Christmas trees decorated by kids in Ljubljana Slovenia

Slovenia’s capital city is a wonderful place to walk around, even in winter. But what should you do in Ljubljana when the temperature drops and the snow falls?

Christmas market

Christmas market in Ljubljana Slovenia
Street food at the Christmas market © Marion Dautry

The obvious winter activity in Ljubljana. The city lights up at the end of the year and the city centre becomes the ground for a wide Christmas market spreading along the river and around Preseren square. Enjoy the decorations, the food and the music. Get warm with some tea or a cup of mulled wine! Festivities last all December and about a week into January.

Read more about Ljubljana’s Christmas market

Get comfort with cake, chocolate and tea

Comfort food, anyone? Slovenia is not like the other Western Balkans countries when it comes to coffee (not a Turkish coffee!). But cafés and restaurants are everywhere in the city and it’s not hard to find a nice place to sit and dig into a delicious piece of cake. I could just hop from one place to another all day long, especially on a grey and humid day!

Cacao on the riverside is one address you want to keep in mind. Check out directly at the counter what looks good to you. Bon appétit! They also have rooms and are very central.

For hot chocolate, head out to Romantika. This place is an ice cream gem in summer (or any time of the year if you ask me) but also offers coffee, waffles, hot chocolate… It’s very cute and very photo-friendly. You can sit at one of the few tables inside or take away.

Café bistro Rog, at the end of Petkoskovo nabrezje, is also a great place to stay warm with some delicious juices, tea and a slice of their amazing cheesecake! Tasted and approved.

Perfect for hot drinks and panoramic views, the café at the top of Neboticnik (“skyscraper”) on Slovenska Cesta is a must-do. I had a delicious latte with cinnamon, or “Christmas coffee” up there and enjoyed the view very much.

The view from Ljubljana's skyscraper Neboticnik
The view from Ljubljana’s skyscraper Neboticnik © Marion Dautry

Stay warm in the museums

Ljubljana is not short on cultural activities and hosts several excellent museums. I particularly like the city museum and the Museum of Modern Art right in front of Tivoli park. I found the city museum very interactive (kid-friendly!) and full of interesting facts about Ljubljana’s history from Roman ruins to communism.

The Modern Art gallery displays the country’s modern history through art. You will find paintings, installations and photographies there. It also hosts temporary exhibitions and I was lucky enough to see a big retrospective of the work of Slovenian photographer Stojan Kerbler. It was a great insight into people’s everyday life and a good addition to the rest of the exhibition. The place is not so big but I spent one hour and a half there, effortlessly.

Hang out and sip on the best coffee

Another good point for visiting the museums is the cafés located inside their buildings. This might be why I like the Museum of Modern art so much… The café there is my favourite spot in Ljubljana (so far). I go there every time and order AeroPress coffee. I just love it. AeroPress means that the coffee is brewed for a few seconds then pressed through a filter. They bring it to you in a beaker and a glass of wine!

Walk up to the Castle

Button up and make your way up to the old castle overhanging the city centre. It will not make the temperature higher but it will certainly keep you warm and in good shape. There are four walking paths leading to the castle. I find the one starting near the central market to be particularly steep. I certainly wasn’t cold once I reached the castle! However, it can be slippery so you might want to use another trail depending on the conditions. Check out the castle’s website for indications.

The view from one of the trail leading to Ljubljana's castle © Marion Dautry
The view from one of the trail leading to Ljubljana’s castle © Marion Dautry

Once you are up there, take the time to catch your breath if you were rushing and to admire the view over the city. Head inside the restaurant for a coffee or a meal.

Explore the surrounding nature

Slovenia offers spectacular views, hiking trails and outdoor activities. The size of the country makes it easy to get out of the city and go up mountains and down rivers. If you have a car that is, as the transportation between cities needs a lot of work. In Ljubljana itself, you will find that you are never far from nature and that you can easily walk away from busy streets and traffic. Even in winter, I would not turn down a nice, long walk.

Aside from the castle, the park Tivoli welcomes you with numerous walking paths up the hills for a bit of fresh air. You will forget the city there! And when the snow falls, it becomes a great playground and a winter selfie spot! You can stay on the low ground if you don’t feel like taking a hike. Simply head towards the pond and the wide lawns and enjoy the walk.

To feel like in the countryside, hike up Roznik hill from Tivoli park. Further away, Smarna Gora is a hotspot beloved by visitors and locals all the same. You can get there by using public transportations (line 8). Just make sure to go at your own rhythm and to wear the right shoes!

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12 thoughts on “Slovenia: 6 things to do in Ljubljana in winter”

  1. I know very little about Ljubljana, it is nice to hear about things to do in the city. As I like to learn a bit about the place I am visiting, I would like to visit the Ljubljana city museum. It also sounds fun to walk up to the castle.

  2. Haven’t been to Slovenia yet. But have heard lovely things about the country and Ljubljana in particular. Based on your post, the 4C’s (Christmas markets, Cakes, Chocolates & Castles) should keep me happy if I visit Ljubljana in winter 🙂

  3. Looks really cool in winter too. I went there early May and enjoyed my time and for sure I’ll be back to explore more (only visited Ljubljana, Bled, and Bohinj)

  4. I haven’t been to Ljubljana but definitely would love to visit one day. The Christmas markets sounds like a great idea for a winter visit. And I’m always in for a delicious hot chocolate on any given day :).

  5. Ljubjana is a place of dreams. Visiting it during the winter is something that I have never thought of. I thought this place would be better during summers. But your blog post has changed my mind. I would surely love to visit this place during winters – walking up to the castle would top my list.

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