The World’s Greenest Cities: Ljubljana, Slovenia
As well as being a picture postcard city in central Europe, Ljubljana is one of the world’s greenest cities. It won the title of European Green Capital in 2016, and it’s easy to see why.
The city has an abundance of green space; 542 square metres per capita, to be precise, and the city centre has been closed to cars since 2008. Here’s what else makes Ljubljana one of the world’s greenest cities.
It’s a city built on a sustainable vision
Jože Plečnik, a renowned architect, was born in the city, and he pretty much redesigned it to make it more sustainable. He vision was to respect the natural environment while allowing people to get around the city sustainably, and his main legacies are the famous Triple Bridge, built in 1932 as an add-on to the original central bridge. Plečnik added two adjacent bridges for pedestrians to walk through the city centre. His vision also led to walkways being built along the river embankments, and rows of chestnut trees being planted along the city’s Gradaščica canal to create a beautiful and healthy place to walk for residents and visitors alike. Plečnik was also instrumental in the creation and preservation of two of the city’s largest parks, Tivoli park and one in the central Kongresni trg square.
He was also keen on using recycled materials, and he used them to build St. Michael’s church in the city.
Sustainable transport is the number one way to get around
The Urban electric train takes tourists around all of the city’s main attractions, from Ljubljana Castle, to the Botanical Gardens, and the Opera House. As well as being environmentally-friendly, the train is adapted for people with mobility issues and it’s a great way to see the city.
The people of Ljubljana love their bikes as well. The city is mainly flat, easy to get around, and there’s a growing network of cycle lanes. Visitors can take advantage of a bicycle sharing system called Bicikelj. You can use a bike for free for the first hour, and the bonus is, because the city is so compact, you could probably see most of it in an hour!
If you’re a bit more adventurous, you can hire a bike at the tourist information centre, where buying a ‘Ljubljana Card’ will get you four hours of bike riding for free so you can see the best of what this beautiful green city has to offer.
It’s big on locally-sourced produce
Everywhere you go in Ljubljana you’ll see seasonal, locally-produced food whether it’s at one of the city’s markets or in a café or restaurant. One of the standout restaurants for locally-sourced vegan fare is Kucha, where you’ll find a range of vegetable bowls, soups of the day, sandwiches, and delicious tacos that you can wash down with organic wine or home-made fruit juice.