City of Dragons: Ljubljana, Slovenia

A native of Ljubljana shares what she loves about her city – and why you might want to visit.

The view of Ljubljana, Slovenia from the three bridges. Photo by Matic Kremžar
The view of Ljubljana from the three bridges. Photo by Matic Kremžar

Ljubljana is a perfect picture of a small, warm and romantic city, just the type you can imagine yourself exploring on your journey throughout Europe. It’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering the streets of the Slovenian capital, admiring the baroque and renaissance influences on the vibrant buildings. Here you can observe people crossing our unique bridges adorning the beautiful Ljubljanica river, listen to them enjoying themselves and connecting with each other in cafes and restaurants, all thriving with energy on both banks of the river.

In Ljubljana, there is much to admire. One of the city’s best features is the mixture of the old and new. Everything is vibrant and relaxed at the same time. When you pass the Dragon Bridge, you will encounter the lively city market. It is sure to compel your senses with an abundance of smells and vivid colours with all sorts of flowers, local vegetables and herbs.

You could also buy something for your loved ones back home as a large array of souvenirs and local arts and crafts products are displayed there. The market is surrounded by three of Ljubljana’s most prized attractions. It’s situated between the impressive Dragon Bridge and Triple Bridge, and you can’t miss the majestic and picturesque Ljubljana Cathedral (Church of St. Nicholas) that is overlooking the market.

The interior of Ljubljana Cathedral . Flickr/ Pedro Szekely
The interior of Ljubljana Cathedral . Flickr/ Pedro Szekely

Everything in Ljubljana’s old city centre is within walking distance, so when you roam just a little bit further down by the river you will arrive in one of Ljubljana’s urban centres.  It’s the Špica embankment, often referred to by the locals as ‘the beach.’ This is where the youth of Ljubljana get together and socialise by the shimmering river. Especially in the evenings, it is brimming with life and laughter and is another example of life in Ljubljana.

There is also one other impressive way of getting to the beach. You can take a boat tour, which is an adventure in itself. This will give you a glimpse at Ljubljana from a different perspective. The tour starts at the triple bridge and ends at the beach.

Every Friday, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in Slovenian cuisine when the central market hosts the Open Kitchen Food Market. If you visit the open kitchen, you will be introduced to Ljubljana’s heartbeat, as everyone who finds time gathers there for a chance to enjoy their meal in the summer air. It is one of the best food experiences Ljubljana has to offer, as it is a chance to choose from food made by Ljubljana’s best restaurants all in one place and the chefs even cook it right in front of you!

This is also a good example of how relaxed people in Ljubljana are; you will often see us casually sitting on the pavements throughout the city and enjoying our food.

Walking trough the city streets, you’ll often hear music. It could be in the form of a man playing the accordion on Čopova street or all sorts of bands performing at Prešeren square.  In the old city centre, we also have a unique site called the Križanke complex where we hold all sorts of events, including concerts.  The Križanke complex was originally a church and a monastery dating back to 1228. It has also been the home of Festival Ljubljana, the institute that is responsible for organising a myriad of cultural events in Ljubljana since 1953 to present day.

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