Ljubljana, the Perfect Foodie City Break Destination from Croatia

Total Croatia News

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May 29, 2019 – The third and final part of the recent press trip around Slovenia organised by the Association of Slovenian Travel Journalists, a trip attended by TCN. Ljubljana.

Although TCN is aimed at all things Croatia, that does not mean we should ignore the neighbours. One of the many things I have appreciated since making the switch from Hvar to Varazdin is the proximity of our new home to the rest of Europe. A spontaneous decision to visit family over the Christmas holidays, for example, saw us at the Dunkirk ferry after 14 hours in the car. But there are many fascinating places to explore much closer to home in Hungary, Austria and Slovenia to name but three. 

And so I was delighted to accept an invitation from the Association of Slovenian Tourist Journalists for a 4-day tour of our western neighbour last week. And what a fun and diverse trip it was, starting with the ultimate glamping detox on the border at Big Berry and the wonderful Bela Krajina region, before a comprehensive tour of the city within the city of Ljubljana, BTC City – whose contents were as surprising as they were impressive

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The final day was left for the capital itself, gorgeous Ljubljana, a city I have visited a couple of times (and been totally charmed by) but do not know well. Our colleagues at Total Slovenia News are based in Ljubljana, and they offer arguably the best ongoing information about the Slovenian capital – here are 25 things to know about Ljubljana to get you started

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Rather than repeat their excellent work, what follows is an individual appreciation of what turned out to be rather a splendid day, beginning with some liquid refreshment from a rather charismatic water fountain on one of the main squares of the old town. 

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There is no debating the best location for the finest views of the old town and surrounding areas. While we could have walked our jogged through the forest to get to Ljubljana Castle, this little funicular made the ascent a little easier on these ageing bones. 

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The spiral staircase to the very top of the tower was well worth the effort once we got to the castle, but to read more about the castle itself, I refer you to my local expert colleagues and 25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle.  

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Apart from the views, however, what did strike me about the castle was the flat area below the tower. A superb space and perfect for all sorts of events, concerts and other performances. 

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And weddings, or course. The latest happy couple heading to the castle – congratulations.  

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Breakfast at the castle was like one I had never had before, 12 very individual dishes with an array of sweet and salty flavours. And yes, this is a portion for one. I particularly liked the pate and the asparagus tempura, while the strawberries, strudel and honey-covered cheese were also delights. As we discovered the previous day, the Food Bluz project is really taking shape in defining the diversity and quality of cuisine in Slovenia, and there are great plans ahead for Slovenia’s role as the 2021 European Region of Gastronomy.

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Among Slovenia’s many claims to fame is the fact that the oldest existing vine still producing grapes is located in Maribor, something which is celebrated each year in September. Cuttings from the 450-year-old vine were planted in the castle in 1990, and there is now an impressive vine to view. 

A vine which is going international. As Total Slovenia News reported last year, clippings were planted in both Pyongyang and Seoul last year, and the plan is to make a united Korean wine from the grapes of both when they ripen. 

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And the castle even has its own vineyard in the hills below its walls. The vineyard had previously been in existence but was resurrected in 2016, with the first vintage in 2018. Each of the vines are labelled by name, in thanks to the benefactors who made the project possible. 

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And if you take the short funicular ride up, I heartily recommend you walk down through a green oasis of refreshing nature. For although we might be in the centre of town, Nature and its forest rule. There are plenty of running routes as well, and this area is a perfect escape from the summer crowds, as well as (I can imagine) being idyllic in all four seasons.  

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I don’t think I could ever tire of the old town of Ljubljana. So compact and picturesque, And there were a few surprises pointed out by our guide. This road, for example, was the main thoroughfare connecting Zagreb to Ljubljana until 1959. How things have changed.  

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Although Ljubljana is getting discovered, there are plenty of quaint touches which show that over-commercialisation has not arrived on masse. Yet. Where else in Europe would you find a prime waterfront store selling vinyl records, for example? 

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 It is a glorious people-watching destination, an activity endorsed by the local birdlife observing the daily goings on at the castle. 


The highlight of the organised tour for me was the river boat trip. Our host was the Ljubljanica, the only hand-made wooden boat on the river. And what a joy she was.  

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Some strawberries and grapes washed down with a glass of bubbly, and we were away.  

What struck me was just how quickly we were out of the city and totally immersed in Nature. 3-4 minutes max.

Observing life by the river and the various ways people were taking advantage of it was wonderful, all to the slow rhythm of the Ljubljanica. You can find out more about the boat ride (cost just 10 euro, children under 6 free) on the official website.  

It really is a magical way to experience the city, especially the return journey into the historic old town. 

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A wander around the huge indoor market, which had something for everyone. 

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A wander through the historic streets and squares, which were vibrant indeed. Slovenia, Full of Life in late May.  

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And the perfect way to end the tour, just as it had begun. With great, fresh food. The street food scene of Ljubljana was one of many pleasant surprises from this majestic city less than 2 hours drive from Zagreb. It is a divine place. Learn more from the official Ljubljana tourist board website.

Looking to learn more about Slovenia? Why not follow our sister site, Total Slovenia News?


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