To begin with, I must explain that living in Hungary which has a rather flat landscape, I was overwhelmed by the most scenic landscapes. So, what an incredible first impression I have Slovenia! And then to my further delight, just as incredible was my visit to Ljubljana!
We drove from Hungary to Ljubljana and shortly after crossing the border the landscapes changed considerably. I grew up around the Winelands of South Africa’s Western Cape Province. When I caught the first glimpse of Slovenia’s countryside it almost felt like a blend between Tuscany in Italy and South Africa’s Winelands.
That said, the city itself is just as beautiful with the mountains in the background.
Ljubljana is a culturally rich city. It has many theaters, museums, and galleries, and one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras in the world is located there. The Academia philharmonicorum, Slovenia’s first musical organization, was established in 1701.
The City of Ljubljana’s coat of arms includes the Ljubljana dragon. It stands for power, bravery, and might. The Ljubljana coat of arms features it on the Dragon Bridge and atop the castle tower. The story of Jason and the Argonauts may have inspired the creation of the Ljubljana dragon.
We stayed at Hotel Cubo and received superb service.
Our room was super comfortable, and the staff was warm and friendly. The breakfast was delish and again the service was excellent in the breakfast room – very attentive.
And if that’s not enough, the hotel is well situated and within short walking distance of the river and all its relevant attractions.
We made a point of eating in a different restaurant each night. There is no shortage of quality restaurants scattered around the hotel. One such restaurant that stood out was Da Bu Da Asian and Fusion Bar, 1000, Šubičeva ulica 1a.
Gastronomic Strelec is at the castle’s entrance, immediately to your right. It’s a perfect blend of luxury style and super culinary delights. Being at the highest point in Ljubljana, you are also feasted with an unspoiled view over the city.
I recommend the boat cruise, albeit over a very short distance. There are some beautiful scenes on the tree-lined riverside.
Instead of going on a structured tour or day trip, get your self-guided audio tour. I’ve used it with immense success. Furthermore, nothing beats exploring a new destination without being rushed. Meander and relax in your own time, and at your own pace.
The market is an absolute must for travelers who want to experience Ljubljana like the locals. This is where the locals come buy their fresh produce and many other niceties. For instance, honey galore – flavoured or unflavoured, with or without alcohol (honey liqueur)! With plenty of the city’s nice restaurants represented at the market, it’s worth spending an hour to meander at the market, buy a little reminder of your trip, and relax for a bite to eat or something to drink.
There are some famously photogenic bridges such as the Dragon Bridge with two dragons on either side of the bridge.
Butchers’ Bridge got its name from the butchers who used to throw the water in which they washed and cleaned meat, into the river.
In contrast, this is the bridge of romance with sculptures of frogs and shellfish on the top of the bridge’s fence. Butchers’ bridge is quite a romantic spot with its love padlocks attached to the parapet. The story behind the padlocks is that lovers used to drop their keys into the river below, as a symbol of their love!
I found the statue of Adam and Eve (walking towards the Ljubljana Cathedral), shamed and banished from Paradise, to be an interesting choice of artwork for the bridge of romance!
Padlocks symbolizing eternal love can be found across the world. For instance,
There is no shortage either of sculptures in Ljubljana, such from Ancient Greek, Christian and Jewish mythology. One that was particularly intimidating was the Satyr sculpture (facing the castle), startled by the Serpent.
The castle has a rich history which you sense just by looking at the ancient walls surrounding the castle. It is situated in Castle Hill in the middle of the city and at close distance from Hotel Cubo where we stayed.
The walk-up Castle Hill can be taxing if you’re not fit. However, it is worth every step of the way and food for the soul.
One of the attractions once inside is a time machine for those who’d like to explore the distant past.
In addition, there are regular events such as shows and exhibitions.
Covering 318 hectares, it is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. For an outdoor playground, travel to the Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps where the lake is part of Triglav National Park.
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, also known by its previous name Brnik Airport, is the international airport serving Ljubljana and the largest airport in Slovenia. It is 24 km northwest of the city.
In conclusion, it was an incredible experience to visit captivating Ljubljana. Will go again, and again. There is much to see and do! Not a moment of boredom.