Visit some of Ljubljana’s top photo spots on this photowalk through Slovenia’s capital.
The first time I sipped a kava z mlekom (a white frothy coffee) by the banks of the Ljubljanica, I knew that Ljubljana would be an easy city to live in, even if the pronunciation of the language with so few familiar vowels looked like it might be more challenging! In 2011 we were posted to Slovenia with my husband’s company and moved into Slovenia’s gem of a capital lock, stock and barrel with our two young children.
Once everyone was respectively settled into nursery, school and work, I looked around for something new to try and a way to get to know my new home town a little better. Photography seemed the perfect way to explore the city, so having completed a beginner’s course with a locally based photographer, I regularly wandered around the city and beyond with my camera.
A cyclist passes the Ljubljana Philharmonic Hall, Kongresni Trg
Ljubljana is most certainly a city for cyclists and those who love walking. The beautiful, cobbled, car-free areas and wide open squares are perfect for experimenting with panning shots as cyclists on attractive bikes wizz by. If you miss the first, you really don’t have to wait long for another to come by!
Sweet štruklji with cottage cheese and jam
In recent years Ljubljana has risen into the spotlight as one of Europe’s culinary hot spots. Local food is as photo worthy as it is delicious – I always loved sampling the variety of dishes this city has to offer on the pretext of improving my food photography skills! It took me a while to get my head around buckwheat, but over time it grew on me. Štrucklji has become a firm favourite – it’s a tasty kind of dough dumpling made with various fillings from cheese, to tarragon and apple.
Door handle detail, Old Town
Dragons on guard – Zmajski Most
One of the joys of exploring Ljubljana through the lens of your camera is being able to slow down and focus on the smaller details that perhaps the eye doesn’t see at first glance. A wander through the old town provides endless such opportunities – hidden side streets, unusual shop signs, splendid door fronts, and ornate gothic, baroque and medieval architecture – and of course, dragons!
Folk dancers promoting Slovenia Traditional Evenings
Summer in Ljubljana is the time when the city is most alive – there’s a vibrant outdoor dining scene, cafes and bars are buzzing plus there are countless traditional festivals and concerts, all of which are great if you want to experiment with street photography. You never know what you’ll find next when you head into the city centre; this was a group of dancers promoting Slovenia Traditional Evenings, who offer Slovene folk dance and dining experiences.
City views from the Castle hill
A stroll through the historical old town towards the market place brings you to the funicular railway where you can take a short ride up to Ljubljana Castle. If you’re looking for some of the best views across the city to practise composing cityscapes, this is definitely up there in the top three of Ljubljana’s best viewpoints, and it’s especially magical in the late afternoon during the transition from soft, golden light to twilight.
View of Ljubljana Castle from Nebotičnik skyscraper bar
The beauty of such an intimate, gem of a capital is that in less than half an hour on foot you can be back down the castle hill and sipping a glass of the local wine 70m up at Nebotičnik rooftop bar, looking back towards the beautifully lit castle you just shot from! This is another of my top-three photo spots that gives you 360° views across the city.
Christmas lights at the Triple Bridge
Nowadays I’m back living in London, another amazing city for photography, it has to be said, but a little part of me remained in Ljubljana; that’s where my passion for photography first began, so it will always be special. In fact, the headquarters for the photo location-finding app I went on to create in 2018 with my Slovene business partner, is located in Ljubljana – I had to find a good reason to continue to return after all! When we can, we like to go as a family around Christmas time to enjoy the Christmas lights and festivities. And of course I always pack the camera, because in a city like this, there is always something new to shoot!
Amateur photographer Jules Renahan lived in Slovenia for 4 years with her family. She is a primary school teacher now back in London and is also co-founder of photography start-up, PhotoHound, based in Ljubljana. See more of her favorite Slovene and London shots here.