The green capital of Slovenia works family holidays every which way. It has some of the world’s loveliest urban architecture in an easy to walk historic centre and hosts dozens of festivals kids will love all year round. There are Mediterranean beaches just over an hour away. And if you want to spread your wings just a tiny bit further, you can walk, climb and ski in the Alps or explore the largest forests in Europe – all in a day, if you want.
Direct flights from the UK to Ljubljana take just over two hours all year round.
Slovenia has 12 family ski resorts within an hour of the city centre and slopes are snow-sure from December to March.
Ljubljana city centre is described as, ‘one of the 20th century’s most important works of art’.
The city’s famous for an astonishing collection of architecture ranging from, medieval castles and baroque churches to Art Nouveau apartment buildings and spectacularly ornate bridges.
The Ljubljanica runs through the heart of Ljubljana and kids can paddleboard from one end of the city to the other. The cafés and restaurants on the riverbank, known as ‘The Lounge’, are a favourite hang-out spot in summer.
Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016, is also the official capital of Slovenia: the world’s first ever Green Tourism Destination.
Slovenia’s Mediterranean coast and historic beach resorts are just over an hour’s drive west of Ljubljana.
For four star hotels and soulful heritage apartments, look to the historic city centre: north and west of the castle. Self-catering’s always good value for families in Ljubljana and Slovenia’s relatively small size makes staying in one of the city’s pretty neighbouring towns another option with kids. The mountain resort of Krvavec is just 30 minutes away for cute cabins and lodges, summer and winter.
Lorded over by medieval Ljubljana Castle, the historic city centre could easily fill an entire holiday with architectural wonders alone. It’s here that Jože Plečnik made his mark in the early 20th century and his influence is seen everywhere from bridges to street plans, market halls and department stores.
Enormous Tivoli Park stretches west from the city centre and covers an area of over 5km². It’s the city’s largest green space and famous for grand avenues of chestnut trees, ornate statuary and fountains, walking trails and extravagant flower beds.
Back in 1993, 200 protestors took up residence in Metelkova’s army barracks and refused to leave. From an impromptu squat-in, it became a movement and symbol of creative and artistic freedom in a city that was short on both at the time. Today the district’s one of the most visited in Ljubljana and the heartland of alternative performance, exhibitions, events and indie festivals.
Easiest and best way to see Ljubljana is on foot. The city centre’s compact, well-signposted and quite a lot of it’s now pedestrianised. Cyclists are well-respected here too and city bike hire’s cheap and operates the way it does in most European capitals. Catch the cute tourist train from Prešeren Square through the historic city centre to Ljubljana Castle. Hire a car to visit the nearby Mediterranean coast, Alps within 40 minutes of the city and legends like Bled, under two hour’s north of Ljubljana.