Ljubljana Stories and Tips

The Funicular - The Cheats Way to the Castle

View of the funicular track from Krek Square Photo, Ljubljana, Slovenia

The first time I visited Ljubljana it was a freezing February and it was icy under foot. I wanted to see the castle and as the "road train" only runs in summer, there was no choice but to walk. Walking back down was more treacherous than the ascent but we managed somehow to make it in one piece. The next time we walked but it was in fine weather. But last summer we visited again with my parents and as my father has health problems we decided to use the funicular. We had been wanting to for sometime anyway but had not visited the castle on the couple of occasions we'd been in town.

The funicular was a long time coming. In 1897 the mayor of the city wrote to the Austro-Hungrian authorities suggesting that a funicular to the castle would be a good idea because visitors would be attracted to visit the castle and enjoy summer evenings in its courtyard.

The funicular lower station is situated just off Ciril Metodov trg, at Krek Square. To get there from the centre, cross the Triple Bridge, turn left when the Lush Store is in front of you and keep walking. You'll see the station on your right just along here. In the height of summer there is often a queue but since the carriage holds thirty-three people and as there are two levels inside it you can still get a good view.

You pay at a kiosk and at my last visit it was 1 Euro 80 one way to go UP, 1 Euro 50 one way to come DOWN and 3 Euro return (prices correct April 2009). There are also family tickets available which presents good savings while children under seven go completely free - not something you hear often.

If you have ever been in a funicular, let me tell you that this is the same as any other. The views are pretty good but the main reason for using it is as a short cut to the castle. It doesn't have the charm of the old ones; this is a sleek glass cube carrying you up the hill and is completely silent. That said, it may be charmless but it's fun and kids will probably love this experience.

What makes it a little different is that the upper station is built into the walls of the castle so you exit the carraige and walk straight into the cool stone chamber that leads to the courtyard which is a nice contrast between the ancient castle and the ultra-modern funicular.

Operating hours:

Summer season (1 May - 30 September): 9:00-23:00
-Winter season (1 October - 30 April): 10:00-21:00

The funicular is suitable for wheelchair users.

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