The story of Ljubljana castle


Ljubljana castle is perched above the stunning capital city of Slovenia, where it has been standing for over 900 years.

Ljubljana castle is one of the main attractions in Ljubljana, which offers beautiful views of the green capital of Slovenia below, nearby towns, villages, and even the Kamnik–Savinja Alps in the northern part of the country. Ljubljana castle has become a true symbol of the Slovenian capital and a popular location for both locals and tourists who are looking for a nice stroll in Ljubljana, away from the busy streets.

History of Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana castle is located on a 375m-high hill above the Old city center in Ljubljana. Ljubljana castle is one of (only) 500 castles in Slovenia. However, that does not make it any less interesting. Besides Predjama and Bled castle, it is probably one of the most impressive castles you will find in Slovenia. No offense to any other stunning and majestic castle in Slovenia, of course.

Ljubljana Castle was built around 900 years ago. However, before there was a majestic castle that still stands proud on the hill looking above Ljubljana city there was a modest fortress of the Spanheim family, which was torn down in 1335 by the Habsburgs who took over the area in which modern Slovenia exists. In the second half of the 15th century, the Habsburgs started building the Ljubljana castle, which still stands today. Its main purpose was to defend Ljubljana from the Ottoman invasions, which were pretty common in the 15th and 16th centuries in the Slovenian area at the time.

After Napoleon’s Provinces Illyrians fell in 1815 and at the time Ljubljana castle worked as a military hospital, later on, it was turned into a state penitentiary and it functions like that until the major earthquake that hit Ljubljana 1895. In the first world war, Ljubljana castle was turned into a quarantine station for prisoners of war from the Italian front, while during the second world war it was occupated by the Nazis. After the second world war ostracized citizens of Ljubljana lived in the Ljubljana castle until 1963 in terrible conditions.

The Ljubljana castle did not always look the way it does today. Ljubljana castle in its true and first form consisted only of walls, towers, and wooden barracks. While the Ljubljana castle tower and walls still remain, the wooden barracks are long gone. Over the centuries the castle began to take shape, which we still see today. Over the last few decades, Ljubljana castle went through some much need renovations. Without a doubt, Ljubljana castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Slovenia today.

Ljubljana castle in modern times

You will never be bored while visiting Ljubljana castle. The castle’s Outlook Tower and ramparts offer some of the most beautiful views of the city, while the castle houses a museum exhibition on Slovenian history, a puppet museum, and a number of historical rooms such as the Chapel of St George, the Prison, and a video presentation room called Virtual Castle and so much more!

Fun fact the entry to the Ljubljana castle is free of charge and you can stroll around the Ljubljana castle’s courtyard free of charge and enjoy the historic surroundings.

There are two restaurants, Strelec and Gostilna an Gradu, both of which have received the Michelin Plate award this year in Slovenia. Alongside the two restaurants, you will find a charming cafe spot where you can order a nice piece of cake while relaxing after a day of sightseeing in Ljubljana.

At the outlook tower on Ljubljana castle, you will be able to get some amazing views of Ljubljana and its surrounding areas. Make sure you get your camera with you to snap a nice photo from the Ljubljana castle.

At Ljubljana castle you will also find spaces for interesting art exhibitions which are held throughout the year, most of them are photo exhibitions. Furthermore, you will be able to explore more of the castle with a fun escape room game called escape castle. The Escape Castle is a fun adventure where you can learn about the history of the city through five tests, have fun, and maybe finally save the dragon, the one that can be found on the Dragon Bridge, in the town coat of arms and the flag. There is also a nightclub located at the Ljubljana castle. A perfect mix of gastronomy, culture, and fun for the entire family.

The Ljubljana castle offers many cultural, historic, and entertaining events throughout the entire year. The biggest number of events at Ljubljana castle is usually held during the summer. The most popular event at the Ljubljana castle are Film under the stars, which is held in the summer when people gather at Ljubljana castle to watch a series of hand-picked films under the starry skies of Ljubljana.

How to get to Ljubljana castle?

Ljubljana castle is located in the very heart of Ljubljana. It towers above the old Ljubljana city center. You will be able to find your way to the top of the Ljubljana castle from some of the little streets in the old city center. Make sure you keep an eye out for the directions so you won’t miss the correct path to the Ljubljana castle. Walking to the top of the Ljubljana castle will take you approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on which path you take and how fast you walk obviously. Visiting the Ljubljana castle by foot will open up more amazing views of the hustle and bustle in Ljubljana. Walking up the Ljubljana castle will also provide you with some amazing photo opportunities and you will be able to catch Ljubljana with your (phone) camera from different and not so ordinary angles.

If walking to the top of the Ljubljana castle on the hill is not your cup of tea, especially during the hot summer days, or cold ones during the winter. You can always take the funicular railway to the top of the Ljubljana castle. The funicular railway is located near the famous Ljubljana market, right next to the Mladinsko theater and it will take you straight to the Ljubljana castle in like 2-3 minutes without you breaking a sweat. You can pay for the ride with your Urbana bus card. While going up to the Ljubljana castle with a little help from the funicular railway you will be able to see the Kamnik–Savinja Alps in the distance and enjoy the beautiful views of Ljubljana from above as you reach your destination, which is the mighty medieval fortress called Ljubljana castle.

Another way you can drop by for a visit is by taking the car up on the hill where the parking of the Ljubljana castle is located. If you don’t have a car you can always rent a car in Ljubljana or perhaps join the train ride from the old city center, which also offers rides to the Ljubljana castle all year round. Or if you love biking, you can always hop on your bike or rent one and visit the stunning Ljubljana castle.

Explore Slovenian castles

Slovenia is home to around 500 amazing castles, which are waiting for you to explore them. While most of them are in good shape, despite their age, some of them have become ruins. Check out the following article to discover the top Slovenian castles this year.