48 hours in... Ljubljana
By Karl Cushing
Slovenia’s ‘green’ capital has never been so on-trend. Here's some ideas for a short visit...
Day 1: Old town charm
Morning: My first stop is Prešeren Square, impressive art nouveau buildings stretching up Miklošičeva Street. Compact and classy, the two sides of the traffic-free old town fan out from the narrow river, served by crossings such as Dragon, Butchers’ and Triple Bridge.
Tourist boats lazily ply the river as unhurried visitors and locals throng the café bars and restaurants lining the pavement and riverbanks, the cobbled streets and scenic squares adding to the tranquil air.
Afternoon: The riverside market makes for an easy first lunch spot, from affordable Moji Struklji and Kodila Gourmet to fish restaurant Most. Grazing the excellent, adjacent central market, and Pokrita Trznica building, is another. While closed on Sundays, there’s a riverside flea market on Breg Embankment, which also hosts the Christmas Market. Continue up Stari Trg street, eating, drinking and buying gifts, from Rpgaska crystalware to honey.
Evening: Enjoy a pre-dinner stroll, or funicular ride, to the squat castle overlooking the city. The sunsets are wonderful, not least from the bar outside the walls. Afterwards, consider dinner in the castle’s excellent restaurant, or choose a Stari Trg stalwart such as Valvas’or. For wine or cocktails try Movia and Kolibrifor or for riverside beers consider Lajbah or Premier.
Day 2: Peddle or paddle
Morning: Spread your wings beyond the old town with breakfast at a popular spot such as Le Petit Café before visiting Plečnik House museum, and possibly the Roman wall remnants, too. Next, stroll or pedal, using rental bikes or the city’s BicikeLJ scheme, to riverside Park Špica. SUP and kayaking are good options here, as are the Botanical Gardens.
Venturing back towards the old town, grab lunch at an excellent riverside eatery such as Manna or Monstera Bistro. Or join one of the myriad food & wine tours.
Afternoon: Walk off some calories in Tivoli Park, Ljubljana’s pre-eminent green space, later choosing among the cultural institutions that cluster nearby, such as the National Gallery. Afterwards, ascend the nearby ‘Skyscraper’ while snapping unrivalled city views. For longer walks or pedals, consider exploring Ljubljana Marshes, or take the 35km, city-encircling Path of Remembrance and Comradeship.
Evening: Follow with dinner at another excellent local eatery, the affordable Figovec being one favourite, with some culture, from ‘alternative’ Metelkova Art Center to a performance at Ljubljana Opera House. Or simply keep eating and drinking in the old town, ticking off the endless dragon motifs as you go, this being a city for dreamers and romantics after all.
Finish on a high by heading to OWL Rafting to try white-water rafting along the Ottawa River. The rapids are great fun for all levels of experience and make for a great family bonding exercise.
Book it with... Inghams
Inghams has a three-night B&B basis break for two, staying at Ljubljana’s 3.5-star City Hotel, from £618pp for an August 3, 2022 departure, including flights from Heathrow to Ljubljana Airport and transfers.