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Photo: Marta Savoldelli/
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It's just made for dating!

In all the chaos of modern life, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a calm dating oasis. It brings the tenderness and warmth of a slow and romantic start, a feeling which many of us have almost forgotten.

So why are we talking about Ljubljana? Because it's a great place to date! But what do we really know about the city's life and about dating in it? Let's find out! We called our special Slovenian contact, Maja, a fashion guru who is able to leap over tall men in a single bound without batting an eyelash. Maja used to live in a small town far away from Ljubljana. She came to the city to study six years ago, but loved it so much that she decided to stay. Today the twenty-six-year-old lives and breathes Ljubljana, so she gave us a few tips about the city's dating rituals.

First of all, Maja told us the best places to go on a date. Ljubljanans love to socialise and enjoy themselves at outdoor cafés. You should definitely go to Maček - the most famous of all the cafés. But it can get pretty crowded so if you want a quieter environment you should try Cacao, Cofetino or Tea House Chai in the city centre. If you want to be noticed with your hot new date you should go to Pločnik, in the middle of the main square in town - Prešernov trg (trg means square). That's where you will also probably meet your date, as it is the city's most popular meeting place. But be sure to keep your eyes open, as the square is always full of people and if you're not careful someone might steal your date.

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Photo: Maja
Ljubljanas fashion guru.

In Slovenia it is usual for a date to include dinner, not just a drink. If you want to impress your date with your knowledge of good restaurants who serve the best traditional Slovenian food you should definitely take them to Šestica. It's so famous that it even has a song named after it! It's especially popular among students. Pri Kovaču, Pod Lipo and Zlata ribica are also very typical.

Ljubljana's character is partly defined by its closeness to the Mediterranean, which is reflected by the popularity of Mediterranean dishes and fusion cuisine combining Mediterranean and Slovenian culinary traditions. For this kind of food you should try Allegria, Pr'Noni or La Storia. For Balkan cuisine, Harambaša is a winner, although Sofra and comes a close second with its Bosnian dishes. After dinner you might go dancing, and the two top places are Orto bar and Bachus.

But what might come as a surprise to foreigners is that Ljublanans are quite traditional when it comes to dating. Only around half of first dates end with a kiss. So all you European lovers might have to wait for a kiss from your Slovenian sweetheart until your third or even fourth date. Sex on the first date practically never happens (with occasional exceptions of course).

"Only around half of first dates end with a kiss."

As an alternative to the dinner/drink date, Ljublanans love to go on very sophisticated dates. In Ljubljana, culture is more than just a matter of prestige. Cultural activity has become something of a way of life. You might want to treat yourself and your partner to some theatre as in this part of Europe, Ljubljana is one of the most important centres of theatre, particularly its more progressive and innovative approaches to scenery, music and body language, often break down the language barriers.

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Photo: Ewelina Bus/
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Date on Sunday morning.

But probably one of the most interesting things about dating in Ljubljana is that Ljublanans love to date on Sunday mornings! Surprised? It's a sort of a local speciality. This is all because of Ljubljana's Antique Flea Market, held on the Cankarjevo nabrežje embankment. It is the city's number-one place every Sunday from eight in the morning until two in the afternoon, offering antiques, art pieces and all kinds of bric-a-brac of collectible or simply nostalgic value. Various objects from the recent and distant past, many of which are still fit for use, such as furniture, decorative items and kitchenware, bear witness to consumer tastes and design trends in different periods of history and, notably, to former ways of life in Ljubljana and its surrounding areas. The Antique Flea Market, which is held in high esteem by the locals, is a great place for a little exploring, which may lead to the most surprising and unpredictable finds. And not just material finds - it will give you a big plus in the eyes of your date. And maybe just a little hint. The main Ljubljana market, held every day and designed by Slovenia's most famous architect Jože Plečnik, includes a breathtaking array of fresh flowers.

So, dear E&M reader, what do you think? If all the small tips from Maja have helped you, all you have to do now is decide whether you want to be a part of a romantic adventure in the heart of Slovenia, spiced with a bit of nostalgia. There's only one way to find out...

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