With cafe-lined streets in its Old Town and quaint bridges spanning its namesake river, Ljubljana is reminiscent of the timeless cities of Old Europe. But it boasts a modern touch as well—much of the city was rebuilt after an earthquake at the end of the 19th century. Discover how the past and present have seamlessly merge in Slovenia.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations: for 4 nights in Ljubljana at the Moderate First-Class Hotel Slon or similar
- 4 meals: 4 breakfasts
- Included tour: Ljubljana
- Exclusive services of a Grand Circle Program Director
- All transfers
- Now included for 2015:
- Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
Follow your Treasures of the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, transfer overland from Zagreb to Ljubljana. Enjoy an orientation walk around your hotel.
After breakfast, get to know this indomitable city in an included tour. The serene-looking university town with its hilltop castle is a true survivor: An 1895 earthquake destroyed much of the town. But the locals rebuilt Slovenia’s charming capital with determination. Many of the city's buildings, parks, and monuments (and all of the bridges spanning the city center) were designed by innovative local architect Joze Plecnik in the first half of the 20th century. Plecnik incorporated remnants of the original Roman, medieval, Baroque, and Habsburg buildings into new construction that remains today. Your walking tour will highlight the quaint bridges spanning the gently flowing Ljubljana River, and the narrow streets of its cafe-lined Old Town.
After your guided exploration, the balance of the day is free for you to discover on your own. You might want to visit St. Nicholas’s Cathedral, one of the city’s striking Baroque buildings. With its green dome and twin towers catching the eye at first, it offers an array of beautiful details, from its bright pieta on the southern wall to the enormous sculpted bronze doors on the front and side of the building. The ceilings of the nave and the dome are both so intricately detailed, you could spend hours simply interpreting the scenes above you.
This evening, dinner is on your own.
After breakfast, explore Ljubljana at your own pace for a full day. Perhaps you’ll survey the entire region from the top of Ljubljanski Grad, the castle that crowns the town. The castle tower dates from the 19th century, and its walls are even older—they were built in the early 1500s. From here you can see past the river all the way to the Julian Alps.
Or join us for an optional Postojna Caves tour. With names like Upturned Ship, Gothic Hall, and Tiger Hall, these underground chambers enthrall with their singular formations, including Brilliant, the most famous stalagmite in the world. Gothic Hall has its own claim to fame—the remains of Ice Age animals were discovered here. Visitors have headed underground for 189 years, at first on foot. In 1872, railroad tracks were laid—though it would be twelve more years before electrical lighting was installed, so that visitors could ride into the depths in the comfort of rail cars and witness the illuminated splendors. You’ll have a chance to ride the only cave-system railway in the world during our visit. Continue on to Predjama Castle, a remarkable cliffside fortress complete with a labyrinth of secret underground passages and tunnels carved from solid bedrock. Originally built in the 13th century, the nearly impregnable fortress served as a stronghold for many bandits and robber barons through its fascinating history.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
You can further explore Ljubljana on your own today.
Or, join our optional full-day excursion to the picturesque resort area of Lake Bled (subject to local weather conditions). The natural beauty and healing waters of Bled have been attracting pilgrims for centuries. It is difficult to envision a more picture-postcard setting than Bled’s 17th-century church, perched on an islet in the middle of the lake, and its 800-year-old castle clinging to a rocky cliff, all against a backdrop of the majestic Julian Alps. Your optional tour includes a ride on the emerald lake by pletna boat, the locals’ version of a gondola, to reach the island church. You may find it hard to resist ringing the “wishing bell” at the 15th-century belfry next to the church. After an included light lunch, you’ll return to Ljubljana.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.