We visited Ljubljana for three nights, and was only meant to be a quick stopover from Budapest to Zagreb. Ljubljana (pronounced lub-li-ana) was a relatively unknown city for me so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Even though it has the most tongue twisting name of all the European capitals, it is one of the most charming towns I have visited in my lifetime. It is a complete mystery to me why tourists aren’t flocking here as it remains Europe’s best kept secret.
We only spent one full day here at Ljubljana, with the other full day being spent in Lake Bled. Hannah and I arrived at 9:30pm on Tuesday 23rd June after a tiring 9 hour train journey from Budapest. It was pouring down with rain and thunder. It didn’t help that we were completely lost in the middle of nowhere and when we did try to ask for directions – no one could speak English. I have the vivid memory of us two sitting on the kerb, with our huge rucksacks on our back and front – crying with laughter/despair. When we did finally arrive at Hostel Trevor (after subtly following other travellers), we had a WARM shower and slept.
Top Things To Do In Ljubljana:
- Ljubljana Castle
This is the main attraction of Ljubljana. I cannot fault the views from the castle as you are overlooking the entire city. After looking at the city from above, you feel very protective over the city. The city has no historical value whatsoever due to the fact that it had to be rebuilt.
- Dragon Bridge
This dragon bridge is a centuries-old symbol of this charming city. It’s been a symbol here since Jason (of the Argonauts) slew a dragon in a swamp near Ljubljana. This is located on other end of Riverside Market from Preseren Square.
- Riversie market
You wouldn’t be able to miss the bustling Riversie Market. This it really fun to explore with vendors selling everything from fruits, vegetables, meat, candles, souvenirs etc. Hannah and I bought our breakfast from here as well as a few kitchen utensils to bring home for my mama.
- Banks of the Ljubljana River
As you are taking your leisurely stroll, you will be able to smell strong coffee being served from the cafes on the cobbled roads. You will also see people sitting beneath the shade of an umbrella eating a pastry. Whatever they are doing, the vibe of this city is that everyone seems so happy. As the tour guide told us, “life is Slovenia is quite good” and you would be able to tell. Hannah and I enjoyed eating our risotto with sea-food on the banks of the Ljubljana River, just people watching and relaxing – with a smile on our faces.
- Preseren Square
This is such a cute yet bustling square that is centre point of the city. It is named after Slovenian’s greatest poet. I loved the fact that it is Pedestrian friendly.
- Eat Ice Cream at Cocao
We came across Cacao when strolling around Ljubljana’s river side looking for some ice cream. We later found out that it wasn’t just an ordinary cake and ice cream stall – it was THE place for ice cream and cakes. It was the best ice-cream I’ve ever tried. It was so good that I could easily come back to Ljubljana just to eat this ice cream again. I am not even exaggerating.
- Day Trip to Lake Bled
We spent an entire morning and afternoon soaking up the sun in Lake Bled and paddling in the river. This is a must do when visiting Ljubljana. I have spoken about my experiences here.
- Spend an evening at a river bar
After spending the afternoon in Lake Bled, we went to a bar by the river and just listened to Slovenian music. We met some lovely British northerners who just made us laugh the whole night. It was a very memorable night.
- Stayed 3 nights (23rd June – 25th June 2015) in Hostel Tresor
- I absolutely loved my stay this hostel, located in the centre of Ljubljana, in Copova ulica 38, a few steps from Preseren Square and Triple Bridge. It’s a former-bank-turned-hostel that still features a money theme with rooms named after global currencies, money-related quotes on the walls and certain original features in a modern space.
- Slovenian Salt
- Fango Cosmetrics (made of mud from hot thermal springs)
- Slovenian Honey
- Slovenian Chocolate – Goreijka