Gala Hala is 10 to 15 minute's walk from the beautiful historic center of Ljubljana - but quite a contrast.
Located in a less touristy area of town among graffiti-covered buildings, the cosy venue is oriented toward punk rock, metal and ska, and also hosts hip-hop and dub nights. Visitors over the years have included The Toasters and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes as well as small European bands.
In the summer you can enjoy the larger outdoor stage (Letni oder Gala Hala) and drink a well-priced lager under the stars while chatting with friendly locals.
Krizna Jama is an amazing underground network of caves and lakes in Slovenia. The best parts you have to reach by boat, taken by a guide. Crystal Mountain (Kristalna Gora) with its stunning display of stalagmites and stalactites is the most impressive. We were there on a photography holiday and had the opportunity to try 'painting with light' to get some great cave photos.
The most central Mexican restaurant in Ljubljana, this is a great reasonable restaurant for vegetarians, with massively generous portions of great quality foods. Try the tortilla lasagne for the ultimate in fusion food.
Restaurant serving traditional Slovenian fare. I packed snacks for a trip to Ljubljana, expecting the food to be bad. My friend and I were so impressed with this place, we went back three nights in a row. You must try prekmurska gibanica, a Slovene speciality with poppy seeds, cottage cheese and apples. Truly addictive. The game plate is also excellent. Popular with the tour groups, but don't let that put you off. Great food and very inexpensive.
Torso d.o.o. Ciril Metodov trg 18;
tel: +386 1 439 68 55
Fax: 01 430 01 17
For travellers on a budget, especially if travelling alone, Celica Youth Hostel is a great place to stay. Not the cheapest of the city's youth hostels, but unique in being an old renovated prison. The cheapest room is in a domitory in which the accommodation is basic, but free internet access, a good bar, breakfast, linen and towels included, access to a small kitchen and laid-back atmosphere make up for this. It's also only 10 minutes walk for the station and 20 from the city.
Metelkova 8, Ljubljana; tel: 386 1 230 97 00
Casa del Papa, located on the outskirts of the city, is loosely themed on Ernest Hemingway’s life. And so you have an American Bar upstairs, a Cuban Club in the cellar, and in between a canopy-covered restaurant serving a mix of Spanish and African cuisine. Quite where the tiramisu fits is anyone’s guess, but one taste and you won’t be inclined to complain. Dance off those calories in the salsa club, enjoy the cocktails, and party until the bell tolls for you.
54 Celovska Cesta; tel: 386 1 4343158
This very impressive building contains a good collection of Slovenian paintings - the Impressionist Painters/Period are particularly interesting – sculpture and frescos plus some European art.
Because of space constraints not all the collection can be displayed at one time, a fact explained on their informative website at www.ng-slo.si, however it is certainly worth going to see what is on display.
Opening Hours are 10.00am-6.00pm Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays and January, 1 May, 1 November, 25 December) Cost: 1,000 SIT
The Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana, appearing on the city’s coat of arms.
When the Zmajski Most was built in 1901, dragons were incorporated into the design and now stand on guard at both sides of the bridge.
It was the intention that the bridge should be built to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef’s reign and the bridge was named after him. However, who can compete with dragons and over the years the bridge’s original name has been discarded and its informal name adopted.
Legend has it that the dragons wag their tails every time a virgin crosses the bridge! I wouldn't like to say!
St Nicholas Church, Ljubljana’s cathedral, is easily recognisable by its green-topped dome and twin towers. The cathedral was consecrated in 1707, 6 years after building began. However there has been a church on the site since the 13th century dedicated, as is the current church, to the patron saint of fisherman and boatman.
Start your visit by walking round the exterior. On the southern wall is a brightly decorated pieta, a copy of one that possibly used to be in the Gothic cathedral that preceded the present one. Two huge stunning bronze doors, on the side and front of the building, were added in 1996 to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II. Decorated with raised relief scenes depicting 1,250 years of Christianity in Slovenia and the bishops of Ljubljana they resemble sculptures as much as doors.
Inside the decoration, particularly the vivid paintings by Giuilo Quaglio and Matevž Langus, create a sense of excitement, movement and vitality. The wonderful ceiling in the nave is so full of detail that after a while you find your eyes swimming as you pick out the various figures, animals and scenes. Likewise the inside of the dome (a later addition to the church in 1841) may set your head spinning as you swivel your neck upwards to see the intricate frescos that decorate it.
In the chancel are the imposing stalls for the bishop and clergy decorated with gilded wooden backrests, above is Langus’ impressive altar painting of St. Nicholas and above that small figures seems to hang from the wall linked together by vines of gold.
Very near the Triple Bridge, Dragon Bridge and Vodnikov trg
Your first impression of Ljubljana Castle will probably be from below staring up at it, standing like a sentinel, on the top of the hill overlooking the city. You are aware of its presence in the background well before you visit it.
Climbing up to the castle you meander on curving streets past beautiful cottages, views of the city and, in our case, under the watchful gaze of a number of neighbourhood cats! Once at the top you are rewarded with more fantastic views over the city from the 19th Century Belvedere Tower (there has been a settlement on the site since Celtic times but much of the castle is now based around 16th Century and after rebuilding) and a chance to look round St. George’s Chapel and the Castle itself.
During its lifetime the Castle has been used as a garrison, seat of provincial government and a prison. Now it is used for weddings, concerts and art exhibitions. While we were there was a fascinating exhibition of iron/metal work sculpture by Aleksander Arhar.
Castle Hill. Either take the Tourist Train from Prešeren Square or Walk up from Ciril-Metodov Trg or via Gornji trg and Ulica na Grad
If you follow the route of the Ljubljanica to the south the river widens and the high-sided embankments of the centre give way to broader walkways. Turn off from the river at the Gradascica Canal and you will enter two of the oldest suburbs in the city, Trnovo and Krakovo.
The pretty two storey cottages, the gardens and allotments give the suburbs a very different - much more rural - feel than the rest of the city.
It doesn’t take long to walk there – about 15 to 20 minutes – and on a sunny day it is a very pleasant stroll. You are rewarded by two neighbourhoods that contribute much to Ljubljana’s charm.
South of the city centre
The phrase “everything stops for tea” is certainly true of this charming teahouse situated on Stari trg in the heart of the old town.
You can either sit inside or, if the weather is good, under an awning on the other side of the narrow street. They serve a huge variety of green, black, flavoured and herbal teas. We tried Golden Nepal, Almond, Coconut Tea and a Darjeeling.
The tea is served from beautiful individual oriental style teapots and you pour it into fine bone china cups and saucers. The cups have a silhouette image of a Geisha on the base. You cannot help but feel genteel!
They also offer light snacks and cakes (hot chocolate muffin - delicious!), and there is also a shop selling teapots, cups and other tea-related bits and pieces.
This is a great place to chill out and people watch, the service is excellent and the tea wonderful. Go there and treat yourself
Stari trg 3
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