As I’m writing this post, I’m curled up in bed for our last night in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Our stay at the City Hotel has been great, and we spent quite a bit of time on foot today exploring the capital city. Standouts today have been the hotel, our walk to the Ljubljana Castle, and our time in the Ljubljana Christmas Markets. We even saw the Jack Frost Processional!
The City Hotel Ljubljana
The City Hotel is reasonably priced and centrally located. It’s just a couple of short blocks from our hotel to the Tribridge area, which is a big perk when you’re traveling with a small child who needs to stay on a regular nap schedule. We parked our car in the hotel’s garage yesterday, and have been on foot every since.
The breakfast here is continental-style, serving cheese, sliced meats, fresh fruit, granolas, cereals, and yogurts, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, breads, pastries, coffee and espresso drinks, fruit juices, and more. It’s all-you-can-eat, and there’s been something for all three of our appetites each morning.
There’s also a convenient hotel lobby bar, where you can get light sandwiches, sodas, coffee drinks, and alcoholic drinks, as well as a pretty good little variety of desserts. For €10 today at lunch, including a tip, we got two sandwiches (enough to feed three of us), a Coke, a latte, and milk for Small Shaw’s sippy cup. The food was just enough and no more, but it tasted great. The price and convince were perfect for us.
The staff is professional and friendly, everyone speaks English fluently, and our overall stay has been one we’d recommend to friends and family traveling here.
The Trek to Ljubljana Castle
This morning, we walked to the Ljubljana Castle. The walk wasn’t long but it was relatively steep, so if you plan to visit, I’d recommend wearing proper walking shoes. If you’re traveling with young children or if anyone in your group has health or mobility issues, I’d recommend taking the funicular to the castle (or driving) instead of walking.
Here’s a picture looking down the funicular from the castle. It gives you some perspective on just how high above the city the castle sits.
Despite being 24 weeks pregnant and having our stroller with Small Shaw inside, Nick and I made it to the top on foot. By the time we got there, though, we were both a little hot, tired, and grouchy. Small Shaw and I took a break in the castle courtyard while Nick bought our castle tickets.
Once we had our tickets, we were able to go up inside the castle. It was pretty, with great views over Ljubljana. There is ticketed admission to the viewing areas, as well as to a puppet museum and a virtual tour.
Unfortunately, Small Shaw started getting sick on our trip, so by the time we made it to the castle, she was already starting to get tired and fussy. We only saw a few minutes of the virtual tour (basically just a video in a movie theater, but very well-executed), and we never made it into the puppet museum or the highest-level viewing platform.
With a zonked toddler, we headed back to the City Hotel and had lunch at the lobby bar while she slept.
Ljubljana’s Christmas Markets
After a nap and some play time, she was ready to venture back out with us to check out the Tribridge area and the Slovenian Christmas Markets.
The Christmas Market isn’t in full swing anymore, but there were still at least fifty or sixty booths set up. There were dozens of food vendors and vendors selling hot cocoa, mulled wine, and other hot cocktails. Prices were far less than we’re used to seeing in Germany, but the vendors were using disposable cups instead of ceramic mugs. In Germany, prices include a deposit, or Pfand, that you get back (usually around €2) when you return your mug.
The markets also had plenty of other items for sale including wool products, hats, mittens, scarves, wooden gifts, jewelry, shoes, purses, chocolates, candy, and trinkets. The only think I bought was a pair of pretty little stained glass earrings. I’ve never seen anything quite like them before, and I love them!
We walked for a couple of hours, stopping at market booths, sticking our heads (okay, my head…Nick’s not much of a shopper) into cute little shops, and eventually finding a light dinner. Again, we were able to eat and drink (all three of us, including tip) for around €10!
Grandpa Frost’s Processional
The highlight of the day for Small Shaw was Grandpa Frost’s Processional. Each night during the Christmas season, Grandpa Frost has a mini-parade through the Christmas market in Ljubljana. The police block off the walkways to make room, and a marching band leads the charge. After the band, there are dozens of young adults dressed up in traditional-looking Slovenian clothes or in teddy bear, bunny rabbit, or other silly costumes.
The characters come up to the kids, give them candy, and talk to them. Eventually, Grandpa Frost does the same! It was neat to see Grandpa Frost walk right up in front of Small Shaw (just a foot or two away) to talk with her and the kids around her. Granted, he spoke in Slovenian, so we have no idea what he said, but still!
When Grandpa Frost’s Processional is finished, Grandpa Frost rides out of town on a carriage pulled by beautiful white horses. It was a cool experience for all of us, but Small Shaw seemed totally thrilled.
Tomorrow we’ll head from Ljubljana to the famous mountain lake town of Bled for our last night in Slovenia. We hope to see the town, take a few nice walks, and celebrate New Year’s Eve by watching the fireworks outside, beside Lake Bled.
Read more about our trip to Slovenia:
Diary of Slovenia: Day 1
Our drive from Germany through Austria and into Slovenia, including an impressive Stau on the autobahn, an 18% grade mountain pass, and an old biplane parked in someone’s front yard.
Diary of Slovenia: Day 2
A photo journal of our second day in Slovenia, spent exploring Kranjska Gora. Waterfalls, mountains, playgrounds, and more!
Diary of Slovenia: Day 3
See a beautiful 100+ year-old porcelain wood stove at the tourist farm Touristica Kmetija Kosir, and read all about our day visiting the world-famous Postajna Cave and Predjama Castle.
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