Nature walks without leaving the city
The favourite walking route with locals is Tivoli Park, next to Rožnik and Šišenski hills, while the Ljubljana Marsh Nature Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO thanks to its biodiversity. The Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship includes 34 kilometres of a circular route lined by over 7,000 trees.
The programme responsible for this is Vision 2025, which began in 2007 and has already significantly changed the city. Before, it used to be a city of abandoned plots and wasteland around the route of the river, the Ljubljanica, which was neglected. The riverbank was used as a car park, the city centre was permanently blocked with traffic and crossing the city was torturous. Now, Ljubljana has recovered 80 hectares of land and there are 542 square metres of public green space per resident. The riverbank has become repopulated with cafes and nature walks and the city centre has been closed to motor vehicles, meaning that pedestrian areas have increased by 620%. “We are especially proud that tourism and public life in Ljubljana are closely connected and have sustainability at their heart”, says the Tourist Office of Ljubljana. The objective is that by 2020 one third of urban travel will be made by car, another third by public transport and the other third on bicycle.
This year visitors will have to wear comfortable clothes and trainers to walk the numerous green paths that cross the four large parks located on the hills that surround the city. A walk that also includes the Botanical Garden (dating back to 1810 and with 4,500 plant varieties, one third of them indigenous) and ends at the Central Market, which is full of food stalls and is located at the junction of Vodnik and Pogacar squares. Nowadays in Ljubljana you can’t tell where the city ends and the country begins: during the hot months (from April to October) people walk in the shade of thousands of trees, listening to the songs of 161 species of birds (86 of them protected) and the murmur of numerous fountains that, of course, offer water that is so pure it doesn’t need any treatment.