Coming back to your native country as a tourist is fun. This year we did it properly for the first time, taking the time to enjoy different places and everything they have to offer.

We'd have thought writing about it would be much easier, though. How do you capture the essentials in just one blog post? The truth is, you can't.

Ljubljana is small and cute, which is quite representative of the rest of the country too.  With a bit more than 270.000 inhabitants, it doesn't take long before you start recognising faces. Slovenians are generally quite friendly and hospitable: food is an important part of it.

The city centre is closed for cars, which makes it fairly easy to get around on foot. If you like cycling, you will love  Ljubljana's city bikes.

In the summer, Ljubljana's Prešeren Square has its own weather zone

City highlights

Metelkova Mesto: former Yugoslav army HQ, squatted by NGOs. Today, it is a fairly commercialised social centre and a site for artists, youth and travellers. Things to do there: party, enjoy concerts, visit festivals, attend workshops/exhibitions, eat fusion street food and drink. However, if you like quiet evenings, it's probably best to avoid Metelkova altogether.

Old town: is our favourite part of the city. Cobbled streets are filled with restaurants, cafés and shops. The riverbank is often packed with stands by local craftspeople or antiquarians. It's a nice place to just take a walk and eat something nice.

Old town riverbank

When in the Old town, stop at Cha tea house,and if you're up for some traditional cuisine, go to Gostilna Sokol. Everything there is delicious and home-made: we especially recommend the mushroom soup served in bread.

For regional cuisine, try Güjžina where you can get genuine food from Prekmurje, including the famous cake, Prekmurska gibanica.

Shops and cafés in the Old town

Ljubljanska Tržnica (City Market): the place to be for foodies. Between March and October you can enjoy Open Kitchen/Odprta Kuhna - a local food market, featuring affordable delicious food prepared by restaurants, pubs and entrepreneurs.

City Market colonnade

During the week the market is full of fruit and veg stands as well as products made by local craftspeople. It's also a beautiful architectural piece, so definitely worth seeing. Nearby is the Dragon Bridge.

The Dragon Bridge

Rights across from the City Market are many local bars and pubs, an essential element of Slovenian leisure activities.

The Tivoli City Park is a must in any season. The beautiful, large park blends into a forest and is convenient for a quick escape from the city, especially for hikers.

Art lovers won't be disappointed either. In the vicinity of the park are several galleries and museums: there are occasional photo exhibitions on the main promenade in the park.

For a coffee & cake break visit Čolnarna, a nice cafe near a pond.

Though there are disputes as to which place has the best ice cream in town, my vote goes to Cacao, an ice cream/cake place just around the corner from Prešeren Square. Their "Peru" ice cream cup is hard to describe and even harder to replicate. Heaven for chocolate fans.

Cacao's ice cream stand

There is for sure much more to discover about Ljubljana, however, a day in this charming city is more than enough to get a first taste.