Green travel is dream travel in Ljubljana, where eco-friendly initiatives bring endless charm.
Hop along to the water fountains.
Just outside the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, across from the farmers' market and at the base of the funicular entrance to the castle, the kangaroo is nearly impossible to miss but you should take the time to specifically seek it out all the same. You're not going to find a more charming piece of sculpture, let alone a water fountain, anywhere in the city. Every time we passed I would gulp down the contents of my water bottle, simply for an excuse to pop over and pay it a visit for a refill.
A farmers' market like no other.
Keep your eyes open for the mlekomats, milk and dairy vending machines, next to the covered market. These innovative machines sell raw milk in the bottle (or you can bring your own bottle for a refill) for about 1 Euro for a liter. The heat of the day discourage us from enjoying any (a full belly of milk before a hike doesn't appeal to me) but summer visitors can take comfort in knowing that, should the temperature of the milk ever increase, the machine stops working, ensuring that the milk is always kept cold.
An amazing farm-to-table food scene.
Wait.... even the GARBAGE is charming?
Ljubljana has taken this common problem and found a way to not only make it attractive but also actually make money for it. A series of clean bins, with easy to interpret photos, indicate where to place your different categories of recyclables, your biodegradable compost, and your non-recyclable garbage. While the bins appear to be of average size, they're a bit like icebergs, with the majority of their bulk hidden underground.
There's very little waste and the compost, when it fully biodegrades, finds its way to city gardens. And if you're a local resident, you use this system too, separating your household waste into the appropriate bins, but there's one extra step. A code opens up the garbage bin to receive large parcels of household garbage, which is WEIGHED before it is deposited. You're levied a charge based on the weigh of the garbage (which is presumably added to your property tax or city account). I am so enamored with this system - and so are Ljubljana residents, who recycle enthusiastically (or, perhaps, are just passionate about saving money!) (Don't worry - if you have just a small amount of waste, you don't pay to throw things away - the pay portion of the system is for locals and serves as their garbage collection system).
Green doesn't mean gritty or grungy.
- In town for just a day or two? The New York Time's36 hour guide to the city is a lot of fun.
- Want the scoop on free festivals, museums, and even language classes? The Ljubljana tourism board has some great resources.
- While in Ljubljana, we stayed at Hotel Park, a leader in the city's green hotel movement. Read reviews about this property here.
Heading to Europe soon? These blog posts will help you plan your trip.
The Best Way To Learn About Austria's History? A Bike Ride In Vienna.
The Lute, The Lovers, and The Lasagna: Visiting Rome For The First Time.
The Recipe For A Great Time In Prague? Cooking Classes.
Our visit was facilitated in part by the local tourism board and we thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are our own.