The coat of arms of Ljubljana shows a green dragon sitting on top of a castle tower rising on a castle hill. Ljubljana Castle is a symbol of the Slovenian capital and its main tourist attraction. The legend of the castle and the dragon is ancient, dating back to the 12th century when the name Ljubljana is first mentioned in written sources.
According to the legend, a small castle built of wood stood on the hilltop, and a stone castle was built in its place. The building looked down on the landscape so dignifiedly that travellers only called Ljubljana "the city under the castle".
Where is Ljubljana Castle?
Address, map, approach, entrance, parking
Finding a castle will be the easiest thing to do in Ljubljana, as you just have to open your eyes. There is no parking next to the castle, so leave your car in the city and walk - it is less than 30 minutes from the centre.
- Address: Grajska planota 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Distance from the city centre is 1.8 km / 25 minutes on foot
The first owners of the castle were the German Spanheim, who fortified and enriched the building with a new tower in the 14th century. In the 15th century, the castle was completely demolished to put a larger one in its place.
Its present appearance with the pentagonal tower, formerly known as the Ducal Tower of Padav, was built in the 16th century. It is connected to the castle by a separate wall. The most beautiful part of the building is the Palatium, which was once the residence of the nobility.
In the 17th century, the castle began to be neglected. At that time, a huge amount of gunpowder was stored in it. It was almost demolished in the 18th century when Napoleon, who occupied Ljubljana, saved the castle at the last minute.
The castle then functioned as a penitentiary, with only a single upgrade, a watchtower that was later demolished and only rebuilt in the 1980s.
It became the residence of families in need after World War II, and its condition was very much worn out. It became a disgrace to Ljubljana over the decades, until in the 1960s the city government decided to renovate it and restore its fame.
Much of the cost of the renovation was borne by the locals, most of whom generated the money needed for the work.
The castle has different daily opening hours depending on the season, but it is open every day. It takes about an hour to visit the castle.
- Daily opening hours (usually): 10:00 to 18:00
You can buy several types of tickets for the castle. Basically, you have to decide if you want to go up the castle by cable car or not. Tickets without a funicular are slightly cheaper. The ticket entitles you to visit the museum and exhibitions in the castle with an audioguide.
Cable car combined with return (round trip)
- Adult ticket: 13 euros
- Child ticket: 9 euros
- Family ticket (2 adults, min 1 child): 31 euros
You can also buy a ticket to the castle online, but only with the cable car version. If you want to buy a simple ticket, you have to buy it on the spot.
More about the castle
At the same time, it is a social, cultural, tourist and hospitality centre that provides services of the highest standard to business people and high-ranking visitors who come here for meetings and conferences.
The castle can of course also be visited by tourists. Many people come mainly on weekends, not only foreigners but also Slovenes to admire one of the most beautiful sights in their capital.
An average of 250,000 tickets are sold each year for exhibitions at the castle, but the number of people visiting the castle for other attractions is roughly 800,000 visitors a year.
The fact that the castle of Ljubljana has become so popular as a tourist attraction also plays a major role in the funicular, which was put into operation a few years ago, and also allows those who would not otherwise be able to visit the castle.
The city council aims to bring the number of tourists visiting the castle to 1 million a year, and that seems to be coming soon. To achieve this, they are expanding their services and offering even more colourful programs to their visitors.
Nowhere else in Ljubljana are as many events and cultural events held as in the castle. In its permanent exhibitions, you can see 310 million-year-old rocks containing fossils. The exhibition has also been supplemented with a virtual exhibition that can attract even more visitors.
Thinking of tourists coming to the city in the summer, the exhibitions are expanded with exhibitions that introduce them to the life and work of local celebrities, as well as to organize outdoor programs. The restaurant of the castle is a favourite place for foreign and Slovenian guests all year round.
The castle burns with a wedding fever on Saturdays, as if a couple is getting married in Ljubljana, it is almost certain that the castle will play a role in this, either as a venue for dinner or photography. There are also two wedding halls in the castle that can be rented.
It has become one of the most popular sights in Slovenia and a must-see attraction nationwide. After many centuries and many adversities, the castle has finally found its worthy place in Ljubljana.