Ljubljana – Europe’s greenest and most liveable city

Few cities have left such an impression on us that Ljubljana has. Ljubljana is the capital of the Adriatic country, Slovenia. It may have a mouthful of a name that nobody can pronounce, but this is a surprisingly adorable city.ljubljana001

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Pronounced lub-lee-arna, this charismatic city is really endearing. With its large green spaces, gorgeous old world architecture and variety of quality restaurants and cafes, it oozes bucket loads of charm. The city’s old town, the commercial centre and the areas surrounding the banks of the Ljubljanica River are compact, making it a very walkable city. In the main city and along the banks of the river the traffic is restricted, which is a huge part of the charm.

Our first day spent wandering in aimless awe between the narrow streets and pastel buildings revealed a charm that had us declaring love at first sight.

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From almost anywhere in the city glimpses of the mighty medieval fortress, Ljubljana Castle can be seen. To get up to the 15th century castle you can either walk or take the funicular if the walk looks too strenuous. The funicular station, located near the central market, offers a fast and comfortable ride with spectacular views. The castle has been authentically refurbished in part and completely modernised in others. The former glory and provenance of the castle has been carefully blended with modern lines in this revitalisation restoration. The mighty fortress has idyllic grounds for a leisurely stroll and offers superb views and a breathtaking panorama overlooking the city centre.

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At the castle you can climb the tower, visit the Penitentiary, Museum of Puppetry, or relax at the coffee house or two restaurants. Another point of interest is the Castle Chapel of St George, one of the oldest parts of the castle. The Gothic style chapel was built originally in 1489 by order of the Emperor for citizens to take holy mass. In 1747 it was rebuilt in Baroque style and decorated with the coat of arms making it a very sacred building. Inclusion of secular content is rare and is what makes the chapel unique.

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Day or night there is a wonderful atmosphere in the lively town square and at night the castle looks magical as it glows from the coloured lighting.

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Apart from Ljubljana Castle must see places include Preseren and Republic Squares, Dragon and Triple Bridges, Cathedral of St Nicholas and Central Market, all within a nice easy stroll. On Preseren Square is the beautiful and historic 17th century Franciscan Monastery. Our hotel, the Grand Hotel Union, a high end, art nouveau hotel and one of the finest in Ljubljana is right next to this bright pink church and also a short stroll from the famous Triple Bridge.

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Ljubljana’s architecture is a mix of Roman, Baroque, Venetian and Viennese styles. Many of the buildings show the patina of age and wear, showing crumbling plaster and strong character. The buildings that never survived the massive earthquake in 1895 were built with playful beauty in Viennese style with colourful quirks and trimmings.

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This enchanting city even has its own dragon. According to the legends, the mythical dragon slayed by St George lived beneath the hill where Ljubljana Castle sits.  Ljubljana’s symbol is the dragon. Seen on the flag, the dragon symbolises power, courage and greatness. Best seen on the Dragon Bridge, where four creatures take pride of place. The bridge is protected as a technical monument and folklore says when a virgin crosses the bridge the dragons will wag their tails.

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Spend a day or three meandering through the cobbled streets and you’ll wander past waterside streets and find something of interest on every corner.

The city is a place for exploration and relaxation, having a rich heritage and cultural scene that can be easily enjoyed in a few days. Ljubljana has a fine dining and late night bar culture along the quiet, narrow river and offers a very affordable break.

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Soak up the atmosphere and ambiance of fine dining, late night bars and clubs, outdoor central markets, city galleries and museums. However you decide to spend your time, you will find an enchanting, extremely friendly and truly affordable city.

Strolling through the back alleys, exploring the flower market or sitting by the river at night with all the buildings and statues lit up around us, this city exudes charisma and left a huge smile on our faces.

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We can’t wait to re-visit Ljubljana, this city surprised us and exceeded our expectations. It’s less touristy and more budget friendly than many European cities. You’ll find a cat café , a variety of trendy, themed bars and a mecca of alternative culture with the musical and street art scenes. This green city has made a huge impression. Through environmental awareness campaigns Ljubljana has within 7 years, made a huge sustainable impact and offers green tourist attractions and beautiful parks.

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Have you considered including Ljubljana on your bucket list? Does this sound like a great place to explore a different culture?

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28 Responses

  1. Alie says:

    I’ve been reading more and more about Slovenia! Loved seeing this post and putting it on the wishlist (neverending!)

  2. Ljubljana is a beautiful city and it is still “undiscovered” by tourists 🙂
    Photo(Geo)grapher recently posted…Externsteine – magical rock formation, GermanyMy Profile

  3. Chloe says:

    Awww this looks so gorgeous!! I want to go to Ljubjiana soooo bad!! I’ve heard so many great things about it! looks amazing!

  4. This place is lively, indeed! Moreover, the people are friendly and their food is mouthwatering! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Lyn!

  5. Kana says:

    Wow what a photogenic city! Love all the brick roofs! Would love to visit someday! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this weekend! xo

  6. Anda says:

    Ljubljana is beautiful indeed. It’s interesting that I came upon your post shortly after watching a movie about Ljubljana on Travel Chanel. It seems it has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in Europe. No wonder it is so charming and colorful. Your pictures inspired me to go visit it.

  7. Wow! It looks absolutely splendid. Definitely worth adding to the list!
    Tania @ Larger Family Life recently posted…How I lost 60lbs with DDP YogaMy Profile

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I love seeing the city from above in your photos! I’ve never been to Ljubljana, but it has been top on my list for a while now. I think you’ve made a great guide for it — pinning for later 🙂

  9. Such gorgeous architecture! I know we don’t have quite the same length of history, but I wish American cities had preserved more of their historic buildings.
    Holly – Choosy Traveler recently posted…Best Smart Luggage 2017 – Buyer’s Guide and ReviewsMy Profile

  10. Looks like a beautiful city and you provide some great context and history! I would definitely love to visit some day and have heard good things about the city (and Slovenia) being so green. It is amazing how many cities have St. George & the dragon symbols, we are currently in Barcelona and see them everywhere as St. George (Sant Jordi) is the city’s patron saint here.

  11. I would to see Ljubljana – I have learned so much about Slovenia since living in Copenhagen. Your pictures are cementing my desire to see it! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Denmark, Erin

  12. David says:

    Ljubljana is such a pleasant city to explore. The riverfront areas are so nice, especially at night. The castle is pretty cool too with those great views that you’ve captured. Wonderful photos of a wonderful city. #FlyAwayFriday
    David recently posted…The Wonderfully Weird Crooked Forest of PolandMy Profile

  13. Katy Clarke says:

    Beautiful photos Lyn! Ljubljana keeps popping up on my radar and I can see why. One of my favourite activities is exploring compact European cities and Ljubljana seems to have it all.. pretty buildings and squares, a fascinating culture and bustling market. Looking forward to visiting there soon. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

  14. I visited Ljubljana once, at least ten years ago and either I don’t remember it very well, or else it has changed a lot (possibly both). I do recall my accommodation, an ultra-hip and colourful hostel in a converted prison . Very, very nice!! Thanks for this very interesting post! #FarawayFiles

  15. It looks beautiful! I would love to visit Slovenia one day.
    CatherineRose recently posted…A Little Bit of LisbonMy Profile

  16. Ahila says:

    Beautiful photos of Ljubljana! While I have not considered visiting the city before, your photos makes me consider adding it to my travel wishlist.

  17. I loved Ljubljana when I visited years ago. You’ve definitely inspired me to return to such a charming city – my kids would love to go on a dragon hunt while we’re there – and I have very fond memories of the delicious Slovenian food. Thanks so much for joining us on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Travel Trends: Where to Go and How to Travel in 2017My Profile

  18. Natalie says:

    How interesting That Europe’s greenest city is not a commonly known one. It looks so pretty in the photos. I’d love to explore and take the kiddos. This would be a fun time to discuss what it means to be ‘green’ and how you can be greener in your everyday life. Not your ordinary (or boring) lesson on the subject for sure!! The whole world is a classroom!!

  19. It’s beautiful to see how much you loved my city of origin. I wish you to return one day. Na zdravje!

  20. Looks like a great (and very photogenic!) city. Thank you for sharing your photos! And think you sharing the proper way to pronounce Ljubljana… I was sitting here going ‘Luh-joob-lee-anna’?
    Bryna | Dotted Line Travels recently posted…Things I Ate: Florence EditionMy Profile

  21. Lolo says:

    We absolutely fell in love with Ljubljana but sadly we were only there fore an evening and then continued on our journey to Croatia. Had I know how amazing it was I would have planned to stay longer! Hoping to go back again one day! #FarawayFiles
    Lolo recently posted…An Intensive Beginner’s Guide to Louisville, KentuckyMy Profile

  22. I always enjoy reading such a nice posts about my home country as is yours! Gorgeous photos too. Thank you for reminding how awesome is Slovenia. 🙂 #FarawayFiles

  23. Thanks for sharing your photos! I especially love the haunting statue. Do you remember what it was for?

  24. Kathy Marris says:

    Ljubljana looks like a very charming city. Slovenia is one of the stops on our Mediterranean Cruise in April. We dock at Koper so probably won’t get into the capital. It is one of the countries that I’m really looking forward to seeing on the cruise. Something a little different for sure. 🙂

  25. great photos! yes, Ljubljana is quite charming:)
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  26. budget jan says:

    Your photos have taken me right back to Ljubljana. It is such a photogenic city. I love the way you captured the river all still and quiet with the arched windows and lights on in the buildings.

  27. Rob Taylor says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize how beautiful a city it was! Thank you for sharing such detailed pictures.

  28. Great photos-they really capture the beauty of Ljubljana. Would love to visit soon-keep reading great things about Ljubljana and Slovenia in general.
    Matilda (The Travel Sisters) recently posted…Snow Monkeys in Japan: How to VisitMy Profile

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