Ljubljana: My Gluten-Free Happy Place

Here’s something that you probably weren’t expecting: Ljubljana is hands down the best place to find food if you have dietary restrictions.

Better than LA, better than Berkeley — I kid you not. This city is heaven.

I had no idea this was the case before I arrived, and it just happened to work out beautifully that I chose Slovenia’s capital city as the first stop on my solo backpacking trip.

Here’s where I found the best stuff:

  • Central Market: This market has two parts and is open six days a week in the center of Ljubljana’s old town. The first part is made up of endless tables overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables — all organic and, obviously, free from most allergens. The second part features cuisine from farmers and chefs from throughout the country. Among the few dozen stalls, I found four that served raw vegan food — meaning everything they served was free from gluten, dairy & soy. It was incredible. For lunch, I had strawberries, raw vegan tacos, and raw coffee. I was there on a Friday, which is the market’s liveliest day. A local radio station played music from loudspeakers and groups of families and friends sat on cushions on the steps and at picnic tables provided by the city.¬†Other meals I enjoyed from the market over the next few days included a slice of raw pizza (cauliflower crust, yum!), a green smoothie, sundried tomato flax crackers, and raw lasagna. Seriously, it was just way too good.
  • Grocery Stores and Small Specialty Shops: The main supermarket, Spar, has a small but thorough gluten and dairy-free section, complete with dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spread… yeah. They also have a selection of prepared salads and hummus, so it’s a great place to go for a cheap and easy meal. Ljubljana’s old town is pretty small, and a quick wander through the main streets will reveal a few different specialty shops that sell organic and allergen-free food. Most of it is for cooking (grains, flours, etc.) but they also have crackers and cookies for the on-the-move traveler.
  • Bars: I found a few bars that offered raw vegan “energy balls” as a snack. I know, right?

Ljubljana’s abundance of healthy, allergen-free food was probably the best surprise I’ve had since starting to travel with dietary restrictions.There are a million other reasons why Ljubljana (and Slovenia in general) is one of my favorite places in the world, but this definitely made my trip much easier and more enjoyable.

Read more about my trip to Slovenia here

Stay tuned for more posts on my travels sans gluten/dairy/soy and for more posts about my love affair with Slovenia. Until then, don’t hesitate to comment or contact me with any questions or comments!¬†

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