With its numerous interesting bridges and picturesque embankments, the river Ljubljanica gives the old centre of Ljubljana an unmistakable air. The river served as the city’s principal commercial artery and supply route from Roman times until the arrival of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century. The architect Jože Plečnik left a decisive mark on the city with his arrangement of the river embankments in the old town centre, designing tree-lined promenades and creating or renovating a series of bridges over the river and its tributaries. The Ljubljanica embankments are today a lively gathering place with numerous outdoor cafés.
The Waterside Cycling Route links the urban environment with some of the less well known areas of Ljubljana and the surrounding countryside. The entire route runs along the banks of the Ljubljanica, the river that gives the city its special charm. From the city centre take the Petkovšek Embankment (Petkovškovo nabrežje) and follow the left bank of the Ljubljanica all the way to Nove Poljane, where you cross the river and continue cycling on the other side. At the point where the Moste, Kodeljevo and Štepanjsko Naselje districts meet, the Ljubljanica is joined by its other branch, which separates off from the main channel at the start of Gruber’s Canal. Continue cycling towards the Fužine district and Fužine Castle, a Renaissance building in an enchanting and peaceful location on the edge of the city that is today home to the Museum of Architecture and Design. The return journey to the city centre follows the other branch of the Ljubljanica. A peaceful ride through previously unexplored parts of the city will bring you to the Ljubljana Botanic Garden, opened in 1810 and home to more than 4,500 different plant species. The route then takes you through the Prule district and back to the city centre.