Ljubljana is my next destination and a name which I cannot pronounce. Until the kind hotel staff who pointed out to ignore the ‘j’ and I can finally say the name of Slovenia Capital without awkwardness. It’s probably also the most underrated beautiful capital city in Europe. And how can I not mention about the picturesque Old Town? The modern-looking Ljubljana makes me wonder whether the country has really been a part of former Eastern Bloc before.
Slovenia was the first member of Yugoslavia to gain independence and later on the first former communist countries to join the Eurozone. Perhaps this head-start has helped breathe new life into Ljubljana that it feels more Western Europe than Eastern. And that’s rather impressive given that it has only gained independence some 20 odd years ago.
The estimated population of around 270,000 almost seem like a typo error. But as a result, it also meant that the streets will not be overpopulated with people, yeah!
Just like all places in Europe, its Old Town will be the first place of visit. And it was within walking distance from Hotel Park Ljubljana. Oh, and I absolutely love the catchy Tourism slogan of “I FEEL sLOVEnia” by the creative minds.
Three bridges and Ljubljanica River
There are three well-known bridges which cross Ljubljanica River to the Old Town. First of all is the iconic Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most) with four fearsome-looking dragon statues.
Dragons are probably the most recognizable symbol of Ljubljana. The Dragon images can be found all over the city – coat of arms, flag, steps, and manhole covers etc.
Another one near to Dragon Bridge is the modern Butchers’ Bridge (Mesarski most), with glass panels on each side. This is the ‘Pont des Arts’ of Ljubljana where you will find Love Padlocks being placed on the steel cables. Butcher and Love Padlock? Seriously? A rather weird combination if you ask me…
Even the creepy looking sculptures on the Butchers’ Bridge are also being ‘locked’. 😄
Last but not least is the uniquely designed Triple Bridge (Tromostovje) linking to Preseren Square.
In addition, very near to Triple Bridge is Franciscan Church of the Annunciation at Preseren Square.
And here’s the good-looking emerald-green Ljubljanica River.
Old Town and Ljubljana Castle
The historic Old Town is small, lovely and vehicle-free. There are bright beautiful buildings housing shops, banks, restaurants and cafes etc. But it’s not a good idea to visit Ljubljana during weekends for shopping. Since most shops close early (like after 2 pm) on Saturday and remain closed during Sunday. The attractions will operate daily and some supermarket stores have a much later closing timing.
The Ljubljana Cathedral and one of its nicely decorated door.
I arrived at the Central Market but most of the vendors are already cleaning and packing up.
I took the modern funicular up to Ljubljana Castle which sits on a hill above the city. There isn’t really much up here during my visit and the café was almost closed for the day.
The nicest thing is probably the great surrounding view of Ljubljana from the Castle’s tower.
STAY: Hotel Park Ljubljana review
I opted for Hotel Park Ljubljana because of its location, which is a rather short walk to Old Town and most attractions. It’s almost right at the centre of a very walkable city making it an ideal choice. The room size is decent with a very comfortable bed although the furnishing seems like kinda old fashioned. The Internet TV boasts quite a handful of English channels but there’s no in-room safe.
The hotel’s surrounding is safe and quiet which ensures a good quality sleep. Furthermore, my 10th-floor room has a good view of the Ljubljana castle. Perhaps the only not-so-nice thing is the unstable Wi-Fi that keeps disconnecting during my stay. Still, everything else is decent enough for me to recommend it.