A few days ago, someone asked on Twitter: “Has anyone ever written an article about 5 things to do near Ljubljana Airport in case your flight is cancelled or delayed?” His Tweet got a huge response, but unfortunately mostly for the wrong reasons. If you want to know why, I’ll explain briefly in the next two paragraphs, but if you are only here for the “things to do” tips, just skip them and scroll down to “le big 5”.
The main reason behind the sarcasm around Slovenia’s “flights situation” lies in the former Slovene airline Adria Airways, now owned by a German investment company which promised to save the company but has *big surprise* only managed to squeeze more money out of it. Anyways, Adria Airways has been in some really deep shit lately. Things were already bad a couple of years ago under Slovene government ownership (if you understand Slovene, you can read my post about it here), but it is getting worse and worse. Adria has started to combine the flights (for example people who had bought direct flight tickets had to make a stop-over out of the blue to pick up the passengers from another airport), causing huge delays and also canceling some flights completely. I know this shit happens occasionally with other airlines as well, but when you read about it on a weekly basis, even in the prime-time news, and when hundreds of passengers don’t get compensations for over 6 months (even more), you know this is just a step away from shutting everything down.
I won’t get into details about why and who to blame for this shameful situation because it hurts too much, every damn day. After all, Slovenes love traveling and Adria Airways used to be a national pride. Fortunately, there are other airlines (like Turkish Airlines, one of my favorites, and btw this is NOT sponsored post) which know how to do the job properly, so we still have some decent options to fly in an out. Anyways, you have been warned, so try to find an alternative flight before you pay for your ticket because you will probably never get a compensation, much less the whole refund.
However, if you don’t have any other option and since it is highly likely your flight will be cancelled or delayed when you are flying with Adria, you are actually quite lucky because Slovenia is so small that you can find something to do around almost every corner. Ljubljana Airport (formerly Brnik, now officially called Joze Pucnika Airport) is located very close to Slovene capital Ljubljana, and even closer to some other places that just may knock you out. In a positive way, of course. If you have at least 3 hours waiting time and you are able to rent a car (taxis can be quite expensive, try to bargain and do your own math), here are a few options on how to spend your time while waiting for your next flight in Ljubljana Airport:
1. SHOPPING IN QLANDIA
If you are a shopaholic, go to Qlandia, which is a small shopping mall in Kranj with some low to mid-range brands like New Yorker, S Oliver, Tom Tailor, Calzedonia and Intimissimi (clothes), Mass, CCC and Deichmann (shoes), Muller and DM (cosmetics), Adidas, Hervis, Samsonite; there is also a pharmacy (in case you need something to calm you down), and a few bars to grab a decent bite or drink to calm you down even faster 😉
Distance and time needed: Qlandia is less than 20 minutes’ drive away (taxi should cost you around 15 – 20€, but don’t hold my word for it). You can easily spend 1 – 2 hours there. It is open Monday – Saturday from 9 am till 9 pm, and till 3 pm on Sundays.
2. VISIT KRANJ
Kranj is the fourth largest city in Slovenia and the “capital” of Gorenjska (Upper Carniola) region. Though mainly industrial city, Kranj has a well-preserved old town where you can have a nice stroll and grab some coffee or lunch. If you prefer nature you can take a relaxing walk along Kokra river canyon below the city of Kranj.
Distance and time needed: Kranj city center with the old town is just a few minutes’ drive further from Qulandia. The stroll along the old town can take from 30 – 60 minutes, approximately the same as the river walk.
3. BRDO CASTLE
This option would be my favorite because you can avoid possible traffic jams (it can get busy around Kranj during rush hours, around 8-9 am and 3-5 pm) and you can really enjoy the beauty of Gorenjska region. I am not saying this is the best Gorenjska has to offer, however, if you only have an hour or two (plus the drive), Brdo Estate is pretty damn close to perfection. You can read my full review here.
Distance and time needed: Again, we are talking about approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Ljubljana Airport, just more to the North-East. An easy walk around the lakes will take about 1 hour, however if you prefer golfing… well, you know your shit better than me 😉
4. ZBILJE LAKE
Another beautiful scenery close to Brnik Airport is offered by Zbilje lake (Zbiljsko jezero). It is an artificial (dammed) lake with well-maintained paths, where you can have a nice relaxing stroll watching hundreds of swans. Or, you can just sit in the bar, have a desert and watch the swans from the dock.
Distance and time needed: Guess what? Around 20 minutes again. The walk is quite short, so unless you want to make selfies with the swans, you are up to 10 – 20 minutes easy stroll. And it is only up to you how long it will take you to eat an ice cream or a cake.
5. BOWLING IN PLANET TUS OR BUYING SOME TOP SHIT FOOD SUPPLEMENTS
If you just want to have some fun and forget about the unfortunate situation with your flight, you can always go bowling to Planet Tus, where you will also find some small shops and bars. OR *tadaaaa* you can pick up your favorite food supplement (made in Slovenia, slovene version here), email me and stop by my office for a quick purchase. If I really like you, I might even buy you coffee. Or you can grab your own in Antic café beneath my office. I actually hang out there a lot so even if you don’t buy our supplements, you might spot a blonde staring at her cellphone. If she is upside down, it is definitely me 😉
Distance and time needed: Planet Tus is 2 minutes closer to Ljubljana Airport compared to Qlandia (they are located on the same road), and Antic Café below my office is actually less than 10 minutes away. Coffee will cost you half of the money you pay at the airport, and I dare to say it is at least twice better.
I hope I have helped you a little bit – if you have any questions or alternative suggestions, scroll down for a comment. I really don’t want you to leave Slovenia with a bitter feeling in your mouth. After all, it is one of the nicest countries in the world, don’t you agree? 😉