Ljubljanica#2 in Best Things To Do in Ljubljana
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Some of Ljubljana's most stunning vistas are front and center from the Ljubljanica River. Weaving its way from the Sava River in Podgrad (an area east of Ljubljana) through the Ljubljana Old Town area to Slovenia's Inner Carniola region, this waterway has played an important role in Slovenia's history for years. Several archaeological sites lie in the Ljubljana Marshes, which the river passes through to get to the city. Additionally, the Ljubljanica river served as a major trade route from when the Romans conquered the region up until the country's rail network was constructed in the mid-19th century.
Today, visitors can enjoy the river in a variety of ways. During the warmer months, the waterway's lush green banks are ideal for picnics. Travelers can also sign up for a two-hour paddleboarding excursion, and for less-active vacationers, there's a two-hour boat cruise that's available every day at 2 p.m. from April through September. No matter the season, the river's multiple bridges – including the Dragon Bridge and the Triple Bridge – are superb spots for photo ops.
Travelers love the river's relaxed, scenic setting, citing its well-maintained Trnovo Pier, beautiful Ljubljana Castle views and proximity to various cafes, bars and restaurants as highlights. In fact, many say the river's banks are terrific for a leisurely stroll on a nice day. Some visitors suggest paying for a river cruise to get a different glimpse of the city. Others recommend arriving in December when lights from downtown's four Christmas markets reflect off of the river's surface.
Almost all of Ljubljana's top attractions are situated within walking and biking distance of the Ljubljanica river. The waterway is free to check out 24 hours a day. But remember, fees apply for most river activities. Noteworthy areas of the river include its numerous bridges, its adjacent covered market buildings and the Ljubljanica River Barrier, a Jože Plecnik-designed structure still used to regulate the flow of the river's water in the city.
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#1 Ljubljana Old Town (Staro mesto)
Ljubljana's past is hard to miss in its historical city center. Home to must-see sights like Prešeren Square, the Triple Bridge and Ljubljana Castle, the Ljubljana Old Town area features a mix of Gothic, Baroque and art nouveau architecture. Throughout the neighborhood, you'll find colorful buildings, pedestrian-only thoroughfares, ample shops and charming open-air cafes that overlook the Ljubljanica river. Plus, several of Slovenian architect Jože Plecnik's most iconic structures reside in this part of town. Don't miss the Plecnik-designed Central Market, which hosts a popular food market (Open Kitchen) every Friday from mid-March through October.
Travelers rave about the Ljubljana Old Town region, saying it offers a perfect blend of old and new. Though many suggest a summer visit so you can attend the weekly food market and people-watch while sipping a coffee outdoors, others highly recommend arriving in December to enjoy the city's festive Christmas decorations and holiday markets. No matter when you visit, vacationers say you'll discover well-maintained buildings, friendly locals and a great selection of eateries and watering holes.
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