Want to live like a local when you visit Ljubljana? You’re in luck! Below are tips I’ve collected (and tried) from the people who call Ljubljana home. Enjoy!
How to Eat Like a Local
Grab lunch at Monstera Bistro. Run by Bine Volčič, one of the country’s most famous chefs, Monstera Bistro is known for its modern takes on traditional Slovenian dishes. While Monstera’s seven-course tasting dinners are legendary, the fixed menu options served at lunch are just as tasty and more affordable. [Gosposka ulica 9]
Chow down on pizza burek. This local take on a Balkan speciality consists of flaky pastry dough filled with tomato sauce, cheese, and sometimes meat. The best place in town to try it is a small shop just outside downtown known simply as Burek. [Savska cesta 1]
Treat yourself to Vigó’s ice cream. Situated right off the Triple Bridge, Vigó is a favorite of both visitors and locals alike due to it’s richly-flavored artisanal ice cream offerings. [Mačkova ulica 2]
Go fancy at Restaurant Čompa. Looking for a great piece of meat in an elegant atmosphere? Stop by Restaurant Čompa. Note, reservations are a must, even in the winter. [Trubarjeva cesta 40]
How to Drink Like a Local
Order a Laško. Although Union is the local beer, Slovenia's other big-name beer brand is considerably better and the choice for discerning drinkers. I particularly liked Laško's Nefiltrirano, an unfiltered pils. For bonus points, drink one at the hip, riverside Makalonca [Hribarjevo nabrežje 19].
Grab a coffee at Cafetino. Choose and grind your own beans at this upscale coffee shop in the heart of the old city center. But be warned, you may have to entertain yourself sans iPhone as they don’t have WiFi! [Stari trg 5]
How to Explore Like a Local
Climb to Ljubljana Castle. Perched atop the hill in the center of the city, Ljubljana Castle is home to a series of informative exhibits and museums, including the nightmare-inducing Museum of Puppetry. Despite the cheesy name, the Time Machine tour—during which costumed actors reenact important moments from the Castle’s history—is informative and highly-entertaining. Rumor has it that on a clear day you can see one-third of Slovenia from the Castle’s tower. [Grajska planota 1]
Go to the Central Market. In the heart of Ljubljana is the Central Market, where you can find rows of merchants selling fruits, vegetables, and homemade crafts. Grab a kilo of whatever’s in season or do some people-watching. The best day to visit is Saturday, when a who’s-who of important locals make appearances. [Vodnikov trg]
Visit the Slovene Ethnographic Museum. Ljubljana’s best museum, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Slovenian or world culture. Its interactive and thought-provoking exhibits will have you questioning many of your notions about society. [Metelkova ulica 2]
Try an Escape Room. Ljubljana is home to a number of escape rooms—an adventure game where players are locked inside a room and given a limited amount of time to escape via puzzle solving— but the most popular ones are run by the Enigmarium company. Reservations are required and you need at least two people to participate. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [Trdinova 8]
How to Play Like a Local
Find your alternative side in Metelkova. Located in abandoned army barracks, Metelkova Mesto is both an incredibly well-organized urban squat and the heart of Ljubljana’s alternative scene. Bars, hostels, and concert venues make Metelkova THE place to go for nightlife entertainment, whether you’re looking to rock out, have a beer, or meet some local troublemakers. [just south of Ljubljana Railway Station]
Dance the night away. Ljubljana has a surprisingly-good club scene, with noteworthy venues like K4 [Kersnikova ulica 4], Zoo [Tržaška cesta 2], and Circus [Trg mladinskih delovnih brigad 7] (best for college-aged visitors).