Ljubljana is a small city inside the embrace of mountains, hills and the head waters of the Sava river. Intricately designed Austro-Hungarian architecture share their beauty with fun shops, funky cafes, bars, fantastic restaurants, cute side streets, alleys and lots of walking and biking paths to explore.
When in Ljubljana we meet in the famous Prešernov trg (square) where the statue of Slovenia’s greatest poet France Prešeren faces a relief sculpture of his love interest Julija Primic. While there we are surrounded by incredible architecture; the Baroque styled pink Franciscan church of the Enunciation on one side and the famous three bridges on the other.
When we cross the bridges, then go to the right we find rows of restaurants and cafes along the river canal called Ljubljanica. Walk to the left and find the famous market pouring out into the street where merchants are selling fresh produce and fantastic home-made products. They sell everything, even bear sausage! I didn’t try any, I can’t eat bear.
I love all the pumpkin seed products, pumpkin oil, pumpkin butter and some incredible combinations with bread and cheeses. I love cooking Jerusalem artichokes, rice, or vegetables with pumpkin seed oil, but really, I can cook anything with it – the oil adds the most incredible flavor to food. On a Friday this area hosts local restaurants serving tasting plates.
Crossing the bridge and walking straight will lead to some fantastic ice cream at Vigò and narrow cobble stone streets lined with shops. Cafes and restaurants take over the streets with their tables and chairs. This is also where the trails to the castle can be found. There is a ride up, but it’s a nice walk up hill and there are different trails to explore, Onawa loves to run up, the castle is dog friendly.
This Medieval town is a fantastic place to explore by either walking, or biking around the city, there are bikes all over the city that just need a phone app to pick them up. There is so much to see. Bike, or walking paths cut through the city, or go around on the POT trails which provide motor vehicle free areas to enjoy nature for over 35 Kilometers of trails.
If only one word could be used to describe Ljubljana it would be sporty.
Tivoli park is only a short walk, or bike ride from the medieval center. I would suggest parking the bike outside of the park where the museum is because there is no bike parking inside the park. Tivoli has many lovely gardens and pretty cafés to relax in nature. There are artistic installations along the walk to another structure designed by Jože Plečnik which is fantastic for pictures.
During Covid19 isolation the installations projected pictures of local museums. It was nice because some of the only things open were parks. To the left of the structure there are trails that lead to the top of the hill where a pink church and couple cafes wait for thirsty hikers.
Jože Plečik will be mentioned often while hanging out in Ljubljana, he influenced the city more than anyone else, due to this love for his craft the obsessive architect never married. He’s considered one of the world’s most influential architects of the twentieth century. His influence can be witnessed in Vienna, Prague and his home town Ljubljana, all of which have left behind some of the most notable European architecture of the last century.
I stayed in a few different Airbnbs while here, the story is on my Covid19 in Ljubljana post, the third apartment was perfect. The hosts were fantastic and the garden was great for Onawa. I really liked staying here, it’s the Apartment Megapolis. The area is quiet and easy to get around, lots of space and a parking spot.
Must do/must see:
Wooden boat ride on the wooden boat Ljubljanica for a 45-minute ride through the center old town. While on the ride look out for the nutria, they are a big rodent along the shore eating.
Dragon Bridge from 1901
The old town has some cool bridges to see, the butchers bridge for love locks and the Cobblers Bridge which was also designed by Jože Plečnik.
Castle of course and the cool jazz club inside it, viewing tower is awesome
The Roman wall
Botanical Garden is small, but really great selection of plants. It’s only across a bridge from the nice outside lounge area of the green part of the center.
Use the POT trails to ride around the city
Has a great selection of beautiful pieces from different brands. Really cool stuff here!
Has many different designers as well as one of my favorites from Italy
Very cool originals and soft basics, lots to explore
All original Slovenian designers, bags, shoes and clothes, also some homeware including blankets and pillows
For fine salts and Slovenian goods
A dental store! This is a first for me, every variety of toothpaste and mount goods. So fun to check out. Blackwood makes some of my favorite toothpaste.
KUCHA The best vegan
Verace The best pizza
TLOFT Casual Asian
Hood Burger the best burger in town
Vigo ice cream a nice balanced ice cream with a selection of flavors
Cocoa Ice Cream very creamy ice cream with lots of flavors
di Vino for some pasta from a world vice-champion.
Pizzeria Foculus for 66 different types of pizzas from the oldest pizza restaurant in Ljubljana.
Remi’s Place is a charming French Bistro style restaurant on the street level and a cool stone brick lounge in the basement.
I’ll have a separate post to go over restaurants and one for cafes in Ljubljana
If you’re looking for more to do in Slovenia I’ll be posting some more exciting activities in the coming weeks. You can also check out this cool green directory Slovenia Adventures.