I'm sitting at one of several dozen riverside cafes sipping on a large, cold glass of Human Fish, one of the very tasty local boutique beers. I'm surrounded by a young, laid back crowd, many enjoying white wine made from local pinela or zelen grapes, or taking advantage of the city-wide free wi-fi.
They are a friendly crowd, and happy to offer some tips to a visitor. No one seems in a hurry.
It may be hard to spell and even more difficult to pronounce, but Ljubljana is one of Europe's prettiest and most accessible cities. Home to just under 300,000 people, nearly all of its major attractions are found in an easily traversed pedestrianised zone on the banks of the delightful Ljubljanica River.
Slovenia's urbane capital, which is this year celebrating its 2000th birthday, reminds one of Prague before the crowds descended, or perhaps Vienna. That's no coincidence as all three cities bear the imprint of the Slovenian architect and urban planner Joze Plecnik.
This historic and lively city (there are more than 50,000 student residents) is dotted with cafes, riverside eateries and markets and has long been a trade crossroads of Central Europe.
Founded in Roman times as the settlement of Emona, Ljubljana is today one of the most progressive cities in the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia has been independent since 1991) and was recently named as European Green Capital for 2016 by the European Commission.
It could also be a contender for hippest capital thanks to innovations like Metelkova, a notorious former squat that is now an alternative nightlife venue in the style of Berlin, the award-winning new Vander Urbani Hotel with a rooftop plunge pool overlooking the rooftops of the old city, and Hostel Celica, budget accommodation in what was previously a military prison, bars on the doors and all.
What hits first-timers to Ljubljana is how easy it is to get to – and how relaxed the vibe is. Nearly everyone seems to speak English and have time for a coffee or a beer in this old city full of vibrant young people (the average age is just 30).
Many of those sitting at the cafes this sunny afternoon are heading off to a free open-air classical music performance (one of many held during summer). Most have arrived on foot or by bike, this being a very environmentally friendly city.
Ljubljana is easy to get around - and the old city is mercifully quiet with all motor vehicles banned; except for motorised golf carts that transport the old and infirm. It also feels very safe and that free wi-fi is invaluable for those who wish to Tweet, Facebook and Instagram their experiences.
Probably the funkiest address is the Vander Urbani Resort in the heart of the old town (pictured below) www.vanderhotel.com. A good budget option outside the city centre is the modern Plaza Hotel www.plazahotel.si.
# The author was assisted by Visit Slovenia and the Plaza Hotel. This is a version of a story that originally appeared in Sunday Life magazine.