Ljubljana surprised me with its colorful buildings, charming street shows and music performances, and brightly lit stores in the city center. It was late evening by the time we got out of our Airbnb, and my first impression of this European capital was that of a picture perfect, warm & comforting small town that was getting ready to welcome Christmas. There was a slight drizzle on a cold October night, and with the tree-lined river and medieval castle on top of the hill, this postcard-worthy, artsy town had my heart.
Ljubljana is a city that can be seen in a day, but if I were to recommend a visit I would ask you to spend a week here. Only because life is too short to miss out on fresh air, and to walk around clean, tree lined streets, laze around by the river, enjoy mulled wine and cold cuts in a cafe by the river, and to spend hours doing nothing at Tivoli Park, one of our favorite green spots in the city. In the summer months, you can go down to the pavement by the river and enjoy a coffee some gelato or even a nap. Life here is laid-back, and gorgeous.
The capital city of Slovenia is in fact a European green city, and every inch of that city will justify this tag.
You’ll come across a whole lot of bridges- The famous Dragon Bridge, the Shoemakers bridge and the Triple Bridge which connects the modern city to the old town. The heart of the city boasts of architect Jože Plečnik’s work. The candy colored houses by the river make for great memories (and Insta photo-ops) The central market is a great place to shop for fresh produce from local farmers.
The Dragon Bridge here is the symbol of the city, and the Ljubljana castle is the main attraction of Slovenia’s capital. You can take the funicular railway up to the castle but if you are in the mood to sweat it out while enjoying spectacular views I’d suggest you walk up.
5 minutes from the city center lies Metelkova, an edgy art district that was once home to the Austro-Hungarian army. Today it is a popular tourist destination with a lot of street art, sculptures, murals, studios and galleries, and a buzzing nightlife spot with a lot of underground talent creating music every day of the week.
A visit to Metelkova in the morning was pretty uneventful, but it did get a little discomforting at night. Empty alleys and dark corners gave us the impression that the area was unsafe, but we later learnt that we were mistaken. Metelkova is a safe, welcoming and inclusive space which is often misunderstood. It is assumed to be one of those notorious areas in a cosmopolitan city that people believe to be infested with drug dealers. I’d suggest you go in a group and if you can find the company of a local you have nothing to worry about. Metelkova today is the focal point of the country’s alternative scene – they have theater performances, techno parties, punk concerts, disability workshops, LGBTQ nightclubs & so much more. This area is for all those who love art in any form, and this neighborhood was declared a national cultural heritage site in 2006.
What I really liked about the city was that it didn’t feel too touristy. Also, how good is the food?!!!! We ate burgers, cold cuts, salads, baked goods and drank a lot of wine to keep ourselves warm. And the people here are so kind! There’s so much more that I wanted to know about them, and if I get a chance to visit Slovenia again I will definitely go back to Ljubljana to know all about the food, the cafes, the riverside naps, gelatos, jazz nights…all of it!
If you’re planning to spend a few days here this post will help you plan a day trip which a local helped us with.