If you are planning a visit to Slovenia with kids, Ljubljana will most certainly be on your itinerary. The good news is there are tons of great things to do in Ljubljana with kids and toddlers!
Ljubljana is Slovenia’s small, walkable jewel of a capitol. What the city lacks in the way of big, flashy “must see” sights it makes up for with its laid back nature, small size and large swaths of pedestrian only walking zones.
Top Things to do In Ljubljana with Kids
The Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions in Ljubljana should definitely have a place on your Ljubljana must do list if you are visiting with kids. The museum is located close to the old town. If it a fun place to stop for an hour or two and it is not terribly expensive.
The museum has 2 floors of illusions including a room where you can take a photo and look like you are standing on the ceiling as well as other visual illusions. My 3 and 5 year old did not understand the hows and whys of all of the illusions, but they still thought that it was a fun diversion.
Tivoli Park Ljubljana
Tivoli Park is within walking distance (with a stroller or with older kids) from Ljubljana’s Old Town. This is Ljubljana’s main park and it is a nice place to let loose a little if the kids are tired of seeing the Ljubljana sights.
The park has a lovely little café near the main playground. It looked like an easy stop for lunch or a glass of wine before heading over to play. Our kiddos loved the playground in Tivoli Park Ljubljana. It has a zip line (always a favorite) and some really neat slides as well as a wide variety of other areas to explore. While the Park Tivoli Ljubljana is not the most spectacular European park that we have ever been to, it was well worth a couple hours to explore.
The Ljubljana Castle and Funnicular
The castle and funicular ride up to it are one of the most popular things to do in Ljubljana. The views from the top are captivating and the kids always enjoy the ride up to the top.
While this is one of the most popular things to do in Ljubljana, this was not a Ljubljana must do for us. We had limited time to spend in the city and have visited other castles that were more engaging for the kids. If you are spending a couple full days in Ljubljana, you should definitely add this to your list!
The Ljubljana Central Market
We always make it a point to visit local markets when we travel. The Ljubljana Central Market was one of the nicer ones that we have visited. The Ljubljana Central Market is located close to the old town and the idyllic river.
The kids really enjoyed munching on fruit and berries from the market. What I liked about this market is that it was not crowded (granted, we visited on a weekday). There were also a number of vendors selling reasonably priced souvenirs like travel sized jars of honey and other Slovenian specialties. Note – the Ljubljana Central Market is closed on Sundays.
A River Cruise in Ljubljana
A river cruise to see the sights is always popular with the kids! Ljubljana is a city of bridges, and the water is the best place to see them. This Ljubljana river cruise is a great value (kids under 6 free!) and it is offered on a unique and traditional Slovenian wooden boat.
The Free Walking Tour Ljubljana
The free walking tour is one of the more popular things to do in Ljubljana. We did it and it was a great way to get a general overview of the city and some history. The kids got a little antsy (ok, a lot antsy) and so I would not generally recommend it for someone with young children. The stories and history would perhaps be interesting enough to hold the attention of older children.
The Ljubljana Open Kitchen (Odprta Kuhna)
If you are going to be in Ljubljana on a Friday between May and October, you HAVE to check out the Open Kitchen. Local restaurants and food vendors set up booths in the old town. It is a great opportunity to try a wide variety of Slovenian and international cuisine in a short time.
The Best Hostel in Ljubljana with Kids
The Villa Veselova is my top suggestion for where to stay in Ljubljana with kids on a budget. This family friendly hostel in Ljubljana is located in a charming old building close to the top things to do in Ljubljana. The hostel is located in a quiet, safe neighborhood (always a concern when I am booking a cheap room).
We booked the turquoise room. It has one set of bunk beds and two doubles that pushed together into a queen. The room included a private (but separate) bathroom just around the corner. The hostel provides a very basic breakfast of cereal, fruit, yogurt, bread and jam (enough to get you by for a bit).
Book early here for a private room – the hostel also rents our rooms by the bed and you need to ensure that you book the whole room for a family with kids.
Our Must Hit Ljubljana Restaurants with Kids
Vigo Ice Cream Ljubljana
This is consistently ranked as one of the top two ice cream spots in Ljubljana. It is conveniently located just off of the main square and the triple bridge in Ljubljana and is close to the tourist information office.
The flavors were vibrant and the optional drizzle of chocolate on the top made the ice cream extra yummy. I enjoyed my kids’ simple lemon ice cream more than my more complex mixed flavor, but they were all yummy and not overpriced for such a popular spot.
On the surface, this looks like one of those overly touristy restaurants that I usually avoid. If it were not for a recommendation from one of my favorite Slovenia guide books, we would not have eaten here. I am so glad that we did (and wish that we had been able to eat here again!)
This Ljubljana restaurant is located in the heart of the old town just off of a picturesque square. The interior is rustic and historical looking and was a fun way to experience our first meal in Slovenia. The menu featured a huge variety of Slovenian specialties that were as good or better in quality as any other restaurant that we ate at in Slovenia. A definite must for you Ljubljana restaurant list!
Puffy Pancakes Ljubljana
This little stand is located on one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares into Ljubljana’s old town. Our kids loved it so much that we stopped here twice.
When you order, they made you a basketful of tiny little pancakes fresh on a special griddle. Once your pancakes are done, you choose from a variety of sweet toppings for them. They are small, finger sized bites that are super kid friendly (though a little messy) and easy to share.
Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Ljubljana
How to Get to Ljubljana
Ljubljana is located at the heart of Slovenia. There are a variety of ways to get to Ljubljana:
- By Air: Air France, Lufthansa, EasyJet and LOT Airlines all fly into Ljubljana from various cities in Europe.
- By Train: You could fly into Munich and take the train to Ljubljana across Austria. It is approximately a 6 hour train ride. There is no way to take a direct train to Ljubljana from Italy.
- By Shuttle: Fly into Venice, Italy and it is easy to take a shared ride van into Ljubljana. The cost is reasonable and it only takes three hours.
- By Car: Renting a car and driving into Slovenia turned out to be the cheapest option for our family. We flew into southern Germany and drove south across Austria. It was a six hour drive, so we don’t recommend this for a short trip, but it was beautiful!
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How Many Days to See the Best Ljubljana Sights with Kids
This is a hard question to answer, because everyone’s interests are different. For us, two to three full days in Ljubljana would be plenty. We spent two partial days exploring the Ljubljana must do sights and while we would have liked to have had a little more time, we felt it sufficient. Ljubljana is relatively small compared to many other European capitols making it easy to traverse in 2-3 days.
How to Get Around Ljubljana with Kids
Ljubljana is one of the most walkable cities in Europe and we had no problem getting around with the kids using a stroller. We stayed in a hostel that was close to the Ljubljana Old Town. Preseren Square is at the center of the Old Town in Ljubljana and it is a great place to start your explorations.
If you want to venture further afield or are staying in accommodation further out, you will need to take a bus as Ljubljana has no subway or other public transit. This is a great guide about how to get around in Ljubljana.