Research Ljubljana and you’ll find lots of information on its historic city centre. It’s romantic in the true sense of the word where you’ll see both Italian and Austrian influence.
What you won’t find so easily is information on what’s known in the city as the Alternative District. A decidedly unromantic area but equally fascinating to visit.
Ljubljana is small city, rich with a wide range of architecture that reflects both its current state and its diverse past. It’s a city that is not yet inundated with tourists. Of course there are some tourists and the infrastructure to manage visitors effectively, but it is not crazy with tourists I found it to be the city on my Adriatic tour where I could most easily find the real city. The city of the people.
This is the more touristy area of Ljubljana.
The historic center of Ljubljana includes a castle that dates back to the 11th century though the buildings you’ll see are more from the 16th century. In the city center is an extensive pedestrian zone that winds through buildings that are hundreds of years old. A walking tour of the city is a must.
If you have read Planning a Road Trip Around the Adriatic: Slovenia, Croatia & Italy, you know that I was not solo in Ljubljana. It was my honeymoon. However, how can I travel and not share what I’ve learned? It’s impossible. I’ll be publishing a few posts from this trip. Soon I’ll be back to traveling solo.
I can tell you that more than a few eyebrows were raised when we told people that we were staying in the Alternative District. With graffiti everywhere and people just hanging out or playing music, it’s not where most locals go. However, we were very pleased with our choice. We stayed at Hostel Celica Art which was once a prison and was purposefully adapted to be a hostel. If you want a feel for how some of the youth of Ljubljana live, and where young travelers gravitate, this is worth a look, or a stay.