Compared to other capitals, Ljubljana is a relatively small city, but you shouldn’t explore only its central area. There are some beautiful sights in Siška district, like the lake Koseški Bajer, for example, which you can only reach by car, bike (if you have one, and if the weather permits) or public bus. Fortunately, Ljubljana is very well connected by bus for the most part, and buses are more or less frequent, one every 9, 13, 17 or more minutes. The longest interval to wait for any bus is around 35 minutes. However, be careful on Saturdays and Sundays, as buses are less frequent and some of them do not even run at weekends, like buses no 8 and no 11.
As a person who doesn’t drive, I travel a lot by bus and cycle when the weather is good. I think it’s the most affordable, yet not so comfortable way to travel, but at least I don’t pollute the air with my car and do not contribute to the traffic jams, which are becoming a growing problem in Ljubljana. When you’re stuck in traffic, you’e stuck no matter whether you’re in your car or bus. And by not having a I don’t lose my mind over parking in the centre, where it seems impossible to find a space, and if you do find one, then be prepared to pay a fortune.
Fortunately, you can reach the furthest parts of Ljubljana by bus, and here’s how you can enjoy the public transport in the city:
1. Go to the nearest newsstand, Trafika, tourist office or post office and ask for an Urbana card. This costs 2 EUR, and is essential, as the city buses no longer take cash. The Urbana is also used for many other services in the city, such as the Bicikelj bike-sharing system.
2. You’ll have to add some credit to the Urbana card, starting from 1.20 EU which is the cost of one ride and any changes of bus that you make within 90 minutes. You can add credit to your card at the newsstands or the special vending machines set up around town, and especially at bus stations. However, I suggest buying a credit at the place where you buy your card.
3. If you plan to travel a lot by bus in Ljubljana, many times per day and you’re staying for a month, it’s a good idea to purchase a monthly Urbana card. This costs 42.50 EUR and it’s transferrable, so anyone else can use it. You can buy it any day of the month, and it lasts until the 5th of the following month. You can also buy an Urbana card for personal use, and costs a little less, 37 EUR, as only you can use it. This process is a bit complicated, as you have to go to LPP Information Centre (see the map) and apply for a personalized card that you can get in a minute or so. However, tourists can’t get one of these, since you need to have an address in Ljubljana.
4. Check what bus you need, its route, and wait at the bus stop. Better equipped bus stops have a digital board which shows which bus is coming and in how many minutes. If there is no such board at your bus stop, you have the lists with the arrival and departure times stuck somewhere nearby. Even if you don’t speak any Slovenian, you can see the bus stops, look for your destination and check the time of the next bus. They are more or less accurate, give or take a few minutes.
5. Get on the bus and just put your card in front of the device that reads it. If you are confused the bus driver will help you, as they’re usually very polite.
For more information go to the official LPP webpage.
Enjoy your ride!