Welcome to my newest segment – City Breaks – where I will look to find less obvious destinations for a genuine experience filled with local culture and good times! First up is the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana!
When it comes to Europe most people head straight for the Western and Central parts. As great as these areas are going in peak season can mean bigger crowds and higher costs for all your daily incidentals. So if you’re more of a trail blazer looking a little further east can be a good thing for your mind and hip pocket!
Ljubljana sits just about dead centre of the country and is home to around 300,000 people which means it’s far less busy than its other European counterparts. During antiquity, it was the site of a Roman city called Emona, then under Habsburg rule up until 1918. To give you an idea as to how close it actually is to Central Europe it’s around 320km south of Munich and around 480km east of Zurich so it’s really not that further afield considering Slovenia shares borders with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia.
Ljubljana has enjoyed a fresh injection of new ideas recently and it’s having a great impact on the city. Amongst the history, old buildings and picturesque settings there is an emerging gastro scene here and it’s seriously good. You can still find your traditional Slovenian food but the locals also do casual dining very well it turns out. Pop’s Place is one example, doing burgers, fries and local craft beer to a new level. The clincher here though is that they source all of their ingredients locally – beef, potatoes and the beer. It’s well worth a visit but there are quality eateries all over the city!
Another thing I noticed here was the street art on display. Lots of European cities have been embracing this concept for a few years now and it’s refreshing to see it more. Ljubljana has its own offerings of street art of which the snap below was my favourite!
If you’re a fan of a view then a trip up to the Ljubljana Castle will be just for you. Perched high above the city it gives uninterrupted views all around which are great. You can take a Funicular up to the top for around €10 which covers entry to the Castle grounds. The Castle has quite a coloured past, originally a Medieval fortress, then much later a prison, a residential complex and now it is a tourist attraction!
An activity that I really enjoyed here was quite simply bar hopping and walking the streets of the city. I got to admire the beauty of Ljubljana and come across some gorgeous buildings like the one below. It’s a great way to explore a city and find your way around without having your head stuck in a guide book!
The city in general is well connected either by foot or by bus and there is a city station where you can get buses all around the country and to neighbouring ones. You could even do a few days down in Piran and if you’re curious you can read all about it here:
But until then, that’s been my City Break in Ljubljana. An up and comer in Europe that’s well worth a visit!