10 romantic things to do in Ljubljana

10 romantic things to do in Ljubljana

Slovenia may not sound very romantic, but its ‘beloved’ capital Ljubljana is fast becoming a destination for lovers and honeymooners

Romantic weekend breaks are a great way to escape the nine to five and spend a little quality time with the one you love, and with so many wonderful cities just a short flight away, visiting Europe from the UK is a very popular choice. Paris, Rome, Prague… For years couples have flocked to the well-known capitals of the continent to lock their names to bridges and share candle-lit dinners, but there's a new city that's starting to attract attention from romantics.

With a name that translates directly as 'beloved', Slovenia's capital Ljubljana lives up to expectations and is fast becoming a new, though still largely unknown, lovers' destination of choice. Emma Brisdion explores…

1. Lock in your love

Nobody really knows where the tradition of locking the names of the one you love to a bridge came from but grab a padlock, a permanent marker and your beloved for a visit to the Butchers' Bridge. Despite its un-romantic name, since construction in 2010 it has become the Slovenian answer to the iconic lovers' bridges that decorate many of Europe's major cities.

2. Enjoy a romantic feast

Pick up a fresh lunch after haggling with the local farmers at the lively Central Market, and take it down to the picturesque Tivoli Park and Mansion for a picnic in the centre district. Sit and relax among the well-groomed lawns and landscaped gardens adorned with attractive sculptures and water features.

3. Wander along the riverbank

Take a leisurely afternoon stroll along the charming Ljubljanica River that winds its way through the heart of the city. The circular walk stretches 8km with plenty of friendly cafés and restaurants to pause at along the way. Or, why not take a 45-minute trip with a local guide in a wooden boat, and see the city float by from the water.

4. Surround yourself with spectacular views

While you could certainly rent bikes and cycle up Castle Hill, you could also opt to arrive in style and take a glass-walled funicular up to Ljubljana Castle from Vodnikov in the Old Town, for spectacular sweeping views of the city.

5. Feel like royalty

Ljubljana Castle sits perched on the top of Castle Hill and once you've made it to the summit, the watchtower boasts even more stunning panoramic vistas over the city and the river, for you to enjoy to your heart's content. Have lunch in the courtyard, where there is a choice of places to share a bite to eat, and if you feel like a little culture, the medieval building hosts several art exhibitions within its stone walls.

6. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town

Nestled in-between Castle Hill and the Ljubljanica River, each of its three squares has something unique to offer. The quiet Gornji Trg is filled with historic buildings dating back to medieval times. Mestni Trg hosts the ornate, Carrara marble Robba Fountain that guards the town hall, depicting three men watching water stream gently out of the vessels they carry. Finally, Stari Trg is hailed the true heart of the Old Town with its handsome cobblestone streets still lined with 19th-century wooden shop fronts.

7. Immerse yourselves in the local delights

If you, or your partner is a foodie try a Bites & Sites tour, where a local guide takes you through the picturesque hidden streets of the city on foot, stopping along the way for food and wine tastings of specialities from the region, including cheeses, charcuterie boards and local Slovenian schnapps. Along your travels you'll be treated to tales of the love story behind the famous statue of France Prešere in the square that shares his name.

8. Soak up the architecture

The Prešeren Square, which connects many of Ljubljana's main streets and has long been used as a meeting point throughout the town's history and is encircled in classic and intriguing Slovenian architecture. Lines of marble streak out from a circle in the centre of the paved square and a bronze statue of Slovenia's beloved 19th-century Romantic poet, France Prešeren, overlooks the goings-on from the eastern corner.

9. Visit the historic trident of bridges

To the south of Prešeren Square you can find the Tromostovje, known as the Triple Bridge, where three bridges cross the Ljubljanica River and connect the medieval Old Town with the modern city on the far bank; also providing an ideal photo spot with a pretty backdrop overlooking the river!

10. Dinner for two, with a view

Book a table for two and share a romantic dinner in the elegant Strelec Restaurant, set beautifully in the old archers' towers of the castle, elevated above the city with food to match the outstanding view.

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Where to stay?

Book a uniquely-furnished rooms and cuddle up by the fireplace in the ornate and cosy Antiq Hotel. Located in the cobbled Gornji Trg, you will be just a stone's throw from river and Ljubljana Castle. Doubles from £84p/p/p/n (www.antiqhotel.eu, +386 1 4213560).

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Image: Dreamstime

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