10 Hidden Gems in Ljubljana
Open your eyes, open your mind, and dive into the very best of “secret places” of Ljubljana.
1. The beautiful atrium of Križanke
Križanke is a very popular Ljubljana open-air theatre venue. But the architectural complex is much more than this. It also includes the medieval monastery, a church, some cool arcades, Renaissance portals and statues.
It was the great architect Jože Plečnik who reconstructed the place (between 1952 and 1956) and who made it possible for the passers-by to see into the atrium and the former monastery.
Thanks, Plečnik! It’s so really wonderful inside!
Križanke is the common name for the complex of the former monastery of the German Knights (“križnik’s”, after which they got their name).
2. Slovene Impressionists Memorial Park
Busts of the four leading members of Slovenian Impressionism: Matej Sternen, Ivan Grohar, Rihard Jakopič and Matija Jama are hidden in the Trnovo area of Ljubljana (next to Trnovo Church).
This small and rather unknown Ljubljana park opened in 2000. The statues are the work of the academic sculptor Drago Tršar.
However, the park is just a starting point for uncovering Slovenia’s Impressionist movement (1890 – 1920), some of its greatest works can be seen at the National Gallery of Slovenia in Ljubljana!
3. Puppet Path to Ljubljana Castle
Recently opened Puppet Path is a fun way of walking up to Ljubljana Castle. You can connect with your inner child and enjoy the company of the various animal characters along the way.
The walk starts at the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre.
4. Ljubljana Botanical Garden
Established in 1810, the Ljubljana Botanical Garden is Slovenia’s oldest cultural, scientific and educational institution, as well as the oldest botanical garden in South-Eastern Europe. Pretty marvelous, right!
The Garden contains more than 4,500 different species and subspecies. And it has a cool tropical glasshouse!
5. James Joyce Memorial at the Railway Station
A random night spent in Ljubljana made one of the most influential and innovative writers of the 20th century James Joyce (1882-1941) also part of the Slovenian cultural history.
Here are all the details about Irish writer ending up in Ljubljana: The night James Joyce spent at the Ljubljana train station – (letsgoslovenia.si)
6. Križevniška Street – Ljubljana’s prettiest street
Lately, much has been said about this petit street just around the corner from Križanke, in the old part of the city. Everyone is wondering how did this once not very attractive street become the most photographed one in Ljubljana.
To find out why it’s called the prettiest one – we recommend you to walk down the Križevniška yourself.
Our photo from the Križevniška Street is just a hint why this street is called the prettiest street in Ljubljana! 🙂
7. Plečnik house & work studio
The great Slovene architect Jože Plečnik‘s (1872 – 1957) legacy can be seen everywhere around Ljubljana. But if you feel like looking even deeper into his mind, heart and soul, you can visit his house and spaces where his architectural ideas were born. We did and it was a very profound experience, to say at least.
Here’s our blog post from a visit: Visiting Plečnik’s house in Ljubljana – (letsgoslovenia.si)
8. Vila Zlatica
Former home of Ljubljana’s legendary mayor Ivan Hribar (1851 – 1941) was opened to the public in May 2021. Hribar’s story of love for his city and his suicide which was committed by jumping into the Ljubljanica river still resonates in the hearts of the people of Ljubljana …
9. Robba Fountain – the original
The Robba fountain (Robbov vodnjak), also known as ‘The Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers’, is one of Ljubljana’s best known and most beautiful Baroque monuments. It was created between 1743 and 1751 by the Venetian-born sculptor and architect Francesco Robba.
The fountain is symbolizing three rivers of Slovenia: Ljubljanica, Sava and Krka.
But many visitors don’t know that the displayed outdoor one near the City Hall is a copy though. To see the original (from 1751) you will have to visit the National Gallery of Slovenia.
10. Nebotičnik “snail” staircase
It was in 1933 when an architect named Vladimir Šubic designed what was, at that time, the tallest skyscraper in all of Yugoslavia—and the tallest residential building in all of Europe.
Today, Nebotičnik still towers over central Ljubljana, allowing for some of the most beautiful views of our capital. The top three floors offer a café, a bar, and an observation deck. What’s more, the building holds an Art Deco unique spiral staircase that spins from the bottom to the tenth floor.
A very unique Art Deco spiral staircase inside the Nebotičnik residental building (central Ljubljana) is well worth seeing!