A feast for all the senses - Ljubljana’s incredible Saturday market

If you really want to get to know a country, you have to visit its market. And the Central Market in Ljubljana is something very special. Here is where the farmers bring their finest produce - the treasures of Slovenia, the very best that the season has to offer.

You’ll feast your eyes on delicacies from the kitchen and the cellar, plus beautiful fresh fish from the nearby Adriatic Sea. And the whole experience is crowned by the incomparable, colourful splendours of the flower market nearby.

It’s easy to find the Central Market. Just follow the crowds! Because a visit here is more than just a shopping trip for the ‘Ljubljančani’, the citizens of Ljubljana. Here is where they meet, talk about God and the world, exchange recipes for the weekend, enjoy a coffee together – or, better yet, a glass of Penina, the Slovenian version of sparkling wine - then devote themselves to exploring the latest delicacies that the market has to offer, and stocking up for the weekend.

From the Triple Bridge to the Dragon Bridge

The market stretches along the bank of the Ljubljanica River between two of the city’s most iconic landmarks; the Dragon Bridge, and Joze Plecnik’s Triple Bridge.

Ljubljana’s famous architect has also left his signature on the market itself, designing the splendid arcaded hall that stretches along the river. 

In the basement of this hall, you’ll find the fish market – well worth a visit for its superb displays! I should note here that the whole of the market is a photographer’s dream – you’ll be spoilt for choice amidst this riot of colours, patterns and great human-interest vignettes.

Upstairs, the arches are home to countless small shops that are a browser’s delight, offering a wide selection of speciality goods and souvenirs. There are also some inviting coffee houses and bars.

The open part of the market is where you’ll meet the farmers

Photographers – get ready to spot some splendid subjects. The peasant women here are real characters, and their product is not only mouth-watering but eye-catching too. Especially in the Autumn, when their overflowing baskets and stalls display golden yellow honey, giant, gleaming pumpkins and squashes in all shapes and sizes, wonderfully-fragrant porcini mushrooms and bright orange kaki fruits.

All fresh from the farm, and irresistible!

And then – the covered market hall!

Don’t miss this. As you enter, you’ll almost be overwhelmed by the delicious scents that waft from every direction. Smoked bacon, spicy Slovenian prosciutto, hearty sausages, an immense selection of intriguing Slovenian cheeses…all wrapped up in a cloud of herbal essences from the Mediterranean and the Balkans. You’ll experience the natural paradise of Slovenia in all its fresh, fragrant splendour. This is how you get to know a country – and to love it!

Souvenirs?

Oh yes! Of course, you’ll want to bring a little piece of the magic home with you or give a little joy to those left behind. The market offers so many great, original ideas. Maybe a delicious Slovenian smoked salami? Or the aromatic Fleur de Sel from Portoroz and Piran – artisan salt at its finest. Alternatively, it’s said that Slovenia has the best honey in the world, so maybe a jar of that, or a small bottle of Honey Schnapps, a fantastic Slovenian speciality.

There’s distinctive jewellery, quirky carved goods, hats and clothing, and artisan pottery…or how about a little dragon? After all, he is Ljubljana’s heraldic beast.

And finally, it’s time to copy the locals and enjoy a glass of Penina and a little snack. The market, as always, will provide everything you desire.

Enjoy!

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