Why should you visit Ljubljana more than other locales? Whatever your reason is, the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana is the place for you. Its culture and cuisine are among the best in the world, and everything is downright spectacular.
There are many reasons why you should visit Ljubljana. You can find the best architecture and the best view in Old Town. You’ll taste some of the finest coffee in Europe and taste wonderful delicacies.
If you’re traveling around Europe, Ljubljana is an excellent place to stay and enjoy it. Everything will run even smoother if you have a local tourist guide with you. Here are 10 good reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia.
You’re A Fan of Old European Architecture
For fans of European architecture, many people go to old cities with centuries of history. Some of the most famous places include Paris, Rome, and even Venice. Among the best-hidden gems of the European architectural world, however, is Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is home to centuries upon centuries of architecture. Some local sites, like the Ljubljana Castle, harkens back to its time as a province of the Teutonic Kingdom. It was also once the center of different empires and regimes.
For those who love architecture, Ljubljana is a great town where you can take your time. It doesn’t have the bustle of many architectural wonders in the world. All this means you can inspect and enjoy the spectacle of these great sites without gigantic crowds.
As we noted, the first place you can visit is the Ljubljana Castle. Known as Ljubljanski grad to its locals, the castle dates back to the 12th century. It served as a medieval household, a barracks, and a weapons storehouse for the longest time.
Now, it stands in the middle of downtown Ljubljana, up on a hill in all its beauty and glory. The castle received renovations, but it continues to have its original glory. It shows the beautiful castle mortar in its complete splendor.
There are also many sites in Ljubljana that are as old as the town itself. For starters, there’s the Cerkev sv. Jerneja or the St. Bartholomew’s Church. This filial church dates back in the late 14th century and still has its Romanesque design to it.
You Want To See Contemporary Architecture
While there are people who love their medieval architecture, there are also those who enjoy modern architecture. While there are Prague and Vienna, there’s also Ljubljana. The Old Town boasts the creations of one of the best architects in contemporary history.
We are talking about Jože Plečnik, a Slovene architect who had a major impact in current modern European structures. He designed most of modern Vienna, and he did the same and much more for Ljubljana.
Plečnik is a modern-day patron of Ljubljana, born within the Old Town. As he aged, he worked with masters of architecture all over Europe. His peers include Otto Wagner, Karl Langer, and Johann Evangelist Zacherl.
Not many cities can say that they are the creations of one man, but Ljubljana had Plečnik as its patron. His work is so widespread that there’s no corner of the city where you will not meet any of his creations.
So, what places can you visit in Ljubljana if you want to see Jože Plečnik’s work? You can pick and choose, depending on your mood.
For starters, you can visit the Tromostvoje or the Triple Bridge, the centerpiece of his creations. While he didn’t make the original central bridge, he built the two other bridges beside it. He redesigned the area, creating a one of a kind structure over the Ljubljanica River.
You can also visit the National and University Library, which bears much of his work over the years. While cemeteries are not a usual must-see, the Ljubljana’s Žale cemetery is an architectural wonder. The Ljubljana Central Market, apart from its incredible produce and delicious food, has Plečnik’s touch all over.
There are much more to his creations, including his own home and the Church of Francis the Assisi. If you want to see them all, it’s best to get yourself a local guide who can bring you around. You’ll find out many of the hidden secrets of Old Town, including many of Plečnik’s older works.
You Want To Visit A Green City
Europe has tried its best to be green over the past few years, and several countries succeed. From Sweden to the Netherlands, we’ve heard of the green initiative that everyone is taking. Even then, one city stood as the European Green Capital of 2016, and that is Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is one of the greenest cities in the world, with very little in terms of emissions. Much of it comes from the initiative of the Slovenian government and the citizens of Old Town. The urban space went to giving the locals a cleaner, greener city.
How did they do it? The local government tried to untangle the traffic problem and made the core of the city entirely pedestrian. The majority of the transportation you’ll see comes from e-vehicles, bikes, and even electric karts.
New bridges opened the city further, making it a great place to visit. Trees and green spaces populate the entire city, with parks that you can visit in your free time.
Tivoli Park, for example, is among the largest green spaces in Slovenia. It connects different landmarks in the city, giving you a chance to walk around and go to various historical sites. From here, you can visit Tivoli Castle, the Cekin Mansion, and the Ljubljana Botanical Garden.
If hiking is your thing, you can also go to Rožnik Hill and go on a fresh trail. See much of the cityscape and enjoy the all-natural city that is Ljubljana.
You Like To Sit Back and Relax
Whether it’s a sunny afternoon or an overcast morning with a light drizzle, Ljubljana is a relaxed town. Unlike other places like Paris, London, or even Zagreb, the Old Town is warm but easy to enjoy. It doesn’t inundate you with things to do, but instead, it invites you to give yourself a break.
You will see that people are boating along the Ljubljanica River, drifting and sightseeing. You’ll see people browsing the many stalls near the Central Market, buying a few fruits and tonight’s dinner. There’s a small buzz of people walking and sitting, with a fresh cup of coffee in hand.
Ljubljana is unlike many cities buzzing with sights that will make you frantic. While it has places to go and worlds to see, the Old Town doesn’t make you scurry. It doesn’t give you a manic feeling that you have to see everything in a short amount of time.
You can reach much of Old Town by either foot or bike. You can lose a day or two soaking up the sun under a beautiful parasol, then decide to go places. Tourist guides will tell you that you can go to Lake Bled, see the Vintgar Gorge, or even Kranjska Gora. They’ll also say that you should relax and have a cup of coffee.
You Want To Taste the Food Culture in Ljubljana
If you’re a foodie and proud of it, you’ll likely go to a place with great food culture. Tasting the native delicacies of a country is vital to seeing how people grow as a society. If you visit Ljubljana, you’ll see how the delicious food shaped Slovenia to what it is today.
Once you discover the Slovenian food scene, it’s hard to deny how scrumptious it is. It will make you fall head over heels with the Slovenes, influenced by its landscape and history.
You can start with the range of bistros lining the city, with several restaurants hidden in Ljubljana’s thoroughfares. You can start with the world-famous Carniolan sausage, tasting this simple but hearty meal.
Have a taste of locally made pastries like burek and potica, two of the most famous bread in the locale. Potica gives you a bite of old Ljubljana through its delicious nutty filling. Burek is light and airy, with pockets of filling inside.
If you want something sweeter, you can opt for Kremna rezina or the Bled Cream Cake. You can find the genuine article if you visit the Park Hotel in Bled. The city has terrific recreations of this delightfully sinful cake.
For those who want something intoxicating, there are a few choices depending on the season. You can taste the local honey brandy chilled or warm for something hard. They also have local beers that you can find local Union beer for some cheap grog.
You Want Some of The Most Authentic Coffee in Europe
While it’s easy to lump coffee into Slovenian food culture, that’s just lazy. The truth of the matter is that Slovenians love their coffee, and you’ll be remiss not to explore it. At the center of all the craze is Ljubljana, bringing in the best coffee on this side of the country.
Ljubljana is in the middle of a coffee revolution, with the growing demand for third-wave coffee. The hip single-source, ethically-picked designer coffees populate a majority of the city. You can visit a small coffee shop anywhere, and you’ll find master coffee makers sitting as the barista.
The real spirit of coffee culture when you visit Ljubljana, however, is the authentic Turkish coffee. If you have a local tourist guide, you’ll learn that every household has its own cezve. Every home has a way to make its Turkish coffee special.
With that said, you can sit down on a chilly afternoon and share a cup of coffee with random strangers. As one of the biggest coffee-drinking population in the world, Slovenes love a slow chat. You can even drink a nice cup of brew and read a book and taste the magic of fairy tale Ljubljana.
You Want To Shop ‘Til You Drop in Slovenia
If you’re into shopping, the last place that will disappoint you will be Ljubljana. The center is full not only of branded products from all over Europe but also many specialty stores too. They offer a bevy of products locally produced in Ljubljana and all over Slovenia.
You can find organic food products to local cosmetics, handmade souvenirs to some vintage clothes. Depending on what you want, you’ll find a ton of great items at excellent prices. Get wines, coffee beans, chocolates, or even some of the best honey in the region at the heart of Ljubljana.
For those who want excellent branded products, you can go to the BTC City Shopping Center. They have everything the average Slovene needs every day, with many local products from other regions too.
If you’re not careful in your shopping, you might thin out your wallet too much! Shopping in Ljubljana is irresistible with how many quality products you can get. If you’re not good with temptations, then you might as well leave your credit card.
You Like an Edgy, Alternative Lifestyle through Metelkova
Many people mistake Ljubljana for this cutesy town full of neighborly spirit and old buildings. While that is true in most places, it can also show a dark, edgy side to it. We’re not talking about some red-light district, but rather the graffiti-ridden alternative locale called Metelkova.
Metelkova is the alternative community that shows modern street art not present in much of the Old Town. It’s an old army barracks complex but now a residential locale with its very own charm to it.
Metelkova has a ton of graffiti and some of the most humorous forms of street art imaginable. Explore the Bohemian area and see the secret nightlife of this one small city. It has everything under the sun that contrasts the Old Town’s fairy tale exterior.
You’ll find art about pop culture, revolution, jokes, and even the macabre. You’ll see some patterns that can rival the art you see in New York and Melbourne, Australia.
If you visit Metelkova during the day, you might think it’s abandoned, but it’s not. People on this side of Ljubljana are night owls, coming out at night for live music, drinks, and bar hopping. Metelkova hosts more than 1500 events every year with acts from all over the world.
You Want to See Unique Art in Ljubljana
When you visit Ljubljana, you’ll see how much culture the city has. While the homes and locales emanate rich history, the culture of Old Town shows up more in its art. Ljubljana is open to many museums, galleries, theaters, and displays that show the multifaceted cultural candor.
For starters, you can find the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM). If you enjoyed the lively, graffitied quarters of Metelkova, MSUM sums up the inspiration for it. It has a ton of intimate exhibitions from avant-garde artists from all over Slovenia.
The Museum of Modern Art (MG) offers Slovenian artwork from 20th and 21st century Slovenia. As Slovenia has a ton of recent history, the local MOMA reflects the cultural revolution within. Exhibitions from local avant-gardes and expressions of constructivism and socialism all lie here.
To cap it off, you can visit the City Museum of Ljubljana in the Turjak Palace, itself one of the oldest buildings in the city. There are many archaeological exhibits in the area that harkens back to its time as part of the Holy Roman Empire. From its time as the trading post called Emona to its role as a central part in Slavic history, you can find those here.
You Want To Celebrate Festivities All Year
When you visit Slovenia, you’ll likely see the capital lively and well. Ljubljana is the center of festivities for the country, with festivals and events almost year-round. You’ll see eclectic displays that ripple from the start of the year to the wintry later months.
At around the start of Spring, you’ll see the Dragon Carnival that includes a procession in the middle of the streets. You’ll see the carnival in town, together with dragon floats, and entertainment for children.
Every June, there’s also the Pride Parade that celebrates equality and growing acceptance within the community. It allows the people within the LGBTQ community to show their talents and bring together people from different parts of the world.
The center of all the festivities is the Ljubljana Festival that showcases everything the city has to offer. It shows off the lavish heritage of the Old Town while strutting off its global standing in the world today.
You’ll see a myriad of performances and events throughout Ljubljana this time of the year. Like any festivity, there’s a river of food and drinks for everyone to enjoy.
Ljubljana: Hidden Gem of Europe
Why should you visit Ljubljana? That’s not the right question, but rather ask yourself: why wouldn’t you?
Ljubljana is one of the hidden gems of Europe, and there are hundreds of reasons why you should go here. From the culture to the food to all the things you can visit, Ljubljana is a center for architecture, green living, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Beyond anything, Ljubljana is a big, beautiful world packaged in a small city. However, its size doesn’t mean it has fewer things to give to its visitors. Far from it, it’s a cultural mise en place, where everything is in its rightful place.
You’ll see beautiful things with every small bite of Ljubljana. As you uncover more of the Old Town, you’ll open up more sights, flavors, and culture that stands the test of time. It’s a fantastic place to visit, more so with a local tour guide to help you around.
Are you ready to see Ljubljana? You only think you are, until you explore another bite of the city and get a wonderful surprise in store for you.