Unless you were a straight A student in world geography, you may have never heard of Ljubljana (the “j”s make a “y” sound). While this may be your first time to hear about Ljubljana, it won’t be your last. The capital city of compact Slovenia is on the rise, and will be a top European destination in a few years.

Ljubljana is remarkably easy to include in your European vacation schedule. Ljubljana and Slovenia as a whole sits at the crossroads of 3 great cultures: Germanic, Italian and Slavic. These three cultures continue to shape the region, especially its cuisine. If you are traveling to Italy (Venice in particular), Vienna or Budapest, Ljubljana is only a short train ride and even shorter plane ride away.

As Rebekah discussed in our previous article, Why We Went to Slovenia and Croatia, the two main destinations that drew us to this part of the world were Lake Bled (Slovenia) and Lake Plitvice National Park (Croatia). Ljubljana lays directly on the public transportation path between these two locations. This allowed us to easily include a visit to Slovenia’s capital city when traveling from Lake Bled, Slovenia to Lake Plitvice National Park. Bonus City! I love bonus destinations!

We decided on carving out 2 days from our schedule to explore the city. While we were able to see the highlights of the city in this short time, you could easily spend much more time in this pleasant and fun city.

Ljubljana City Overview - Detail from Ljubljana's Dragon Bridge

Detail from Ljubljana’s Dragon Bridge

Among other accolades, Ljubljana recently received the title Greenest City in Europe for 2016 by the EU’s Green Capital programme. The 280,000 residents of the city love life, as seen in its thriving café scene and an incredible urban garden culture. And what could be more fun than having a dragon as your city’s mascot?

Since we only had 1 friend who briefly stayed in Ljubljana, it was a rather unknown location for us. I did some research on the destination using Rick Steves’ Croatia and Slovenia Guidebook and other resources online.

For your reference, we have included the major attractions that we visited each day. We are by no means experts on Ljubljana, but if you are planning a trip, feel free to use this as a guideline. Add, subtract, move and modify based on your itinerary and interests.

Ljubljana City Overview - Ljubljana's Old Town Square

Ljubljana’s Old Town Square

DAY 1: The Old Town and Ljubljana Castle
AM – Rebekah and I started the day in the Slovenian resort town of Bled.
PM – Hopped on a public bus from Lake Bled to Ljubljana. Checked into our pleasant accommodations at Allegro Hotel.
Evening – Strolled the cobbled streets of the Old Town, and explored Ljubljana Castle at sunset.

DAY 2: The Architecture of Ljubljana
AM – Crisscrossed the Ljubljanica River on Ljubljana’s unique collection of bridges on a walking tour of the city.
PM – Ate our way through the Riverside Market, full of tasty local foods and fresh produce.
Evening – Sipped coffee with a view at the Skyscraper, followed by an evening promenade through Prešeren Square.

Ljubljana City Overview - View of the City from the Sky Scraper

View of the City from the Sky Scraper

DAY 3: Travel from Slovenia to Croatia
AM – Wanting to stay longer in this enchanting city, Rebekah and I sadly realized our best option to reach our next destination, Lake Plitvice National Park in Croatia required an early (8:15 AM) train departure. There was much to see, enough for a second trip in the future!

For even more ideas and tips on planning your upcoming trip to Ljubljana like Union Brewery, a handful of museums, and beautiful parks, visit the city’s website.

Ljubljana City Overview - Full Moon above St. Nicholas' Cathedral

Full Moon above St. Nicholas’ Cathedral

Join us over the next few weeks as we take a closer look at our favorite experiences in Ljubljana!

Tuesday, November 24Plečnik’s Bridges of Ljubljana.

Monday, November 30Allegro Hotel.

Thursday, December 3View of the City from Ljubljana Castle.

Thursday, April 7The Riverside Market of Ljubljana.

Ljubljana City Overview - Library University of Ljubljana, designed by Jože Plečnik

Library University of Ljubljana, designed by Jože Plečnik

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