Hidden Gem Ljubljana Best European Destination 2022
With a beautiful historic center built around a Venetian canal lined with bars and restaurants, Ljubljana is a real gem of a city. Recognized as Europe’s first ‘green’ city for introducing a pedestrian zone, the Slovenian capital Ljubljana is also so culturally rich that it’s no surprise it was voted number one The best European travel destinations of 2022.
In 2022 Ljubljana will celebrate the 150th birthday of one of the greatest Slovenian architects, Jože Plečnik, the designer of their city. His architectural influence on Ljubljana has been compared to Antoni Gaudí’s influence on Barcelona. Landmarks he designed were recently inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. When designing Ljubljana, Plečnik attempted to use modern approaches while modeling the city after ancient Athens. Its innovative style is characterized by the use of classic architectural elements such as pillars, lintels, balustrades and colonnades, redesigned and combined in the master architect’s particular way. Jože Plečnik also designed many well-known buildings in Vienna, Belgrade and Prague, including Prague Castle.
What to see and do
Quite plain from the outside, the exterior of J.Plečnik’s house belies the fascinating content inside. The permanent exhibition in the Plečnik House focuses on the life and work of this great architect, while temporary exhibitions present Plečnik’s works and artifacts from the Plečnik Collection. Visits to Plečnik’s house are only possible as part of a guided tour, so check the website for more information.
Ljubljana Castle on a hill above the city for about 900 years, is one of the main attractions of Ljubljana. The castle’s lookout tower and ramparts offer beautiful views, while the castle houses a museum exhibition on Slovenian history, a doll museum, as well as several historical rooms such as St. George’s Chapel and the prison. Visitors can buy the castle very well Wine produced in our own vineyard. And be sure to take the impressive modernity with you funicular to the castle to enjoy the view of the city as you climb. Designers Miha Kerin and Majda Kregar from design studio Ambient won a gold medal for the design of the funicular at the 2008 Ljubljana Biennale of Industrial Design.
In addition to the castle, a boat trip on the river that meanders through the city center is a must. To attempt Barca Lea which you can pick up from Butcher’s Bridge on the hour from 10am.
Newly opened Cukrarna Contemporary Gallery dates back to 1828 when it was a sugar refinery and the tallest building in town. The impressive warehouse now hosts temporary art exhibitions by international artists and a semi-permanent exhibition by five Slovenian artists, Lia Perjovschi, Marko Pogačnik, Tobias Putrih, Miha Štrukelj and Andrej Štular.
On a visit in April during Fashion week in Ljubljana, Tickets are available to the public. It’s a brilliant showcase of Slovenia’s established and fresh designers with some regional designer shows featuring brands and designers from Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic and Macedonia all presenting their collections. And this season there was even a London-based Japanese designer.
The latest edition of Ljubljana Design Biennale (the oldest in the world), organized by the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO), runs until September 29, 2022. This year’s curator is British design consultant Jane Withers, who invited international designers to come up with imaginative answers to current challenges such as water scarcity find , waste and declining biodiversity. The Biennale is organized by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana and is open from Tuesday to Sunday tickets 7 euros.
Where to shop
In the streets of the historic center there are many independent design shops. Check out designers like Princip, Kiss the Future and Made in Anselma who create handmade clothing from vintage materials. For an excellent manicure or facial, also downtown Estetika Mayakozmetični salon.
where should we eat
Chef Janez Bratovž’s restaurant is a visual and culinary delight for fine dining at its most creative. Introduced in the late 1990s in a historical gem by Jože Plečnik, JB restaurant was the first Slovenian restaurant to do that The 50 best restaurants in the world list and it continues to impress. The versatile six- and nine-course tasting menus are based on the four elements of earth, water, air and fire, which represent sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes.
Just outside the city center kuboThe Mediterranean-influenced menu offers hearty pasta, excellent risotto and succulent lamb shanks. A popular choice with locals and well worth a visit.
Kavarna Rog is a hip cafe with excellent food and a great atmosphere. It’s a top lunch spot, with great salads and burgers, as well as a fantastic selection of cakes (the baked cheesecake is amazing).
For a lively atmosphere and fabulous cocktails, Nebo in the city center also has a good selection of seafood platters and Italian dishes.
Where to sleep
Grand Union Hotel in the heart of the old town has always attracted well-known politicians, actors and royalty, even Queen Elizabeth II. The characterful property dates back to 1905 and features lavish Art Nouveau architecture, whilst offering all the modern conveniences you would expect from a four-star – Expect hotel.