The Slovenian capital is a rare gem. Not far from the Mediterranean, part of the old Yugoslavia, vibrant, full of energy and music, green and not nearly as well visited as many cities in Europe, it’s really the perfect city to visit to get away from the tourist trail in Europe and yet still be in a quintessentially European city.
I can’t confess to having a rock solid memory of the place – what I did and what I saw, it was too long ago now, but I do certainly remember that it was a city where I felt comfortable, relaxed and happy. I stayed in a hostel that was a school with dorms on summer holidays. It was huge I remember and actually because of this the rooms were large and airy. There was breakfast, and it wasn’t too far to walk to be in the centre of Ljubljana.
It was pretty cheap, and the city is not one that will break your budget at all. It’s centred on the Ljublianica River which winds around the city and splits off in two at one place only to re-join itself further along. The river is quite pretty with several bridges (love a good bridge!) to cross it.
Above Ljubljana is a hill with Ljubljana Castle sitting atop. Take a walk up there – or if that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s a little sort of toy train you can take to tour the city that makes its way up the hill. From there I found some wonderful views of the city. The castle itself is worth visiting, but is more of a shell of its former self and not one of the great European castles by any stretch of the imagination. It seems rather modern when you get up there.
The town has a few a churches, the Ljubljana Cathedral is the most prominent and worth a little look. It’s got an incredible baroque interior. To really capture the ‘greeness’ of the city, the Tivoli City Park is a great place to visit and spend a gentle few hours on a summers day. Paths and fountains, buildings and statues, it’s definitely worth some time.
And that’s Ljubljana essentially – worth some time. The architecture is interesting and a mix of baroque to gothic (ok so that’s going backwards) and more. I spent time, somehow, looking at a lot of modern art when I was there. There is the museum of Modern Art, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art, but I personally found a lot of small galleries (of which there are many) and saw some pretty bizarre stuff. Not usually my thing – perhaps at the time I was over the usual churches etc.
It’s full of parks, and is easily walkable. Which is a major plus in my book. I was there for around three days/four nights and I don’t remember ever having to take a taxi or public transport to get around. Although I did do a lot of walking! It was late Spring/early Summer at the time and it was the perfect time to visit Slovenia, and this incredibly warm city.
And finally, one thing that does stand out was a jazz band playing smack in the centre of town which I chanced upon one early evening. I stood there and listened for quite some time. For the tourist Ljubljana offers a great climate and atmosphere, walkability, beautiful parks and views, and it is also a great city for the arts.
Thanks for stopping by – May the Journey Never End!