Ljubljana probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind when planning a city break but once you’ve visited Europe’s big name cities it’s worth looking a bit further afield for a new experience. Ljubljana might be small and light on sights as far as capital cities go but its pretty old town and castle are great for those who love to meander and as a city with a large student population there’s plenty of nightlife to keep you entertained.
The main attraction is the old town with its famous bridges, the Triple Bridge and the Dragon Bridge, the pastel coloured Franciscan Church in the town square and the baroque and art nouveau architecture. Then there’s Ljubljana Castle, protectively sitting on the hill above which is free to visit and offers great views of the city and over to the Julien Alps.
While Ljubljana is a great walking city, cycling around the old town and along the River Ljubljanica is an even better way to get around. The mostly flat city has bikes for rent and dedicated cycle paths which are popular with the locals. Once you’ve seen everything in the old town ride over to the Tivoli Gardens and have a traditional lunch under the trees at Gostilna Cad.
Ljubljana is appealing to me for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a relaxing place to hang out. It’s compact, clean, the people are friendly and laid back, and there’s a focus on eco-friendly living. Secondly, it’s a great destination to use as a base for exploring the rest of the country which is gorgeous from the coast to the mountains. Day trips to Bled, Bohinj and Piran as well as an easy hike through the gorges would fill up any short break in Slovenia.
Where to Stay
It’s nice to stay in a boutique hotel for a short trip away and Vander Urbani or the Cubo Hotel are perfect for that but if you’re on a budget I’ve stayed at and recommend Bit Center Hotel which also provides bikes free of charge for guests.