Ljubljana, one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, is a charming location full of artists, students, museums, bar and caffè, galleries. Ljubljana is also an university city, fulfill by students of the state’s largest university that give a remarkable youthful character to the city. As soon as the warm weather appears the city erupts with spring flowers planted on its streets and crossroads and people enjoying their time in the many open bar, terraces and every place nearby the bank’s river (Ljubljanica) giving an amazing, lively and pleasant atmosphere. Baroque buildings and the city castle are nice spots to admire, as well as the many bridges crossed by the river, the most famous of which is Tromostovje (Triple Bridge).
Ljubljana can be reached by plane. From the airport the cheapest way are regular public buses (€4.10, 50 min) to the main Ljubljana bus and train stations, located next to each other in the city center; tickets are bought from the driver.
Direct international train connections include Zagreb (2 hours), Rijeka (3 hours), Graz (3 hours), Salzburg (4 hours), Vienna (6 hours), Munich (6 hours), Belgrade (9 hours), Frankfurt (10 hours), Zürich (11 hours). Getting to Trieste by train is complicated because there are no train connections to Italy. However from Villa Opicina (italian side) to Sežana (slovenia border side) is possible to walk or hitchhike and train connections from Sežana to Ljubljana are frequent.
Ljubljana autobus station (avtobusna postaja) is right next to the train station and has services to whole Slovenia, as well as to foreign countries. Direct international connections: Trieste (2 hours), Venice (4 hours), Banja Luka (5 hours), Munich (7 hours), Belgrade (8 hours), Stuttgart (10 hours), Sarajevo (10 hours), Frankfurt (14 hours), Skopje (15 hours), Sofia (16 hours), Copenhagen (19 hours), Malmö (20 hours), Stockholm (36 hours)…
The center of Ljubljana is small enough to cover by foot. You can pick up a free city map at a tourist information center or in the train station. Bikes are available for rent via a system called “Bicikelj” where you can rent bikes for a week just for 1€. It has 300 bikes on 30 stations around the inner city part and you can subscribe with a credit card online.
Visit the Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) and walk all around the Old Town, between the castle hill and Ljubljanica river. Well preserved medieval buildings now house local designer shops, and several popular cafes and restaurants.
Ljubljana Castle. The tower has magnificent views all over the city. You can also see the Sava River and Kamnik Alps in the distance. Entrance to the Castle Courtyard, Chapel and Gift shop is free, but there is a charge for access to the tower
Act like a local
Visit the City market and buy fresh vegetables, fruits, bio products such meat, eggs, honey, spirit…A pleasent time can be spent there, many caffè and bars are beside the market square. Mobile stands offer food like fried fishes, sausages and handmade pizza. Search for special antique items and sunday flea market
Enjoy the Christmas lights and city atmosphere in december. Attend a classical music concert, an opera, a theatre performance. Take part at Ljubljana marathon, in october
– Downtown Ljubljana is full of trendy cafes (outdoor seating in the summer!) as well as an the intense nightlife, at Metelkova mesto, a self-declared autonomous culture place next to the train station, you will find alternative artists, many subcultures and youth. What used to be a military barracks is now full of underground artists, bars and nightclubs. Metelkova can get crowded on Fridays and Saturdays, with 6 clubs, each with its own style of music and program.
– Join the Ljubljana Free Tour, is probably the most popular walking tour in town. All tours start on the steps of the pink church in Preseren Square. In Summer there are two tours a day, at 11:00 am and 15:00 pm, while for other seasons is once a day and only on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday
– Hike to Šmarna gora (662 m), a popular hill. For 30-60 minutes of easy climbing you will be rewarded by a nice view over the entire city. Bus number 8 will take you to the foothill; get off at ‘Tacen’
– Wifi net is available for free at many spot in the city. You have 60 minutes per day. A password will be sent to your smartphone to access the service
– For a budget snack go to Falafel (Trubarjeva 40), and Nobel Burek (Miklošičeva 30). These are the places where young people go to get food late in the evening or at night. Different kinds of burek (a leafy dough pie, traditionally with mince meat or cheese filling) are available also in every Pekara (bakery) for around 2€
– Where to sleep? A good hostel to stay is SAX hostel just above the legendary jazz pub Sax or check balkans best hostel website! There is a list of very good and friendly hostels all around Balkan regions (Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary…), discounts and gifts are available. At the 1st hostel, you receive a ‘passport’, at the 2nd hostel you start the promotion so you get a gift. Next hostel you will get 10% on your 2nd night and if you email the hostel or walk in, then 10% for the entire stay and 2nd night will be 20% off the price. More ‘balkans best hostels’ you visit more gift and discounts you get.
For more pictures about Ljubljana click here.
Zagreb is a vibrant city, with a medieval ‘old city’ that has reminiscent of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and other Central-European capitals for its architecture and narrow cobbled streets. Gornji grad, (Upper Town) and Donji grad (Lower Town) are the cultural, religious, and commercial hubs of Zagreb. Most of the restaurants, bars and tourist attractions are located there. The Upper Town, is the medieval core of the city.
Zagreb has two very popular lakes: Jarun (at the south part of the city. Tram #5 or #17), a recreational area based around a large lake where locals go to relax, exercise – and party! There are also several bars that get very busy during the weekends but are also nice for a sunny lunchtime snack; Bundek hosts horticultural shows, firework festivals, workshops, concerts and music festivals (mostly during the summer).
The imposing mountain overlooking Zagreb (Medvednica) contains a preserved fortress (Medvedgrad) and fascinating views of the city. There are many small restaurants, mountain grills and cafes at the top of the mountain, open until early evening. In the early and late summer it can be crowded in places, especially on weekends.
Zagreb has an efficient public transport system with trams, buses and trains. An historic funicular railway (uspinjača in Croatian – one of the steepest in the world), operates between the lower and upper towns. Avoid taxies that wait in front of main train station (Glavni kolodvor) or next to the main bus station (Autobusni kolodvor) that don’t belong to any of the identified three companies (Cammeo, Radio taxi Zagreb, Ekotaxi).
Do you like movies? Most English-language movies are subtitled. A ticket will cost you 20-33 HRK (2,7-4,4€). Kino Europa, in the city center, usually shows movies from film festivals at a price of 20 HRK. Entrance through a popular caffe often crowded on weekends; Kino Tuškanac shows alternative and older films, sometimes for free, usually costs about 10 HRK (1.5€).
There are many fast-food, pizza-cut, sandwich bars arround the city. Most are located in the city center. Local fast food is called burek a salty pie filled with minced meat/cheese/spinach. All bakeries (pekara) serve it, is cheap and delicious. You can also find many kebabs and pancake-to-go places. There are many good coffee shops, which do not serve food. Zagrebites seem to like to sit and linger over coffee, but eat on the go.
Many bars are located around Flover square (Cvjetni trg), the main square (Trg Bana Josipa Jelačića), Preradovićeva, Tkalčićeva, Radićeva, Bogovićeva, and Gajeva streets
Where to sleep? Funk Lounge hostel is the perfect accommodation during your visit to Zagreb. Is a friendly ‘party hostel’, really well organized and with all the comforts. Also check balkans best hostel website! There is a list of very good and friendly hostels all around Balkan regions (Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Hungary…), discounts and gifts are available. At the 1st hostel, you receive a ‘passport’, at the 2nd hostel you start the promotion so you get a gift. Next hostel you will get 10% on your 2nd night and if you email the hostel or walk in, then 10% for the entire stay and 2nd night will be 20% off the price. More ‘balkans best hostels‘ you visit more gift and discounts you get.
Split, some pictures: