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Ljubljana


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City with its special charm

Published by Ana Gorše — 2 years ago

You might be wondering: why would I spend my money and time traveling to Ljubljana when I have so many renaissance cities in Italy and sandy beaches in Croatia, the country's neighbors? Indeed, those places are great - but so is Ljubljana in its own specal way. I will try to show you why most of the tourists coming are so amazed by it.

Old city center

What most tourists visit first when they come in Ljubljana is the city center. It is located on a small area on both bank sides of the river Ljubljanica which can be used for seeing the city taking one of the boat tours. There is plenty of coffee shops and bars on both sides always full of people going there to exchange the latest news. The center also has many old buildings of different colors, small balconies filled with flowers, many benches and water pipes you can use to rehydrate. All in all, it is indeed a very tourist-friendly city. It is best to visit it during the spring and summer months or during the christmas time when you will be able to see the lights, decorated trees, stalls and many places offering mulled wine.

Prešeren square is the central square with pink church and a place with its own climate in the middle during the summer (meaning there are small water drops sparkling from above to refresh you during the summer). You can cross it using one of the bridges called The triple bridge, made by Slovenian most famous architect Jože Plečnik.

Going right from the square you will get to Kongres square and on the way there you can stop in Zvezda, the city's best dessert shop. Nearby is NUK, the National library with nicely decorated staircase. And if you go left fro the Prešeren square, you will get to The Market Hall which is ecpecially inviting on summer Fridays as there is Open Kitchen (''odprta kuhna'') where you can try food from different restaurants around the city. There are two bridges that are know in that direction: The Butcher's Bridge where couples lock their love and The Dragon's Bridge.

Skyscraper used to be Ljubljana's tallest building. It is located on Slovenska cesta. The elevator can take you to the balcony on top with bar and restaurant, both quite expensive but still worth a visit on a sunny day as it offers a nice view of the center.

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The river banks

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The castle

The mighty Ljubljana castle is rising just next to the city centre. It is standing on the hill and is surrounded by what one can call a small forest. There are several ways to reach it: you can go by car by the main street. But more suitable for tourists is to simply take one of the small paths around the castle leading you there. One of them starts on Vodnikov trg and it is marked by sign. You can also use the funicular. The castle will offer you spectacular view of the city which you will see even better if you climb on the tower. The entrance to the castle yard and the walls is for free. You will only pay for the exhibitions and the tower if you wish to.

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Ljubljana castle.

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The green Ljubljana

Last year, Ljubljana was crowned Green Capital of Europe, and there is a fair reason for that. You will find trees and plants in the city centre, climbing to the castle and where else-the largest city park called Tivoli. Do not confuse it by the amusement park in Copenhagen with the same name. But even though it does not have the roller coasters, it is a great place for relaxation. It also has this lively atmosphere as there is many people going there for recreation or to socialize by sitting in cafe, benches or (why not) grass.

It expands to Šišenski hill and others with a pink church located on one of them - Rožnik from which you will have a great view of the city and the castle from above. Besides trees and plenty of runners, you can also find small ski-jump you can climb on. By walking long enough you will arrive to Koseze, a pond popular among people living in Ljubljana for spending some time in the nature. And if you get too tired to go back by the same road, you can simply take the bus to the center from there.

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Koseze pond.

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Museums and galleries

If you are interested in art, Ljubljana will not leave you indifferent. There are several contemporary exhibitions in the city centre you can visit for free. It is a nice way of exploring some culture without having to pay for it. For larger collections you can stop at one of the bigger museums on the way from Slovenska cesta to park Tivoli. There is National Gallery as the most known with collection of famous slovene painters. Across you will find Museum of Modern Art holding more recent art pieces from 20 and 21 century. There are also lots of others you can choose depending on your preferences, such as: Geographical Museum, Museum of Graphic arts, Railway Museum and Slovene Ethnographic Museum.

There is also a part of Ljubljana with its very own special vibe called Metelkova. It is alternative place decorated with graffiti very close to the main bus and railway station. That is also a place where you can find artists, bars and a hostel which used to be a prison.

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Metelkova.

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Addition: Erasmus in Ljubljana

I have been on Erasmus in Madrid and there really is no place like it. But as much as Slovenes like to choose Spain for Erasmus, Spanish students like Ljubljana. Besides the reasons above, there are several other reasons.

Most of the Erasmus students choose to live in a student dorm with two people in one room. It is cheap and one can get to know many other students from all over the world. There is also a lot of parties.

Students have a privilege of eating for less. There is a thing called student meal vouchers and it works by calling a specific number on your phone in some places with food (you can find them on the webpage:studentska-prehrana. si). Doing that you can eat for as cheap as 3-4€ for a whole meal and in some places around Faculty of philosophy you can even get tortilla or pizza for free. Just remember that you have to go to the student office first in order to use it.

Also, there are several good options for getting from one place to another. There is a city bus networking around Ljubljana and normally there is one coming every 10-15 minutes (depending on the line and hour). A monthly card will cost you 20€, but you can also choose to pay for the individual tickets. You can do that by buying urbana card and put money on it or by calling a number on the machine inside the bus. One way ticket costs 1, 20€. You can check more on their webpage: lpp. si.

Then again, you can go around by bike as it is a city very friendly for doing just that. Just make sure you lock your bike every time you park it somewhere or you might end up without it. There is also a public bike system but it is not very reliable as certain bike-points often run out or bikes. And as it is a small city, you can simply go around by foot.

Ljubljana is close to many other interesting places so there is many options for making day/weekend tours. For instance, you can visit Bled, Piran, Venice, Zagreb, Crikvenica, Vienna with no real problems of finding transport line to get you there.

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