From: Paco | Sep 27, 2018
From the Baroque and Art Nouveau scenery of the historic center you will feel the spirit of the noble times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and you will want to stroll around the city in a costume cut out of the colonnade wafers.
With about 281,000 inhabitants and a third larger than Olomouc, it is more like a provincial town where everyone knows each other. Despite being one of the smallest in Europe, Ljubljana is home to one of the largest universities in the old continent.
Ljubljana breathes life, yet you always have enough room in it. At one point you walk through the historic center almost alone, and in the other, from the brooding view of the River Lublanica you will be ripped by the buzz of the crowds that occupied the outdoor gardens of cafes and restaurants. Like a director hiding somewhere around the corner gives a command and extras take their positions. Ljubljana was voted the greenest city of Europe in 2016. Locals like to ride bicycles. The relatively flat terrain and many bridges over Lublanica make the city a paradise for cyclists. The busiest artery and at the same time the most photographed monument in the center is the unusual triple bridge near Prešernova trg.
One man’s city
Ljubljana is nicknamed Plečnikovo City. This is because the most renowned Slovenian architect, who, incidentally, was entrusted by President Masaryk with the renovation of Prague Castle, signed his work on some 60 buildings in his hometown. The most important is the Plečnik Colonnade, a covered portico on the banks of the river that stretches to the large town market, or Križanke - the former monastery complex, which now serves as a venue for concerts and the famous Ljubljana International Summer Festival of Music. Take a look at the colonnade, right next to it is a bridge decorated with four dragon statues who have become mascots of the city.
Squat that the city wants
Metelkova Street stands out from the unity of the splendid Plečnik Center. The former barracks left behind by the Yugoslav army were taken up by squatters in the 1990s. The town hall first tried to fight them, but then more or less left them the space. The result is an alternative community neighborhood with cafes, clubs, bars, galleries, and even a hostel in a former prison building that attracts tourists from all over the world. And it doesn’t get to see more famous places like Szimpla Kert in Budapest or Friedrichshain in Berlin.
Castle up to the clouds
Ljubljana Castle, set on a hill in the middle of the city, stands as a reminder of the courageous and militant times of the Slovenian nation. The castle can be reached in a few moments. On the way from the old town, around the castle vineyards or even by cable car. The castle complex is surprisingly large. In its intricate corridors and floors, connected by modern paths, staircases, galleries and glass showcases, you can easily get lost with an audio guide that you can borrow. The paid circuit takes you to the castle interiors, the walls and the tower. The freely accessible parts, however, are enough for you and give you access to the prison for plebs and the spacious dungeon for the nobility.
If Kotor is a town in Montenegro where you can find the most colorful offer of fridge magnets in souvenirs, then you will get the finest souvenirs in Ljubljana. The center is literally dotted with concept story. For all we recommend the Gud Shop in the old town (Stari trg), where you can buy design postcards, notebooks, accessories and gifts with motifs of Ljubljana and Slovenia from the workshops of local artists and designers.