You know Paris, Berlin, and Madrid. They are the big, metropolitan, European capital cities, that probably take up 75% of travel posts on Pinterest. They are the well known cities, the top travel destinations, the ‘bucket list’ vacation spots. But, there is a European capital city you may have not heard of. I know I hadn’t. And now I know, that the quaintest, most walkable capital city I’ve ever been to, is Ljubljana, Slovenia.
We enjoyed the perfect day in Ljubljana, and here are my top six things to do in the quaintest capital city in Europe:
1) A free walking tour of Ljubljana!
I am such a huge advocate for free walking tours. It is absolutely the best way to see a city, learn a bit about the culture and history, and to get a local’s suggestions for things to do and places to eat. We chose to go with Ljubljana Free Tour (website here). We met in front of the big pink church in Prešeren Square. Our guide took us around for about two hours, to the different sites, points of interest, and best photo opportunities in the city. If you don’t have time for many activities in the city, you certainly must take a walking tour!
2. For a coffee or an afternoon drink, go to Pritličje (don’t ask me how to pronounce it…)
For a trendy, super hip break from your day, head here for a coffee, a beer, or a fresh juice. With a shopfront right on one of the main shopping streets, Pritličje boasts an openly welcoming space for people of all sexualities, and identities. It seems like Ljubljana is a very open city. I am so happy that such an inclusive cafe thrives here, just two doors down from City Hall.
3. Try a piece of local cake.
After a two hour walking tour, you’ll be ready for a sweet little break. It’s the perfect opportunity to try a slice of the local cake, Prekmurska Gibanica. The cake is layer upon layer of pastry made of walnuts, poppy seeds, apples, raisins, and cottage cheese. There is a lot going on with this cake, and oh, boy, it’s is ALL right. We had a slice from Gujžina Prekmurska Gostilna. It was €3.50 for a slice to go, and €4.50 to eat it at a table. We chose to have ours to go, and enjoyed it on the steps of the city hall nearby. (Another local cake you certainly must try is the Lake Bled Cream Cake! Read about where to get the best piece here!)
4. Drink a local beer!
Slovenia has two major beer brands: Laško and Union. They are very similar, but Laško is a bit stronger. Therefore, when deciding which one to drink, think of how many you want. If you are just going to enjoy 1 or 2 beers, choose Laško. If you want to drink 3 or more, choose Union. Your body will thank you in the morning.
5. Wander through the open market.
In a big open square in the middle of the city, is the open market. Here, local farmers come and set up their tables to sell fresh fruit and vegetables from their farms. The market happens every day of the week, except Sundays, and is the perfect place to procure an incredible picnic. And, keep a sharp eye, for the Prime Minister of Slovenia is often seen perusing the stalls too!
6. For dinner? Eat a delicious local meal, and support a noble restaurant.
We went to Druga Violina for dinner. The restaurant is known for its large portions, reasonable prices, and for employing people with special needs. Here, we enjoyed the Slovenian sampler plate for two people to share. It was €28, and probably the most expensive thing on the menu, but well worth it. The food was delicious, and we had the opportunity to taste ten or so different local specialties. If you go here around 7pm, prepare for a wait. We arrived just after 7pm, and waited for about 45 minutes. Our table was on the patio, and we enjoyed some wonderful people watching as we enjoyed our meal.
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