If my home town Graz had had a hot affair with Oslo somewhere by the Mediterranean, their illegitimate daughter would definitely be Ljubljana – at least according to my impression. Anyway, let’s start from the beginning. Before spending a few relaxing days at the beach in Croatia with I asked my friend Dani whether we could make a short stop in Ljubljana. Before, we had passed the city multiple times on our way to the sea when I was little. But this time I wanted to see more of it than just the motorway.
So once we devoured the best and biggest doughnuts (without a whole, of course) at Trojani we soon reached the suburbs of Ljubljana. We booked our Airbnb in the outskirts since we wanted to leave early the next day. There the first challenge awaited us: finding the bus into the centre was trickier than expected. After waiting at an abandoned bus stop for 15 minutes we realized that our stop was on the other side of a not so trustworthy, narrow bridge (we called it lovingly rape bridge). For using the city’s bus system you’d need a card that deducts the fare by holding it against a scanner. As you might assume, we didn’t own such a card and you couldn’t pay in cash. Consequently, the driver gave us free ride – the struggle with finding the stop was forgotten and two Austrian boys were enjoying their complimentary tour into the heart of Ljubljana. Once we got off, we strolled around the centre and checked out what the city has to offer.
The clean main street with its modern office buildings and shops is quite a contrast to the rest of centre. Busy little lanes with hipster shops and cafés and a marvellous riverside create a relaxed atmosphere and immediately put you in a holiday mood. Due to this Mediterranean vibes I got the feeling that a beach was just around the corner. However, after climbing the castle hill – just like in Graz – we couldn’t spot the sea (that is about 100 kilometres away). Instead, we got an amazing view over the city and in the distance you could see the Alps.
Afterwards we walked to the biggest park – Tivoli – of Ljubljana. For some reason, the main alley there reminded me of the street that leads up to the royal palace in Oslo. In the park there was some kind of festival going on. Okay, it was more a DJ with sweet electronic tunes and a few stalls around him. Still, it was hard to resist grabbing a cold beer and therefore we chilled in the grass and listened to the tunes. As soon as the beer was gone my stomach was ready for dinner. Choosing a restaurant turned out to be the second challenge of the day: not because of a lack of opportunities, rather the opposite was the case. There are so many inviting restaurants along the river and it’s neighbouring streets that make it really hard for you to decide where to allay your hunger. We finally settled on “Marley & Me” where I had an awesome burger (recommendable!).
To sum up, Ljubljana is your perfect choice if you’re looking for a short, relaxing city break. It might not be the largest one. Anyway, it gives you plenty of opportunities to spend one or two days where you can stroll around, enjoy the street artists and the culinary and watch the little town pretending to be a world city. Well, size doesn’t matter!