Here are the no nonsense answers to some of the most common questions asked by visitors to Ljubljana, aka the quaintest capital in all the world. If there's something you'd like advice about, feel free to shoot us an email at email@example.com. If your question is so good that it gets added to the list, there may even be a free prize* in it for you!
*Please note: That conditional free prize may or may not be having the privilege of buying one of our local writers a drink.
How do you pronounce 'Ljubljana'?
Not even Slovenes seem to agree on this one, but whatever you do, do not pronounce the letter J as you would in English. In Slovene it's pronounced like an English Y, so the phonetic pronunciation of Ljubljana is something like Lyoo-BLYAH-nah - the key is knowing how to balance the articulation between the L and Y. For more in-depth education on the topic, read this. Good luck!
I only have one day in the city, what should I do?
Call your travel agent or airline and extend your stay! Ljubljana may be the quaintest capital in the world and one of the smallest in Europe, but there's so much to see, do, eat, drink, buy and experience that any stay less than three days is just cheating yourself. Quite frankly, we're insulted you even had the nerve to ask. In fact, we're just going to assume that this was a rhetorical question.
What exactly is Slovenian food and where is the best place to try it?
Can we be honest here? We can? Ok then. Despite the fact that Slovenia has a handful of EU-protected dishes and virtually every countryside restaurant worth its salt proclaims that its cuisine is made according to the recipes of countless generations of Slovenian grandmothers, the truth of the matter is that you'd be hard-pressed to find anything on a menu at a traditional Slovenian restaurant that doesn't bear a striking resemblance to a similar dish in one of the four neighbouring countries. However, this is not to say that Slovenian cuisine is not roundly excellent - no need to fret, you can definitely eat well in Ljubljana!
Where do all the locals go on Sundays?
Slovenians are by and large a sporty, active, outdoorsy bunch, so the vast majority spend their weekends hiking up mountains, cycling around the countryside or walking around a lake, while the rest head to their parents' or in-laws' house for Sunday lunch.
Why are there so many bridges?
What, you've got a problem with bridges or something? Better just to appreciate the fact that you're never more than 50 metres from somewhere to cross the river.
What's the deal with these dragons everywhere?
Local legend has it that Ljubljana's ubiquitous dragon is none other than the one immortalised in Greek mythology after it was embarrassingly put to sleep by some herbal concoction and then had its Golden Fleece looted by Jason and his crew of roguish Argonauts. Now, according to Wikipedia this whole incident actually went down in the Kingdom of Colchis, which is in modern day Georgia, but who can say for sure? All we know is that regardless of where those Greek rapscallions committed their famed heist, it's the dragon who's had the last laugh, at least in Ljubljana, where he adorns everything from magnets and bridges to cookies and bottles of craft beer, not to mention the city's flag.
Can I swim in the river?
Of course! But first you'll have to build a time machine to go back to the 1950s when it was apparently clean enough to do so, or perhaps people were just tougher back then. Just to be clear: No, you can't swim in the river! However, you can go on river cruises, hire a stand up paddle board or just lounge around at various places along its banks.
I'm only in the city for one day, and it's pouring down rain. What can I do?
Didn't we just tell you that visiting Ljubljana for less than three days is unacceptable? We can't really help you out if you refuse to listen to our advice. However, if one of the three days you spend in the city happens to be rainy, then you have dozens of excellent museums and art galleries to choose from, as long as the rain doesn't hit on a Monday.
I can't buy alcohol after 9pm? Are you kidding me? WTF?
No, sadly we're not kidding you. You can't buy any type of alcohol in any Slovenian shops (even the international duty free shop after check-in and security at the airport, which we will never understand) after 9pm sharp. You also can't buy anything stronger than beer or wine in cafés and bars before 10am, however, if this latter law is a problem for you then there are probably other more important FAQ pages you should be reading.
What are the five most important Slovenian words to know?
Prosim, Pivo, Hvala, Račun, Pizda
Why did those guys in the bar get upset when I told them Slovenia is my favourite Balkan country?
The short answer is that the vast majority of Slovenes don't (openly) consider themselves as Balkan, a label usually reserved for the people from all the former Yugoslav states except Slovenia. Since identity is a tricky subject and we don't officially have any kind of qualification in the field of anthropology, we'll not add any further comment on the subject.
Why are there so many brand new BMWs, Mercedes and Audis when Slovenia has the same GDP per capita as Greece?
Some questions are probably better left unasked, and definitely better left unanswered. Just kidding! The abundance of luxury cars on Ljubljana's streets are mainly the result of Slovenes' inherent preternatural entrepreneurial skills and dedication to hard work**.
**And maybe also just a small part due to the rampant, unabashed corruption and a history of easy credit prior to the worldwide financial collapse, maybe.