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7 things to do while in Ljubljana

In recent years, Ljubljana has transformed itself to a vibrant oasis, teeming with cultural activities, culinary delights, and architectural sights.

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In recent years, Ljubljana has transformed itself from a congested, fume-filled city to a vibrant, cyclist-friendly oasis, teeming with cultural activities, culinary delights, and architectural sights to discover. Exuding both the sophistication one might expect of a larger metropolis and the charm one would find in a small town, the Slovenian capital offers the best of both. Here are 10 ways to fall in love with Ljubljana.

1. Stay caffeinated like a local

Cafe in Ljubljana

Slovenians covet their Turkish coffee, and with all the outdoor activities on offer in Ljubljana, it’s easy to see why. Grab your early morning high octane hit at Slovenska Hiša on Cankarjevo embankment. And when your afternoon craving kicks in, head to Café Čokl for some organic chocolate and a cup of in-house, freshly roasted, fair trade coffee.

2. Cycle the city

Cycling around Ljubljana

Ljubljana’s flat terrain, designated bike trails and car-free centre make it a pleasant place to discover by bicycle. Cruise along the emerald-coloured Ljubljanica river or in and around the many public green spaces, and you’ll understand why this city was named one of the world’s top green capitals and ranked 8th by the Copenhagenize bicycle-friendly cities Index.

3. Explore Metelkova autonomous cultural zone

Metelkova autonomous cultural zone

The Metelkova autonomous cultural zone is one of the few places on the planet where you can sip a tea, admire art installations, attend a concert, deliberately sleep in a jail cell and crash an underground party – on former military barracks.

In the 1990s, artists took over this former military zone in an attempt to transform it from a dark relic of the past into a multicultural creative community with a positive future. They were met with opposition and threats of demolition by the government but artists persisted, squatting on the property to protect it.

4. Stroll through Tivoli Park

Tivoli Park

Enjoy a slower pace – and some cake – at Ljubljana’s largest park. With five square kilometres of green space, tree-lined walkways and trails to trek, Tivoli Park is a favourite for locals and visitors alike. Check out the open-air gallery at the Jakopič Promenade, order a cake at the Čolnarna café, or just laze in the shade with a good book.

5. Take a day trip to Slovenia’s gracial lakes, Bled and Bohinj

Lake Bled in Slovenia

Ljubljana is perfectly positioned as a base for exploring Slovenia beyond the city. Smarna Gora, a popular hiking trail with panoramic views from the top, is just 20 minutes north of the city centre. Venture further afield, about an hour north of Ljubljana, and you’ll reach the Julian Alps region where you can explore glacial lakes – like Bled and Bohinj – and scenery so spectacular you’ll feel certain you’ve stepped straight into a fairytale.

6 . Visit Caves at Postojna

Postonja Caves

Under an hour south of the city you’ll find Postonja, one of Slovenia’s 11,500 caves. The Postojna limestone cave has attracted tourists from everywhere in the world for over 200 years now, and its popularity is proven by the over 36 million visit.

7. The castle of Predjamski, the world’s largest cave castle

Castle of Predjamski

Some 10 kilometres from the Postojna cave system, there’s a well-known fabled castle, which was chosen as one of the 10 most fascinating castles of the world by Forbes; the Predjamski Castle. What’s special about it is that it was built directly on the hillside, at the entrance of a cave somewhere in the 13th century.