Our plan was to fly out to Ljubljana in Slovenia and then travel by rail and sea to Dubrovnik. Our journey would take us first to Zagreb and after a two-night stay in the Croatian capital we would catch another train via Knin to Split on the Adriatic Coast. From Split we would complete our trip by catching the fast ferry down the coast to the port at Dubrovnik.
This was a slight compromise on an earlier plan which had included travel on the extremely picturesque railway through Bosnia via Banja Luka, Sarajevo and Mostar. Sadly the Bosnian Railway is struggling financially and for the moment that route remains closed. However, it is certainly on the list for a future trip.
Voted Europe’s greenest capital in 2015, tiny Ljubljana is a very pleasant place to walk around. We took the funicular up to the castle on the hill and enjoyed views over the city and a visit to the Slovenian history museum.
The city is full of interesting Austro-Hungarian architecture and feels almost Austrian in places.
There is a bit of a graffiti problem although a lot of it is quite colourful.
We visited several catholic and orthodox churches. The two religions go right to the centre of the region’s many conflicts.
We spent time in the beautiful Tivoli gardens.
Food & Drink
Both Slovenia and Croatia are fast becoming foodie destinations and with the Lonely Planet to guide us, we enjoyed some simply excellent meals.
In Slovenia it was mainly Hungarian style – with Goulash and Potato Dumplings being the staples.
The cakes especially chocolate cream slices were outstanding and the ice cream was certainly up there with some of the best I have tasted in Italy.
The local wine is also excellent particularly the Malvazija. Beer is Lasko or Union in Slovenia. All of it is of fine quality.
Ljubljana Railway Museum
Sadly the Railway Museum was closed on the day we visited. However security wasn’t too tight and we managed to get in and walk around anyway. They have a fascinating collection including several yet-to-be restored locomotives. There were plenty of old artefacts to see..
On our third day we caught the Zurich-Belgrade Express from Ljubljana to Zagreb.
The railway follows the course of the beautiful Sava River valley for the whole 2 hour journey and the scenery is delightful.
The train stops for 20 minutes at the frontier town of Dobova for a passport check and a locomotive change.