Ljubljana: Love at first wander

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, a country that is often overlooked. I’ve often described it as ‘similar to Switzerland but cheap’. It means you can have that adorable skiing or winter vacation without maxing your overdraft.

I have been twice. Once on my European trip in May 2017 and then again in December 2018 with my boyfriend. It was a brilliant experience both times and you should visit more than once as well. For the most romantic experience, my recommendation would be to go in December.

Coming to Slovenia feels like stepping into a fairy tale. It’s no wonder the Soca Valley was used to film Prince Caspian- when you are there you just can’t believe its a real place. I remember when I was on the bus to Bovec I just kept staring out the window in disbelief. I had never seen water that colour before. Slovenia is made up of breath taking natural scenery and the whole country deserves credit but I will try to keep the focus on Ljubljana itself for now.

My partner and I planned our trip so that we would be there for the turning on of the Christmas lights. Ljubljana has the most spectacular display of Christmas lights you can imagine. Using the universe as inspiration, they cover the city with all sorts of planets, stars and comets. We spent some perfect evenings just wandering around town admiring the stars, then stopping at various cafes to warm up.

There’s a tonne of great cafes you can stop at. To be honest the both times I have visited, I have been on too much of a tight budget to do the cafe scene justice. However I can suggest that any chocolate lovers should visit Cacao. Located less than a 5 minute walk from the city centre, it’s a cozy cafe on the waterside that has a mouth-watering selection of hot chocolates. I’m not talking the hot chocolate we are used to in the UK.. no this is the good stuff. It’s the kind that is, basically, a cup full of melted chocolate joy. We sat outside next to the heaters and shared two cups- ‘Peanut butter and chocolate’ and ‘Nutella and Banana’.

It started snowing the first evening we were there which made us feel so blessed. Having come from around four years of snowless winters in the UK; we didn’t want to miss a single second of this phenomenon. We went on a late night walk, built snowmen, hurled snowballs at each other and argued about whether or not me eating snow was the cause for my horrible flu I got when in Italy many Christmases ago.

A short day trip from Slovenia is Bled Castle. Bled was built on a small island in the middle of a lake, surrounded by mountains. An injury I had at the time limited us a bit but we still managed to walk a good amount of the lake and take in the astonishing view then climb up the castle that’s on the hill overlooking Bled for an unforgettable sunset. There’s a number of restaurants and cafes around the lake to relax in at the end of your walk before you get the bus back.

My time in Slovenia has been magical. One of the top destinations on my list is Piran which is a seaside town to the west of the country. I can’t wait for the day where I get to walk the streets and parks of Ljubljana again.

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