13 months
Aug 9:
5-star soap in a
0-star bathroom
Aug 11:
perfect little town
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cafes along Ljubljana River
Ljubljana, Slovenia; Aug 10, 2005

the low down

What we did: A brief stopover turned in to a 5-night stay as we were sucked into the idyllic environment of this town. There aren’t too many sights to see (we saw most of them in a day), but the real magic of this town is doing what everyone else is doing: just strolling around or sipping drinks in cafes and generally being happy to be alive. There are manicured parks throughout the city where people hold hands, sit and read or listen to music or practice their juggling.

Overall: What’s not to like? (See ljubljana: perfect little town.)

Ljubljana Grad

Essentials: You can get everything you need for a relaxing vacation here – books (English, French, German and of course, Slovenian), sunhats, ice-cream, but there aren’t big mega-plex shopping malls to get things like a satellite dish or a jet ski. (correction: for info about a nearby mall, see the comment from a local reader below.) Their bookstores do have the *biggest* selection of travel books we’ve ever seen. Also, if you’re coming in July and August, it is their peak tourist season and if you want to book a cheap hotel or double-room in a hostel in the city, you should do it at least a week or so in advance.

Food: The food here is a mix of food from their neighboring countries. In addition to grilled fish and meats you see a lot of Italian food (pizzerias), some Hungarian, and some Turkish. Seemingly random there are also 2 Mexican restaurants in town and one upscale sushi joint.

People: It is full up with (European) tourists at the moment, but it’s a very relaxed atmosphere so it’s still comfortable. On the contrary, it’s quite lively and soothing. You can still hang out with the locals every morning at the town market where everyone does their daily shopping.

Cost of Living: The price of hotels skyrockets during this time of year but otherwise the cost here is still a bit cheaper than other European countries.

Daily budget: We solved the high-season prices problem by staying in a double room in the university dorm youth hostel (i.e. bunk beds) for 28€ plus 5.00€ for breakfast for the two of us (see ljubljana: 5-star soap in a 0-star bathroom). We ate out for the other two meals and with other small purchases we spent a little less than $100 US/day combined.

Exchange rate: $1 USD = 194 Tolar (SIT)

What's fabulous: The atmosphere. It's easy to see why so many Europeans steal away here for a week or weekend to relax.

Weather: It rained a few days that we were there but it seems like it’s raining in all of Europe at the moment. On the other days the weather was beautiful, sunny but not too hot.

cafes along the river

Getting around: The town is compact, so it’s easy to find your way around the neatly-organized, cobble-stone (and clean!) streets, each lined with pleasant-looking historic homes with boxes of flowers on their balconies. And it’s easy to get to the rest of Europe quickly by train.

Difficulties: There aren’t really grocery stores here (though there are a few mini-marts), so if you miss the morning market, you can’t buy good produce anywhere else. During high-season, the small city is completely packed so arrive early in the morning to grab accommodations or make sure to book in advance. We arrived at 10 am and were the last people to grab rooms in the last hostel with availability.

Specific places we visited/things we did:
Ljubljana River

- Relax: Walk around the town. Then do it again. Then have some coffee. Then do it again. Relaxing in cafés and sitting on park benches were our favorite things to do here and we didn’t do much else. Neither does anyone else it seems.

- Daily market: Yes, we mentioned this market already. And we'll keep mentioning it until you go. It's that good.

- Ljubljana Grad (grad means castle): It's a nice hike up and down and the castle is cute. It looks like a toy castle.

- Trg Republic (Republic Square): In search of another monument, we went to check this out. Our recommendation is to not bother; it's basically just a big parking lot.

- Sushimama Restaurant: Sushi, in Slovenia? Yes, we were craving it. It’s a bit pricey and there isn’t much selection but it fills a fix if you need it.

- Pinky’s: A funny local hamburger shop. It probably rarely makes the "must-eat" lists for Ljubljana, but it was near our hostel, fast, friendly, and cheap.

- Book shop: The book shop near the main strip (sorry, we don't know the name) has the largest selection of travel books we’ve ever seen.

Check out the ljubljana gallery for pix of all the above!

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© 2004-2012 susan & grace, all rights reserved

-- comments from readers --


I just want to correct you a little bit on your information about shopping in Ljubljana. Now, I assume you haven't really spent a lot of time outside the city centre, but there's a huge mall district in the east of the city, the BTC (www.btc.si). You can find practically anything there (okay, I'm not really sure about jet skis :)... Keep up the good work on the site!

--Matt (Nova Gorica, Slovenia); Apr 3, 2006

Thanks so much for checking out the website and for correcting our information. We're always happy when a local can give us accurate information.

--Grace & Susan; Apr 15, 2006