Why go now?
The balmy summer air brings everyone out into the Baroque streets and riverside cafés of Slovenia’s jewel-like capital. It’s like walking into the most civilised street party in Europe, with the bonus of exquisite architecture and top-notch cuisine.
Until 28 September, the Ljubljana Summer Festival (ljubljanafestival.si) runs a varied programme of classical concerts, opera, ballet and theatre in venues around the city. On a different note, there’s techno, blues, retro pop and club nights during the Gala Hala Summer Stage festival at the Metelkova Mesto (1) alternative culture centre (metelkovamesto.org) until 31 July. And on 28 August, the Biennial of Graphic Arts kicks off, with three months of projects, exhibitions and events across the city (mglc-lj.si).
Looking further ahead, the city will be Europe’s Green Capital 2016, taking up the mantle from Bristol (ljubljana.si/en/green-capital).
Ljubljana’s airport is 27km north-west of the city and is served by easyJet (0330 365 5000; easyjet.com) from Stansted, Adria Airways (00 386 1 369 1010; adria.si) from Gatwick, Southend and Manchester, and Wizz Air (0911 752 2257;wizzair.com) from Luton.
The shuttle bus from the airport to the bus station (2) costs €4.10, runs hourly and takes 50 minutes. Shared transfers can be booked with companies such as GoOpi (goopti.com) for about €9pp. Taxis cost between €40 and €45.
Get your bearings
The Ljubljanica river curves through the city, with the pedestrianised Old Town on its eastern bank dominated by the medieval Ljubljana Castle (3).
Three linked cobbled squares, Ciril-Metodov Trg, Mestni Trg and Stari Trg – more like wide streets than squares – follow the old medieval layout of the city to Gornji Trg.
On the western bank of the river is the cultural centre of the city, with the university (4), the Philharmonic Hall (5), one of Europe’s oldest, and the main square, Presernov Trg (6). The main tourist office (7) is by the Triple Bridge at Adamic-Lundrovo nabrezje 2 (00 386 1 306 1215; visitljubljana.com; open daily June to September, 8am to 9pm, to 7pm, October to May). Here, you can buy the Ljubljana Card, which gives free entry to museums, public transport and bike hire, plus various discounts. From €20.70 for 24 hours.
A few steps away from the river at Krojacka 6 is the chic Vander Urbani Resort (8) (00 386 1 200 9000; vanderhotel.com) run by a friendly Australian- Slovenian couple. Along with stylish rooms is a rare sight in Ljubljana: a rooftop plunge pool. Doubles from €109, B&B.
Cubo (9) at Slov-enska cesta 15 (00 386 1 425 6000;hotelcubo.com) has sleek modern décor in light-filled rooms. Doubles start at €130, including breakfast. . . . .
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