The Funkiness of Slovenia’s Ljubljana

There are many things I could tell you about Ljubljana, a gorgeous European city whose name I still cannot pronounce or write correctly without the help of an Encyclopedia.

Grand avenues, quirky new architecture, amazing food, funky colorful neighborhoods and a castle with an unrivaled view to the snow-caped mountains are some of the many wonders you shall find here.

The quirkiness of Ljubljana

The quirkiness of Ljubljana

Come join me in this photo journey to Slovenia’s capital city and be on the watch out for the dragons that loom over this charming place. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Are you ready for the unique funkyness of Ljubjlana?

Street Art at Metelkova, Ljubljana

Street Art at Metelkova, Ljubljana

Understanding Slovakia Slovenia, a country like no other in Europe

“Slovenia? Sure, I love it! Bratislava is such a cool city” a friend of mine once said. “Eh…that’s actually Slovakia?” I said. “Wait, isn’t it the same country? Let me Google it” he replied, still perplexed about the similarity of the names.

To make matter worse, Google Image search showed him that the flags even share the same colors (White, Blue, Red) with only an emblem to tell them apart.

Golf at Ljubljana and the Castle

Golf at Ljubljana and the Castle

Did you know that both embassies meet each month to exchange wrongly addressed mail?

The number one reason for this confusion is that in the Slovak language, the name of their own country is Slovensko while in the Slovenian language, the name of their own country is Slovenija.

Can you imagine now the pain of a post delivery guy? Read more about the differences between Slovakia and Slovenia here.

Musicians at Ljubljana

Musicians at Ljubljana

So what does Slovenia has? Well, funny you asked (or shall I say funky you asked?) because Slovenia is probably the best place in Europe to enjoy a mixture of incredibly funky street art with natural mountainous landscapes.

Slovenia also has great coastal destinations, mysterious caves and medieval castles that look like something straight out of a Disney movie.

Lovelocks at Ljubljana

Lovelocks at Ljubljana

Each one of the four seasons will bring a different color to Slovenia and with it, a new array of activities that you can enjoy, from skiing in the Julian Alps to sunbathing in the Adriatic coast but no matter the season, a stop to Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is a must.

I mean, you really don’t want to miss out visiting Europe’s funkiest capital, do you?

Ljubljana in the Winter

Ljubljana in the Winter

Metelkova, the place where the funkyness of Slovenia was born

Ljubljana has many different areas to explore, but none of them is as unique as Metelkova. What can I tell you about Metelkova? Well, Metelkova is funk personified. It is recognized as an autonomous social centre and the whole block used to be the barracks of a former military base.

Metelkova was squatted back in 1993 during the first years of Slovenian independence and ever since has been a beacon of hope for independent artists and social thinkers.

The Man of Wonders in Slovenia

Raphael Alexander Zoren, The Man of Wonders

Today, you can find many bars inside of Metelkova itself as well as the best displays of street art this side of Europe (plus a very unique Hostel that used to be a prison but more on that later).

If funk was a place, Metelkova would definitely be it. I still wonder why Bruno Mars didn’t film his latest music video here to be honest.

The Metelkova Neighboorhood of Ljubljana

The Metelkova Neighboorhood of Ljubljana

Things you should know before traveling to Ljubljana, Slovenia

Being the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is very well connected by bus and train to almost all European destinations with Venice, Vienna and Zagreb being the most popular ones.

The city itself has many museums and cultural attractions and is best explored with a Ljubljana Card (20 euros for 24 hours) which includes free entrance to all of them.

Ljubljana as seen from the Castle

Ljubljana as seen from the Castle

The Card also allows you to use the cable car up to the Castle and to take a guided boat tour in the river of the city. During the summer months you can also enjoy a touristy train that runs in the Old Town so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

From Ljubljana you can also take diverse day-trips to other destinations within the country itself such as Maribor, Piran and the unique Lake Bled (check out the best Lake Bled viewpoints here).

Epic Sunset at Ljubljana

Epic Sunset at Ljubljana

Lake Bled is a very picturesque place surrounded by snow-caped mountains whose main feature is an island in the middle of it. You can either rent a boat to paddle there or hire a professional to do the job for you.

A one way ticket from Ljubljana to Lake Bled (2 hours) will set you back about 6 Euros with buses that run every hour or so.

The boats of Lake Bled

The boats of Lake Bled

Things you should know before traveling to Ljubljana, Slovenia

The best accommodation of Ljubljana is mostly found in the Old Town and in the Metelkova zone. Here’s a list of my recommendations for all types of budgets:

For budget hostels and guesthouses I recommend the Hostel Celica Art and the Hostel Zeppelin. When it comes to luxury and boutique hotels, my best choices are G Design Hotel and Florjanckov Hram Hotel.

You can make a booking for this and more properties via our Affiliate Link of Wonders!

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

Street Art in Ljubljana

Street Art in Ljubljana

I hope you have enjoyed this travel guide to Ljubljana’s top attractions. Don’t forget to subscribe in order to get more awesome updates and tips straight to your e-mail!

Have you ever explored the funk of Slovenia? Would you like to? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: This article was brought to you in collaboration with Visit Ljubljana. Next time you visit Ljubljana, be sure to stop by at the Tourist Information office to know all about the current cultural events that you can enjoy in this wonderful city.

Ljubljana, Slovenia is a fun, funky capital with a vibrant old town, funky hipster coffee shops, street art, delicious food, nearby castles, day trips to Lake Bled & so much more via @journeywonders

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36 Responses

  1. sarah

    You had me at ‘funky street art’ and kept me with the awesome pics and great description of the city. It’s now on my list!

  2. zof

    Amazing. I mean I don’t know how did it happen, but I’ve never been there yet. Time to change it, I guess. I loved the street art and the sunset. The lake is quite epic, too.

  3. Dana

    “Funky” is definitely a good word for the Slovenia you captured. I love it!

  4. Carol Colborn

    We met a Slovenian couple in the Philippines and they have invited us to visit them. Definitely on our bucket list now! Thanks for giving us this funky picture!

  5. Anna

    The Metelkova neighboorhood looks like a wonderful place to be. I love street art and that kind of slight urban decay that gives a city its very own charme :)

  6. Andrea

    Speechless. Ljubljana and Lake Bled look like fairytale destinations: pretty and alternative and raw. I can’t wait to visit in May!

  7. Linda Bibb

    A lot of travel sites ignore street art, and that’s really a shame because one can see a lot of talented artists’ work while walking around a city. Thanks for sharing a part of Ljubljana that I’d never heard about before. I don’t want to miss a place with this much funk.

  8. Josie

    Hi RAZ,

    Your photos came out so pretty because of the bright sunshine — looks so inviting.
    I’ve heard many great things about Ljubljana, and as Airbnb hosts, we recently had a guest from there. From her stories and your post, I can’t wait to get there. Eastern Europe has so much appeal!
    Wishing you safe and happy travels,

  9. Natalie Deduck

    Thanks for sharing such great photos and information. I had already crossed Slovenia twice while traveling from Italy to Croatia, but never organized my schedule to stop by Ljubliana… How fool I was, now I know what I have missed. :-)


  10. Renuka

    Amazing photos! Love the colors and quirks captured!. Ljubljana is on my bucket-list! (and I can pronounce it, too ;-) )

  11. Angie

    I’ve been to both Lake Bled and Ljubljana and loved them both. It was nice to see pictures again of the lake and the city. Did you go to the Dragon Bridge and touch the dragon’s tail for luck?

  12. Will Hatton

    Slovenia is definitely worthy of every traveler’s list of destinations. Your photos tell so much about what is instore for us when we go there and visit!

  13. Yvonne

    I love that almost every city in Europe has a place where there are love locks. So romantic

  14. Drew

    Great photos of Ljubljana. It is on my “must see” list for 2015. I have heard nothing but great things from everyone, yet it still flies under the radar.

  15. Jelka

    As a true Ljubljanian (just coined), I recommend May-June-early July and September to visit. July and August can be either rainy&cold or just too damn hot. In August, Ljubljana is a ghost city – everyone is on vacation (really). 3 days will suffice to see & feel Ljubljana (yes, it’s that small). Lake Bohinj, 10 miles further north from Lake Bled, is even more beautiful, far more pristine and without massive tourism, despite that it’s missing an island – this is a secret, which has (until now) remained unknown to tourists. Well, now it’s out in the open. Just drive through Bled, stop for a Bled cake (creamy pastry), and then go to Bohinj and enjoy the sun. For accommodation in Ljubljana, look for B&B’s downtown, boutique hotels or City Hotel or M Hotel (cheapest). Love the article! Greetings from Bratislava ;-)

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      So many people have recommended me Lake Bohinj that is a shame I didn’t get the chance to go this time, will definitely try to visit in September/October to enjoy the autumn leaves of Slovenia, thanks for the lovely suggestions! :D

  16. Signe

    What a lovely insight – thank you! Had a chance to visit for work, so didn’t see so much of funk street art, but enjoyed the view over lake Bled from the hotel and that was amazing + quite motivating for long days of meetings. We also managed to go for a skiing trip – totally suggest to do that – people are great and very welcoming, friendly! Thank you once again – really great site! Will be coming back (have to read your impressions of Riga)

  17. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam

    Such a great article, Raphael. You inspired me to visit Metelkova on my recent trip to Slovenia and I absolutely loved the place. We have a similar area in Copenhagen called Freetown Christiania. Did you visit when you where here?