I don’t know why Slovenia turned to be among the last countries I visit on my Europe map – but it turn to be the case of “save best for last”.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, while small (20 minutes end to end of the main zone, by foot), is a truly lovely, romantic and delicious city.
Ljubljana is made of the best ingredients – river in the heart of town, number of old churches, shiny streets (VERY clean!), a castle with an amazing view over the city, a lively dine & drink scene, and most important – super nice and welcoming people.
Prices are reasonable (cheap!), the food is very good, and the ice-cream, aw, the ice-cream. Out of 65 countries I’ve been so far, Ljubljana offers the best ice-cream I had.
Another very popular food is hamburger, not sure why, but there are plenty of hamburger places, and even a beer & burger festival. I had number of very good burgers, including a black-bun-burger and wasn’t disappointed. (disclaimer – I am quite easy to satisfy when it comes to food).
I spent the days strolling around the streets, sitting in few of the many coffee shops, weather was perfect for a walk, and I let my self get lost.
One of the coolest areas of the city is Metelkova, a group of former military barracks, now occupied by artists who refuse to let the government tear down the place.
Metelkova is now home to funky street art, and at night the place is filled with live music, and pop-up bar. Definitely not to miss during the day & night.
Two popular free Ljubljana tours are the traditional free city tour, taking you through the history of the city & country, and the new, trending ‘Graffiti tour‘.
I took the latter, and enjoyed a two hours thorough tour of Ljubljana’s street art, the meaning, motives and drives behind the legal and illegal graffiti, and there is plenty of it.
PSA: Free tours are one of my top ‘to-do’ in every city I travel. an excellent way to get familar with the place & history, and great for connecting with fellow travelers.
And yes, ‘free tours’ are truly free – but please be kind and tip your guide!
After four days of burgers and ice-cream, I took the bus to Bled and had pizza for lunch.
Bled, a small town, sitting next to Bled lake, a magnificent and relaxing lake, with a small island in the middle, and a castle on the bank.
Great location for a romantic afternoon, or opportunity to do some work from a rented boat (15 euros for first hour, 10 euros for additional hour)
Beside a boat, you can rent bicycle, take a helicopter \ plane tour, go canyoning, balloon riding, or less extreme hike to the castle (10 euros entrance fees).
The one thing not to miss (I did) is the famous Bled-Cream-Cake. don’t forget!
Bus to\from Bled, about one hour ride.
– Ljubljana –> Bled – Bus leaves every hour, on the hour (6 euros)
– Bled –> Ljubljana – Bus leaves every hour, 30 minutes past the hour, beside 3:30pm (6 euros)
Back in Ljubljana, took the funicular (really, an elevator) to the castle – there is no a whole lot to explore or learn, but no better spot for a full panoramic views of the city.
Best time to go is one hour before sunset.
On the opposite side of the town (10 minutes walk) there is Tivoli Park, a green & clean park, with spots to seat and relax or trails to hike and explore.
Another not-to-miss part.
On my last night in town, I ran my own pub crawl, first round in Cutty Sark, second at Macek, and last call at Central Station.
* There is a real pub-crawl on most days of the week (15 euro)
You’ll find plenty of good nightlife spots scattered around, and you can not go wrong. or lost.
If you get drunk, make sure you don’t end up in the river – rumor is you’ll glow in the dark.
Where to stay? Ljubljana is really small, easy to get around, and no place stay can be far more than 2 – 8 minutes walk from the hear of the city.
Given the very good reviews on the internet, I decided to stay at Hostel Vrba. Three minutes walk from the very center, and next to number of bars, restaurants and coffee shops.
I chose Hostel Vrba after reading it is less of a party-hostel, with a more relaxed and home-like feeling – exactly what I need for a good night sleep, and to do some work. The place is honest to the reviews.
Internet connection is fast & reliable in all areas (crucial for the digital nomad), the room was clean, very comfortable bed (finally!) and the bathroom is the cleanest I’ve seen for a while, with good water pressure and hot water (not given in the hostel world).
You get a key to the room, and key + lock to a locker next to the bed, although I felt the place is secure enough, and left my stuff unlocked.
The staff were welcoming and helped me to plan my visit, and even my next leg of the trip.
I don’t recommend places often – but there are the exceptions like Hostel Vrba – book via HostelWorld, or better, as I recently learned, directly from the Hostel website.
Go. Explore Ljubljana.