Located in amongst the mountains, the picturesque old town of Ljubljana wraps itself around the base of the castle hill. Cobblestones line the narrow alley ways and old buildings run along the river side, with hundreds of bustling restaurants and bars, which come alive from noon, but more so during the night. Boats run up and down the river, from the Dragon Bridge, under the Triple Bridge and out of town. If you’re into hiking, you can climb the hills around Tivoli Park or, further still, take a bus out of town to Lake Bled (or one of the other many lakes) to get a fix of fresh country air. Don’t miss these attractions in the town itself:
1. Aimlessly Wander the Old Town
Wander down all the narrow laneways, browse the boutique shops with hand-made Slovenian fabrics and knick-knacks and sip on coffee at one of the many cafes.
2. Check out the Dragon Bridge and Triple Bridge
Don’t expect anything too grand from these bridges, but they really add character to Ljubljana and the city wouldn’t be the same without them. Four dragons stand triumphantly on each corner of the Dragon Bridge, and the triple bridge gives a choose-your-own-adventure feel as you cross over into the Old Town, though they all lead to the same spot!
3. Climb up to the Ljubljana Castle
Standing proudly behind the old town, this castle is worth a trip for the views alone. If you’re willing to pay the ticket to get inside, you will have access to several exhibitions, museums and the tower. You can explore the history of Slovenian puppets in the Puppet Museum, which is highly interactive! A virtual castle experience also gives a great overview of the history of this impressive building.
4. Tivoli Park
From the outset, it looks like just an ordinary European park. But walk up the hill and you will find yourself in the middle of the forest. Walking trails run far and wide through the wilderness and, if you’re energetic enough to climb to the top, you will get expansive views of the Slovenian mountains and countryside.
5. Take a Boat trip
For six euros, you can take a boat trip for 45 minutes up and down the river. Float past all the main attractions and out into the greener surrounding countryside. Best enjoyed in the sunshine with a beer in hand!
6. Eat Ice-cream at Cocoa
If you’re going to buy an ice-cream in Ljubljana, this place was by far my favourite! You can sit down to eat at your leisure, or takeaway and wander up and down the river.
7. Dine on Traditional Slovenian Cuisine at Gostilna Pri Kolovratu
This delightful restaurant is situated in the old town and serves a myriad of traditional meals, such as roasted veal and potatoes (a regional specialty) and cheese dumplings, made from pastry and cottage cheese. Finish the meal with a shot of Travarica for the full experience. The waiters are super friendly and will even sit down to enjoy a wine with you, if you’re lucky!
What were your favourite parts of Ljubljana? Any recommendations for next time?