(Parmesan gelato in Ljubljana. PHOTO: Marisa Crous)
The capital city of Slovenia is small. But they do say that dynamite comes in small packages. And here, it rings true.
Go to Ljubljana, where the living is easy. The only difficult thing about this city, is saying its name.
I struggled for the better part of a year to get it right. But really, it’s easy: Lu-biana.
READ: Hangry in Hungary: I went to Budapest and didn't eat the goulash
One of the world’s greenest cities as cars are not allowed in the old city, it has become a capital of bikes. Cycling is the best way to get around.
Quick itinerary Ljubljana:
Stay for 2-3 days max as this city is compact, but full of delights.
I went the backpacking route and stayed in a hostel in the centre of town. Though stripped of my privacy, sharing a dorm room with eight other travellers, I didn’t need to be in my room.
The city is alive. And the best way to feel its heartbeat is to be out there.
Head out by bike or by foot.
Go check out the central market (Fridays are known for its gastronomic delights), by day you can find veggie and flower sellers aplenty.
READ: City Guide: Ice cream wrapped in French macaron shells and Victorian architecture in Durban's Morningside neighbourhood
For a cheap and quick bite, grab a quick doner kebab or pizza slice and go eat it by the Ljubljanica river which runs through the centre of the city.
Other great eats include Ek Bistro for its brioche at breakfast, Magda bar for its delightful outdoor bar serving a variety of local and international beers, and find fresh, affordable seafood at Vino & Ripe.
The most beautiful building in the city might just be the rusty pink co-operative bank building - so be sure to pass it on your way to the centre.
Second stop: Artisan gelato. I know, how very Capetonian of me.
But around every corner of the city’s hub you’ll find a gelateria or ice cream shop. On a warm summer's day, tourists and locals alike walk or cycle by licking their stacked cones – giving you an excuse to indulge not just once, but sometimes twice a day.
Visit the best gelato shop outside of Italy: Gelateria Romantika.
Since I was travelling solo, without romance, I made a scoop of pistachio and chocolate hazelnut my lover on day 1. The second day I tried the parmesan gelato with raspberry sorbet.
You ask/exclaim with confusion.
I truly never expected cheese and sweet cream to be have such chemistry. But it was a flirtation well worth having.
Third stop: The green. Hike up to the Ljubljana Castle. This is really your chance to be alone in a forest and feel completely safe. No creepy stuff.
And if that wasn't enough green for you, go to the Tivoli Park for a walk, cycle or a picnic. It offers a lot of shade on a boiling hot day.
The city streets are also lined with galleries, so spoil you eyes with some local art talent.
Fourth stop: Don't miss Metelkova.
The city might be quaint, but it has some attitude. Metelkova is a small centre showcasing a variety of graffiti, and is home to nightlife events like concerts and parties.
Find Your Escape by searching and comparing flight prices here. You can also sign-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe here. Or download the News24 App here, to receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.