Ljubljana, Ljublanica river, boat, winter in Ljubljana

First 5 free things to do in Ljubljana

Are you in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, and looking for things to do on a budget? Here are some ideas.

1. Visit Ljubljana open market

You can get fresh produce in an open market under famous Plečnik’s Arcades at the River Bank and there is also an indoor market area at Pogačarjev trg 1 (next to the open market). Not only food, there are also stalls with bags, clothes, cheat perfumes and all else your heart desires. In the winter there are stalls with December fair goodies and in the summer it is a great place to go for a meal.

Event Open kitchen/Odprta kuhna takes place there every Friday in warmer months if the weather is nice. Odprta kuhna is a unique food market starting in the end of March and lasting until the end of October from 8 AM to 10 PM. Selected restaurants offer their best dishes on the stalls and usually attract great numbers of foodies from near and far.


Open kitchen, Odprta kuhna, Ljubljana, free, foodies

Food on offer on the Open kitchen is very diverse. From typically Slovenian to not so much.

2. Climb up to the Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana castle, Slovenian art, National Geographic, Arne Hodalič

Don’t forget to check the current exhibitions under and next to the castle. First photo is from Vanishing cultures exposition.

Castle is on a hill, so from there you can see all of the city of Ljubljana. If you are feeling lazy, there is a funicular. Return ticket is only 4 euros. If you would rather move a little bit, there are many walking paths from different parts of Ljubljana centre. It is approx. 15 minutes long walk. On the top there is a castle.

For most special exhibitions you will have to buy a ticket but it is free to walk around the castle yard and enjoy the sunshine and views. There are usually free mini art exhibitions in a tower. Check also under the castle. You might find a temporary expo there.

In July you can visit Film pod zvezdami/Movie under the stars event on the castle yard. It is not free but cheaper than regular tickets. We only sinhronize movies for children, so our cinemas are tourist friendly. Movies are left in the original language, with slovenian subtitles added.


3. Visit Metelkova city

Abandoned  Yugoslavian army barracks in Ljubljana were turned in to succesfull uban squat. Across the street and a few metres left from the main train and bus station you can find a dodgy looking entrance with lots of graffiti to city inside a city. It is a centre for alternative culture.

There are art galleries, concert halls with pank, electronic music or even theatre performances can be seen there. It is the place where you can find two of a very few Slovenian gay/lesbian clubs, Monokel and Tiffany.

All clubs in Metelkova open in the night and are usually full of students and happy young people. There are also drugs and lots of alcohol present. It is also a great place to visit during the day, since some of the art work on display is really impressive. Guardian also likes Metelkova.


Metelkova, Ljubljana, art

Miguel Pires da Rosa
Weird art at a slovenian commune
Metelkova Mesto.
Ljubljana, 2011.
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

4. Check out Hostel celica

Around the corner from the main party centre of Metelkova you can find ex prison turned into hostel. In Celica they do free tours for tourists every day at two o’clock. You can walk through the hostel with a guide and look inside ex prison cells, now turned into a modern artistic rooms. Every room was decorated by different artist, so they are very different. Some still have original prison doors, other only replicas.

London , UK [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHostel_Celica_-_converted_prison_(1621615934).jpg">Hostel Celica - converted prison (1621615934)

5. Visit Tivoli Park

Tivoli is the biggest park in Ljubljana. From there you can climb to the top of the Rožnik hill where on sunny days you can find half of local population, enjoying the weather. More about hills around Ljubljana can be found here.

Roznik, Ljubljana, hill Roznik

Roznik hill is very pupular also in the middle of the winter.

There is a park for kids to play and next to it small pond with bar Čolnarna/Boathouse. You can visit Greenhouse/Glasshouse Tivoli and rose gardens outside of it for free. This is actually my favourite place in the summer. If you are lucky, you might get an empty seat near the rose bushes. It is best place in Ljubljana for bookworms, who also like fresh air.


rose, Tivoli, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Rose bushes in Tivoli park

Book worms welcome

If you forget to bring your book, there is a free open air library there in summer, if the weather permits it. In the park, you can also find sauna, fitness, bars, pool, skating rink and lots of people jogging, doing yoga or slacklining.

Walk trough art

Don’t miss the free open-air photographic exhibition next to the main path through Tivoli. It is changed every few months and photos on display are usually well worth a visit.

open-air photographic exhibition, Tomo Križnar, Ljubljana, Tivoli park

Part of an open-air photographic exhibition. Theme was water and this photo was made by Slovenian writer, documentary film maker, human rights activist, journalist and a worldwide traveller Tomo Križnar in Darfur.

More free fun in Ljubljana? Read Second 5 free things to do in Ljubljana

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