Wednesday, July 18, 2018

LJUBLJANA: TRIP TIPS FOR SLOVENIA'S CAPITAL

There are not enough people giving credit where credit is due when it comes to Slovenia and its green, peaceful, scenic capital, Ljubljana. Take some time to appreciate this charming city, its bridges over the Ljubljanica river, like the Triple Bridge, the Dragon Bridge, and Butchers Bridge, its cafés overlooking the river banks, its typical honey shops and sausage bodegas, and you'll find it quite amazing — just as I did.

Where to go

Though it is indeed a small city, Ljubljana falls right into that category where you have a lot to do and so little time, as you often are suggested to explore more of the nature in Slovenia and not just the capital city. But first things first: you can walk everywhere in the centre — Ljubljana was considered Europe's Greenest Capital in 2016 and it still keeps up with that award. So, if you can walk everywhere, you can certainly ride a bike everywhere, too, and it's easy enough to rent a bike (only 1 € per week) and stroll around town.


Tivoli Park
Tivoli Park is probably one of the most beautiful parks I've ever been to. In addition to being super picnic-friendly and just perfect for some afternoon relaxation, there's the Tivoli Mansion, which houses the International Centre of Graphic Arts — until 29th July, there's a great David Lynch exhibition in the main hall, "Fire on Stage". At the entrance of the park, you'll also find the Museum of Modern Art and its incredible exhibitions on a number of Slovenian artists (5 € per adult) and a nice bookstore that sells publications, monographs, catalogues, and magazines, all for fairly decent prices.


Lake Bled
But if you're into exploring the surroundings of this lovely city, there's a magical place you can't miss: Lake Bled.


Though Ljubljana city centre's not particularly teeming with tourists, here you'll cross paths with more people who are eager to absorb all the beauty and stunning views of this fairy tale turquoise lake. The Bled Castle is reachable by boat, be it a traditional pletna boat — which is the most enjoyable way — or normal-looking ones. And yes, the castle on that tiny island in the middle of the lake looks as impressive as it does in real life.

What to do

There's plenty to do in Ljubljana if you're up for it. You can just roam the streets and stop by for coffee — Slovenians love their coffee, by the way — in one of the many riverside cafés, you can catch the flea market on Saturdays and just dwell into old furniture, kitchenware, and decorative objects that will definitely quench any antique aficionado's thirst thanks to the mishmash of cultural, political, and historical influences in the country, as it was in the epicentre of Yugoslavia.


As temperatures tend to rise in the late spring and summer months, head to one of the many ice cream parlours, like Gelateria Romantika, a lovely place where you'll find the best Italian-style gelatos, sorbettos, juicettos and granitas, handmade with amazing fresh fruit and vegan-friendly ingredients. And the flavours? Speechless.


The central market is also a great place where all the locals spend their weekend mornings in search of the freshest locally-sourced and organic produce. This is a great way to discover their habits and way of living as you grow accustomed to the city every day and start to think like a Ljubljana native.


(c) all photos by Soraia Martins


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