With a population of 300,000, the picturesque capital of Slovenia is one of the smallest European capitals. This is actually great, because it enables you to casually stroll around and easily reach its many sights and find interesting new places off the beaten track.
The dragon from the city’s bright red and green coat of arms will pop up everywhere and lead you through this delightful city. It is said that Jason and the Argonauts happened upon a lake between Vrhnika and Ljubljana after finding the Golden Fleece, and this is the proverbial dragon that Jason slew afterwards.
Ljubljana has been inhabited since prehistoric times – people living in pile dwellings started inhabiting the area way back in 2,000 BC and the oldest wooden wheel in the world (5,150 years old) was found here. During its tumultuous history the city served as a Roman military camp, it was destroyed by the Huns, rebuilt, but destroyed again in 1511 when there was a big earthquake, causing the city to be rebuilt in the Renaissance style. This lasted for three centuries, until another earthquake hit in 1895, and the city was rebuilt in Vienna Secession style.
Naturally, the city’s main river has a charming name as well – the Ljubljanica (little Ljubljana). The centre of the city and all the main sights are located around it, and you can choose between 8 bridges to cross it. The most notable ones are the Triple Bridge (three connected bridges, two side bridges being for pedestrians only, and the central one for cars) and the Dragon Bridge (an Art Nouveau bridge with four dragon statues). Another great attraction is the Ljubljana Castle, which has been overlooking the city for more than 900 years.
The Old Town offers an insight into the city’s medieval period, and if you want to see something even older, walk west of the centre and you’ll reach the Roman Ruins. You can also visit one of the museums (National Museum of Slovenia, Ljubljana National Gallery, Architecture Museum of Ljubljana), or sit down and breathe in the city in Tivoli Park.
Find out more about why you should visit here, or watch the video that will make it impossible for you to resist going to Ljubljana below:
Bled is a destination with all fairytale ingredients in it: it features a town, a lake with an island and a church on it, and a castle. The white and red castle is set on top of a hill amidst the Julian Alps. It houses a small museum and offers a superb view of the emerald green lake. A walk around the lake will take under an hour and the best way to reach the island is by taking a pletna, a traditional boat which resembles a huge gondola and costs €12. The Baroque Church of the Assumption on the island dates back to 1698, but a Gothic church used to occupy the spot before that. Iglica waterfall and Babji Zob Caves, located 4 km southwest of Bled, are also worthy of your time. See the breathtaking scenery below:
It takes around 2 hours to get from Zagreb to Ljubljana by bus and it costs 30-75 kn (one way). You can check the timetable here.
It will take you 1 h 15 min to get to Bled from Ljubljana; buses depart hourly and cost €6.30. Check the timetable here.
If you’re more of a travel package kind of person, Zagreb Tours has got you covered – you can book a trip starting at €130 per person. The price includes an English speaking guide, entrance to Ljubljana and Bled Castles, and a coffee and cake break in Bled.