The Central Slovenia region is dominated by Slovenia's capital city Ljubljana, but the surrounding area also contains many sights worth seeing.
A city by the river on which the mythological Argonauts carried the Golden Fleece, a city by a moor where the crannog dwellers once lived, a city with the rich heritage of Roman Emona, a city that was once the capital of the Province of Carniola and the capital of Napoleon’s Illyrian Provinces, a city of Renaissance, Baroque, and especially Art Nouveau facades, a city that boasts the greatest exhibition of the architecture of the master Jože Plečnik—all this is Ljubljana.
The capital of Slovenia is a political, cultural, scientific, educational, business, and transportation center that in its own way combines the characteristics of Slovenia’s eastern and western, northern and southern regions. The city nestling below the hill with Ljubljana Castlehas a lively cultural life created by numerous theatres, museums, and galleries, one of the oldest Philharmonics in the world, cinemas, more than ten thousand cultural events each year, as many as ten international festivals, including the Ljubljana Summer Festival, the Ljubljana Graphics Biennial, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, the LIFFE Film Festival, and the Druga godba Festival of Alternative Music, and much more.
Ljubljana is an important congress city. Still today, it is proud of the Congress of the Holy Alliance, which brought the most prominent European statesmen of the time to Ljubljana at the beginning of the 19th century, and can offer first-class congress capabilities. In the centrally located Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress Center as well as in the city hotels and nearby protocol buildings, world meetings, conferences, and congresses of the highest level are held every year.
As Slovenia’s business and commerce center, Ljubljana hosts numerous trade fairs, and like any capital city it also offers numerous shopping temptations, from smaller shops and boutiquesin old city core to large shopping centerson the outskirts. At every step, there are friendly cafes, pastry shops, and restaurants, as many serving distinctly Slovene cuisineas those with the offer of foreign horizons. During a visit to Ljubljana, which is linked to the world by road, railway, and Brnik Airport, visitors can chose among accommodations at a hotel, motel, or pension, in private apartments and rooms, at a campground, and at a youth hostel.
Because of the University of Ljubljana, daily life in the city is marked by a challenging and lively youthful character but also by the charm of enjoying a tranquil and relaxing boat ride on the Ljubljanica River, a stroll in Tivoli Parkclose to the very center of the city, a visit to the Botanical Garden with more than 4,500 plant species, a walk in the Ljubljana Zoo, a guided tour of Plečnik’s Ljubljana, or the trails to nearby Rožnik Hill, Šmarna gora, or many of the other friendly peaks in the city surroundings.
Attractions in the area around Ljubljana include Iški Vintgar, a gorge with picturesque pools that is reached by passing through the unique landscape of the Ljubljansko Barje wetland, a protected regional park. You can also visit the climatic health resort of Rakitna, a plateau with a lake and a marked circular walking trail, Borovnica and Pekel Gorge, with its waterfalls and rapids and the former monastery of Bistra, today home to the Technical Museum of Slovenia. Close by is Vrhnika, from where Napoleon's Avenue, lined by ancient lindens, leads to Logatec.
Heading from Ljubljana in the direction of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, it is worth stopping in Kamnik. Watched over by the ruins of the Old Castle on a hill above the town, the Little Castle stands on a knoll in the town centre itself. Its chapel is one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Slovenia. Outside the town, Zaprice Castle houses Kamnik Museum, which includes an open-air museum containing traditional agricultural buildings.
East of the capital, the main road runs along the valley of the river Sava, which is surrounded by the Posavje Hills. Trade routes once crossed their picturesque peaks but today the hills and mountain pastures above Litija are above all popular excursion destinations. Not far from Litija, once an important river port, is Vače, famous for the Vače Situla, a priceless find from the Iron Age. An enlarged replica can be seen in the village. In the nearby village of Spodnja Slivna is GEOSS, the geometric centre of Slovenia. The inhabitants of Dol pri Litiji still make charcoal using the traditional heap method. A sight worth visiting near Litija is the Renaissance Bogenšperk Castle, one of the best-preserved castles in Slovenia. A marked footpath leads up to the castle. Numerous cycling routes and a circular riding trail are among the other ways to explore the Posavje Hills.
To the south-east of Ljubljana you can begin your excursion at the Renaissance Turjak Castle or in nearby Rašica, at thebirthplace of Primož Trubar. The two sights are linked by a woodland nature trail, one of many footpaths in the Velike Lašče area, which boasts rich cultural traditions. Not far away is Dobrepolje – a large karst polje with Podpeč Cave and the largest linden grove in Slovenia.