I have been to Ljubljana, the green capital of Slovenia, three times for overnight stays so I have decided to write a blog about nice things to do whilst on a short trip and also where to find vegan food. On my most recent visit, I took my mum with me as she had never been and I definitely think it’s a lovely city to go sightseeing. I am living in the Soča Valley for the summer season and there is a decent bus connection with the city. Out of season it runs twice a day (four times in the high season) from Bovec to Ljubljana via Tolmin. Admittedly it does take double the time of taking your own car but if you’ve got time or no vehicle then it’s a nice laid back option. A single ticket from Žaga (5 minutes from Bovec) is €12.40. The bus leaves from Bovec at 6.50am.
Ljubljana is a relatively small city which makes it so easy to navigate by foot or bike. Walking around the pedestrianised centre is a great way to see the small cobbled alleyways and visit the independent shops. If you want to get further afield and explore areas like Tivoli park, then a better way to explore is by cycling. Ljubljana is a really bike friendly city and you can hire bikes from outside the Tourist Information. The city is full of different types of accommodation within walking distance of the city centre. I have stayed at CUBE Central Rooms twice, it’s basic but super cheap and obviously, central. They usually have good deals on booking.com.
From CUBE you can follow the river down to the Špica where the Ljubljanica river meets the canal. It’s a relaxing area of the city where you can grab a drink at the local cafe or simply relax in the green park. Over the Hladnik’s footbridge from the Špica, you can also visit the peaceful University Botanic Gardens. There is some really interesting species of flowers and plants there that totally remove you from the city and take you to some place more tropical.
Central Market is located next to the Ljubljanica river and the Tourist Information. It’s a beautiful open area where traders are selling fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, vegetable plants, local and handmade products. It’s the perfect place to pick up a fruity snack like a punnet of fresh strawberries or raspberries for cheap.
Ljubljana castle is an icnonic fairy tale landmark which you can reach by foot or by the funicular train. The views from the castle grounds offer a 360 degree panoramic of the city, if you can make it up there for sunset then you get to see the city swathed in pink light. You can dine in the ‘Rock Hall’ at Restaurant Na Gradu which offers modern Slovenian cooking at reasonable prices. They definitely offer vegetarian dishes and I’m sure would be able to make some vegan.
Metelkova is an interesting area to visit. It’s almost like an open air art gallery for graffiti artists to express themselves and showcase their work. There are some awesome pieces to look at and I think my favourite is the under the sea section with jellyfish and octopus. Apparently the cheapest beer in Ljubljana is sold here at the gig venue which hosts many late night gigs and events.
I have been to Ljubljana before but my most recent trip was the first time to visiting following a plant based diet and I love to seek out vegan food in European cities. My mum and I stopped for a snack and had some guacamole and chips with a beer at Cantina Mexicana which had awesome tiled tables.
The German bakery chain Back Werk had some great vegan breakfast and lunch options. I had an avocado, sun dried tomato and salad bagel which was super tasty and cheap and they also had vegan spinach bureks too. We had a late dinner at OnThai cafe which is a tiny place, opposite Pizzeria Foculus. It serves about 6 vegan Thai options. I had one of the spiciest noodle dishes on the menu, but it was just what I needed after a long day of sightseeing. Pizzeria Foculus also serves up good vegetarian and vegan pizza options too. There is a Loving Hut in Ljubljana too located next to the train station which I am yet to visit. It looks nicer than the ones I went to in Prague so I would like to try this one on another trip.
A perfect place to relax is to have a pre-dinner beer pivo is in one of the many bars along the river. There is people watching aplenty here and you can get a great deal on beers in the happy hours. The city views are lovely, especially as the sun is setting in summer you get to see the buildings changing colour in the low, warm light.
Ljubljana is a totally laid back city where it feels like even the locals aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere. I think the the nature surrounding the city has a lot to do with people feeling chilled and the friendly atmosphere the city emits in the summertime. I hope this blog gives you a good idea about the city and how it’s possible to squeeze a lot into 24 hours.