Before coming to Ljubljana, Slovenia I had done no research and knew nothing about the place. I had been to Maribor before during my last hitchhiking trip, but never Slovenia’s capital. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew it was somewhere I hadn’t been yet.
All I knew is that it was somewhere new, and that is the whole point of this year’s Eurail trip for me: to visit new places. Since I had no expectations, I arrived to discover an amazing new favorite of a city. I now love the place and can’t wait to return!
I got all the maps and tour information I needed from Visit Ljubljana, so it was easy to see the whole city and learn lots of new things about it. I am not sure why I have waited so long to visit Ljubljana, but better late than never I suppose.
5 Reasons to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia
1. It’s a small city, and you can see everything pretty easily. Ljubljana is only 163.8 km2 (63.2 sq mi) in area, and nearly everything can be seen on foot in a day. My favorite area was around the center square (obviously) along the beautiful canal. Such a nice place to visit, right in the shadow of the castle on the hill. You can walk anywhere in Ljubljana, but its also fun to rent a bike and do exploring (and pub beer tours) on wheels.
2. Its beautiful. It wouldn’t really matter if you could easily see Ljubljana, if what you seen wasn’t beautiful and interesting. With a main river or canal going through it’s center, the many bridges, water-front cobbled-stone walkways and panoramic-view-having restaurants make for such an awesome scene. Not to mention all the many statues and art, some of which are the famous dragons of the city.
3. Very untouristy for such a wonderful place. I really love Ljubljana, and I noticed that there are much fewer tourists than say, Prague, Vienna, Budapest or nearby Venice. the architecture, people and vibe can compete with any of these place, yet seems sort of left out of the tourist track or travel agency brochures. Architect Jože Plečnik is known for his work at Prague Castle, but he was born in Ljubljana. He is also responsible for much of the architecture in downtown and the Triple Bridge, which are the best parts. No tourists is perfectly fine for me, but I doubt the secret can last long.
4. A very cool nightlife. Comparing Ljubljana to some of Europe’s other popular destinations might not be completely fair, since it is one of Europe’s newest Cities, as Slovenia gained independence in 1991. But, just like Berlin or Budapest, Ljubljana has reinvented itself and has a style all of its own. You much take a visit to Metelkova City, an old military base built by the old Yugoslavia army. Once it was abandoned, it turned into a squat for artists for the most part, and has the best nightlife in town. The prison building in the base is where the best boutique hostel, in Slovenia and possibly all of Europe, is located. Its all a must visit. Check out this post, for my photos of all the cool graffiti at Metelkova City.
5. A very central location. Slovenia is squished in between Croatia, Hungary, Austria and Italy, all of which are very popular tourist destinations. I have no idea how the country, and more specifically, Ljubljana, are overlooked, but it is connected by train and bus to nearly everywhere, as well as many cheap airlines. I my self arrived in Ljubljana by rail from Budapest, and when I left it was only a few hours to Venice. I will say though, that out of the three places mentioned, I think Ljubljana has won my heart.