By Doree Simon
Ljubljana
Slovenia
Photo gallery
Where the snow-capped Alps meet limestone karst plateaus lays Slovenia’s serenely mellow and discretely populated capital city: Ljubljana (pronounced lyoob-lyee-AH-nah). Its long history and convergent geographic positioning give this idyllic town a truly unique ambience. Situated in the heart of Slovenia, and not far from the Adriatic Sea, Ljubljana’s diverse natural surroundings offer an array of year-round eclectic culture and cuisine that will appeal to every type of traveler.

Slovenia’s primary airport is Ljubljana Jože Pucnik Airport (LJU). Just a short ride from downtown Ljubljana, LJU services mainstream and low-cost airlines. By clicking on the following links, EscapeWizard.com can help you find affordable flights (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php), as well as accommodations for your stay in Ljubljana (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).

Once in Ljubljana, travelers will find a variety of reliable transportation options for getting around the city or taking daytrips to surrounding attractions. Bicycles, city buses, taxis, and your own two feet are all adequate ways to navigate through this Eastern European city. EscapeWizard.com recommends taking advantage of Ljubljana’s bikes for hire through Bicike(LJ). With over thirty dock stations throughout the city and a free first hour of use, Bicike(LJ) provides convenient and reliable bikes for a reasonable price and easy registration process. Just hop online, register your email address and credit card number, and use your assigned code to grab a bike for up to 24 hours per use.

Ljubljana’s architecture offers a dynamic history lesson for anyone with a curious eye. The city caught the world’s attention when Napoleon made it the capital of his Illyrian Provinces, and it grew rapidly until 1895, when an earthquake destroyed almost every building. As the city was rebuilt, it was modeled after the Art Nouveau style of its then-capital city, Vienna. After surviving two world wars and other floods and earthquakes, Ljubljana’s architecture was once again reformed by famous Slovenian architect, Jože Plecnik in the 1900s. Now each piece of architecture in Ljubljana has quite a story to tell.

Perhaps medieval Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad) has one of the most appealing histories. Perched atop the hill that the city was built around and home to numerous Slovenian rulers throughout its centuries, the castle is now a tourist attraction and cultural venue for events including concerts, theatre performances and festivals. Climb the clock tower and you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the city, or visit the gothic Chapel of St. George for a lesson on the patron saint of Ljubljana and his dragon-slaying legend.

Most of the city’s best cafes, restaurants and markets are perched right along or very nearby the Ljubljanica River. Bridges traverse the river, connecting the city and serving as popular photograph subjects for tourists. Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most) and the formidable dragons on its four corners are a popular attraction, as are the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) and Cobblers' Bridge (Cevljarski most), both designed by Jože Plecnik.

The Triple Bridge leads to the buzzing Prešeren Square, which is closed to traffic and decorated with a statue of Slovene national poet, France Prešeren. Nearby, tour Jože Plecnik House, the architect’s actual home for much of his life, and explore his drawings, equipment, and lifestyle up close. Right off of the square is the city’s central promenade, Cop Street (Copova ulica). Also a pedestrian zone, this street is lined with bars and shops that set the laid-back ambiance of Ljubljana. 

A convenient and affordable way to see all the sites is by purchasing an Urbana - Ljubljana Tourist Card at a hotel, tourist information center, or discounted online. It provides free admission to most of Ljubljana’s major sites and museums. Also included are free guided city tours and transportation on city buses, the tourist road train, the tourist boat, and the funicular to Ljubljana Castle. If ordering online, ensure that you leave enough time for your card to be mailed before your trip.

Many of Ljubljana’s most enriching events occur right on the city streets. Cultural festivals, sporting events, and music venues magnetize a vibrant community in this very international city. University of Ljubljana students add to the youthful flare of the city, and it’s common to see them sipping wine or kava on the riverside promenade or attending concerts on Metelkova Street.

Just outside the city, snowy mountains, mysterious forests, marshy bogs, and networks of limestone caverns provide ample opportunities for skiing, hiking, cycling, golfing, and exploring. Although Ljubljana is known for its fog, its mild seasons make it an ideal year-round destination spot. Christmas and New Years are an especially gorgeous time to delve into its festive, lively streets.

Full of international art, delicious food, and vibrant culture, Ljubljana, Slovenia is an ideal destination for every type of traveler. Whether you want to unwind or explore, you will surely find what you’re looking for. Book your trip through EscapeWizard.com today.