With approximately 60% forest cover, Slovenia is the most forested country in Europe (excluding Scandinavia). Likewise, with its multiple parks and hills, Ljubljana is one of the greenest capitals in the world.
Written by Ljubljana Free Tour editorial staff 🙂
It was not for no reason that ljubljana was voted European Green Capital already back in 2016. The city really is green. Not just in terms of reycling in which it excelles, but also in terms of the number of leaves per resident. This article presents some of our favorite places to go walking in Ljubljana. We'd love to take you to there on one of our free tours, but they are a little further out of the city center so to reach them you must either take a private tour or go exploring on your own. Here we go...
Rising up directly behind Ljubljana's Old Town is the Ljubljana Castle, the centerpiece of town. While most tourists go up the castle hill by funicular for a short visit of the castle alone, the hill itself is a great green lung right in the center of town, with several trails and unbeatable views of the city and distant Alps. The castle is the only attraction on this list which Ljubljana Free Tour actually visits on its tours (“Old Town & Castle Free Tour”) and we do walk up by foot on trails. Easy walk. Don't miss it!
Originally designed by engineer Jean Blanchard in 1813, Tivoli park is Ljubljana's largest and most popular city park. It was later redesigned master architect jože plečnikes and now includes huge greens, a small castle, outdoor art exhibitions, a mansion, a pond, a greenhouse, rose garden, children playgrounds and an outdoor/indoor sporting complex including famed Tivoli Arena, bowling, swimming pool and MANY more activities. Best time to visit is sunny afternoons when the park comes to life.
Rising up behind Tivoli Park is Rožnik Hill, one of two forested hills located right inside the city. It is a huge forested expanse which would take a good hour just to cross by foot and includes few attractions like the hilltop church, a viewpoint restaurant with outdoor terrace area, several heritage sites, the Ljubljana Zoo, numerous outdoor training installations and sporting facilities (like threes ski jumps !!) and miles of walking/biking trails. It is hugely popular on weekends.
Located opposite Rožnik Hill, on the other side of the city center, is an even greater expanse of forest - Golovec Hill. It actually extends eastward out of the city, joining Slovenia's larger forests. While it does not offer all of the amenities you may find on Rožnik Hill, it does offer a full-on forest experience 15 minutes walk from the center. Also has various trails, fitness installations, viewpoints and even astronomical observatory. Easy place to get lost 🙂
A 32.5 km long gravel path that runs around the city, following the route of the old barbed wire perimeter that surrounded the city during WWII. Passing through several residential areas and greener areas, it is a super-easy trail and is popular with families, hikers and bikers alike. On May 1st, Remembrance Day, the path really comes to life as local tradition gets most city residents onto the trail for a remembrance walk.
Not far from the western edge of The Path of Remembrance, this small artificial lake was built by flooding former clay pits that were used for making bricks. Today it is a beautiful natural environment that serves as a natural habitat for several rare and endangered plant and animal species. It includes several wooden platforms for lounging around, a large children playground and a resident swan family. In winter it becomes a popular outdoor ice-hockey venue.
Rising up 664 meters above sea level, Šmarna Gora is the queen of Ljubljana outdoor walks and offers the best views of the city and surrounding Alps. Located on the Northern Edge of the city, it takes about 45 minutes to reach the 18° century Baroque church and restaurant located on top where one can relax with warm tea or hearty warm Slovenian classic meals. There are about 15 different trails to chose from.
Of course there are many other green spots in Ljubljana, but we can't tell you everything. We gotta leave something for the locals. In any case, If you choose to go on private tour, our excellent team at Ljubljana Free Tour would be delighted to take you around.