Unusual Things To Do in Ljubljana, Slovenia

By Abi King | Europe

Jan 06
There are so many beautiful and unusual things to do in Ljubljana when you travel to Slovenia. From quirky historical tours to great food and interesting architecture, this guide to the best things to do in Ljubljana will help you plan your trip to Slovenia. #Ljubljana #Slovenia

Ljubljana was one of the cities of my dreams, my Atlantis.

Sure, the taxi driver left me stranded on the outskirts of town in the rain – but let’s write that one off as an occupational hazard. Thereafter, Ljubljana gave me enough experiences and inspiration to choke up my long-suffering hard drive. There are simply so many unusual things to do in Ljubljana, it’s a joy to write about the place.

Seatbelt fastened, tray tables stowed and seats in the upright position? All right, then. Let’s go.

Ljubljana: What it is and where it is.

Perhaps you know this, perhaps you don’t. To spare your blushes, I’ll tell you myself.

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, which was part of Yugoslavia when people my age were growing up. Before that it was part of the Habsburg Empire but before we disappear down the rabbit hole of history for this part of the world, let’s stop and make sure we’ve got our bearings.

Slovenia, Ljubljana - where it isThis is where Slovenia lives, landlocked between Italy, Croatia, Austria and Hungary.

Nicknamed “White Ljubljana”

Apparently, Ljubljana earned this nickname thanks to the pale churches & mansions that appeared during the Habsburg era – but I have another theory.

Wander along Ljubljana’s riverside Christmas Markets and you’ll find that the mulled wine scorns the traditional reds found across the rest of Europe – for an unmistakeable Ljubljana white.

Unusual Things To Do in Ljubljana

Unusually Striking: Ljubljana’s Art Nouveau

It’s not just about cobbled streets and medieval city centres. Ljubljana had a thriving art nouveau scene, with opaque glass and ornamental door work still easy to spot across the city.

Ljubljana, Slovenia Art Nouveau

Shop at Ljubljana’s Chic Boutiques

Slovenia Ljubljana Sleek Boutiques

Taste Ljubljana’s Fine Food:

fine food in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana’s gourmet restaurants offered up some of the best meals I found along the #IronRoute. Alas, there were too many to taste them all! Here’s Restaurant Spajza, which I’d highly recommend if you ever find yourself in Ljubljana…

Warm Yourself with Ljubljana’s Hearty Food…

jota - traditional dish from Ljubljana, Slovenia

The icy winter winds have really started to bite as I’ve travelled north. Arriving in Slovenia was the watershed. It is cold.

That’s what makes jota so perfect. Warm, hearty, bursting with flavour from beans, pork cubes and sauerkraut (don’t laugh, it tastes better than it sounds,) this dish of jota was enought to sweep out the chill from my bones and usher in an interesting chat with the chef.


Catch Ljubljana’s “Traditional” Street Art and Sleep in a Jail Cell (Last part optional)

Ljubljana Slovenia Edgy street art

Wander around the streets near Hostel Celica (which itself used to be a prison) to catch up with plenty of street art and edgy living.

Enjoy Ljubljana’s “Unusual” Street Art

Ljubljana Street Art in Slovenia

Yet you can find sweet street art like this as well…

Take on Ljubljana and the Dragon

Ljubljana Dragon, Slovenia

Ljubljana has not one but four dragons guarding the, er “Dragon Bridge” (one of the earliest asphalt bridges in Slovenia, if you’re into that kind of thing.) From paper dragons in China to scarlet flag-emblazoning ones in Wales, to patriotic dragon slayers called George in England and Jordi in Catalunya, I’ve never quite worked out why so many different cultures have such similar takes on this mythical, fire-breathing creature.

Discover Ljubljana and the Iron Curtain

Slovenia, Ljubljana History - military tank

OK, here’s where we get serious again. For all the above-mentioned frivolity, the iron curtain is the real reason why I came to Ljubljana on this particular trip. Apologies if you know this already, but I’d started in Istanbul and travelled by InterRail up to Berlin in order to zigzag across the former iron curtain, the barrier that carved up Europe while I was at school.

Slovenia, and hence Ljubljana, and to an extent all of the former countries of Yugoslavia, formed a vital part of this route. But not, perhaps, for the reason you might imagine.

To be continued…The story continues over here with The Cold War, the Iron Curtain & Somewhere In Between
. To put the iron route into context, visit the #ironroute page or watch the video.

Where to Stay in Ljubljana

Recommended place to stay: the Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa

Disclosure: #IronRoute was sponsored by InterRail at www.interrailnet.com. As usual, I had complete editorial control.

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