Recreational opportunities in Ljubljana
The image of Ljubljana is marked by the paths along the Ljubljanica River and the picturesque Ljubljana Botanic Garden. Among other things, it is also possible to paddle a canoe on the Ljubljanica River during the summer months.
Tivoli, the largest park in Ljubljana, lies below the wooded slopes of Rožnik and Šišenski hrib, two hills literally criss-crossed by recreational trails. The same is true for the Golovec Hill on the other side of the city.
The Path of Remembrance and Comradeship
The path is mainly intended for walkers and runners, but cyclists using ordinary bicycles are allowed to ride along the path too on condition that pedestrians are not endangered. The riding of mountain bikes, motor vehicles and horses, however, is prohibited. The Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, sometimes referred to as 'The Path along the Barbed Wire' or 'The Green Ring', is mostly paved with gravel, only the sections leading through residential parts of the city are paved with asphalt. Several sections of the pathway are lined with trees. The path is signposted with information boards showing its course and marked with round metal markers built into the paving. The locations of Second World War bunkers along the path are marked by memorial pillars.
The following are the most popular parts of the path: the section between the Vič and Šiška areas of Ljubljana, from the Dolgi most suburb to the Koseze Pond, the section between the Bežigrad and Žale areas of Ljubljana, from the Stožice Sports Park to the Žale Cemetery, the section between the Fužine and Rudnik areas of Ljubljana, from Fužine Castle to the Dolenjska cesta road.
Castle hill and Šance
The hill rising above the historical city centre of Ljubljana, often referred to as 'the castle hill' for being the site of Ljubljana Castle, is covered with well-maintained woods and criss-crossed by walking paths. The top of the hill is accessible by footpaths leading from all directions, the most popular being those starting from the historical city centre. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the top.
At the top of the castle hill there are scenic tree-lined walks and lookout points offering stunning views across the entire cityscape and the Kamnik Alps to the north. A so called 'trim island' with six pieces of exercise equipment is available for recreation enthusiasts.
The most special of the hilltop paths leads along the fortifications in the Šance area of the hill. This interesting strolling area pleasantly shaded by trees was redesigned by the architect Jože Plečnik based on the remains of a fort that was, back in the 16th century, connected to Ljubljana Castle by an extension of the castle walls.
Rožnik is a 391-metre-high wooded hill accessible by several footpaths and recreational trails from Ljubljana's Tivoli park. Since the first half of the 19th century, it has been a favourite spot for local walkers. Before that, it was a place where the locals sought refuge from epidemic diseases, and even further back in the past the site of a leprosarium.
Since the 16th century, the hilltop has been the site of a church of the Visitation, redesigned by the architect Candido Zulliani in the 18th century. A little down the hill from the church, the Pri Matiji inn was opened in the early 19th century. Occasionally, the inn provided accommodation to the greatest Slovenian writer of all time, Ivan Cankar (1876-1918).
The most interesting in the hill's network of criss-crossing footpaths is the about 3-kilometre-long Jesenko Trail (Jesenkova pot), named after the botanist and geneticist Fran Jesenko (1875-1932). The trail leads past 30 different local tree species marked with information plates. Several of the hill's longer recreational trails lead across the nearby Šišenski hrib hill to Mostec, Ljubljana's popular recreational centre and event venue. At the foot of Rožnik, the Ljubljana Zoo is located.
The Laguna swimming pool complex, located at the Ljubljana Resort hotel and recreational complex, offers three modern heated outdoor swimming pools, over 60 different water attractions, several extensive paved and well maintained grassy areas with sunloungers, two islands, a beach-volleyball court, a children's playground, two bars, and an ice cream garden.
The Laguna swimming pool complex, which has been selected 'Slovenia's Best Swimming Pool Complex' for several years running, offers a vibrant programme of activities for adults and children, late night swimming, and poolside events featuring electronic dance music DJs. Schedule: From June to September: 9:00-20:00 daily.
Laguna's offerings are combined with those provided by the Ljubljana Resort, including a hotel, a camping site, mobile homes, a covered sports centre, fitness facilities, a beauty parlour, various outdoor recreational activities, and the Gostilna Štern restaurant.
Mostec, a wooded area stretching along the Večna pot road on the south-western slope of the Rožnik hill in the immediate vicinity of Ljubljana Zoo, is one of Ljubljana's most popular recreation spots. It offers numerous walking paths leading through pleasant wooded terrain, a modern trim trail, several hiking routes to the top of Rožnik and the nearby Šišenski hrib hill, and an opportunity to take a break at a guest house next to the ski jumps of the Ilirija Ski Jumping Club.
From Mostec, you can continue up the Rožnik hill and a short walk brings you to the hilltop area of Cankarjev vrh. Several hiking trails leading across Rožnik bring you to Tivoli Park, which extends right into the heart of the city centre. If you cross the Večna pot road on the edge of Mostec, a short walk brings you to Koseze Pond (Koseški bajer), from where you can continue along the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, a recreational path encircling Ljubljana. The section of the path leading from Koseze Pond to the Vič area is considered to be one of the most beautiful ones. Exercising equipment is available along the way.
An only ten minutes' walk from the historical city centre of Ljubljana brings you to a renovated Ljubljanica river embankment landscaped as a park. The park's name, Špica, translates as 'pointed tip' and refers to the embankment's pointed shape. In the past, Špica was a town beach. Due to its pleasant green surroundings and a large area paved with wood, it still attracts numerous residents and visitors wanting to bask in the sun on fine weather days.
Next to Špica, a new 38-metre long bridge referred to as Hladnik's Footbridge was constructed in 2009. The bridge connects the city with a green suburban area, the location of the Ljubljana Botanic Garden. The bridge, with its super-lightweight structure, is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.
Kodeljevo Sports Park
The Kodeljevo Sports Park is situated at the foot of the Golovec hill, in the green surroundings of a former park located next to Kodeljevo Castle. Apart from Ljubljana's largest outdoor swimming pool complex, it includes an athletic and football stadium, a sports hall, several tennis courts, outdoor courts for basketball and seven-a-side football, and a table tennis hall. It is home to the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Sport.
Tivoli Sports Park
The Tivoli Sports Park (Športni park Tivoli) includes the Tivoli Sports Hall (Dvorana Tivoli), whose two halls – a large and a small one – are venues for various sporting events (basketball, ice hockey, etc.) and music concerts, and Ljubljana's largest recreational centre (Rekreacijski center Tivoli), which offers a swimming pool hall, sauna and fitness facilities, a bowling centre, a restaurant, and a wide range of organized sporting activities.
The Tivoli Swimming Hall (Kopališče Tivoli) houses three swimming pools. Next to a large pool, measuring 25 by 21 metres, are two smaller pools for schoolchildren and pre-schoolers. The Tivoli Recreational Centre's outdoor sports areas include a roller-skating rink, a winter ice-skating rink, and ten tennis courts.
Fun fact: Lumpi Park
- This sports and amusement park, located in front of
Ljubljana's Tivoli Hall, offers seasonally appropriate play facilities
and outdoor activities for children. During summer, its offerings
include inflatable play equipment, a children's car track, a chute, a
trampoline, and swimming pool activities. In winter time, it is
converted for use as an ice rink, where visitors can enjoy not only
skating, but also a number of other winter activities.
Vodno mesto Atlantis (water park)
The Vodno mesto Atlantis water park is divided into three sections intended for people of different ages. It is comprised of 16 pools (6 larger, 4 children's and 6 various purpose pools) making a total of 1,800 square metres of water surface. Boasting 15,000 square metres of indoor facilities, the complex has a capacity of 1,600 visitors. It is divided into several sections.
The Thermal Temple (Termalni tempelj) is intended for senior visitors. It includes thermal pools, cascading bath areas and three pools with massage benches. The World of Adventures (Svet doživetij) offers several pools and numerous water attractions including a 150 to 200 metre long rapid river, several swim-through underground caves, a wave pool with an atoll island, two large slides and more.
The Sauna Land (Dežela savn) consists of various saunas. Its outdoor part includes a pool and a steam, a bio, a stone and an earth sauna, and its indoor part, among other things, a hot bath in an underground cave. Apart from offering water park activities, Vodno mesto Atlantis is also a venue for themed parties, summer sports games, competitions, themed weeks, birthday parties, reunions and other events.
Hiking and biking trails
Apart from taking short trips to spots popular with local walkers and cyclists, such as Šmarna Gora, Katarina, Kurešček and Zaplana, you can go on lengthy explorations of the region as individual trails, generally well waymarked, can be combined into longer ones.
Golovec is a hill rising above the eastern part of Ljubljana. It is criss-crossed by several well maintained recreational and cycle paths. In the past, it was mainly treeless - hence the name Golovec (The Bare One). Afforestation only began in 1890. In the 2nd century AD, a Roman aqueduct was built to carry water from Golovec to Emona, the Roman Ljubljana. Later, the hill was the site of a Wester family's mansion, which no longer exists. At present, it is the location of an astronomical observatory.
The ascent to the Šmarna Gora hill, 664 metres above sea level, takes from half an hour to a little over an hour, depending on the route taken. The top of the hill, accessible by 15 well-maintained, waymarked and mostly relatively easy routes, offers beautiful views of the Kamnik and Julian Alps, the Ljubljana basin and the distant Dolenjska region with Mount Trdinov vrh. The hilltop is occupied by a restaurant and a Baroque church of the Mother of God, built in the first half of the 18th century. The church was the work place of the "Priest of Triglav", the legendary clergyman, composer and mountaineer Jakob Aljaž, born in the little village of Zavrh at the foot of the hill. Šmarna gora's oldest sight is a plague column erected by those who survived plague and the struggle with the Turks. Another attraction sited on top of the hill is a famous wishing bell, believed to fulfil the wishes of those who ring it.
The western peak of Šmarna Gora, called Grmada, is seven metres higher than its eastern peak. During the time of Turkish invasions, bonfires were lit on top of it to warn of danger. Across Grmada, a 4.5 kilometre nature trail leads to the top of Šmarna Gora. It is marked with information boards giving descriptions of 832 plant and 263 fungus species.
Velika planina, accessible by cable car, is a high mountain plateau jam-packed with natural beauty. Apart from being the site of Europe's best preserved shepherds' village, it offers numerous opportunities for mountaineering and other recreational activities, including skiing down its groomed ski slopes. Its landscape is dominated by vast pastures and a large number of karst landforms, such as sinkholes and basins. Archaeological remains indicate that it has been settled since prehistory. Velika planina's unusual attractions well worth visiting include the Mala Vetrnica and Velika Vetrnica abysses, where the snow cover lasts until the end of summer.
The village of Rakitna lies in the heart of a large karst plateau surrounded by the Krim-Mokc Hill Range, at a height of 800 metres above sea level. Famed for its healthful climate, which is due to the mixing of air currents coming from the Mediterranean and the Alps, it is the location of a children's health resort.
The scenic Lake Rakitna is a popular day-trip destination and base for walks and hikes around the area. Next to the lake is a modern hotel offering comfortable accommodation for the most discerning guests. The lake, suitable for swimming in the summer and ice skating in winter, offers an opportunity for common carp, grass carp, European perch, and trout fishing.
Lake Rakitna is the base for a popular 40-minute circular walk and a one-and-a-half-hour archaeological trail leading to the remains of a 3rd century tower and wall, part of a Roman defence system known as Claustra Alpium Iuliarum. The village of Rakitna is also the starting point for several longer hiking and cycling routes, the most popular leading to the nearby Mount Krim (1,107m). The area offers ample opportunity for cross country skiing.
Adrenalin sports and special experiences
The largest number of different outdoor adventure activities in one place are available at the Krvavec Summer Park. Those seeking unforgettable experiences can also enjoy white water sports, pleasure flights in hot-air balloons, sightseeing aircraft and helicopters, hovercraft rides and much more.
Krvavec Summer Park
The Krvavec Summer Park is a great place for experiencing outdoor activities. Its offerings include a treetop climbing adventure park with obstacles of varying levels of difficulty, several courses for mountain biking and downhill karting and scootering, a climbing tower, a trampoline, an archery field, a mobility skills field, a disc golf course, where players are supposed to throw a flying disc into a target basket, and a 100-metre tubing course.
Geoss Adventure Park
The Geoss Adventure Park, located in the village of Slivna, close to the geometric centre of Slovenia (GEOSS), offers four tree-top climbing routes of different degrees of difficulty, each set up at a different height (from one to 11 metres). The four routes together take two to three hours to complete. The easiest of them is suitable for children above the age of four years.
Schedule: 6 April - 21 June: weekends and public holidays 10:00-18:00, 22 June - 1 September: daily 10:00-19:00, 2-29 September: weekends and public holidays 10:00-18:00, 30 September - 27 October: weekends and public holidays 10:00-17:00.
Skok Sport, a company run by the Skok family, which has produced several world-class white water kayakers, offers raft trips along the river Sava in the vicinity of the village of Tacen and the small town of Medvode.
The company also organizes cycling trips, picnics, and canoe trips down the river Ljubljanica. Raft, kayak and canoe trips on the upper reaches of the river Sava and the rivers Soča and Kolpa are available for groups.
Fishing in Central Slovenia
Slovenia is a small country, but it is well known for its huge natural diversity and rich abundance of water. It has countless springs, rivers, waterfalls, and gorges; it abounds in high mountain and lowland lakes, both natural and artificial; it has over 20 freshwater fish species of interest to anglers. One of the most popular fishing techniques is fly fishing, which has a long tradition in Slovenia, but the central part of the country also offers good opportunities for float fishing and spinning. On the rivers and streams of Central Slovenia, you can fish for huchen, chub, brown trout, and grayling, and on Central Slovenian lakes and ponds for sheatfish, common carp, and pike.
One of the best destinations for angling is the river Ljubljanica, which flows right through the capital. In its upper reaches, this unique 'River of Seven Names' disappears into the karst underground several times. Before disappearing for the last time and reappearing on the surface as the Ljubljanica, it is called the Unica and is one of the best Slovenian rivers for fly fishing. The Unica disappears underground at the end of the Planina Polje and reappears on the surface as Ljubljanica on the edge of the Ljubljana Moors, in the vicinity of the town of Vrhnika. Being a slow river, the Ljubljanica is enclosed by lush vegetation and is therefore the most suitable for boat fishing. Its hidden depths are home to trout, grayling, huchen, Danube roach, chub, and pike.
Golfing in Central Slovenia
Apart from Golf Arboretum, located next to the village of Volčji Potok, and the Diners Club Slovenia Golf Course in the village of Smlednik, both of which have 18 holes and are the region's largest golf courses, there is also a small 9-hole golf course in the Trnovo suburb of Ljubljana. In the region, you can also find several practice greens.
A number of hotels and guest houses in Ljubljana and its surrounding areas offer package deals combining golfing with accommodation and wellness.
Within a short distance from Ljubljana and Central Slovenia, you can also find a number of other golf courses. The largest and the most popular are located in the lake resort of Bled, in the village of Otočec, next to Mokrice Castle, in the spa village of Moravske Toplice, and in the town of Ptuj.
The golf course next to the Volčji Potok Arboretum, Slovenia's largest park, presents a challenge for experienced golfers, but is also suitable for beginners. In addition to an 18-hole course, there are four practice fields.
The centre of social activity and the heart of the course is the club house, located by the 9th green and overlooking an artificial lake. The course is set in beautiful natural surroundings with views of the Kamnik Alps.
Diners Golf & Country Club Ljubljana
The Diners Club Ljubljana golf course is well known for its modern design and flat terrain without trees or other natural obstacles, which allows extremely dynamic play. Its longest hole, No. 2, is 519 metres for gentlemen and 465 metres for ladies.
The course includes a practice field, a golf academy, and a club house with a luxury restaurant called Evergreen. The course is conveniently located close to Ljubljana and not far away from Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport in Brnik.
Number of holes: 18, Area: 64 hectares, Length: 6,200 metres
Golf igrišče Trnovo (golf course)
Golf igrišče Trnovo is a public golf course, the first of its kind in Slovenia. Golf can be played by anyone, regardless of previous experience. No official membership card or golf licence is required. A practice field and various tuition courses are available for beginners. The course is also suitable for highly experienced golfers. The most challenging are holes No. 2, 3 and 6.
Number of holes: 9, Area: 20 hectares, Length: 2,470 metres.
Skiing and winter sports
The country actually has one of the longest traditions of skiing in Europe. The first mention of skiers in Slovenia dates back to 1698, the year of the release of the famous chronicle The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola by Janez Vajkard Valvasor, which describes skiers on the Bloke plateau. The chronicle also includes the first ever mention of a ski turning technique.
Slovenian Alpine and other ski resorts are well known for their well groomed ski terrains and easy accessibility from urban centres. The nearest to Ljubljana is Krvavec, which boasts 26 kilometres of ski runs. The Velika Planina ski resort and its nearby Terme Snovik thermal spa offer a combination of winter sports and wellness. Other popular ski resorts, such as Kranjska Gora, Vogel and Kanin, are not far away from Ljubljana either.
Ski resort Krvavec
Krvavec, situated at altitudes ranging from 1,450 to 1,971 metres above sea level, is one of Slovenia's most popular ski resorts. It has 26 kilometres of ski runs of all degrees of difficulty. Its lifts provide a capacity of 13,700 skiers per hour. Apart from several hostels and other accommodation facilities, the resort's diverse offerings include a ski school, a ski equipment hire and repair shop, a beginners' run and children's play facilities. One of the resort's great assets is its convenient location 25 kilometres from Ljubljana and only 8 kilometres from Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport.
Ski resort Stari vrh
The Stari vrh ski resort is located 35 kilometres from Ljubljana, at altitudes between 580 and 1216 metres above sea level. Its ski pistes, covering an area of 55 hectares, are of varying degrees of difficulty, some being suitable for discerning skiers and snowboarders and others for beginners and families. Due to an extensive snowing system, skiing is possible also when snow conditions are poor.
Optional extras: night skiing, tobogganing alongside a magic carpet lift, snow playground activities, ski racing on a dedicated racing course.
Every year, the Kranjska Gora resort hosts several major sporting events, including the World Cup ski jumping and ski flying competitions in Planica and the Vitranc Cup alpine skiing competition. Kranjska Gora also plays host to various entertainment, cultural and folklore events.
What is special about Kranjska Gora's ski offerings is the diversity of its ski runs, which provide excellent skiing opportunities for anyone from beginners to top-class skiers and are accessible practically from the doorstep of the resort town's hotels. Kranjska Gora's surrounding areas offer over 40 kilometres of well groomed cross-country ski trails, and the slopes of the surrounding mountains excellent opportunities for off-piste skiing, ice climbing and tobogganing.
Source: Ljubljana Tourism
Fun fact: The Ljubljana Marathon
is a mammoth celebration of running
participated by nearly 18,000 runners from 40 countries. Ljubljana
Marathon is getting more popular every year and the number of
participants is on the increase. Also this year, competitors will be
running a classical marathon (42 km), a half marathon (21 km) or various
shorter recreational races. All the races will be held within the wider
city centre area.