Slovenia wasn’t on my radar before this year until I ‘discovered’ it through Lauren Juliff’s travel blog, Never Ending Footsteps, where she cites its capital as one of her favourite European cities. This time last year I’d taken a week long trip to visit Split in Croatia followed by a few days in Italy, and whereas I could take or leave Rome, I fell in love with the Croatian landscape. Being Croatia’s neighbour, Slovenia then seemed like a good choice for my next travel destination so we booked up 6 days in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana for early September.
As it turns out Ljubljana is LUSH; the place is clean, green and totally gorgeous.
Our holiday kicked off to a super start anyway, something that we can credit our Airbnb hosts for. Before this trip, I was an Airbnb virgin (‘Stay in someone’s home? Where’s the comfort in that? Awkward, no?’). But after struggling to find conventional accommodation in the city centre, we thought we’d give this thing a try.
Our apartment was lovely; our hosts met us with a friendly ‘hello’, a few cold beers in the fridge and offer of two bicycles on loan for our stay. I immediately felt at home.
A bicycle is absolutely the best way to see the city. Everyone rides.
I was also amazed by the apparent lack of concern for security, but it’s so safe – most bikes weren’t chained up. Having spent the last 6 years living in London I was pretty much a given that you’d spend an average of two weeks with your new bike before it got pinched. Or even if you’d taken the initiative and reluctantly handed over half your months wages in return for a top of the range bike lock, you’d still come back, three hours later to find your new cycle less one bike seat and now limping along with a punctured tyre. So yeah, this was a new one!
Ljubljana Old Town
Ljubljana old town was a short bike ride away from our apartment. We left our bikes down by the canal and took the next stretch by foot at a more leisured pace. It wasn’t hard to slip right into this relaxed way of life. This place was so chilled.
It was like something straight out of a fairy-tale; pastel painted houses, cobbled streets and a castle fit for a princess perched at the top of the hill. It was just as pretty and as enchanting as somewhere like Prague, but minus the hordes of tourists, which just made it all the more like-able. Finding a table to dine Al-fresco down by the riverbank was easy; ‘Calamari, fries and two beers please!’.
A Day Trip From Ljubljana To Lake Bled
Lake Bled is an easy day trip from Ljubljana and one of the most beautiful areas I’ve been to. The water is a deep turquoise and perfect for taking boat rides or swimming, although we found it a tad chilly in September!
We took a hike to the top of the hill to get to the free look out point where you’ll find breath-taking views across the lake and the Julian Alps.
Make sure to stop at Hotel Park Restavracija Rikli for a slice of the original Bled Cake where you can take a seat on the terrace with a coffee for an uninterrupted view across the Lake.
Slovenia has rocketed up to one of my favourite countries, but even in my week long trip I still feel like there’s more to see – I’m keen to make a return trip to see more of the coastal towns, the famous caves or just to enjoy more of the cafes and restaurants in lovely Ljubljana.
Have you been to Slovenia? What did you think?
My Highlights From Ljubljana
The Old Town. Absolutely the prettiest city I’ve been to, the fact that it’s so clean and petite and walkable, totally helps. I just couldn’t believe how quiet it was; I’m used to having to elbow my way through crowds, so to be able to wander freely without the stress of other tourists was simply bliss. On our last evening we headed to the main square (Presernov Trg) and hung out on the steps, listening to the street music and watching the world go by – I never wanted to leave!
I have a feeling it won’t be like this for long though, our Airbnb hosts noted that it’s steadily been getting busier and busier over the last few years.
The cafes. I love cute cafes and good (cheap!) food with lush views – check, check and check! Our favourites were Zlata Ladjica where we ate Calamari underneath the shadow of the castle and Slovenska Hisa where we would relax in the evenings with a beer.
Neboticnik – not for the food as such, but I’d recommend heading to the top of the tallest building in the town for getting that perfect shot of the castle and to drink in the stunning views across the rest of Ljubljana. We went for breakfast and were one of only a few couples on the terrace.
Bled Cake. Cream cakes in England, bleurgh, Bled Cakes, however…!
Canyoning! This was something that we were keen to try, and it’s something that is offered at a location not far from Lake Bled. It turned out to be a really awesome tour with some great guides who helped us throw ourselves off cliffs into freezing water in the fun-est way! We booked in Ljubljana using Nature Adventures.
The safe, relaxed vibe. I’m in love with the atmosphere so this place. It’s perfect for those who want a city break without the stress; Ljubljana is such a friendly, welcoming and pleasant town to visit. I’m definitely keen to come back sometime, just writing this I feel a bit homesick for lovely Ljubljana!