Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is both one of the most unknown and livable cities in Europe. It’s arguably also the capital city with the most tongue-twisting name.
Home to about 280,000 people, this is by no means a huge city. Rather to the contrary, Ljubljana feels like an easy-going town. There aren’t really any prominent highlights, but instead, the city is all about its vibrant atmosphere.
With a colorful and laidback Old Town surrounding a hill topped with a castle, Ljubljana is pleasant, pretty and picturesque—a perfect place to visit for a couple of days.
The heart of the city is completely traffic-free, which leaves the old cobbled streets and the banks of the Ljubljanica River to strolling people and terraces of restaurants and bars. The Ljubljanica River is flanked with trees, the streets lined with boutiques, the squares home to al-fresco cafés.
The city’s amazing historic feel is countered by deteriorating buildings covered in graffiti. However, this is one of those places that can pull off having a rougher edge. Instead of looking shabby, Ljubljana is even more atmospheric just because of those graffiti-covered buildings.
Although there are a few fine museums, I don’t recommend visiting them. I think your time is better spent outside—unless it rains, of course, which is when a museum visit is a wonderful option. You can stroll across and around the Old Town and get a real sense of the city’s history and architecture in a couple of hours. I would suggest dedicating at least one full day to the city, simply wandering aimlessly through the beautiful old streets, sipping coffee at a riverside café and admiring the architecture at the city’s main squares.
While exploring the city on foot, it’s easy to see why it is considered to be one of Europe’s most livable cities. There’s greenery everywhere, the entire city center is pedestrianized, the buildings are gorgeous, and there is always something going on.
Ljubljana mixes the best of many worlds—it takes something from all its influential neighbors, most notably Vienna and Venice. It’s its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Slavic and Italian cultures that gives Ljubljana its characteristic charm.
I hope that you enjoy looking at the following 20 photos of Ljubljana as much as I enjoyed taking them.