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Ljubljana, Slovenia's vibrant, historic capital, is packed with art, culture and great local and international food. Its leafy streets make a picturesque backdrop for a stroll, and earned it the title of European Green Capital in 2016. Outdoor cafés line the banks of the flowing Ljubljanica River and its medieval old town is filled with the sound of buskers and the smells of fresh produce at the Central Market.
Like the city itself, Ljubljana hostels are full of character. You can stay in an old military prison, a 140-year-old secluded city villa with original features, a legendary jazz pub or a former bank. Choose from mixed or single-sex dorms, or go for a Ljubljana hostel with a private room. You'll usually find free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities and social communal areas. Some hostels in Ljubljana even have a games room or a beauty salon.
Ljubljana is full of interesting neighbourhoods. Its medieval Old Town is compact enough to easily wander around on foot, and is known for its photogenic bridges (including the unique Triple Bridge), boutiques, buzzing restaurants and bars. At night, it becomes even more charming as historic buildings are artfully lit up. On the other side of the river, the city's commercial centre is home to lively nightclubs and shops. To the south, the quieter area of Trnovo has plenty of green spaces and popular cafés. And to the north, the neighbourhood of Metelkova has become a hotspot for contemporary arts and alternative culture.
There's plenty to see and do in Ljubljana. Ljubljana Castle towers over the city, with views out over the Old Town and the winding Ljubljanica River, and the castle complex hosts permanent museum collections. Iconic Dragon Bridge is decorated with the mythical creatures which are a symbol of the city, while the baroque Ljubljana Cathedral is well worth a look around. Sprawling Tivoli Park is the place to go for a relaxing walk in the city, but for a real taste of Slovenian nature, head just outside the city to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ljubljana Marshes.
Ljubljana is well connected by public transport: bus number 28 runs regularly between Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and Ljubljana bus station, and takes between 45 and 60 minutes. It's just a 10-minute walk to the Old Town from the bus station or the main train station opposite. Much of the city centre is pedestrianised, and visitors can sign up to the Bicikelj bike-sharing scheme for cheap bike hire.