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Continuing with our “We love Slovenia” theme, here is a selection of photos from Ljubljana, a teeny weeny capital that cannot fail to enchant. It had all the quintessential ingredients of charm – cobbled streets, a medieval castle, colorful baroque architecture and a happy, relaxed vibe. We went for the Nights in Ljubljana Old Town festival, but we imagine it’d be a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. Here are some of our favourite moments and some of the best things to do in Ljubljana, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities…
Things to do in Ljubljana
The whole of the old town is pedestrianised, making it a lovely place to stroll around and take in the sights. It made us giggle when we read in the first line of the tourist brouchure that “Ljubljana has no world-famous attractions”, but this is actually a very good thing as you don’t feel any pressure to complete a “must-see” list (not that we ever tend to anyway!).
Despite the tour guide’s proclamation, there are lots of galleries and museums to choose from in Ljubljana, but we preferred to wander the streets and explore its independent boutiques and cafes. Frankie from As the Bird Flies has written a great round-up of the city’s vintage shops for those who are interested.
The main activity takes place beside the river and there are plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants to choose from. The bridges also tend to be hubs of activity and many lead onto pretty little squares.
The best view can be found from the Castle, which is reached by funicular. There’s a cute outdoor library beneath the trees in the castle grounds, complete with deck chairs to lounge in.
We ate incredibly well in Ljubljana and Slovenia as a whole and we’ve written a full post on gourmet vegetarian Slovenia. Ljubljana is particularly good for ice cream!
Visiting markets is always one of our favourite things and Ljubljana has a beautiful one, full of fruits, vegetables and beautiful flowers. The plums were irresistible.
We’re also huge fans of street food markets – the hipster variety too – and Ljunljana has a great one. It happens every Friday and is called the Open Kitchen, featuring local specialities as well as food from around the world. It’s a great spot for people watching.
And, of course, a city is always best enjoyed with friends. We had the excellent Kash from Budget Traveller to share our time with. It’s also thanks to him that we’re included in the Must Love Festivals project, which this trip was a part of. Thank you Kash!
We stayed at Tresor Hostel, which was nice and clean and very central but it lacked character if that’s what you’re looking for. We heard that the Celica Hostel ( a converted prison) is also a great option and more social. Celica is next to Metelkova mesto, which is an old Army Barracks that has been squatted since 1993 and now houses artists, galleries and bars with an alternative edge. We went there one evening in the hope of finding live music. We weren’t successful in that but did enjoy hanging out in the party atmosphere for a bit (even though the average age seemed somewhat younger. It’s the kind of place we’d have loved in our early 20s).
It’s easy to focus your attention on the Old Town, but it’s also worth venturing out to places like Metelkova mesto (about 15 mins walk), as well as the parks that surround the city. One our way to Metelkova Mesto, we passed through a studenty area that had lots of cosy looking bars. The riverbank opposite the open kitchen is also popular with locals for evening drinks.
And the question everyone asks?! Ljubljana is pronounced lyoob-lyAH-nah. We had to check before we arrived!