As Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana is quite obviously the epicentre of all things in Slovenia. The around surrounding the capital is made up of 25 municipalities however, and within these 25 we find a dizzying array of different landscapes, activities and opportunities.
TASTE LJUBLJANA: It is frequently said that Slovenia sits at a genuine historical crossroads, and history is nothing without the food that filled the men and women that created it. Being situated where it is, food in the country has taken influence from all sides. This means that Mediterranean, Balkan, Alpine, Pannonian and more influences inform the dishes that satisfy people here on a daily basis. Ljubljana is in many ways a microcosm of this, a city where many culinary influences come together and collide to make something unique. Food tourism continues to rise as more and more people decide that the best way to experience another culture is through the taste buds. In an attempt to develop this, as well aiming to prevent traditional dishes from disappearing into the annals of history, the Taste Ljubljana project was developed in collaboration between Ljubljana Tourism and Professor Janez Bogataj, the most respected voice on all things Slovene. Food has played a huge part in the history of Slovenia, and the project hopes to continue the customs and improve the recognisability of the most traditional dishes throughout the city and subsequently the country. 2006 saw the list entitled ‘Dishes of Ljubljana Special Selection’ compiled, which would finally be presented to the public for the first time in 2013 with the publication of a book called ‘In the Middle of the Table – Flavours of Central Slovenia’. Many of the dishes have their roots way back in history, where as many others are the direct result of modern-day culinary creativity. It is an impressive mix. The range of dishes on offer is vast, to say the least. With the sheer diversity of ingredients available this is to be expected. The suburban gardens around Ljubljana are full of freshly grown vegetables, complimenting the sublime meats coming from Central Slovenia perfectly. Add homemade bread from nearby rural areas, a wide range of fresh fruits and excellent fish from Slovenia’s fresh waters and dishes to excite all taste buds can be found. This is history as told through the stomachs of those that created it. Info: www.visitljubljana.com/en/ visitors/things-to-do/food-and-drink.
FISHING AROUND LJUBLJANA: For centuries now, Slovenia has an impressive tradition of recreational fishing. It is easy to see why, what with the stunning natural landscapes and sheer abundance of water in the country. With springs, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, gorges and more, it would be more surprising if fishing wasn’t a popular activity in these parts. Slovenia has over 20 freshwater fish that will prick the interest of anglers, be they complete beginners or intense experts.
Fly-fishing is the most popular form, but float fishing and spinning are also seen in these parts. The Ljubljanica in particular, enclosed by lush vegetation as you leave Ljubljana itself, has a wealth of beautiful and interesting fish just waiting to be caught. Caught and released of course, as the fish in the waters are state-protected, with fishing being regulated via the Act on Freshwater Fishing. Angling without a permit is frowned upon also, so be sure to purchase one from whichever organisation is authorised to sell for your chosen spot. This could be the local angling society, the Fisheries Research Institute of Slovenia or the online website www.ribiskekarte.si. So whether it is the Chub, Brown Trout or Grayling that we find in the rivers or the Common Carp or Pike from the lakes and ponds, pack your rod, your maggots and day-long conversations and head to Slovenia.
FAMILY FUN: With its abundance of green public areas, Ljubljana and its surrounding region is a great destination for families heading out on their holidays. Active holiday and leisure pursuits seems to pop up quicker than we can maintain an acceptable list of them, with numerous water parks, swimming pools, saunas, thermal spa resorts and much more on offer. Excellent hiking, cycling, riding and other outdoors fun are also available throughout the region. All this without mentioning the wonderful treetop adventure park near Litija that runs through the summer. If you’re unsure where to take the kids this year, look no further.
Golfing: In central SlovenIa In the past decade or so golf in Slovenia has grown from a minor curiosity into a full-fledged recreational sport enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors alike, and was also named the Undiscovered Golf Destination of 2015 by the International Golf Travel Writers Association. While Slovenia may be a small country in terms of square kilometres, its geographical diversity makes it an especially interesting destination for golfers. There are now a dozen courses in the country, nearly all of which are within a one-hour drive of Ljubljana – including the world class Diners Golf & Country Club in Smlednik and the beautiful Golf Arboretum at the foothills of the Alps in Radomlje, as well as the nine-hole Trnovo course located just south of the city centre. Trnovo is also conveniently the only course in the country at which non-licensed golfers can officially play, although in practise many courses will waive this requirement for foreigners who can persuasively attest to their skills (and pay the green fee).
To discover other unique places in Slovenia, check out THE SLOVENIA BOOK – AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE BEST OF SLOVENIA