We arrived at our hotel after an hour bus ride from Lake Bled and were so excited to start exploring. We had seen pictures of this capital city before, but it looked more like a little town out of Beauty and the Beast than any capital city we’ve ever been too before. Therefore, once arriving at our hotel, we literally threw our bags down and ran back out the door.
Now, there isn’t an abundance of things to see in Ljubljana, and 24 hours or a weekend would be more than enough time to hit up the major attractions. However, the feel of the place is warm and friendly, and it quickly became one of our favourite capital cities for reasons different to any other.
On our list before we went we had listed;
- Preseren Square
- Triple Bridge
- The Castle
- The Cathedral
- Centre Market
- Metelkova Mesto
- Dragon Bridge
Now, all these things were great, but if we’re honest, our favourite thing was simply wandering up and down the river and along all the different side streets taking in the vibes, stopping every now and again to look in a little knick-knack shop or to grab a drink. It’s so chilled and couldn’t be further away from London, but we loved it.
The first place we headed was Preseren Square which is right next to Triple Bridge, both very sweet but to be honest extremely busy, so we had a quick look and headed off down the river where we found an outside book stall and the cutest cafes.
After walking to the other side of the bridge and down to the Centre Market we realised our bellies were rumbling – what’s new!? And we honestly couldn’t pick. There was so much choice and so many different flavours coming from all different directions. It was like a foodie’s dream, it was our dream! In the end we opted for Chicken Skewers with Baba Ghanoush – ugh get in our bellies. Here you will actually find anything your heart desires from lobster tail to Indian curries to burgers, take your pick. Also, it’s right next to the Dragon Bridge, so tick.
After we had sat on the steps eating our chicken skewers and watching the world go by, it was time to walk up to Ljubljana Castle. Maybe not the best idea with a full belly, but hey ho, we did it anyway and survived.
The castle was not what we were expecting. We were expecting a few crumpling walls, a few moth bitten curtains and a lot of dust, but no… the renovation which has been undertaken on this place was extraordinary. Everything of the old building which could be salvaged has been and then the rest is being held up but modern beams and glass walls. Even if you’re not really into history and avoid castles at all costs, you need to see this place. Architecturally it is incredible. Also, if you’re not planning on going fully inside the castle it’s free to wander around. Winner.
Now, before we left Ljubljana Castle we had heard there was a stunning view point. We love a viewpoint, and this doesn’t disappoint. You have a perfectly tree framed view over old town with all its terracotta roof tops. Just beautiful. This is where we stopped to let our chicken skewers go down. It doesn’t really have an exact location but when you find it you’ll know.
The final stop on our list for the day was the Metelkova Mesto area, about a 15-minute walk out of town. It’s an incredible place, where artists have come together to paint, graffiti, sculpt and create all types of things.
Now, we have to say we didn’t feel as safe here as we did in the rest of the town. We have been to similar places like the Freetown of Christina in Copenhagen and Batman Ally in Sao Paulo, however, here we felt a little on edge. It’s amazing experience and it might have been the day, the time of day or us being a little paranoid, but we would say just be aware of your surroundings if you choose to go.
After another full day of exploring it was time for dinner. Our heads are normally thinking about some sort of food. We headed to a restaurant just south of the river called Valvas’or. It’s modern and stylish restaurant with great good – especially the risotto and a good wine selection too. We would highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking for somewhere a little fancier than the norm.
One great thing about Ljubljana is it has a great nightlife (well evening-life) without falling into the typical Hen and Stag location bucket list. Along the river there are many little bars which you can have a little tipple in after dinner, which is just what we did. It’s still Ljubljana so there isn’t any loud garish behaviour, it was all pretty civilised.
If you haven’t been to Ljubljana before and you’re looking for a quick weekend away with culture, beauty and some great food and drink spots, this is a city which should be on your list.