Spending a weekend in Ljubljana, you will notice how lovely, little and cute is the capital of Slovenia. Writing responsible tourism guide to Ljubljana is easy as the city takes a good care about the environment. Lots of steps towards sustainability were taken when Ljubljana was receiving an award for the greenest capital of Europe back in 2016. The city is very small, if you are in the touristic center you don’t have to use any public transport as everywhere is close by walk. Ljubljana has a lot of parks which literally look like forests and has a greatly developed biking path and city bikes which everyone can rent.
In this responsible tourism guide to Ljubljana I will show you the top sights of the city, the most important tourist attractions, park and the cool hippie district full of graffiti. Moreover, I will advice you where to eat and at the same time support local social entrepreneurship in the migrants restaurant. Let’s get started!
Responsible tourism guide to Ljubljana
When I was visiting Chisinau, the capital of lovely Moldova, I thought this is the greenest and the smallest capital in Europe. Being in Ljubljana I found it very similar to Chisinau. Ljubljana has only 300 k citizens, and it can be clearly seen that there is no crowd here, and the green areas are numerous. Therefore looking for a city gateway I think Ljubljana is a perfect idea for a weekend trip. Let’s have a walk around top sights of Ljubljana.
In the last decade Ljubljana has closed the city centre for traffic, introduced a complimentary public transport option – an electric-powered vehicle named Kavalir (Gentle Helper) and has increased the number of city buses running on methane, which has visibly contributed to reducing CO2 emissions.
The river side & Dragon Bridge
The cities charm stands in the small river, flowing through the city center. It’s a canal with few lovely bidges among which the most famous is the Dragon Bridge. In many souvenir shops you will see the dragons statues, similar as those standing on the dragons bridge. Ljubljana is called the city of dragons because the legends say, the dragons lived in the castle. The Dragon Bridge is considered the center of the center of the city.
Just a few steps from the Dragon’s Bridge heading towards the castle, there is a tourist information center. You may want to get yourself a city map, but remember to give it back, so it can be useful for other travelers and not wasted. From there you can have a great look at the castle standing on the hill. Before you climb up there, have a walk on the river side, as both of the sides are charming pedestrian streets with colorful old buildings along it.
Cathedral and the local market
The part of the city between the river and the castle hill is the oldest. There, you may want to have a look inside the cathedral and the local food market on the streets next to it. Being a responsible tourist in Ljubljana, I highly recommend getting your groceries on the market to support local producers. Buying locally has a positive impact on economy of the country and helps small farmers in their business. The central market is open every day except Sunday.
The castle hill
Hiking the castle takes around 15 min. It’s very easy to find the stairs if you only head to the castle direction. There is a cable car as well, if you are not able to hike. All the castle hill is actually a park with benches from time to time to rest and adore the view on the city. The best view is from the castle top but you will have to pay the entry fee. The castle courtyard is open free of charge.
Around 10 min walk from the center of Ljubljana, you will reach the beautiful park with a castle. Park Tivoli is a French style garden, with old trees and a pont. Perfect for a picnic or afternoon walk.
Metelkova – the hippie district of Slovenia
Metelkova is like a squat in former military barracks. It’s autonomous art center with several clubs and pubs. There are lots of exhibitions happening here, concerts, theater, painting and other cultural events. All the buildings are covered with impressive graffiti. Great to come there during the day to see the arts and come in the evening for its night life. Metelkova reminded me of Excharia in Athens or Christinia in Copenhagen. All, there full of graffiti, arts and culture. This unique hippie place is surely highlight of Ljubljana.
Where to eat in Ljubljana?
Slovenia is a mixture of cuisines from the neighbours: Balkan, Italian, French, Hungarian and Austrian. It’s based on cereals, diary products, meat (mainly pork) and vegetables. You will find a variety of restaurants and food from all over the world.
I would love to recommend the restaurant Skuhna which is a social entrepreneurship. They gather migrants from Africa, Asia and Middle East to increase their employment opportunities. You can try meals from Eritrea, Tunisia, India, Syria or Bangladesh. Skuhna is 5 min. walk from the Dragon’s Bridge on Trembarjeva 56 street.
When is the best time to come to Ljubljana?
All year is good to come to Ljubljana. The mild climate is just another reason for putting Ljubljana on the list of European gems. I was there in December and enjoyed the Christmas market of Ljubljana and the stunning city lights. Winter can be cold in Slovenia. It snows sometimes, and the temperatures vary around +5 degrees. However, I can’t wait to come to Slovenia during spring or summer, when everything around is green the temperature is perfect.
Check also: One day trips from Ljubljana
Have a great weekend in Ljubljana!