A Fairytale Country: Slovenia
Slovenia is a tiny but beautiful and underrated country nestled between Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast. You can easily include it in your itinerary while visiting these countries. Trust me, you wouldn't be disappointed! Before visiting, I had not known of anyone who had been to Slovenia. Now I really seem to wonder why?
Heres how I spent 5 Days in Slovenia, starting off with Ljubljana!
First off, the pronunciation! Ljubljana is pronounced as Lyoob-li-ana, basically the J is silent. It is a small colourful, vibrant city full of life!
Transportation was slightly confusing since we were taking the public buses and easily used to confused as to where to stand for the bus going in the right direction! lol! But thankfully the locals were really helpful regarding this. (To not to repeat my mistakes, make sure you ask the driver before getting on the bus) You've got to buy the bus card from a kiosk usually located close by. They don't sell tickets within the bus. The card costs 2 Euros, while each journey costs 1.20 Euros (Unlimited free rides for the first 90 mins)
As weird as it sounds, it is actually three bridges connecting the main square and the newer part of town with the Old town. While the original bridge wa built in 1842, the side bridges were constructed in 1929-32 for the pedestrians. It offers a picture perfect view of river Ljubljanica, Old Town, main square and the Market while the pink Franciscan Church pops up in the backgound. Make sure you stop by to photograph or just stand and eat up some corn and pretzels from the food carts. (Thats basically what I did lol)
I felt was the prominent structure in Ljubljana Old town
1) Because of its bright pink colour.
2) Because it was literally in the centre of Pressrun Square standing all alone. The church was built between 1646 and 1660 and its colour symbolises the Franciscan monastic order. Whenever you'll look up Ljubljana on the web, you'll definitely find photos of this beauty! Entrance to the church is freeeee! And the frescoes within the church are worth eyeing!
Tickets cost 10 Euros which also includes funicular ride up the hill. Don't miss out on it if you want some spectacular views of the city. Theres not much to do within the castle but an exhibition area, and a couple of cafes and pricey restaurants. To get the best views, go up the viewing tower within the castle (but the spiral stairs make you feel dizzy!) The tower is literally hidden within the castle grounds and I had almost missed it but you can always ask someone for the directions!
Cathedral of St Nicholas: On our way back from the castle we made our way to the church, which is a prominent yellow structure, so you wont really miss out on it. The massive bronze doors from 1996 were actually created for the 1250th anniversary of Christianity in the Slovenina territory and for the visit of Pope John Paul II. They depict the history of Slovenia. The intricate frescoes and gold leaf on the ceiling, and the pipe organ are not to be missed. Entrance to the church is free.
Metelkova: Was one of my favourite discoveries in Ljubljana. If you're an art lover, or generally likes graffiti, interesting quirky, grungy sculptures made out of recycled objects you've got to pay it a visit. It is known as an Autonomous social and Cultural Centre. Formerly, the site was a military headquarter of the Army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then it became the Slovenian headquarter of the Yugoslav National Army. They also tend to host club nights, concerts, art performances and DJ nights featuring underground artists!
You will not find any signs leading towards it, thanks to google maps we figured it out! Once you enter the place really does look abandoned and uninviting. It initially gave an uneasy vibe too but then I saw a couple of tourists with cameras so all was okay! The locals wont say anything to you but I wont hang out there for long. There are a lot of interesting photo points so don't miss out their art and creativity. I have heard it comes live at night but sadly I was just there in the afternoon.
The closest bus station is Friškovek, and buses 2, 9, 12, 25, 27, 12D, 27K go there.
The rest of my time in Ljubljana, I usually used to wander around the lovely historic old town. You’ll really get to admire the lively colourful cafes and restaurants, walk over the bridges covered in love locks to get a nice view of the river, while overlooking the old buildings and architecture and explore some interesting souvenir shops.
Did you know Ljubljana is actually famous for its honey!? Other souvenirs you can buy include their Slovenian Chocolate (Gorenjka), Slovenian Piran Salt, Prešeren Figs are a top quality praline honoring Slovenia’s greatest poet Dr. France Prešeren. This delicious treat is made of dried figs covered in cream and chocolate, Idrija Lace and of course lots of magnets! Hope all this information was helpful to you!