Ljubljana at Christmas

Ljubljana at night

I’ve just come back from three days in Ljubljana, Slovenia – a surprise Christmas present from Her Indoors. We had a fantastic time – Ljubljana has to rate as the most Christmassy place I’ve ever been to. It was scarf-and-hat cold, with a fresh covering of snow picking out branches of the willow trees lining the Ljubljanica river. All the buildings in the central part of town were beautifully lit up at night which highlighted the snowy outlines even further. There was a great Christmas market alongside the river which sold local craft work, filled doughnuts and all manner of sausages. But our favourite stalls of all were the mulled wine stands. In fact, with their gas heaters, these seemed to be everyone’s favourite place on the market especially as the night drew it.

For those unsure of their geography, Slovenia is in central Europe and borders Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Mediterranean sea. Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia but detached itself largely unscathed before war broke out between its neighbours. Slovenia is now part of the European Union and a member of NATO. Ljubljana is the capital and has a population of about 330,000. And one of Clearleft’s first clients is based in Ljubljana.

As you probably gathered we rather liked Ljubljana. It’s a really clean, friendly, unspoilt place with some striking architecture such as baroque churches sitting comfortably next to art deco hotels. Ljubljana is definitely Central rather then Eastern European in character and that’s reflected in the prices too, although the queues for sauerkraut in the open air market might make you think otherwise.

Lots of people like to head off to South America or the Far East for their travelling, but there is also so much to see here on our doorstep in (the new expanded) Europe. And it hasn’t yet be spoiled by commercialism serving hoards of Italians, Germans and Brits. If you fancy somewhere different for next New Year’s Eve, Ljubljana might just fit the bill. And on that note – Happy New Year everyone!