Ljubljana Castle: An Iconic Landmark

Ljubljanski grad

Standing atop the tree-covered Castle Hill and towering above the city's Old Town, Ljubljana Castle, with its stone walls, towers, and turrets, is an iconic landmark and a fascinating site to meet the history of Slovenia. It is also home to three restaurants, a wine shop, several museums, and plenty of cultural events.

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I enjoy touring historic castles in Europe. Located almost 400 meters (1300 feet) above sea level, Ljubljana Castle is one of my favorites, even if this is more of a modern castle, and the medieval atmosphere is almost no longer present. The structure was already beautifully restored, combining old and new elements; the surrounding was spectacular, and the visit was well worth it.

The castle in Ljubljana is open daily and is an excellent place to spend a morning or afternoon in the city. While you explore the green hill near the fortress, you might be astonished by a nice piece of art on a wall, a grape on a vineyard, a fascinating book in a reading area, or a distinctive piper's melody. You'll also admire that there is no admission fee to the castle courtyard, where you can unwind with a perfect cup of coffee, a glass of fine wine, or a slice of delicious cake.

Ljubljana Castle in Photos

Southeast view of the Pentagonal Tower

European castle
 The castle's southeastern wall

View of the castle from the west

Inside the castle

View of the castle from the northwest, with the Fishmarket Footbridge in the foreground

Castle Tower

Castle Well
One of the castle's four wells

Erasmus Tower (left) and Ljubljana cityscape

The Castle's Brief History

The first castle in Ljubljana was a wooden and stone fortress built in the 11th century and mentioned in writing at the beginning of the 12th century. When the Habsburgs conquered Slovenia in the 14th century, they demolished the old stronghold and built a new one. 

The castle's original form was achieved in the 15th century when an expansion occurred. During the 16th and 17th centuries, other buildings adjoining the castle yard and forming the current whole of the castle complex appeared. In the early 19th century, the country's authorities converted it into a prison and a fortified military post, reducing its popularity among the locals. 

The Ljubljana municipality bought the castle complex in 1905 and settled residents who stayed there until the late 1960s when a 35-year restoration began. Before 2000, the castle mainly served for weddings, but later it became a popular venue for cultural events and exhibits.

How to Get There

From the Old Town, the 70-meter (230-foot)-long funicular is accessible, though it's not very impressive. Starting from one of three squares: Vodnikov trg, Stari trg, or Mestni trg, the climb isn't too long on foot along the ancient or newer walking paths.

Address: Grajska planota 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

By Public Transportation:

Lutkovno gl. is the nearest bus stop (line 02).

Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Booking.com offers a wide range of lodging options, various discounts, and exceptional customer service. For a list of places to stay in Ljubljana, click here.


Ljubljana and Ljubljana Castle Sightseeing Tour

The 2.5-hour Ljubljana and Ljubljana Castle Sightseeing Tour is a great way to explore Slovenia's capital with a local expert; view its landmarks from bridges crossing the Ljubljanica River; ride the funicular to Ljubljana Castle; enjoy stunning views from the Viewing Tower. (The price includes admission to the castle and the funicular.)

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Have you ever visited the Castle of Ljubljana? What impressions, if any, did you have? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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