Ljubljana

Ljubljana by CC user ronmacphotos on Flickr

Introduction

The little known capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana contains many charms that are missed by those content to hit bigger cities in the region. With a population of only 300,000, the lack of crowds from locals and tourists allow you to enjoy Europe in high season in a manner that is impossible elsewhere. Old Town of Ljubljana by CC user wrote on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

Begin your stay in Ljubljana by spending a leisurely morning walking around the Old Town. Its cobblestoned streets are home to medieval era buildings that now house boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

With plenty of public plazas to be found here, and pedestrian friendly streets that aren’t as trafficked compared to similar cities in the region, it is a wonderful spot to get the Old Europe urban experience without having it ruined by the swarms of tourists that descend upon the continent in the summer months.

When it comes to specific attractions to visit, the Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity is a religious highlight that stands out from the rest. Built in the Baroque style during the 18th century, visitors will appreciate its exquisite altar that was crafted out of marble sourced from Africa.

The beauty of this place of worship was immortalized on the back of the Slovenian 10 tolar bill before it was replaced by the Euro in 2007. Out front, the Holy Trinity column is another sculpted piece of art that attracts a lot of attention from photographers, so be sure to check it out instead of breezing past it on your way to the entrance of the church.

Looking to enjoy some of the best art in this Balkan nation? The National Gallery of Slovenia is the best place to go, as it contains works dating from the Middle Ages in its collection. With pieces from many artists that aren’t as heralded as the bigger legends in the genre, it is a good spot to check out in order to discover works that are unknown outside the region.

Metelkova by CC user michaelrperry on Flickr

Other Attractions

Looking for a break from the city centre? Tivoli City Park is where locals go to get a taste of nature and relax on their time off from work, so coming here won’t just allow you to get away from the pressures of urban life, but it will grant you many people watching opportunities as well. Birders will love the variety of avian species found within its trees, while those looking for historic attractions will enjoy Tivoli Castle and Cekin Mansion, the latter of which is home to the National Museum of Contemporary History. Want to take in a basketball or hockey game? Tivoli Hall can also be found within the confines of this park. Overall, this park is a favored a gathering place for many residents of Ljubljana, so do make an effort to visit during your time here. If you’d rather observe the people of Ljubljana from a cafe patio, then heading over to Preseren Square will be the better option for you. It is here where festivals, concerts, mass viewings of national sport events and protests of all sorts are held, as well as serving as a place where ordinary citizens gather during their free time. Surrounded by a variety of historic buildings, the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, and containing a pair of monuments, the atmosphere in this corner of Ljubljana’s downtown core will have you lingering longer than you planned. Find yourself bored with the standard assortment of structures from centuries past? If you have a non-conformist streak running through you, or you just want a break from the typical attractions that most European cities provide, a stroll through Metelkova should satisfy you. A former army base that was abandoned after Slovenia’s quick war of independence liberated it from the Serbs, artists quickly descended upon it and made it their own. While this squatter’s settlement is technically illegal, authorities have tolerated its existence, and in a recent recognition of its cultural and touristic importance, it has been granted protected status by the local government, thus sparing it from the bulldozers of potential developers. Street art, and alternative music clubs and theatre spaces are all reasons to check out this sector of Ljubljana; don’t forget about it before heading off to your next destination!