A Perfect 24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

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Greetings Internet Stranger, and welcome to this 24 hours in Ljubljana itinerary. I’m ready to make a prediction right now that Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is set to become the next major tourist destination in Central Europe. Tourists have already flocked in droves to Prague and Budapest, so much that a lot of travelers to Europe feel like they are “over” these cities.

But there’s no possible way you could be “over” Ljubljana! In fact, if you’re anything like me you probably have a tough enough time just pronouncing Ljubljana. But after this 24 hours in Ljubljana itinerary, you’ll be saying “lyoo-BLYAH-nuh” like a pro! And you’ll be itching to go and check the place out by yourself. Just beware of the dragons lurking around every corner.

24 hours in ljubljana itinerary

24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

Where to Stay

I recommend the City Hotel Ljubljana for your 24 hours in Ljubljana itinerary. The staff is extremely friendly, and the breakfast included every morning is quite tasty. The hotel organizes tours and events as well, which is very helpful. Plus their rates for doing laundry were reasonable, which is important to someone who is traveling all around Europe for several weeks, like I was.

If you’d like to try a great deal on this hotel, click here. And if you’d rather explore tons of other hotels in Ljubljana, click here. I’m sure you’ll find something right up your alley!

24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

What to Pack

lake bled day trip

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today on our 24 hours in Ljubljana itinerary. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

Slovenia is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.

one day in zagreb

Finally, if you’re American, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with American plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.

24 hours in ljubljana itinerary

24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

Morning: Visit the Plecnik House

One of the coolest things you can do when you travel is visit a historic home. How often in your life do you get to visit the home of a bonafide celebrity stranger? It’s almost like you are a cat burglar without the threat of prison time.

That’s why I recommend taking a tour of the Plecnik House. Here you can tour the home of the famous Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik, who designed a good portion of the city. We will learn all about his oddball ways, which is the best part of the tour. You can only see the house on a guided tour that leaves every hour on the hour. If you’re sticking to a strict schedule, you can make a reservation through their website, but I just showed up when the Plecnik House opened and was easily able to get a spot on the first tour.

I don’t want to spoil all the tour’s secrets for you, but I do want to tickle your curiosity bone with…

Three Fun Facts: Plecnik House

24 hours in slovenia itinerary
1) What is Odd About the Entrance to the House?

Our guide told us that Plecnik designed the entrance of his house to be uncomfortable because he was not a social person and didn’t want to encourage people to visit. OMG, I feel this man is truly my long-lost soulmate. But that’s a shame for me because he is A) dead and 2) not interested in marrying. There’s apparently no evidence that he was ever interested in having a paramour.

He did have a housekeeper because he didn’t know how to cook. I feel like if Hollywood ever made a movie about Plecnik’s life, the housekeeper would be played by Jennifer Lawrence and then they would fall in LURVE. But what Plecnik lacked in love affairs, he made up for with religious fervor, as you can see by the religious art all around his home.

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2) What’s Odd About Plecnik’s Bathroom?

Well, odd in a awesome way is the fact that he designed the furnace and the wardrobe here, as he did for most of the pieces of furniture in the house. Look at the glamour and simplicity of the design! I would trade this for my mold-covered 70s era NYC bathroom in a heartbeat.

Odder still is the fact that Plecnik didn’t really like baths. Apparently he preferred to clean himself with jugs of water, like a monk. In fact, he had originally planned this room to be like a monk’s cell. Oh this guy is definitely my long-lost soul mate. If only I spoke Slovenian!

24 hours in slovenia itinerary
3) What’s Odd About Plecnik’s Garden?

The garden is probably both the least odd and the loveliest part of the house. But it is still partially a testament to what a strange and solitary dude Plecnik was. You see, his house used to be located in a remote part of Ljubljana that hadn’t been fully developed yet. “Good,” Plecnik thought. “I’ll build my house here where I can be isolated from everyone except Jesus, my pet dog, and my housekeeper who looks like Jennifer Lawrence.”

But since Plecnik’s lifetime this neighborhood has become much more popular! I wonder if Plecnik’s ghost wanders the gardens and complains about how the area isn’t as cool as it used to be. In any case, don’t miss the chance to relax in the garden when the tour is over. No one will kick you out. There’s even a pleasant little lending library in the garden if you left your reading material back at the hotel.

A Perfect 24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary 3

24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

Afternoon: Ljubljana Bites and Sights Tour

It’s very important to find balance in any 24 hour itinerary. So since we started our 24 hours in Ljubljana itinerary in a house/museum/oddball lair, let’s get out on the mean streets of Slovenia’s capital with a food tour run by a local! Tina gave me my very own Ljubljana Bites and Sights Tour and I got to see a side of the city I never would have been able to find, as one random New Yorker who doesn’t even speak one word of Slovenian.

I don’t want to spoil all of Tina’s carefully selected and delicious secrets. But I do want to give you a taste of what to expect on the tour with…

Approximately Top 5: Ljubljana Food Edition

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1) To Market To Market

Shopping in Ljubljana is a real trip because the city is so pedestrian friendly. Tina said this was because the city is one of the greenest cities in Europe. And no one who loves food and/or shopping can visit Ljubljana without hitting up the massive Central Market, which has both an indoor and outdoor component. (It is also located in a colonnade designed by our old friend Plecnik, so we’re coming full circle today.

On this tour we can snack on all the top hits of any market: meat, bread, and cheese. We started with bear salami, which is salami made from actual bear meat, so you can check that off your bucket list.

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For breads we sampled everything from a pungent buckwheat to a fascinating sweet roll flavored with tarragon. Slavic countries really seem to know their tarragon sweets, and I am here for it.

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Care for some cheese? I asked this lady to give you some, but I’m not sure it will fit through your screen. I liked the sheep cheese the best because it has the strongest flavor, and when it comes to cheese I always say “Be aggressive! B-E Aggressive!” Plus it pairs perfectly with bear salami.

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2) The Freshest Milk You Will Ever Drink

Now we come to one of the most exciting things I have ever seen on a food tour. Slovenia has excellent cheese, which must mean it has excellent dairy farms. And by the law of syllogism, that means that Slovenia is full of amazing milk. Tina showed me to these carts that actually serve fresh, unpasteurized milk directly to anyone who is willing to pay a small milk.

Mere words cannot convey the tast-tasticness of this milk. I felt like I was transformed into a baby in my mother’s arms, if my mother had been a cow and not a high school English teacher. As an American, I’m always excited to find unpasteurized dairy because we are not allowed to have it in the US because of the stupid FDA. (I’m just kidding, FDA! Please don’t fine me.!)

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3) These Insane Doors

One of the best things about a food tour is that it combines a historical walking tour with delicious eats. I chose to feature the eats more than the fun facts in this section because food is generally more tempting, and I don’t want to give away the secrets of the tour. But I will make one exception and tell you the story behind these wacky doors.

These doors, on Ljubljana Cathedral, tell the history of Slovenia from the first people to…a giant row of skulls greeting Pope John Paul II? At least that’s what it kind of looks like to me. You can see the Ottoman Empire on the doors, but they are just passing through Slovenia on the way to Austria.

Unlike many other countries that used to be part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was not part of the Ottoman Empire. (Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire for several centuries, which I assume is why there are such yummy stews and baked goods in Slovenia.)

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4) Wine O’Clock

One of the things I like best about traveling in Eastern and Central Europe is that many of the countries make delicious and affordable wine/alcohols that aren’t so available in the US. And Slovenia is no exception! On this tour, you get to sample some traditional spirits.

They are all a little on the sweet side and come in a delicious variety of flavors: ginger, fig, blueberry, and honey. Any one would be a perfect little aperitif at the end of a meal. The honey especially tasted like something Winnie the Pooh would want to get hammered on. (That’s a compliment.)

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5) A Very Special Lunch

Now we will get a further demonstration of Slovenia’s prowess with soups and stews. The Main Dish stop on the food tour is at a very special restaurant called Druga Violina, which means Second Violin in Slovenian. This restaurant serves delicious Slovenian food and also employs people with special needs. And learning to help yourself while helping others is what travel is all about!

You can choose from several options, but I recommend the turkey stew, which is the lightest choice. We have a big dinner ahead of us, and we’ve already gorged on cheeses/unpasteurized milk/Winnie the Pooh’s liquor stash, so we need to save room.

24 hours in ljubljana itinerary

24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

Late Afternoon: Boat + Beer

Tina really couldn’t have been any more helpful when it came to planning the rest of my day in Ljubljana. She recommended that I buy a ticket on Barka Ljubljana, which is the only wooden boat operating on the Ljubljanica River. This is an extremely charming ride at a leisurely pace and gives you a wonderful view of Ljubljana’s historic buildings and ivy-covered bridges.

24 hours in ljubljana itinerary

Just watch your head! I guess this is what they mean when they call Ljubljana one of the greenest cities in the world.

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You can get a drink on the boat, but I suggest waiting and grabbing a craft beer at one of the many bars in Ljubljana. I selected Lajbah, which is just a short walk from the boat. Nothing can be more relaxing than kicking back with a cold one on a warm summer day in Slovenia. I especially recommend their refreshing sour beer called Sour Sister. (“I prefer that honey booze,” interjects Winnie the Pooh. But I tell him no one cares about his opinion because he is an imaginary bear.)

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24 Hours in Ljubljana Itinerary

Evening: Dinner at Gostilna na Gradu

Tina once again came to my rescue with a dinner recommendation. I was really curious to eat at the most famous restaurant in Slovenia: Hisa Franko. The chef, Ana Ros, is one of the top female chefs in the world, and she has been featured on Chef’s Table. But Hisa Franko isn’t in Ljubljana, and so it was impossible for me to get to.

But Tina said that a student of Ana Ros was a chef at the restaurant Gostilna na Gradu, which is in Ljubljana Castle. She even called to make the reservation for me. I’m sure she would do the same for you when you are in Ljubljana. And as a bonus, you get to see this amazing sunset over Ljubljana as you walk to the restaurant. What could be better?

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This course looks a little like a dead claw, but it’s actually only black with cuttlefish ink so you could probably write with it. But I suggest eating this crispy shrimp with mayo inside. It takes a real chef to take something that pretty much anyone would want to eat and turn it into something terrifying looking. That way you keep the faint of heart away from your restaurant.

24 hours in slovenia itinerary

A good tasting menu alternates light and heavy courses, so here we follow something heavy with a light and dainty stuffed zucchini blossom. (The stuffing is even more scrumptious Slovenian cheese. Between this, the milk, the cream cake and ice cream we had yesterday, and the cheese from the food tour, Slovenia is clearly some sort of Dairy Champion.)

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And for the last appetizer, we have a delicate ravioli stuffed with even more cheese. I’ve been to every country in the Balkans/former Yugoslavia, but I am not remotely an expert on the history of any of the countries. But it seems like Slovenian food is a little more Italian than the food of its neighbors.

But that makes sense because Slovenia and Italy are neighbors. (Not always friendly neighbors because Slovenia was actually annexed to Italy during World War II. But let’s save that conversation for another time. Ravioli is a much more pleasant topic.)

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For the main course you’ll have a choice between meat and fish. I suggest the fish if you’re feeling stuffed because it’s definitely going to be the lighter dish. And certainly I think there’s nothing more refreshing than a fine piece of sea bass so fresh it tastes like it just jumped out of the sea, through a perfect ring of fire, and into your mouth.

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And what’s a tasting menu without the perfect dessert? Here we have a decadent chocolate cake with some meringue and a scoop of strawberry ice cream. It was all delicious, but that strawberry ice cream was so jam-packed with real berries that it tasted like a strawberry bush had died and gone to heaven. Truly, Slovenia wins at dairy once more.

That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Slovenia Itinerary!

What would you do with a perfect 24 hours in Slovenia itinerary? Who are the champions of dairy: Slovenia or Ireland? And is Winnie the Pooh a real booze hound or does he only subsist on honey and tea? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a 24 hours in Ljubljana itinerary.

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