The first stop on our Balkans tour was Ljubljana, and I fell madly in love with this pint-sized capital. With its green credentials, gritty artsy edge and abundance of canalside restaurants and bars, there is plenty to love about Ljubljana. Its size makes it easy to get around, however it’s still worth putting some thought into where to stay in Ljubljana for the best experience.
To help you find your dream Ljubljana digs, let’s take a look at the best places to stay in Ljubljana.
Where to stay in Ljubljana: an introduction
Ljubljana, as far as European capitals go, is teensy tiny. Around 300,000 lucky people call the city home, so if you’ve spent time in bustling capitals like London or Madrid, you’ll probably find Ljubljana to be very accessible.
As Ljubljana has a pretty modest population, it is also pretty modest in size. You can easily explore the entire city on foot (which is lucky, because no cars are allowed in the city centre.)
Nonetheless, it is split up into neighbourhoods and different areas have a distinct feel. There’s lofty green spaces as well as artsy hubs popular with students. Therefore, it’s worth choosing your Ljubljana accommodation carefully!
Best overall place to stay in Ljubljana: Old Town
I feel like if you Google basically any European city + “best place to stay”, you’re going to hear the answer: Old Town. These old European cities are just seriously beautiful, and who doesn’t want to wake up every morning and feel like you’ve just stepped out into the pages of a fairytale?
Old Town Ljubljana means the Medieval part of the city that’s located below Ljubljana castle. It’s so incredibly pretty, with many great restaurants, shops and bars. This part of the city does tend to be a little more catered to tourists, so if you’re super adverse to other travellers, it may not be perfect for you.
It can also be quite pricey. I was actually pretty shocked by the price of accommodation in Ljubljana – it’s much higher than other Balkans countries like Montenegro or Bosnia. However, it still pales in comparison to many Western European capitals, and it’s just as beautiful.
So, if you’ve got only a short time and/or room to splurge in your budget, I highly recommend choosing to stay in Old Town in Ljubljana. Here, you’ll be ultra close to all of the city’s attractions, and let me repeat: it’s absolutely gorgeous!
My picks for where to stay in Old Town Ljubljana
AdHoc Hostel -. if you want to keep things on the cheap but still stay in Ljubljana’s most charming neighbourhood, you’re in luck! This modern and well-regaarded hostel offers dorm beds as well as a couple of affordable private rooms.
B&B Petra Varl Accommodation – located in a charming old salmon-coloured building, this is a gorgeous place to stay without breaking the bank. The interior is modern and clean, and the location is perfect for exploring more of Ljubljana.
Grand Hotel Union – got some money to splurge on accommodation in Ljubljana? I’m sure you’ll love this beautiful luxury hotel, which is one of the city’s most beautiful.
Where to stay on a budget: Trnovo
When we stayed in Ljubljana, we stayed in Trnovo. It’s not the absolute closest neighbourhood to the sights (expect to walk around ten minutes to reach them), but prices are significantly cheaper than Old Town, but there’s still plenty of charm. I generally prefer neighbourhoods that feel “lived in” rather than “rented out”, and Trnovo definitely hit the brief.
It has quite a lot of restaurants and cafes, and is particularly popular with students. Of course, where there’s students there’s also bars – so you’ll find plenty of haunts if you fancy trying the local brew (Union, of course!).
Trnovo might lack some of the glamour of Old Town, but the area around the river is still very beautiful. It’s also worth noting that Trnovo is outside the no-car zone, so if you’re travelling with a vehicle, it’s a good option.
Although you might not be smack bang in the middle of town, you’re probably only looking at 5 – 10 minute walk, depending on your exact location. To really live like a local, hire a bike to take you in!
My picks for where to stay in Trnovo, Ljubljana
Where to stay in Ljubljana for modern style and nightlife: City Centre
Don’t get caught out – Ljubljana Old Town and Ljubljana City Centre are two different locations. As you’d expect, Ljubljana City Centre is more modern, although it still has quite a lot of charm.
While Old Town oozes charm, it does get quite crowded with tourists which can dim its light a little bit. Also, many of the accommodation options are sort of, well, old. If you prefer things more local and more modern, the city centre may be right up your alley.
Ljubljana’s city centre has a number of modern and luxurious hotels, as well as a few more budget-friendly options. Another particular highlight of the City Centre is its nightlife – here you’ll find an amazing selection of bars and clubs (which are typically cheaper than the snobby wine bars in Old Town).
The City Centre is super convenient for Ljubljana’s attractions, so you’ll be able to walk to them in no time. Just note that it’s still in the no-car zone, so less ideal for those travelling with a vehicle.
My picks for where to stay in the City Centre of Ljubljana
Hotel Cubo – looking to splurge and enjoy some beautiful accommodation in the city centre? Then this hotel should certainly fit the bill! This beautiful 5* hotel is one of the most popular and beloved in Ljubljana, for good reason!
The coolest place to stay in Ljubljana: Metelkova
Did you know that Ljubljana is home to the hostel voted the coolest on earth by Lonely Planet? Yup. And if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’re bound to be unsurprised to hear that it’s in Metelkova. For the uninitiated, Metelkova is a former army barracks turned “autonomous zone” covered in street art and with a commitment to the offbeat and quirky.
Technically, Metelkova is actually located in Tabor neighbourhood. However, it is so distinct that I think it’s more than worthy of inclusion by itself on my list of the best places to stay in Ljubljana.
The hostel I’m referring to is Hostel Celica, and it does look seriously cool. That said, if you want to be able to nope out of the alternative vibes and retreat back to luxury, you’ll find other options nearby as well.
Metelkova is to the north of the city, so a little bit of a walk to the main sights of downtown Ljubljana. However, it’s easily doable, and takes around 15 minutes.
My picks for where to stay in Metelkova, Ljubljana
The most relaxing to stay in Ljubljana: Koseze
Given that Ljubljana is a proud “Green City”, it’s no surprise that one of my top picks for areas to stay in Ljubljana is near a sprawling park. I’m talking about Koseze, which is located just to the north-west of the famous Tivoli Park.
This area is a bit further away from downtown Ljubljana. You can definitely walk or cycle, or you might like to hop on a bus to take you right into the centre. Or, you might just prefer to wander around and enjoy the good vibes locally.
Koseze is a popular residential area with many young families and professionals who appreciate the green space and ease of access to the city. This makes it a great pick for those looking for a romantic and relaxing stay in Ljubljana, or those with children.
While there are a few restaurants and cafes in Koseze, you’ll be that bit further away from the ruckus. Of course, while this is ideal if you’re looking to avoid it, if you’re looking to join the ruckus, you might find Koseze a bit quiet.