A Local’s Guide to Ljubljana is part of a series collaboration with Spotted by Locals Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a city standing at the crossroads of two worlds. To the north: Austria and what is traditionally understood as the border of Western Europe; to the south: Slavic countries that a mere generation ago part of a single entity and the frontier to the Balkan peninsula. The Slovenian capital has integrated its identities in a distinctive and exciting package, and what better way to discover its many layers than by exploring, or reminiscing, with the locals?

A Local’s Guide to Ljubljana

Ljubljana Local's Guide

Ljubljana’s oldest pizzeria

Parma is, without a doubt, a part of the city’s history. This legendary spot is situated right at the entrance of the biggest Yugoslavian urban project from the middle of the last century, and its small, thick, delicious and surprisingly filling pizzas have been a part of the Slovenian collective memory for decades. Just remember to order a glass of blueberry juice together with your pizza like the locals do.

Ljubljana Local's Guide

Soul bakery

A bakery in the middle of the Old Town, ‘Pekarna Osem’ (Bakery Eight, presumably a reference to the time it opens every day) is run by young local Andrej Gerželj. He’s in love with bread and is always happy to talk with customers. He’s developed his own recipes based on French, Dutch and American traditions and they’re a total local hit. Precisely for this reason, charming, slightly nostalgic, Pekarna Osem should be visited as early in the day as possible – otherwise there might be nothing left but delicious crumbs for you.

Ljubljana Local's Guide

Umbrella maker and repair shop

As the automation apocalypse creeps up on us and more jobs meet the same fate as switchboard operators and lamplighters, this local woman still repairs and sells umbrellas in her old (work)shop, Dežnik. It’s possible that she’s the last remaining person in Slovenia that’s experienced in this craft. In an age when nothing lasts as long as it used to and everything’s disposable, Mrs. Marija and her ability to fix your broken umbrella or create one from scratch according to your wishes almost feels like a superpower.

Ljubljana Local's Guide

Liters of good wine

This wine spot is located in Prule, one of Ljubljana’s oldest and most uncommercial neighbourhoods. Vinska Klet Brataševec – Trošt carries wines originally from the Vipava valley in south Slovenia, but with a difference: customers can fill their own bottles and containers from the taps. Indeed, you can try as many wines as you wish and socialise with the surprisingly large number of customers who drop by to say hello, giving the feeling that you’re in a proper wine cellar in a small village. The prices are also unbelievably cheap.

Ljubljana Local's Guide

Old-school, Balkan-style diner

Stara Pumpa, or ‘the old gas station’ (spoiler: it used to be an abandoned gas station) is one of those places that, as soon as you walk through the door, hits you with delicious smells that immediately make you hungry. Dedicated to what constituted fast food in ex-Yugoslavia, this restaurant still captures the essence of great Balkan artery-blocking grill specialties. Follow the locals and order a glass of merlot, Leskovački čevapčiči with kajmak (butter-like salty cheese) and šopska solata (Serbian salad). Nothing more, nothing less.

A Local’s Guide to Ljubljana photos courtesy of Top Local Places, Vinska Klet Brataševec – Trošt, Pekarna Osem, Parma and Flickr: Jorge Franganillo

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