Located at the very heart of Slovenia, Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of this visually stunning Central European destination. This lively city exudes a youthful spirit, much attributable to its strong student populace, and visitors can look forward to soak in its vibrant street culture and humming nightlife at its many cafes and bars along the popular Ljubljana river. The city unveils a repetoire of bedazzling architectural styles too, the charming old town crowned by its signature castle, and replete with squares and bridges. Add to this intriguing mix parks, museums and an active gastronomic scene, and one understands why Ljubljana is a destination that makes it to all world-traveller’s’ itineraries.
The Ljubljana Castle
A glimpse into Ljubljana’s rich past, the Ljubljana Castle is a medieval fortress with roots dating back to the 12th century. The site on which the castle was built (Castle Hill) has been inhabited since 1200 BC, making the area one of the city’s most historic locations. A beautiful clock tower is one of the castle’s most striking features, which provides visitors with some fantastic panoramic views of the sprawling city below. Visible from all over the city, the Ljubljana Castle is one of the capital’s biggest icons and must visit destinations.
The Museum Scene
Ljubljana is home to some great museums covering a wide range of topics and exhibits. For those interested in the arts, the Ljubljana City Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Architecture and Design and the National Gallery are some fantastic visits, or for a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture, check out the National Museum, Museum of Natural History, Ethnographic Museum or the City Museum of Ljubljana.
The Ljubljana Cathedral
Also known as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, this Baroque style structure was built in the early 18th century, though the first church on site dates back to the mid 1300s. Both the exterior and interior of this iconic cathedral are visually stunning, with its green dome and twin belfries visible from all over the city. Inside the cathedral visitors will find beautiful frescoes, a notable pieta and the striking front entrance known as the ‘Slovene Door’.
Of significant historical importance, Ljubljana’s Town Square is one of its most beautiful attractions, where the 17th century Souvan House (the square’s tallest building), City Art Museum and Town Hall are located.
Ljubljana is home to some beautiful sprawling parks and green spaces- most of which are free to visit! While touring this beautiful capital, make sure to stop at the Botanical Gardens (open every day, year round and free of charge), Tivoli Park (the city’s largest sprawling urban park with playgrounds, museums, castles, ponds, concert halls etc.) or the scenic Roznik Hill (a forest within the city that has some great nature trails). Ljubljana’s parks are a great way to spend some quiet down time in the city, while not getting too far away from the main attractions.
As in most European destinations, one of the main draws of the city is trying its food. Ljubljana doesn’t stray from this top attraction, and boasts some delicious local flavors. From spicy goulashes, sweet pastries and hearty farm plates to fried chicken, homemade gnocchi and the world’s first horse burger (yes, made with horsemeat)- there’s something to satisfy and intrigue everyone’s taste buds.
No visit to a city is complete without touring its local market. Surrounded by beautiful Baroque buildings, sprawling squares, and bustling streets, the city’s market area is a great place to pick out and sample some local flavors. Selling everything from fruit and spices to meats, cheeses and local delicacies, the City Market is a fun place to explore and shop during your travels.
Sampling Ljubljana’s Beverages
Home to some delicious, locally produced wines, a vibrant coffee culture and great local beer, there’s something for everyone in Ljubljana. With loads of wineries throughout Slovenia, visitors can sample and purchase cheap and delicious domestic wines in one of the capital’s posh wine bars. If wine isn’t your thing, grab a cup of coffee in one of Ljubljana’s chic coffee houses where you can eat some pastries and indulge in some people watching.
Not sure where to begin your city explorations? Find a great Ljubljana tour guide to help you chart out, and make the most out of your city visit.
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