The perfect day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana, Slovenia

A day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana is surprisingly easy and we planned our trip on a bit of a whim during a long weekend in Zagreb when we realised Ljubljana was just an hour and a half drive from Zagreb!

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, while Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, but being just 140km apart makes it the ideal option if you fancy a Zagreb to Ljubljana day trip.

old town square in ljubljana with colourful buildings

Ljubljana, Slovenia

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How to get from Zagreb to Ljubljana: FAQs

What’s the distance from Zagreb to Ljubljana?

girl standing in front of a pink church in ljubljana


If you’re wondering how far from Zagreb is Ljubljana, it’s just 142km and on motorways where the national speed limit is 130kmph, it takes 1.5 hours to drive from Zagreb to Ljubljana.

If you take the bus or train, both of these journeys take longer but getting from Zagreb to Ljubljana is fairly straightforward whatever mode of transport you use.


What are the Zagreb to Ljubljana bus options?

There is a regular bus from Zagreb to Ljubljana and it takes around 2.5 hours by bus to get to Ljubljana.

Flixbus offers a bus service from Zagreb to Ljubljana with around 8 journeys per day during the peak summer season and less during the winter. Tickets are very affordable at around 20 euros.


Is there a train from Zagreb to Ljubljana?

historic buildings in orange, yellow and white

Ljubljana architecture

If you want to travel from Zagreb to Ljubljana by train, there are also plenty of direct options which take around 2 hours.

The train from Zagreb to Ljubljana price is usually a bit higher than the bus, sometimes double the price. And since it’s only 30 minutes shorter travel time by train, I’d probably opt for the bus!

You can find the Zagreb to Ljubljana train timetable by checking it out on Trainline.

Make sure you know when the last trains from Ljubljana to Zagreb leave so you’re not stranded in Slovenia overnight!


What’s the best way to get to Ljubljana on a day trip from Zagreb?

Driving from Zagreb to Ljubljana is by far the most straightforward option for a day trip to Ljubljana. Driving only takes 1.5 hours and it gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule. We also found it very easy to find plenty of secure car parks around the city that were just a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.

Just make sure if you’re driving to Slovenia and you have a rental car, that you’ve notified the rental agency that you’re taking the car across a border as there may be an additional fee. 

Also, a flat rate toll sticker called a “vignette” must be purchased to drive on any motorway in Slovenia. You can buy them at the border or at any petrol station, just make sure you stop and purchase one asap as the fines if you’re caught without one fines can be 300 euros or more.

The shortest vignette is for one week and costs 15 euros.


Zagreb to Ljubljana day trips and tours

If you’d prefer to just not have to deal with the hassle of figuring out the buses and trains and you don’t want to hire a car, luckily there are a few options for tours from Zagreb to Ljubljana.

cobbled street lined with old buildings in ljubljana, slovenia

Ljubljana old town

Check out this Zagreb to Ljubljana day tour which includes everything on a day trip to Zagreb to Ljubljana and Lake Bled is included too!

This is another similar tour from Zagreb to Ljubljana and Lake Bled.


What to do on a day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana

Get coffee and breakfast on Stari Trg

an old wooden coffee shop storefront

coffee in Ljubljana

The heart of Ljubljana old town is full of cute stores and cosy coffee shops, cafes and bakeries.

We stumbled on OSEM Bakery on Stari Trg street and were lured in by the smell of freshly baked goods. The prices were insanely cheap and we didn’t realise it was cash only but the lovely woman let us take our baked goods to enjoy while we went to an ATM and came back with the cash - so lovely and trusting it was honestly refreshing!

We then grabbed a coffee from Črno Zrno Specialty Coffee. We also stopped by Cafetino later on in the day and had great coffee at both.


Explore the Old Town shops and market

people cycling along a cobbled street with a pink church in the background

Ljubljana old town and the iconic pink church

You’ll find plenty of charming cafes, bookstores and independent shops on and around Stari Trg. We stumbled on Moje Tvoje - a second hand and vintage store where you pay by the kilo!

You’ll also find loads of cheap eats, fresh produce and beautiful flowers at the Central Market - it’s well worth checking out the hustle and bustle here!


See the triple bridge and the pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation

girl leaning on a grey bridge with pink church behind

Pink Church and Triple Bridge

One of the most iconic places in Ljubljana is the pink church which sits on the other side of the river, across the triple bridge.

The tripe bridge itself is unique, with three stone bridges side by side to reach the square in front of the Franciscan Church. Search for “Tromostovje” on Google Maps to find the Triple Bridge.

The pink church itself is the most recognisable landmark in Ljubljana so don’t miss the chance to snap a few photos!


Do a free walking tour if you have time

Our day trip to Ljubljana from Zagreb was actually the second time I’ve visited Ljubljana. The first was when I flew into Ljubljana and spent a week in Slovenia, visiting Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Bohinj and more of the country!

On that first trip I did a fantastic walking tour where I learnt so much about the city and its history from a local who was hilarious, engaging and so knowledgeable. If you have time, I’d recommend booking a walking tour as well if you’d like to learn more about the history.

an old town cobbled street with a hill behind it and a castle on the top

Ljubljana Castle view from the old town

a green dragon statue on a bridge parapet

Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana


Take the funicular or walk up to Ljubljana Castle

a glass funicular rising up the side of a hill with view of the city below

Ljubljana Funicular

The first time I visited Ljubljana, I took the funicular up to the castle, it’s very modern and the glass box means the views are great. But I remember it being a lot cheaper in 2016!

On our Zagreb to Ljubljana day trip, we found that the funicular cost a bit more than I remember. It’s 6 euros for a return ticket. Or 16 euros for a return ticket with Castle entry.

The key thing is that you can actually enter the castle, courtyards and battlements of the castle for free. So if you want to visit on a budget, I suggest walking up and enjoying the free parts of the castle - it’s only the museums and exhibits inside that need paying for.

The funicular ride is only around 1 minute, so we decided to get our steps in and walk up the hill to the castle, instead, the views were just as good and it only took 20 minutes. Find the path up to the castle on Studentovska Ulica - the street just before the funicular.

The views from the castle walls, towers and battlements are amazing and a great option for free things to do in Ljubljana!

a castle courtyard

Ljubljana Castle


Do a brewery tour or just grab a drink and dinner at Pivovarna Union

red square building with the word "union" on the side - a brewery in ljubljana slovenia

Union brewery, Ljubljana

If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you’ll know that I’m a huge craft beer fan and we always seek out breweries and taprooms on our trip - support local, they’re always a friendly community and have loads of great travel tips for the area too!

We actually visited an independent brewery on the outskirts of Ljubljana called LOO-BLAH-BAH (such a good name) but it’s a bit tricky to get to if you don’t have a car - it was definitely our favourite brewery in Ljubljana.

Pivovarna Union is a traditional Slovenian beer company although it’s now owned by Heineken but their production, brewery and taproom and restaurant are just a short walk from the city centre.

You can book a tour of the facility, although they were not running on the day we went, we did have a great meal and sample their selection of beers at their diner-style taproom and restaurant.


Summary: a day trip to Ljubljana from Zagreb, Croatia

Day trips from Zagreb to Ljubljana are fairly straightforward, whether you’re driving, taking the bus or the train.

We loved Ljubljana so much and feel that it’s a massively underrated city in Europe that a lot of people miss, or just skip in favour of going to Lake Bled. But as a consequence, the city felt calm, local, very walkable and welcoming and we loved it - definitely add a day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana to your bucket list!

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Explore the beautiful city of Ljubljana, Slovenia with this day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana itinerary and travel guide! | one day in ljubljana | ljubljana slovenia 1 day | slovenia croatia road trip | zagreb to slovenia | day trips from zagreb | za

zagreb to ljubljana day trip