From Slovenia

Ljubljana, the most surprising city of our road trip

Cover picture ljubljana

After a lot of nature at Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled it was time for some city life. The next stop on our road trip was Ljubljana, the charming but generally underestimated capital of Slovenia.

Wandering the old streets of Ljubljana.
Wandering the old streets of Ljubljana.

TO DO

Cross bridges// One of Ljubljana’s biggest attractions are the Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge. Both cross the Ljubljanica river and are just a couple of hundred meters separated from each other. The triple bridge connects the old and the new part of the city which makes it an ideal stop when visiting the city. The legend says that when a virgin crosses the Dragon Bridge, the dragons wag their tails. Although we can’t report of seeing any tails moving, you should go and check it out yourself just to be sure 🙂

The dragons are watching over Ljubljana from the Dragon Bridge.
The dragons are watching over Ljubljana from the Dragon Bridge.

Visit the fruit market// Located next to the Dragon Bridge and the ideal stop to stock up on fresh fruits for breakfast/lunch/any part of the day that you might need a snack. There is also a beautiful wall painting at this square. I wouldn’t recommend going to the nearby fish market as it was a total disappointment for us due to a total lack of authenticity.

Choosing is loosing especially if these are your options.
Choosing is loosing, especially if these are your options.

Climb to the castle// You can see Ljubljana Castle from almost everywhere in the city, so inevitably at one point you will climb that mountain. You can either walk there using one of the winding roads leaving from the fruit market or, if your feet feel tired, you can also take the funicular. Part of the city walls are for free, so you can enter the castle and go even higher to get a bird’s-eye view of the city beneath you. Don’t expect scenic views like Paris or New York but it’s still a nice place to watch the sun go down.

Can you spot the castle?
Can you spot the castle?

Enjoy the summer performances// During the summer most of the big cities have a special summer program. Keep your eyes open on the streets for posters or flyers about these activities. We have enjoyed countless of these activities without planning them, just thanks to keeping our eyes open! In Ljubljana, there’s the Ljubljana Festival which offers amazing performances from July to September. If you’re a Jazz fan be sure to check out the Ljubljana Jazz Festival in July. We went for a third option and enjoyed Film Under The Stars. How often do you get the chance to watch top films in the courtyard of a castle?

Discover Metelkova// The most unique and alternative neighborhood of Ljubljana. During the day you can check out the graffiti that covers everything in this part of town from buildings to basketball grounds. During the night it transforms into one big bar that offers cheap drinks and music until the sun rises.

Getting things moving around Metelkova
Getting things moving around Metelkova

Go underground into Skocjan Caves Park// The Skocjan Caves system (UNESCO!) comprises of numerous caves and passages, collapse dolines, natural bridges and sinkholes and it’s only an hour drive from Ljubljana. You can visit a little museum, take part in the guided tour through the underground canyon (tour 1 aka my favorite!) or follow the Reka River underground (tour 2). The first thing you see during tour 1 is the Silent Cave, a fossil passage filled with numerous dripstone formations. Next up was a spectacular view on the Reka River. You even cross the bustling river on the Cerkvenik Bridge. My biggest jaw-dropping moment was when our guide turned off all the lights. It was pitch dark. Only then we realized how hard it must have been to explore these caves with only the light of a small candle.

Discovering the hidden corners of the Skocjan Caves.
Discovering the hidden corners of the Skocjan Caves.

BUDGET

STAY: We had a lovely stay at Hostel Tabor for €40. Breakfast and Parking (only during summer) are included and if you want to save some money you can use their kitchen.

EAT: For simple, local food we went to Druga Violina. We ordered a Mojito for me and a beer for him and 2 main courses for the small price of €20. If you want to be budget-friendly while supporting a social initiative, this is the place to be.

DO: We watched Birdman in the courtyard of Ljubljana Castle for only €4,50 per person. Quite a unique way to enjoy the castle we can say. The next day we went to the Skocjan Caves and participated in two tours at a price of €20 per person. In total we have spent 2,5 hours inside the park. The guided tour through the underground canyon is held every hour from 10:00 until 17:00 from June to September.