Day 9 of our 10-country, 10-night road trip from North Germany to Italy was to find out a little more of the capital city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. We wanted to enjoy a day in Ljubljana, and we wanted the full experience. For us this meant its food, its sights and its historical heritage in a city named for its friendliness and modern lifestyle.
Here’s the link to read more of our 10-counry 10-night road trip.
We found some friendly benefits of Ljubljana you will enjoy
Buy a City Bus Pass (Urbana) for €2, and then each 90 minute bus fare, regardless of the number of journeys, is only €1.20
Kavalir (Gallant Helper) is a free city centre electric vehicle for up to 5 people and can be hailed to get from point A to B
Most Slovenians have some knowledge of the English language
The Tourist Information Office is for local and national information
What we discovered about Ljubljana’s historical heritage
Ljubljana Marshes UNESCO site where lake dwellers lived 6,000 years ago
Ljubljana was once the Roman city of Emona
The city was a gateway between central Europe and the Mediterranean
Joze Plecnik considered a pioneer of contemporary architecture designed many early 20th century buildings in Ljubljana, his birthplace.
So Where is a Good Place to Start Your Day?
Ljubljana is built around the river with the old medieval town centred on the river bank under the castle. With many bridges crossing over the curving Ljubljanica river, it’s easy to do a loop to cover the main sights of this wonderful city.
This was our first stopping point and it’s here you will find the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. It is a popular place to meet and the distinctive pink coloured church always a draw card.
Take a wander over the Triple Bridge, there has been a bridge here since the 1200’s. As the city grew it became a concern for the structure of the middle bridge built 1842. So to protect the bridge, two pedestrian bridges were added (at angles) in 1929-32, designed by Joze Plecnik.
A walk along the Breg Embankment has views of Ljubljana Castle and access to the famous Cobbler’s Bridge of architect Joze Plecnick. The embankment is lined with cafe’s and restaurants offering local dishes, wine, beer or coffee.
From here it is a short walk to Zois Palace. Not to be missed is Novi Square. This square showcases architecture from the 13th century to designs of Joze Plecnik. It you love grand buildings, then a small detour here is worthwhile.
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Old Medieval Town
Mestni Square, Stari Square and Gornji Square form the Old Medieval Town. As you come across the Triple Bridge you will enter Mestni Square to find the imposing Town Hall and Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers.
From here, take a walk in the direction of Gornji Square along the narrow cobblestone street to where the old town gate use to stand. This street will have you stopping to admire traditional shops, eyeing up delicious gelato and deciding what restaurant to choose for the evening.
One option for local Slovenian food is to check out the menu at Sokol.
Vodnikov Square – Central Market
· Fresh produce and food stalls of local foods
· Cathedral of St Nicholas – unique entrance door
· Funicular to the Ljubljana Castle – restored in glass and steel
· Dragon Bridge – see some fierce looking dragons
This is a great place to taste some local food dishes from the food stalls or purchase fresh produce for later. But if you feel like browsing, there are the usual clothing and souvenir stalls as well.
We chose a couple of local dishes – The Burek with ricotta cheese in a flaky filo dough/pastry, and a burger called Pleskavica.
Cathedral of St Nicholas will have you in awe with its stunning baroque interior. The church is easy to find with its dome top and twin belfries inspired from the Salzburg Cathedral. When you enter the cathedral, stop and take a look at the doors. These bronze doors from 1996 depict 1250 years of Christianity in Slovenia.
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When it comes to accessing the castle you have a few options – on foot, the tourist train or a funicular ride. As you arrive to the castle, you’ll find restaurants, museums and a free viewing platform of the city. The castle dates to the 15th century, it was built as a fortress for the Hapsburg empire, today its more a venue for events and weddings.
Tip: We found the views out across the old city were more impressive from the east side of the castle.
Our Airbnb host Greg had recommended descending the castle via the pathways to the River embankments of Krakoski and Trnovsk. It was here we had views back across to the castle and found a small bar to stop and admire the surroundings.
Tip: This walk takes you away from the main attractions but worthwhile if you have the time.
Now a perfect way to end your exploration of the city would be to take a cruise along the river. The 45 minute boat trip is informative and gives another perspective of Ljubljana’s medieval history with its Celt and Roman influence.
So what did we Love most about our Day in Ljubljana?
Triple Bridge – whichever way you look you have varying views of this wonderful, friendly city.
Old Medieval Town – the walk here will have you falling in love with the beauty of this picturesque small European city.
River Cruise – a history lesson, great views and an orientation of the city.
Ljubljana is the Gateway to Slovenia – provides so many day excursions to UNESCO sites, National Parks and the Alps. Consequently we chose two popular places to visit being Lake Bled and Predjama Castle.
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