SLOVENIA

A mountainous country in southern Central Europe, Slovenia has long been the crossroads of a number of languages, cultures and trade routes. The country, which split from Yugoslavia and became independent in 1991, sits at the heart of Europe where the Alps meet the Mediterranean. Its landscape features lakes, ski slopes, coastal towns and medieval villages, and an utterly charming capital in Ljubljana.
BASICS /// Flag: 🇸🇮 // Capital: Ljubljana // Currency: Euro // Languages: Slovene (also Hungarian and Italian)

 


 ITINERARIES

Capital of Slovenia, with a river running through its heart.
SEE
Nebotičnik Building: An early skyscraper and city landmark. Head to the top floors for a city view, and make sure to check out the spiral staircase.

Moderna Galerija (Museum of Modern Art): Boasts a range of Slovenian modern art as well as compelling special exhibitions.

Metelkova City: An autonomous cultural centre located in a former military barracks housing galleries, bars and artists studios. The exteriors of the buildings alone — covered in mosaics, graffiti, sculptures and art — are worth checking out.
DO
Ljubljana Castle/Funicular: Take the short funicular ride up to the castle to enjoy fantastic views of the city, particularly on a clear day. While you’re there, stroll around the castle grounds, which often feature special exhibitions of interest.

Walk along the Ljubljanica: Ljubljana is a city of notable bridges, including the Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge. A walk along the river is a must to soak in the city’s architecture and social life centered around this central waterway.
EAT
TaBar: A Slovenian tapas bar featuring delicious small plates and a long wine list. Perfect for a light meal and, on a nice day, some people watching outside.

Le Petit Cafe: A charming, French-style cafe; lovely for breakfast/brunch.

Pritličje: Quiet coffee shop, store and cultural center by day, electronica club by night; nice for an afternoon stop on a riverside walk.

Güjžina: Cozy restaurant specializing in cuisine from the Prekmurje region near Hungary. Definitely try the bograč (a hearty goulash-like stew) and any dumpling dishes.

Open Kitchen: An open-air food market that runs from mid-March to October.


CULTURE FILE

Ivan Cankar
An influential writer, playwright, essayist, poet and political activist who was a forerunner of many modern Slovene works. (See READING IN / Cankar in Ljubljana for more.)
Slavoj Žižek
An oft-controversial philosopher and cultural critic whose works often challenge the status quo and attack capitalism and neoliberalism.
Ples v dežju (Dancing in the Rain) (film)
A 1961 classic film noir depicting a love story between an actress and a painter.
Ivana Kobilica
A prominent female painter at the turn of the twentieth century, Kobilica was a realist who worked mostly in oil and pastels.
Ivan Grohar
An impressionist painter known for his landscapes. His painting Sejalec ("The Sower") became such an iconic image it was depicted on the Slovenian 5 cent euro coin.
Tone Kralj
An expressionist sculptor and painter known for his wall paintings in churches and illustrations.
France Mihelič
A key figure in Slovenian painting in the latter half of the twentieth century known for his surrealist works.
Jože Plečnik
An architect whose influence can be seen all around Ljubljana, most famously in its Triple Bridge.
Laibach (band)
An avant-garde industrial group named after the German word for "Ljubljana" (which was banned in the former Yugoslavia). Known for their adoption of totalitarian-style aesthetics, Laibach became infamous in 2015 after they became the first Western group to perform in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Idrijski žlikrofi
Dumplings with a potato-based filling and characteristic hat-like shape, hailing from Idrija town in the western part of Slovenia.
Kranjska klobasa
Carniolan sausage similar to kielbasa.
Štruklji
A famed traditional dish formed from pastry dough rolled around a variety of fillings. Can be sweet or savory; typical fillings may include apple, walnut, or cottage cheese.
Bled cream cake
A specialty of the Lake Bled area, with perhaps the most famous version being served at the Hotel Park patisserie.
Bograč
A hearty stew from the Prekmurje region of Slovenia, near Hungary. Cooked in a heavy pot, bograč often includes potatoes, onions, peppers, and several different kinds of meat (e.g., beef, pork, venison and wild boar).