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Zagreb or More Time in Ljubljana?

We will be joining the RS "Best of the Adriatric in 14 Days" Tour this fall. The first evening (beginning Monday, 5 pm) and subsequent Tuesday morning will be spent in Ljubljana, and includes a walk through the university neighborhood and group dinner the first evening, and a walking tour through the heart of Ljubljana, the market, the Dragon Bridge, the main square the following morning. The afternoon of that day is ours to plan.

We plan to arrive prior, on Saturday (or possibly Sunday) mid morning, and are trying to decide if we should fly into Zagreb and spend a day or so there and then take the train to Ljubljana by Monday, or fly in straight to Ljubljana and explore parts of the city the RS tour does not prior to joining the tour.

We love exploring nooks and crannies of big cities, cafes, people watching. The Karst region interests us, with the Lipica Stud Farm and the Skocjan Caves, but we don't want to bite off too much, and know we would need to rent a car for the day or try to find a tour that covers both if we went into that area from Ljubljana.

Posted by
2544 posts

We spent a few days in Zagreb a couple of years ago and I really liked it. It did not feel like a typical tourist city, but that was part of the charm for me. There is a fantastic and enormous main public square and lots of Soviet-era architecture that's really interesting to see. Zagreb has a great "cafe culture" and there are thousands of outdoor chairs to sit and drink coffee. We wandered around for three days quite happily. We went to the Zagreb Zoo, which I really liked. We also went to the Museum of Broken Relationships, which was a really unique collection of the detritus of assorted failed relationships.

My travel partner wants me to stress that he did NOT love Zagreb - he found it too communist looking, with grim buildings and little to do. But I really saw it a unique look at an emerging city with fine public squares and lots of outdoor markets.

Posted by
5295 posts

Based on your interests, I would go with extra time in Ljubljana. Great riverside, café scene there, so fab people watching. As you also note, there is quite a bit to see in Slovenia that the tour doesn't cover. My personal favorites are Piran, Maribor and Ptuj. You are correct that you will need a car if exploring beyond the city. It is a very small country - you can drive from Ljubljana to Piran in well under 2 hours.

Posted by
4637 posts

I liked Ljubljana much better than Zagreb. Ljubljana is a small cute city. I think Rick Steves devotes it enough time. So you can see Zagreb. We did Adriatics in 2013. Flew to Vienna, then by train to Salzburg, then by train to Ljubljana. It's easy and probably cheaper to fly to Vienna than Zagreb. Or another option could be Munich - Salzburg - Ljubljana. Or you can go from Vienna directly to Ljubljana.