Sightjogging in Ljubljana will really move you

I’ve always loved jogging, and during some of the marathons I’ve run in the past, I’ve seen how well it works to explore a city whilst running. Now SightJogging, or SightRunning, has become a real trend. It’s green and it’s good for you, and Ljubljana is the perfect place to do it.

Our romantic Old Town, with all its wonderful sights, is a Sightjogger’s dream. It’s compact, the distances are not too great, and there are hardly any hills. Plus, you have the lovely Ljubljanica River, which crosses the Old Town, to show you the way.

Here are my suggested routes for everyone who comes to Ljubljana, whether on business or pleasure. These are great ways to get to know this enchanting city quickly but thoroughly, without having to forego your beloved daily jog.

Through the Old Town along the river

On this route, you can take in all the must-see sights of Ljubljana.

Start right in the city centre – Prešernov trg square - at the eponymous monument to Slovenia’s great poet.

Head along the right bank of the river, on the bank-strengthening fortifications designed by the noteworthy architect Plečnik. You’ll pass many of the buildings he created and which make Ljubljana so unique.

At the so-called “Špica”, cross back over the river towards the city centre, passing the baroque Town Hall. Head across the fascinating central market towards the old sugar factory, itself an interesting industrial monument. Then, at Plečnik’s river barrier, cross the river again and you’ll soon find yourself back at your starting point.

I love this route: it’s a leg-stretching 6 km long, mostly in pedestrian zones, along river paths with a lot of greenery, and includes some of Ljubljana’s most famous sights.

Up the Castle Hill

Want cardio? Conquer the Castle!

Bypass the bus, boycott the train and forego the Funicular: Castle Hill offers a maze of small dirt paths leading up the steep incline, and a jog up one of these will give you a wonderful history tour of medieval Ljubljana combined with some challenging hill work. You can find a route straight from the city centre – there are paths leading up from the squares Vodnikov trg, Stari trg or Mestni trg. Then you’re faced with a 3km run, overcoming 170 meters in altitude which takes you up to the magnificent Ljubljana Castle and its breathtaking views of Ljubljana. Short and steep – but worth it.

Find your green space

Ljubljana jogging tour, photo: Dunja Wedam

At 5 square kilometres, Tivoli Park is the largest park in Ljubljana; a refreshing sprawl of green space right in the city centre. It was designed in 1813 and boasts gracious mansions, abundant flowerbeds and fountains as well as wide walkways bordered by chestnut trees. Naturally, these paths are the most popular running spots in Ljubljana. I’ve designed a 7.6km loop, circling the park and heading up Roznik Hill to take in the views.

Start out at Pod Turnom, next to the Tivoli mansion (path), and loop north onto Tivolska ulica street. Then turn left onto Večna pot. Continue until you reach the left-hand turn-up Rožnik Hill.

On the way back down, the path returns to Večna pot, which drops down to Cesta 27. aprila. From there, the path leads east, back to your starting point.

If you’d like to add a little strength training to your workout, you’ll find several outdoor exercise stations throughout the park.

The Zoo, the forest, a hearty meal

Rožnik, photo: Matej Povše

Ljubljana’s zoo is really worth a visit – and best of all, you can combine it with your daily dose of exercise. It’s situated not far from the city centre, in the Green Belt, and after you’ve said hello to the animals, you can enjoy a relaxing 7km run through refreshing green forests and almost 400m up Rožnik Hill. The most interesting of the numerous paths that run through the Rožnik forest is the 3km long Jesenkova path (Jesenkova pot): the 30 species of trees that grow along the path are all clearly labelled.

On the way back, you might stop in at my favourite restaurant, Gostilna Čad, for some quick refreshment. Or maybe end your run there and reward yourself with a hearty grill!

‘The Pot’ – the challenge!

Photo: Dunja Wedam

Unless you’re training for a marathon, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to complete the whole circuit, but taking in a section of the 33km Path of Remembrance and Comradeship is not only a great run, but also has historical significance.

To curb partisan activity during the Second World War, the occupiers turned Ljubljana into a concentration camp, ringing it with a huge barbed wire fence. Today, the site of that fence has become a wonderful hiking and jogging trail whose name the locals have shortened to ‘The Pot’ – The Path.

The beauty of The Pot is that you can hop on and off it at any point you like. The west end (near Tivoli Park) and the east end (near the Golovec district) are generally more green and park-like, whilst the north and south sides are more urban and residential. Each kilometre is marked with a signpost labelled ‘POT’, so it’s easy to keep track of your mileage and hard to get lost.

Finally, if you’d like to go jogging with fellow enthusiasts and a trained guide, you can book a Sightjogging guided tour at the Ljubljana Tourist Information office.

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