Ljubljana, Travel Guide
Car traffic is restricted in the centre, leaving the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River, which flows through the city’s heart, free for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer, cafes set up terrace seating along the river; it almost feels like a nightly street party.
Slovenia’s master of early-modern, minimalist design, Jože Plečnik, graced Ljubljana with beautiful bridges and buildings as well as dozens of urban design elements such as pillars, pyramids and lamp posts, which exist solely to make the city even prettier. Attractive cities are often described as ‘jewel boxes’, and here the name really fits. Some 50,000 students support an active clubbing scene, and Ljubljana’s museums and restaurants are among the best in the country.
Ljubljana is one of Europe’s smallest cities – two million people live in Slovenia, and just 292,000 in the capital. It’s a place which feels surprisingly ahead of its time, thanks to a recently pedestrianised centre and a fleet of electric jeeps which will whisk you around for free – simply dial the number on the side of the vehicles. No wonder it was voted the European Commission’s Green Capital of Europe in 2016.
The residents have architect Jože Plečnik to thank for the city’s elegant, orderly layout. Regarded as a master of modern architecture, Plečnik designed large parts of Ljubljana’s centre in the early 20th century, shaping its embankments and designing its cemetery, market buildings, library, famous Triple Bridge and the Križanke Summer Theatre, converted from a former monastery of the Teutonic Order. Don’t be fooled by the name – a sliding roof means performances can take place on rainy days.