ljubljana slovenia

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, may not yet be rivalling the likes of Paris and Rome on “most-popular romantic destinations” lists, but with a name meaning “beloved” it’s about time that more tourists gave it a chance to seduce them.

This small yet vibrant city’s pulse is rooted in its thriving café culture; everywhere you look people snuggled under outdoor heaters with their hands clasped around strong coffee and hot grog, while the summer months see endless terraces fill up with al-fresco diners.

Indeed, Ljubljana gives you room to breathe, winning the accolade of Green Capital of Europe in 2016 for its traffic restrictions, which explains the high number of cyclists and freshness of the air. Enjoy it in the leafy Tivoli Park, the sprawling castle grounds or with a stroll along the meandering Ljubljanica River.

Known for its student population, the hip vibe of many bars, shops and restaurants will appeal to the modern traveller, while across Jože Plečnik’s landmark Triple Bridge you’ll find the enthralling old town, where early baroque-style buildings blend artfully with the muted pastel tones of art-nouveau facades.

Historians will appreciate Ljubljana’s many museums and art galleries, design lovers will marvel at its striking boutique hotels and foodies will find much to pique their fancy as Slovenia’s cuisine is influenced by its bordering countries of Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia.

Beyond the city, Slovenia’s other delights include the likes of Lake Bled and the Julian Alps to the north, the Soca Valley to the west and the Krka Valley to the south.

TO STAY

Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa

Stay in four-star luxury at this elegant boutique hotel just a stone’s throw from the Triple Bridge and a 10-minute stroll from Ljubljana Castle. 18 beautifully-designed rooms are nestled in a grand 16th-century house, all complete with antique-style furnishings and many with private terraces. Some lucky guests may find 300-year-old frescoes hanging above their beds. You can dine in the upmarket restaurant, sip cocktails in its two bars and treat yourself to a massage in the spa. From €145 per night.

Hotel Nox

Each of the 24 rooms in this trendy boutique hotel has been individually done up in a minimalist style by various Slovenian designers. Some have cosy wooden floors and others boast bold, colourful murals. The chic lounge serves wine and small plates, while the terrace is lovely in summer. Hotel Nox is found just outside the city centre, not far from the train station, and is hard to miss with its impressive glass-fronted facade. Design seekers and those looking for a quiet getaway will be in raptures. From €75 per night.

Adora Hotel

This informal yet chic three-star hotel  in a renovated townhouse enjoys a prime location in the heart of the old quarter, with the café-filled banks of the Ljubljanica River on the doorstep. The fuss-free rooms are bright and airy with hardwood floors, cream-painted walls and flat-screen TVs, while bike hire is available for those wishing to pedal around the city. A breakfast buffet offers a range of fruits, pastries, meats and cheese every morning. From €65 per night.

Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa

Hotel Nox

Adora Hotel

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