Ljubljana, Slovenia: Europe’s best kept secret?

I’m not suggesting that people don’t know where Slovenia is (although I have heard a fair few people confuse it for Slovakia). What I am suggesting however, is that most people don’t realise it’s beautiful diversity. As far as European countries and European capital cities go, Ljubljana is one of the best kept secrets.

Beautiful Ljubljana

I’m far from an expert on Slovenia. There is so much I haven’t seen – which considering it is one of the smallest countries in Europe is saying something remarkable. If I had the opportunity to return today, I’d go hiking in Triglav National Park, raft and swim in the Soča river, visit the beautiful city of Piran, return to Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge (more on this later), drink wine in Maribor, relax at Lake Bohinj and explore the UNESCO World Heritage Škocjan Caves. I could easily continue…

This is all in a country that you can drive across in about 2 hours. Incredible.

Unfortunately, my last trip to Slovenia was much more budget and time constrained than I would’ve liked and therefore, most of these locations remain a mystery to me. However, one location I did get to spend some time in was the beautifully underrated capital city of Ljubljana (and the surrounding area).  This blog will share my highlights of this city; a city which is small in size, but huge in personality. A city which, on the surface, has been largely undisturbed by tourism. A city brimming with charm, authenticity and adventure.

So, what’s there to see in Ljubljana?

Tromostovje (Triple Bridge)

Triple Bridge is actually three bridges which connect the modern part of Ljubljana to the older town. It’s buzzing. There are restaurants and bars and loads of opportunities to take some cool photos. It’s the proper heart of the city.

Triple Bridge, Ljubljana

Visit Tivoli City Park

Located on the outskirts of the central district, Tivoli Park is a great place to relax for a couple of hours.

Zmajski Most (Dragon Bridge)

Yeah, there’s a lot of bridges in Ljubljana. None are probably photographed as much as ‘Dragon Bridge’. As with all the others, it crosses the Ljubljanica river. According to local legends, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tales. Something for you to bear in mind…

View from one of Ljubljana’s many bridges

Ljubljana Castle

Take a stroll up the steep hill to the castle for some pretty fantastic views. The view from the clock tower probably offers the best views across the city, while there is also a museum and other attractions to visit. If you can’t be bothered to walk up/down, take the funicular – but don’t miss out on the views you get on the walk to the castle.

View from Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana cathedral

St. Nicholas’s Church is well worth popping your head inside. Located right in the centre, the intricacies of the ceiling painting is well worth a look.

St. Nicholas Cathedral (the inside is more impressive)

Unleash your inner ‘foodie’

I’m not one to fill my blogs full of recommendations for bars and restaurants. You can find those yourselves with a quick google search. Or better yet, you can just wander around the city and stumble on your own. That being said, it is undeniable that Ljubljana is a foodie heaven. The locally produced food is delicious and, compared to a lot of countries with the euro, pretty affordable. Don’t get me started on the wines and craft beers too.

Eat Ljubljana Cake at Torta Ljubljana

I’m about to be a total hypocrite. I just said I don’t give restaurant recommendations and here I am. Telling you what to eat and where to eat it. Made using local ingredients (accept the chocolate which glazes it), this traditional delicacy is a must.

Ljubljana Street Art

 Get out of the city

It might seem weird that one of  my highlights of Ljubljana is getting out of Ljubljana, but there’s just so much to do only a few miles away. Being located less than an hour away from the Julian Alps, featuring the Triglav National Park, picturesque Lake Bled and stunning waterfalls of the Vintgar Gorge, it’s well worth a few days of your time. If you don’t have a few days to spare, you can do Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge in a day trip, entirely on public transport and bicycle hire. I might write more about that soon.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Overall Ljubljana was a brilliant surprise. I had absolutely zero expectations when jumping on the bus from Zagreb, but now I’d happily proclaim that Ljubljana is one of Europe’s more underrated capital cities. That being said, this was one of the hardest blogs to write. Why? Well… although there are loads of things to do in the city, it’s hard to accurately portray exactly what’s so great about it.

And what’s so great about it is… it’s a city that affords you the opportunity to do nothing. And really enjoy doing nothing. When I return to Ljubljana, I’ll make sure I’ve got more time to and more money to eat, drink and soak in one of Europe’s best kept secrets.

16 Comments on “Ljubljana, Slovenia: Europe’s best kept secret?

  1. Wow how beautiful is Ljubljana! Hopefully we are tagging Slovenia onto our trip this summer.. fingers crossed! If not I definitely want to visit soon! It only seems to have popped up recently but it’s creeping it’s way up my list after this post!

    Thankyou
    Bethan
    http://www.wanderlustbee.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Bethan. It’s definitely a beautiful city and it’s so close to so many incredible things to do in Slovenia. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re going to be in one of the neighboring countries!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “It’s a city that affords you the opportunity to do nothing. And really enjoy doing nothing.” Bahhaah, as a born Ljubljanian (is that a word?) I chuckled out loud reading this. This is exactly it, well sensed! This deserves deeper research, why that is. Anyway, I’m glad you found it underrated and surprising. And welcome back! (Even though I moved to Tuscany almost four years ago.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Slovenia is definitely a well kept secret. We loved it there. Bled is just stunning and Ljubljana was such a lovely city. Much better than we expected. Your photos are beautiful by the way.

    Like

  4. I just know that Slovenia is in Europe. I don’t have much idea about the country. From the pics it looks like an quiet and peaceful place for an introvert like me.

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  5. Wow Ljubljana is beautiful in all the aspects. Beautiful nature and stunning architecture. I definitely want to make my way there sometime soon.

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  6. Hopefully you get to go back with more time and money so you can explore some more. Then it won’t be such a mystery, but still a great overview.

    Like

  7. So close and yet so far away! I’ve been wandering Slovakia and now Croatia for a bit. This is just another reason to return for more of the region (and to eat cake!)

    Like

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