small size, the choice is not as complicated as in other European capitals. Even so, it is always good to know the differences in the most recommended areas.

Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Ljubljana is one of the smallest capitals in Europe, which means that the distances to visit it are very small. Unless you are staying in the suburbs of the city you will not need to use public transport.

As a preview, and how could it be otherwise, let me tell you that the center is the best area to stay in Ljubljana. This area is made up of the modern center, on one side of the river, and the historic quarter, on the other side of the river and at the foot of the hill on which the Castle stands.

Also anticipate that the most popular areas, and the most expensive, are the historic center, the modern center, and Poljane. The cheapest are Koseze, Trnovo, Krakovo and Metelkova.

On the other hand, you will read in many places that Ljubljana is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe. I differ from this opinion. Although it is true that in the neighborhoods far from the center the prices are cheap, those in the center are quite expensive for everything.

As for accommodation, during the winter you will find very good prices, but in the months of good weather, you see yourself forgetting to get bargains unless you book well in advance.

The city is small, the accommodation offered is also limited, and the city is quite fashionable. You have to be very far-sighted.

In my case, I visited Ljubljana in the spring and it was impossible for me to stay in the center. There was hardly any free accommodation, and the prices available were mostly above 150 euros per night. I had to stay a little far away, in the Koseze neighborhood.

Well, let’s go into what interests are in detail. Below is a list of the 7 best areas to stay in Ljubljana.

What do I tell you in this post?

Where to Stay in Ljubljana: the Best Areas

1. The Modern Center is the Best Area to Stay in Ljubljana

The modern center extends on the right bank of the Ljubljanica River, taking Preseren Square as its nerve center and Tivoli Park and the central train and bus station as limits.

It is an area that combines the historical with the modern, old buildings with contemporary architectural styles, the great avenues with narrow and winding alleys.

It is also the most commercial part of the city, the one that offers the most services, and also the one that has the most cultural offer. Added to this are a huge number of restaurants, bars and cafes. Come on, in this area there is nothing missing.

On the other hand, its location is perfect since you can walk to all the tourist attractions of the city. To get to both the historic center and the Castle, you just have to cross the river over one of the bridges that characterize the city. 

In addition, the train and bus station are very close, which will allow you to walk to your hotel if you arrive by train, bus or plane (the airport bus stops at this station).

At the level of tourist attractions, Prešeren Square stands out, where the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation stands with its emblematic reddish facade, and where the Triple Bridge is located, linking the modern center with the historic center.

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And it is that Ljubljana is a city of bridges. Surely you will pass and photograph others as well known as the butchers’ bridge, the dragons’ bridge, or the shoemakers’ bridge.

Nor should you miss Congress Square, from where you have excellent views of the Castle, and where you can find buildings such as the baroque Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity, the Casino, or the Slovenian Philharmonic

And for a completely different architectural style visit Republic Square, which is the largest in the city and where the independence of Slovenia was declared. In this is the National Assembly and Cankar Hall, a gigantic convention center. 

The modern center of Ljubljana is characterized by its enormous cultural offer. And among this stands out its enormous museum offer. 

Among the museums that are most worth visiting are the City Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the National Museum of Slovenia or the Museum of Natural History. They are all within walking distance of each other.

A site that you cannot miss under any circumstances is the Ljubljana Neboticnik (The Skyscraper) . It is a skyscraper with a terrace bar on top that offers the best views of the Castle and the rest of the city (360-degree views).

To go shopping you just have to walk through its streets, all very commercial. Surely you will pass through Čop Street, which concentrates many shops and leads to Preseren Square where the Emporium Gallery shopping center is located.

The restaurant offer is also huge. You just have to walk along the riverbank to find a good number of bars and restaurants, especially in the section that goes from Preseren Square to the Dragon Bridge.

And now to close this area, tell you that it is the one that offers the most hotel offer. There is a bit of everything from hotels to Airbnbs. It is the most sought-after area, and therefore the most expensive next to the historic center, so it is absolutely necessary to book in advance.

2. Old Town, the Most Charming Area to Sleep in Ljubljana

The historic center of Ljubljana is located on the opposite bank of the river from the city center, at the foot of the hill where its impressive fortress stands. It is a small area but it brings together many of the most popular attractions in Ljubljana. 

It is a pedestrian zone that is characterized by its beautiful old Austro-Hungarian buildings, its cobbled streets and alleys, its pretty squares, its boutiques, its cafes, and its restaurants.

To get to know it, there is nothing better than crossing the Triple Bridge from Preseren Square. This bridge, really three bridges, is an icon of the city and is the main link between the modern center and the old town.

The first thing you should do is visit the Ljubljana Castle. The castle is home to several museums and exhibitions, and from the top of its walls, and even more so from its tallest tower, there are unparalleled views of the city, and especially of the old town.

You can climb it on foot, the ascent is not very demanding, or by cable car.

After visiting the Castle, you can walk down to one end of the historic center and walk along its main street (in one section it is called Stari trg and in the other Mestni trg) which is flanked by very elegant buildings and full of original little shops. and very interesting.

Do not miss the Cathedral of San Nicolás. The first thing that will catch your eye is its spectacular bronze doors adorned with bas-reliefs and small sculptures. Its interior is also worth it.

Right next to the Cathedral is the square where the Town Hall and the Fountain of the Three Rivers area , and beyond that the central market.

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The central market is located in a huge area of ​​stalls and street food vendors, where you can buy everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to textiles and souvenirs. 

Many of the typical products that people take as souvenirs, such as honey liqueur, are much cheaper in the market than in the city’s shops.

Special mention deserves the area of ​​the river where bars and restaurants with terraces ideal for a romantic dinner are crowded sides by side.

The Old Town area is without a doubt the most charming area of ​​Ljubljana.

Accommodation is varied and there are apartments, B&Bs, guest houses, and hotels of all levels. Like the modern downtown area, its prices are among the highest in the city.

3. Poljane, Where to Stay in Ljubljana at Affordable Prices Very Close to the Center

Poljane is another perfect option to stay in Ljubljana and be close to everything. It is located just after the historic center. It is the neighborhood that extends from the limits of the Central Market and the cable car station that goes up to the Castle.

It is an eminently residential neighborhood where there are no noteworthy tourist attractions. It is a quiet area that has the advantage of being just a few minutes walk from all the entertainment in the center.

Its location makes it a very practical option. It also has a variety of accommodations, including budget options and several hostels. Ideal for young people and backpackers.

However, it is not easy to find free rooms in the most touristic months. Keep this in mind when booking your accommodation.

4. Metelkova, Where to Stay in Ljubljana in an Alternative Area With Nightlife

A ten-minute walk from the center of Ljubljana will take you to a different world. A world of street art, weird sculptures, squatters, hippies, artists, designers and everyone who enjoys an alternative lifestyle.

Meltelkova was a barracks of the Austro-Hungarian Army, initially built in 1882, which later became the headquarters and central prison of the Yugoslav Army until Slovenian independence in 1991.

In 1993, the site and its seven buildings were occupied by squatters, intellectuals and artists. It was the beginning of what would become the most important bohemian artistic community in the country. 

They transformed the place giving it a very characteristic aesthetic, with works of art, graffiti, and bizarre sculptures, which give it a lot of colors and a fascinating atmosphere if you have a minimum interest in contemporary art and countercultural movements.

Its buildings and some of the surroundings have been converted into accommodation, dance and music studios, galleries and workshops, establishing a vibrant artistic community.

In fact, Metelkova as it is known from the nearby Metelkova street is officially recognized as part of the National Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in 2005

Also in a square very close to this site are the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Ethnographic Museum.

But not everything is the art and contemporary culture, the area is also a center for nightlife, with bars and clubs aimed at those who like alternative environments.

At the location level, it is an interesting area to sleep in Ljubljana. On the one hand, it is a few minutes from the train station, and you can walk to the center (to Preseren square) in about 15 minutes.

The area has some hotels and apartments, and all the accommodation options in the city center are just a few minutes away. 

As a curiosity, you can sleep in the cells of the old prison, now converted into a hostel.

5. Krakovo, Where to Sleep in Ljubljana in a Quiet and Central Neighborhood

Just south of downtown, the history of this small district dates back to the mid-13th century. 

Originally founded just outside the old city walls, this former fishing village, where only residents could fish and sell fish to the city, is considered to be one of the oldest areas of Ljubljana.

Today it is a very quiet residential area where the gardens and small orchards where lettuce and other products that are sold in the local markets are grown are very characteristic elements of the neighborhood.

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Old medieval-style country houses, shops, cafes and restaurants, with a small canal winding through the neighborhood, create a village atmosphere within the city.

Nightly entertainment consists of local bars and restaurants serving tasty regional dishes. Even though it is practically attached to the modern center, it is not very touristic, which enhances its attractiveness.

A little tip: go to Eipprova Ulica street, which runs parallel to the small canal in the neighborhood. It is a place appreciated by locals where there are bars and restaurants with prices significantly lower than those in the center.

Being primarily residential, accommodation is somewhat limited, consisting mainly of private rental apartments, Airbnb, guesthouses, and a few boutique hotels. 

6. Trnovo, an Alternative to Consider to Stay in Ljubljana

This neighborhood, already a little further from the Center, borders Krakovo and extends to the southwest along the Ljubljanica River. 

It is a very residential area and its former rural atmosphere has been altered since the 1970s with the appearance of residential and commercial buildings.

It has a calm atmosphere that also contrasts with the presence of restaurants, bars, and a student atmosphere.

At the level of tourist attractions, there are not many. Perhaps one could highlight the home and studio (now a museum) of the world-famous architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), who designed the modern Trnovo Bridge linking the two areas across the Gradaščica Canal.

This architect was also responsible for much of Ljubljana’s modern architecture, including the Triple Bridge. His house now maintains a permanent collection of many of his innovative designs.

Other places of interest are the Trnovo Church and the Art Cultural Society France Presere.

Normally it is not one of the areas where you will first look to sleep in Ljubljana. However, if you can’t find anything in the more touristy areas, it’s worth looking here.

It is not too far from the center (although it may seem so on the map) and offers cheaper accommodation. The accommodation is rather modest and is made up of some hotels and especially apartments.

7. Koseze, Where to Stay Cheap in Ljubljana

Located northwest of the city and 1.5 km from the old town of Ljubljana, Koseze is a neighborhood that is already a bit far from the center.

It is the least recommended area to sleep in Ljubljana than the ones I recommend due to its location. However, if you visit the city during tourist months, you probably have no choice but to consider this area. That was my case.

I tried to book for the central areas a few weeks into my trip and it was impossible. I had to stay in Koseze. From my hotel to Perseren square it was a walk of about 25 minutes (the taxi costs between 5 and 7 euros from the center).

The walk is not unpleasant because the neighborhood adjoins Tivoli Park and you can make your way through it, and as you can see the taxi is not expensive at all (you always have to use the ones with the name of the company painted on the doors since the others cost much more).

Less crowded than the old town and downtown areas, Koseze borders the north side of Tivoli Park, where there are many parks, gardens, trails, outdoor exercise equipment for adults and play areas for children.

Ljubljana Zoo is located at the southern end of Tivoli Park. 

Although Koseze is a residential neighborhood, there is no shortage of supermarkets, bars, cafes and restaurants. All this with much cheaper prices than those in the river area.  

Accommodation is somewhat limited, mainly Airbnb, B&B, guesthouses or apartments, and some hotels. At all levels, accommodation in Koseze is significantly cheaper than in the central areas of the city.

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