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Ljubljana, Slovenia

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on April 10, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Bruges, destination, Dubrovnik, Europe, Istanbul, Kiev, Kosice, Krakow, Ljubljana, RaeJean Stokes, Sarajevo, Tallinn, vacation package.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Heralded by many as the next Prague, this small capital in what was once communist Yugoslavia is situated by the river on which the mythological Argonauts carried the Golden Fleece. According to legend, it was founded by Jason of the Argonauts, who slew the Ljubljana dragon there. Fast-forward to the break up of the communist states and 1990 referendum when the Slovenians voted for independence; in 1991, Ljubljana was named the capital of a free Slovenia.

Although Slovenia is new member of the European Union, prices are not yet out of reach for tourists. Year-round, many of Ljubljana's museums charge little or no admission fees. And to help soften the costs of those that do, visitors can purchase a $16 Tourist Card that gives discounted admission to city attractions.

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Ljubljana Castle sits high upon a hill, overlooking the city center, offering views of the nearby Julian Alps. Castle admission costs about $4. Active travelers who want to get out into the mountains might consider a rafting or kayak trip. Ljubljana Card holders are entitled to a 10-percent discount with Skok Sport, which offers rafting trips down the Sava River for about $30.

Accommodations are reasonable with most prices well below $100 a night. The region is well known for its white wines, as well as its regional dishes. To sample the best, be sure to stop for dinner at a gostilna. These traditional family-operated establishments serve at least three regional dishes paired with local wines for as little as $10. Although more prevalent in the countryside, a few can be found in the capital.

Getting to Slovenia is fairly expensive year-round. Late fall, winter, and early-spring flights from New York cost at least $700 plus taxes and fees, while peak-season flights can cost up to $1,200 before taxes and fees. Thankfully, eating, sleeping, and playing in the city isn't nearly so pricey.

For more travel information, visit Slovenia-Tourism.si.

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