We were surprised at how different Slovenia is from Croatia and Bosnia. As the northernmost member of what was formerly Yugoslavia, Slovenia, like all the other former members, became independent in the early 90s. This is where the similarities stop.
The biggest difference between Ljubljana and the southern cities we visited is that it feels much more Western European. The architecture looks distinctly European, and we’ve experienced little or no Turkish influence here.
We have seen no mosques or heard any call to prayers. Slovenia was not war-torn and is much more prosperous than farther south, which impacts everyone’s life in a very positive way. We’ve also noticed a marked difference in the demeanor of the people who live here. The city seems modern, vibrant and upbeat, which is a contrast to what we have seen previously.
Ljubljana has an active cafe culture that loves to sit outside, drink coffee and beer, and socialize. The old town is fairy-tale scenic, and strolling along the embankment of the beautiful Ljubljanica River, which meanders through the historic area, is one of the town’s highlights. And of course, how could it be a proper fairy tale without a castle on the hilltop and a dragon standing watch.
We have a test of how well we like a place. First, would we come back, and second, could we spend a month there? In the case of Ljubljana, the answers to both of these questions is an enthusiastic yes. We will always be glad that we visited Croatia and Bosnia, but they fall into the “great exposure and learning experience” category. Ljubljana on the other hand, is just an easy, fun place to visit.