Top sights of Ljubljana

Dragon Bridge (photo: A Fevžer)Ljubljana is considered to be a yet undiscovered gem of Europe. It is often compared with Prague due to its beautiful architectural appearance, which is the result of the legacy of different periods in history and, most notably, the work of the famous 20th century architect Jože Plečnik, who, among other things, prepared the town planning scheme for the central part of the city. Plečnik's distinctive personal stamp, which can be seen across Ljubljana, is the most obvious in the area by the river Ljubljanica, where you can find one of his most famous creations, the Triple Bridge. The area can best be experienced on a tourist boat cruise.

The symbol of Ljubljana is the dragon, which dominates the iconic Dragon Bridge, and the city's most prominent attraction Ljubljana Castle, whose Outlook Tower offers some of the most beautiful views of the city. The castle houses several museum exhibitions and presentations including, among others, Slovenian History, The Prison and Virtual Castle.

Ljubljana is well known as a green city boasting a large number of beautiful parks and a botanical garden whose proud history goes back to 1810. The city's largest park, the centrally located Tivoli, is a popular place to relax and spend time with friends and family or perhaps enjoy one of the interesting exhibitions of large-format photographs held there on a regular basis.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Green Ljubljana

Library under the trees in the Tivoli Park (photo: Dunja Wedam)In June 2014, the European Commission named Ljubljana as European Green Capital 2016 for 'its raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens, its sustainability strategy 'Vision 2025', its implementation of a range of urban green measures over the past decade and its impressive transportation network'.

Ljubljana is a city boasting excellently preserved green spaces and countless pleasant green nooks and crannies even in the heart of the city centre. One of Ljubljana's special features is a 35-kilometre circular recreational route around the city. The route, known as the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, runs along the course of the barbed-wire fence that surrounded Ljubljana during the Second World War.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Central Market

Photo: J. SkokLjubljana's Central Market is more than just a place to shop. Traditionally, it has also been a place for the locals to meet and enjoy themselves together. The Central Market consists of an open-air market, located in the Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares, a covered market situated in between the two squares, and a series of small food shops along the river Ljubljanica, which are referred to as 'Plečnik's Covered Market' as they are located in a colonnade designed by Ljubljana's famous architect Jože Plečnik.Apart from fresh Slovenian fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers, the market also offers a choice of tropical fruits, dry-cured meat products, balcony flowers, and plug plants.

At the covered market, you can get dry-cured meat products, fresh meat, homemade bread baked in the wood-fired oven, homemade biscuits and other sweet baked goods, various kinds of homemade cheese, dried fruits and nuts, homemade olive and pumpkin seed oil and much more.

Each Wednesday, the Pogačarjev trg square hosts an organic market where you can get organic food produced by Slovenian farms. Occasionally, the market features themed events presenting culinary offerings, farm produce, and organic foods offered by farmers and food producers' associations from different Slovenian regions.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Art & culture

Ljubljana Festival (photo by: Nada Žgank)In Ljubljana, culture is more than just a matter of prestige. Cultural activity has become something of a way of life. Each year the city hosts around 10.000 events. Due to its vibrant cultural life, shaped by the creativity of numerous renowned Slovenian artists, Ljubljana has always posed a challenge to artists from around the world. They who love coming back time and again - not least for Ljubljana's responsive audiences.

Ljubljana celebrates 2000 years of Emona

Emonans at the Kongresni trg square (photo: Aljoša Rebolj)Two thousand years ago, the Roman city of Emona stood on the site of the present-day Ljubljana. In 2014, in celebration of the anniversary, Ljubljana will host a vibrant programme of events and experiences aimed at evoking the atmosphere of Roman times.

"Salvete, grati nobis Emonam venitis" (Be greeted, you who have come to visit us here in Emona!)

In 14 AD, the Roman colony of Emona (Colonia Iulia Aemona) unquestionably already stood on the site of the present-day city centre of Ljubljana. This is evidenced by an inscription about a donation that the city received from the emperors Augustus and Tiberius. Due to its geographical position, Emona played an important role in the Roman Empire’s system of defence and flourished from the 1st to the 5th century AD. It was built on a Roman model and was governed in accordance with Roman political and religious principles. It is believed to have been inhabited by around 5,000 colonists, whose occupations were agriculture, trade, and crafts.

Traditional events

Photo by: Dunja WedamFew cities of comparable size anywhere in the world have such an intense and eclectic cultural life as Ljubljana. Innovative and traditional performances of all types and to fit all tastes attract young and old alike to the Old Town. Music and arts festivals that run all summer long fill the various open-air stages. The summer months festively end with a traditional event, Night in the Old Town that turns the whole area into a concert and party stage. The river lights up for Night on the Ljubljanica, when a procession of festooned and illuminated craft, from boats to rafts, float past. The festive month of December lights the city up in sophisticated colours, while the atmosphere is brightened by church concerts, a Christmas fair and events on outdoor stages, including the traditional open-air New Year’s Eve celebration. 

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Open air events

Carnival, photo: D. WedamFree entertaining events during the day and high culture in the evenings are organized in the very heart of the city. The festival June in Ljubljana is held in the city’s central square and it is an introduction to summer events in Ljubljana. Some of the most popular are festivals of street theatre Ana Desetnica, Trnfest and the Emona Promenade festival, Nights in Ljubljana Old Town and Medieval Days in Ljubljana. One of the Ljubljana’s trademarks is the so-called Library under Trees, which is “the world’s only 100% natural library”. Open air exhibitions are also popular and well attended.

Events in smaller towns and villages often present the local cultural, folk and culinary particularities. Among the most popular ones are the National Costumes and Clothing Heritage Days and Medieval Days in Kamnik, a traditional carnival with a procession of Slovenian and foreign carnival groups in Ig and culinary and entertaining events on the Fruit Road between Javor and Janče.

Christmas and New Year’s festivities in Ljubljana are marked by the Ljubljana Christmas Market and a series of events called December in Ljubljana. The festival lasts during the entire month of December and its various events appeal to all generations. It reaches its peak on the New Year’s Eve, when open air celebrations take place on several of the city’s central squares.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Metelkova mesto alternative culture centre

Photo: Dunja WedamMetelkova mesto, an alternative culture centre that developed from a squat in a former army barracks and became one of the best known attractions of Ljubljana, brings together a variety of different artistic practices and events. It is home to a large number of clubs hosting a regular programme of concerts, club nights, and one-off club events featuring underground artists and DJs from around the world. The centre also hosts art performances, exhibitions, and an occasional festival. Running a vibrant daily programme of events, it draws together people on any night of the week. The crowd is mixed, including anyone from students and underground music fans to visitors to Ljubljana and professionals enjoying a night out.

The history of Metelkova mesto as a cultural centre goes back to 1993, when the northern part of the barracks complex was squatted by a group of about 200 volunteers following the initiative of an independent association of mainly underground artists and intellectuals known as Metelkova Network (Mreža za Metelkovo) to stop the abandoned army complex from being pulled down. After that, the former Austro-Hungarian army barracks, build in the late 19th century, were transformed through interventions by numerous renowned and little known Slovenian artists. Being a thriving place for a free creative spirit, the complex is undergoing constant change.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Dining out in Ljubljana

Ljubljanska vinska pot (foto: Aleš Fevžer)Ljubljana is situated at the confluence of four Slovenian regions, which is why in the city and its surrounding areas you can find traditional and modern restaurants serving a diverse range of foods. The choice of cuisines is vast, incorporating both traditional Slovenian fare and dishes from around the world. What is special about eating out in Ljubljana is that a large number of upscale restaurants serve reasonably priced lunchtime menus.

Ljubljana lies at the confluence of four Slovenian regions, which is why restaurants in the city and its surrounding areas offer a vast choice of gourmet specialities and excellent wines from around the country. Traditional Slovenian cuisine is basically similar to other central European cuisines (with some distinct influences from the nearby Mediterranean), and yet it is unique in many ways. Slovenia is a country of good wines noted for their distinctively natural tastes. Ljubljana does not lie in a wine growing area, but due to its tradition of being a centre of commerce linking together the country's different wine growing regions, it is internationally known as a "City of Wine and Vine".

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Family experiences opportunities for activity holidays and leisure pursuits in Ljubljana are vast, ranging from a water park with multiple attractions, themed swimming pools and saunas to a treetop adventure park, open in the summer. Not far away from the city there are several thermal spa resorts. The countryside offers ample opportunity for hiking, cycling, riding and other outdoor experiences.

Ljubljana has an outstanding number of children's playgrounds. Most of its museums have play areas and run programmes of creative and educational workshops for children. Childcare services are available from most of the city's hotels, and family holiday packages are not a rare occurrence.

Apart from that, Ljubljana hosts a large number of cultural events intended for children. Particularly during summer, a lot of workshops, puppet shows and other children's activities are held outdoors, in the city's streets, squares and parks.

Families with children can also choose from a wide range of special experiences, such as boat cruises along the Ljubljanica river, encounters with animals and their keepers at the Ljubljana Zoo, hands-on science experiments at the House of Experiments, and educational games at the Archaeological Sandpit.

Clubs and nightlife

Makalonca, photo: Makalonca archiveA good way to put your finger on the pulse of nightlife in Ljubljana is to hang out at the little riverfront cafés and other old city centre's popular hang-outs for the locals. Many of them organize DJ nights and live music events to liven up the atmosphere.

On the one hand, the night scene in Ljubljana is fuelled by clubs based on the concept of combining a bar or restaurant with a dance club and occasional live music venue. There are also several rock and jazz clubs, gaming salons and adult night clubs.

On the other hand, nightlife in Ljubljana owes its unique character to places promoting innovative creative practices, such as the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, which presents an exceptionally modern programme of events, the Klub K4 club, dedicated to promoting contemporary electronic music for over two decades now, and the Metelkova mesto alternative culture centre.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism

Fun fact:Kavalir: getting around the City Centre ob Electric Car - Ljubljana's electric-powered vehicles referred to as Kavalirs (Gentle Helpers) are a free city centre public transport option friendly both to people and the environment. Kavalirs, mainly intended for the transport of the elderly, mobility-impaired people, and visitors, run around the pedestrianized historical city centre at a speed slow enough to allow you to hail them anywhere on the street. Telephone ordering is also an option.

Source: Ljubljana Tourism


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