Our number one destination for this year has to be a country we totally fell in love with and have just travelled through: Slovenia! It really is the most perfect country and pretty much has everything! It has a small coastline and wonderful beaches, it has the amazing Julian Alps and Triglav national park where all sorts of adventures can be searched out and stunning places such as the amazing Soca River and Vintgar Gorge came be found. Alongside the quaint town of Bled and the villages of Bohinj for the most picture perfect examples of glacial lakes! Not to mention the wonderful capital; Ljubljana! A bohemian haven with alternative culture and creativity actively encouraged and one of the greenest cities in the world: both in colour (see the emerald river that runs through its heart) and in the fact that they take environmental issues very seriously. Ljubljana has a village like feel with one of the friendliest and most welcoming atmospheres anywhere in the world!
Metelcova and ROG
Probably my favourite areas of the city, these two artists communes are unique places in which creativity is allowed to flourish. Metalcova is the larger of the two and most famous, named after the street on which it sits, this former army garrison for the Yugoslavian army was taken over by locals artists as demolition begin. Ever since they have made it their own, setting up studios, clubs, live music and galleries. The whole place feels like it exists outside of the normal world, in here free thinking, creativity and expression is encouraged! The colourful and strikingly decorated building are alive with artists during the day and parties at night!
Canoe down the river
What better way to see this amazing city than by its wonderful green river. Coming from the quiet suburbs and right into the heart of the lively centre you get the see all sides to Ljubljana. The urban beaches, the canal and even some local wildlife. Getting on the water, whether than be in a canoe or in the summer even on a SUP, is the most serine and surreal way to see this capital city. Being able to do this just adds to the impression of Ljubljana being laid back, cool and open to new approaches! Read more here Ljubljana in a canoe!
The ancient structure that sits proudly above the city, and is even on its crest, is a must see. Here you can not only step back in time and see the development of this wonderful city but you can also catch some of the most stunning views of not only Ljubljana but the jagged peaks of the Julian Alps to the north of the country. With Slovenia being such a small country from this vantage point you can almost take all of it in! You can take the funicular up here or take a lovely hike through the forested paths instead!
This one is unlikely to feature on many other lists, but stick with me as it was a recommendation from our couch surfing hosts! This is a local favourite many tourists might not know about at all. Just a 30 minute bus ride from the centre of town and you have the perfect hiking trail for a warm and clear day. The 50 minute hike up Mount Saint Mary isn’t the most difficult, but for your efforts you will be richly rewarded with even more vast and stunning views. Don’t forget to try some Strukl either, this traditional dish will fill you up after you’ve worked up an appetite on your ascent! Read more here Smarna Gora Hike!
The old town
What could be better than exploring the cobbled streets of the Old Town, almost every history city has one but Ljubljana’s has to be one of the most beautiful. When the sun is glistening off the river there is no better way that to hang out on one of the many history bridges, it might be the iconic Dragon Bridge or the historic masterpiece of triple bridge. Or what about taking in the Franciscan church, the National Library or any one of the important museums and galleries.
Ljubljana is a ridiculously green city as it is, not only is it one of the most environmentally conscious places in the world (it won awards!) but it is actually literally green too! Every street is covered in trees, plants and nature thrives here, even the river is a beautiful shade of emerald! On top of that is the beautiful Tivoli park. Here you can come to take a load off and explore this oasis within an oasis! As city parks go this is one of the most serine, but it also comes to life with regular events over the year making it the place to be in Ljubljana!
Ljubljana is also a city of markets too, in the main square you will almost always find one or another form of market! The bustling rows of fresh food, authentic souvenirs and dishes both local and international to feast on. Fridays are the big day for trying out new food and feeling the buzz of the crowds and the amazing aromas coming from the numerous stalls. Be sure to check out the vegan burgers, there were some of the best we have ever had anywhere in the world!
Ljubljana is a small city, and yet there is so much to see! It actually becomes much larger than you initially imagined once you realise all the hidden and off the beaten track locations to explore. We took a bike tour with a local guide who made it fun and easy to discover the many sides to this city and learn about the fascinating and brave history of these proud and freindly people.
Ljubljana really stole our hearts more than we could ever have imagined and has become a firm favourite in our list of best cities around the world! We will be returning one day for sure, the mixture of stunning architecture, the bohemian atmosphere, freindly locals and fresh green vibe makes it one of the most unique places we have ever been!