10 Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia

I must admit I didn´t plan to go Slovenia on the first place. It sort of happened. I got one of those Eurail tickets (a total scam, I wouldn’t buy them again and I’ll make a post soon) and Slovenia was part of a 5×4 promotion. I still had a few free days before starting my job in Croatia, so I though “why the hell not?”.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana
Fairy-tale like

When I arrived to the city I had no expectations at all. I had marked down a few attractions in a map and I was planning to mainly get some rest after two months of non-stop travel. However, I was wrong. I immediately fell in love with the country and soon I wished I had booked more days to explore the city and its surroundings. I was so charmed by it that I couldn´t pass the chance to write some of the best reasons to visit Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
A bit romantic, don´t you think?
reasons to visit Ljubljana
I heart Slovenia

The beauty of Ljubljana (which accordingly means “beloved”) goes beyond words. It is a city with a bit of everything to please the pickiest traveller. It is a foodie’s paradise, but it also caters to outdoorsy visitors. Additionally, It has some nice architectural gems and it is also small enough to see in a few days and explore some other nearby places.

There are many reasons to visit Ljubljana, but here is my top 10. If you have some others, don’t forget to write them in the comments!

1. The Honey Brandy

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Seriously, best Slovenian product!

I don´t know what it says about me that this is one of my first reasons to visit Ljubljana, but I still can’t get over how good this thing was. Slovenians make pretty good honey, so they escalated their ability to a whole new level and added this sugary goodness to an alcoholic beverage. You can have it chilled or warm, spiced up with cinnamon or, my personal favourite, with a bit of hot chilli pepper (I’m Mexican, remember?).

reasons to visit Ljubljana
My mouth is watering.

Although I was really fond of the honey-flavoured brandy, Slovenia has plenty to offer in the spirit’s department. You can just wander around its street markets and shops and sample some of the most typical brandies. I even encountered one bottle with a full-grown pear inside it. The clerk told me the Slovenian monks came with the idea and that there was only a 50% chance to grown the pear inside the bottle. I couldn´t get to sample it for obvious reasons, but if you are looking for a unique souvenir, search no more! If it’s got a fruit inside it can´t be that bad for you, can it?

2. The food culture

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Sorry about the half-finished coffee. I was tired.

It is no secret that I’m a foodie, so when I discovered Slovenia’s food scene it only made me fall even more head over heels for the country. If you are looking for reasons to visit Ljubljana, the culinary culture must make it to your list. A whole range of cafés and bistros line up next to the river. As well as several street shops and tiny hidden restaurants. The coffee, the cheese, the bread and the seafood are amazing and so-bloody-conveniently-priced! You can get entire cheese and nuts board for less than €5.00 and a full dinner for less than €10.00. I’d definitely recommend Slovenska Hisa. A yummy and budget-friendly café right next to the river. It stole my heart.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
It was so yummy! Scrambled eggs with sun dried tomatoes!
reasons to visit Ljubljana
This was my favourite Coffee Shop in Ljubljana! Slovenska Hisa, right next to the river!
reasons to visit Ljubljana
Vegetarian sausages and mustard

Once you make it there the main problem will be to decide where to eat! I usually had a breakfast package with eggs, bread, homemade jams and honey, vegetables and coffee. Then, a bit later, I would wander around and stop for a roasted corn with chilli at a street stall or a wonderful gelato (Slovenians have a lot of Italian influence in their food) and then in the afternoon I’d stop at another restaurant to get some pasta or a seasonal soup with vegetarian sausages (I’m drooling already). And yeah, in case you were wondering, I also walked like 20km per day so I’m allowed to eat like Bridget Jones during pregnancy.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
Awesome coffee, shitty book
reasons to visit Ljubljana
Oh! Also! Try the chocolate! It’ great!

3. The Castle

reasons to visit Ljubljana
The one in the top? Yeah, that’s the castle!

Ok, so one the subject of food and drink is covered, let’s get real. One of the reasons to visit Ljubljana has to be the castle

Charming!

Granted, is not particularly big and part of it has been renovated so it look a bit more modern than your typical fairy-tale like, but the concept is lovely. First of all there’s the hell of a hike to get there. Although it is within walking distance from the city centre, you need to climb of a hill first. It might not be very tall, but the road gets steep and it can let you out of bread a couple of times (or maybe it was all of that cheese and brandy, I guess we’ll never know).

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
The hike is worth it just for the view!

However, the sight is breath taking and the surrounding woodsy area is great to take a stroll and snap a few shots. It is free to get into the castle, although you do have to pay to get into certain areas. Nevertheless, it is hard to get bored. There are two coffee shops inside of it and a gift shop. Additionally, they have several exhibitions and shows running around the place. When I went there I found this amazing photo gallery displaying pictures of African tribes. And, my personal favourite, the castle has a reading zone with bookshelves that visitors can borrow and enjoy during their visit.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
I just love European castles!
Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
Just one of the many wonderful pieces I found in the Castle.

Also, especially during the summer, the castle also hosts movie screenings, concerts and other special events. It’s sort of the heart of the city and it really can´t be missed if you are looking for things to do in Ljubljana.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
This was part of a music exhibition at the castle and showed you the process of making a violin.

4. The River Ljubljanica

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Isn’t this love at first sight?

Ljubljana’s river, Ljubljanica, kind of frames the entire city. You find the best restaurants, you get to appreciate the triple bridge and you can even hire a boat tour and sample some wine while you get to know the city. Ljubljana is a small, walkable city, so taking a boat tour really gives you another perspective of the place. Don´t forget to add this to your list of reasons to visit Ljubljana!

reasons to visit Ljubljana
The view from the coffee shops next to the river.
reasons to visit Ljubljana
I also found a vintage market next to the river!

5. The fake rain

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
I my own personal rain at home

This might seem like a weird one. I was casually walking around the city centre when I felt some raindrops. For a moment, I thought it had started to rain so I walked fast to the nearest shop, but before getting there, it was dry again. I turned back and I discovered some droplets still wetting the pavement behind me, but my new spot and the rest of the street was waterless. It took me a while to decipher, but I found out that Ljubljana has its own personal rain right in the middle of the city. Just in from of the triple bridge, there´s a perfect circle of cobblestones where it rains all day long. There are some sprinklers on top of the area and they drizzle the visitors every now and then. I might sound like a child, but how absolutely awesome is it? Clever, fun and free!

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
C’mon, it’s adorable, admit it!

6. The architecture

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
I was received to the city with this lovely sight
Reasons to visit Ljubljana
I’m not a huge pink fan, but I must admit it works in here

Most of Ljubljana’s signature look was designed by renowned architect Joze Plecknik. The cohesive appearance of the city and the super interesting buildings are something not to be missed. The colours, the forms and the statues are definitely great reasons to visit Ljubljana.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
First time I saw a triple bridge
Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dragons are very present in Ljubljana’s architecture

 

The triple bridge is the most obvious and famous landmark. It crosses Ljubljanica and connects the old and the new town. There is a main path, but Plecknik decided to add two new pedestrian crossings when he was designated to repair the original bridge. Also, the National Library is a must. Designed by Plecknik again, the windows give you the impression of being open books and the reading rooms in the inside could have been the set of any Harry Potter movie. They let you in free of charge, but to get into the reading rooms you need to be a register student. However, you can get a peek whenever one of the actual students leave the room and I promise, it is worth it.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
It’s much more impressive in real life, though
Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
I couldn´t miss the chance to add a picture with some flair.

7.The people

reasons to visit Ljubljana
People were super nice!

The people in Slovenia’s capital were one of the best surprises I could encounter and they should definitely be in your list of reasons to visit Ljubljana! Slovenians are incredibly warm and friendly. The chat with you easily and they are kind and helpful. I ended up talking with almost every clerk in every shop and they offered me tips and local advise on the city. Also, while I was enjoying some wine next to the river and old lady came to me and offered some of her biscuits. And I can´t even begin to talk about my Airbnb hosts, who were super nice and even gave me a lift to the station.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
People are also romantic. They have this amazing love bridge in the city centre.

If you are looking for a place with a friendly and safe environment, this is definitely your city. The only exception I can add is The Metelkova Area, next to the Hostel Celica. I went there on my own to have a look since the street art is very popular there. While I was taking some pictures I was approached and cat-called by a group of young men. I’m pretty sure they were foreigners, but I still got uncomfortable and decided to return to the city centre as quickly as possible. I would definitely say that the Hostel Celica is worth a look (it is a former prison turned into a hostel), but just try to go with someone and avoid having bulky cameras on sight.

Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
Creepy, yet cool
Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
The vibe was awesome!

8. The market

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Anything with street food and knick knacks appeals to me.

Can´t remember how many times I’ve said how much I LOVE street markets, and Ljubljana’s doesn´t disappoint. The Central Market is one of the coolest reasons to visit Ljubljana. Especially if you are a foodie or a shopaholic (or both). You can find everything from candles, jewellery and clothes, to fruits, vegetables and street food.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
A bit more expensive than in your regular supermarket, but so worth it!
reasons to visit Ljubljana
Lovely, isn’t it?

You can get typical bread and honey and some delicacies like gasps, horse meat (I didn´t try it, but if you did, please do tell). The market opens Monday to Saturday from 7am to 4pm and Sundays from 7am to 2pm. It is great to have some breakfast, shop for a souvenir or just wander around to absorb a bit of the local culture.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Perfect for a picnic!

9. It is super affordable!

Granted, when I convert to Mexican peso, I still end up loosing. However compared to most European capitals, Slovenia is incredibly budget friendly.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Coffee shops were not pricey at all!

I booked an Airbnb room (BTW, get a discount code on your first trip), private, double bed and shared bathroom. It was just 15 minutes away from the city centre by foot and you know how much I paid per night? €18.00 bloody euro! You know what I could have gotten in a place like Venice for that amount? A park bench. Full breakfasts were around €6.00 and you could find small bottles of brandy for as much as €3.00, what else is there to ask?

reasons to visit Ljubljana
This baby was a mix of red and white grapes!

Additionally, there are plenty of free things to do around the city. Ljubljana’s Free tour was grand, they take you everywhere and explain you the city’s history. No need to pay, just make sure to tip at the end. Additionally, you can even get a discount voucher for one of the boat rides. Also wine and liquor tasting are practically gratis. They let you sample different flavoured brandies and spirits with no obligation. Although it is always nice to buy at least a small bottle just as an attention.

10. It is not excessively touristy

reasons to visit Ljubljana
The centre of the city was adorable!

Considering that Slovenia is a super young country (26 years, we’ve got the same age, yay!), it means that hoards of tourists haven’t invaded its cities yet. Although it is becoming more popular every year, you can still wander around its streets and enjoy some of the local experiences without being scammed or overwhelmed. However, it also has an international flair. A lot of the citizens speak English, so you don´t need to worry about language. The lack of overcrowded streets and touristy fares is definitely one of the greatest reasons to visit Ljubljana.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
See? You can even get some pictures with not some many people in them.

To be honest, Slovenia was like a breath of fresh air. Especially after the madness of more populated cities like Paris and Venice. I felt so welcomed and so comfortable that I really don´t need more reasons to visit Ljubljana again. Honestly, this wasn´t on my main bucket list, but I’m so glad I got the chance to visit it. I would really love to take Conor there some day (he LOVED the honey brandy I got him). Also, visiting lake Bled and other surrounding cities would be amazing.

reasons to visit Ljubljana
Kind of like a Beauty and the Beast set

If you have been to Slovenia before don´t forget to tell me everything about it and share your best tips!

I guess I’ll see you on the road.

Love,

The Dreampacker signature

 

 

 

 

 

One comment on “10 Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia

  1. So lovely and interesting described that you cant just stop carrying on reading¡¡ Muy interesante y logra transportarnos y YA¡¡ querer ir¡¡
    Congratulations Dann.I can fully understand why Vlanka is so proud of you¡¡¡

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