Ljubljana – perfect city trip destination

Earlier this year, I decided to visit the capital of Slovenia, as it’s only a few hours down the road from where I live. Some of my friends had visited Ljubljana and came back with great stories and pictures, which sparked my interest. Its name deriving from the word “Ljuba” (love), or “Ljubjia” (the original name of the river Ljubjanica, flowing through the city), it is one of the smallest capitals of Europe. This is a big plus, as everything you want to see or do is within a reasonable distance, which makes it a great destination for a trip.

If you’re thinking of visiting Ljubljana, you can of course get the guidebook, and tick off all the boxes and “things-you-need-to-see”. What I did, and what I highly recommend, was to just walk around..stroll around the city center and when you see something interesting: go. Do it. Go have a look. Here’s a few things I came across which I really enjoyed.

1)      The Castle. Sure, it’s probably the most famous, most visited touristic attraction of Ljubljana, but it’s for a reason. The recent renovations are amazing, blending the old castle with fantastic modern architecture and building techniques. This alone is worth the visit. If you go, make sure you take the footpath up, it’s only a small walk but much more enjoyable than the funicular ride up. (And cheaper too!)  (www.ljubljanskigrad.si/home)

The funicular up to the castle
The funicular up to the castle

2)      The bridges. Again, probably the most iconic image from the city is the Tromostovje (Triple Bridge) bridge. This bridge, together with the other bridges that cross the Ljubljanica river gives the city its character. (46.051269,14.506116)

One of the beautiful bridge ornaments.
One of the beautiful bridge ornaments.

3)      Metelkova. Now THIS is a cool place to see. It used to be an army barracks, then it was a place for squatters, but recently it has turned into the alternative place in Ljubljana. Amazing graffiti art everywhere, bars and clubs with local (and not-so-local) live music, it is clearly the heart of youth alternative culture in Ljubljana. (www.metelkovamesto.org)

4)      Market square. If you’re lucky, there will be a farmer’s market in the square. Beautiful veggies and fruit, for great prices. Make sure you check out the scales in the corner of the square, you can check the weight of the products you just bought if you’re not entirely sure! (46.051094,14.508766)

Market
Market
The scales
The scales

One of my favourite things when visiting a new place is finding nice places to eat. The difficult thing in Ljubljana is not finding a nice place to eat; it’s choosing a nice place to eat! The old center is full of nice bars, eateries and restaurants. Here’s a list of the places I visited, make sure you try at least one of them (as I can be picky when it comes to food!)

1)      Čajna Hisa. This was a really cool surprise! I was walking around the old center, looking for a place for a sandwich (for some reason I was craving a sandwich), and I randomly walked into this tea house (the exact translation of Cajna Hisa). It had just a few options for food on the menu, but the quality was great. The options for tea however..immense! Must see if you’re a tea lover. There’s also a gift shop next to the restaurant, make sure you have a look. (http://www.cha.si/)

2)      Burek. If you’re waking up after a big night out (or on your way back to the hotel that night), this is the food you want to have. Greasy, tasty, and surely a calorie-bomb…but god it’s good! I tried Olympia, and it was awesome. (€2 only) (46.057544,14.506888)

Burek_trokut_3

3)      Katakombe Konoba. Cool bar, try the home-made beer, delicious. (46.04734,14.506341)

4)      Güjzina. Fantastic food from the Pannonia region (further East). Try the desserts, unreal… (www.prekmurska-gostilna.si/Güjžina)

5)      As. This is the trendy place, with food that lives up to the reputation. Bit more expensive than other places, but it’s always full of people and it’s a good start for a great night out. (DJ sets later in the evening etc). (www.gostilnaas.si/)

 

Of course, as with the “places to see”, the best way to discover what Ljubljana has to offer is to wander the city center; its size is perfect for it. Almost no traffic, everything within walking distance, and everyone speaks fluent English; this makes it a very easy and enjoyable city to explore.

If you’re visiting Slovenia for more than a weekend, it might be worth venturing out to some cool places nearby. The obvious choice would be Bled, a place so picturesque it almost looks like it’s a Hollywood movie set! At only 45 mins from Ljubljana, this is the perfect choice for an excursion outside the capital. Make sure you try the “Kremsnita” the local dessert.. So. Good.

Beautiful Bled
Beautiful Bled
The famous Bled kremsnita!

Another option (a little further away, a good 1 hr 20min from the capital) is Piran. A small medieval village located by the sea, with a clear mix of Venetian, Austrian and Slovenian history. Great place to walk around and catch some fresh sea air. Make sure you make the climb up the city walls, great views! Another nice option: go watch the Piran salt fields, here they make salt in the artiginal way..you can taste the difference!

View from the Piran city walls
View from the Piran city walls

 

 

All in all, Ljubljana has a lot to offer, probably more than you would think at a first glance. The city has been experiencing a steady rise in tourism, and for good reason! If you’re looking for a destination for your next weekend away, Ljubljana is an option you should definitely consider!

 

Some pretty cool grafitti
Some pretty cool grafitti
Library
Library

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *