In Slovenian, a modest, small and charming town of Celje (Celje) is neatly located at the foot of a low hill, on which rises the old Celje Castle – the soul and heart of the city. Celje is the third largest settlement in Slovenia with a population of 50 thousand people, but this is absolutely not felt on its cozy historical streets. The old town of Celje is the center of centuries-old mansions with red tiled roofs, graceful churches, old shops and cozy squares. Here it is so pleasant to walk along the embankments of three rivers, which merge exactly in the city, and look at the numerous sights. And the museums in Celje are just great!
How to get to Celje
According to wholevehicles.com, Celje is located in the Savinja region of Slovenia, in the central part of the country with a slight shift to the east. Given the small size of the country, you can quickly get here from the capital, and from thermal and ski resorts. Buses and trains run from Ljubljana to Celje. The bus ride will take about an hour and a half and will cost 7-9 EUR; on weekdays there are about 6 buses, on weekends – only two. The train from Ljubljana follows the same hour and a half to Celje, departures every half hour. The ticket will cost from 8 to 12.30 EUR depending on the class. High-speed ICS trains also run on the route.
Celje is also well connected with the thermal spas – a great excuse to “emerge” for a while from the healing baths and go for a walk in its ancient center. From Rogaska Slatina, the bus takes 1 hour, the trip will cost 5-6 EUR, from Terme Zrece – only 40 minutes and 4-5 EUR. You can also travel by train from Celje to Vienna and Graz.
Transport in the city
Despite its sizeable population for Slovenia, Celje is a very compact city and easy to explore on foot. There are many pedestrian streets in the historical center, so motorized movement is a priori excluded. For longer distances, you can use municipal buses or taxis. A bus ride will cost about 1 EUR, taxi prices are also very reasonable.
The title of the third largest city in Slovenia obliges: Celje has a wide range of accommodation options – from the historic “grand hotel” in the center and very high-quality city hotels to modest family pensions and hostels. Accommodation prices start from 16-23 EUR per night in a separate room in a hostel to 50-70 EUR for the opportunity to spend the night in a quality hotel. Chick lovers should expect 90-130 EUR per night with breakfast included.
Cuisine and restaurants Celje
The cuisine of Celje is not much different from the culinary traditions of the country as a whole – the same sausages of various types and sizes, vegetable stews, rich soups and an indispensable dried ham, confidently tucking untwisted jamon into the belt. Being in Celje, you should definitely try fish dishes – there are three rivers here! Be sure to accompany your meal with excellent Slovenian wine.
Eateries and all kinds of cafes are located literally at every step, in the historical center of the city their concentration is greatest. Among the establishments of good taste are Lastoria and the restaurant of the Europa Hotel.
Shopping and shops
In the historical part of the city, you will find a huge number of souvenir shops where you can buy pleasant little things reminiscent of Celje: models of Celje Castle, postcards, plates and mugs with recognizable views. As elsewhere in Slovenia, embroidery, hand-knitted products, pottery and wickerwork, crystal, excellent Slovenian wines and strong liqueurs are brought from Celje. In search of “civilian” products, we recommend looking into the largest supermarket in the city, Seleia, or the more modest Mercator, and fresh fruits and vegetables can be bought at the city market.
In the Regional Museum of Celje, it is worth seeing 18 skulls of prominent residents of the city, enclosed in glass containers.
Entertainment and attractions in Celje
The first thing to do in Celje is to go to the magnificent Celje Castle – the historical core of the settlement, from which residential quarters later “spread out”. The castle dates back to 1322 and was rebuilt many times during operation. Today, restoration work continues here. Inside you will see several residential and utility buildings, well-preserved fortifications with defensive structures and a watch tower, to the top of which you should definitely climb – Celje is visible from there in all its glory.
Every summer, the Celestial Castle hosts a carnival recreating life in the city during the Middle Ages. Knightly tournaments and fairs are held, local residents walk around in historical costumes.
Returning to the old town of Celje, head to the Water Tower, built in the 15th century and part of the city’s fortifications. Pay attention to the old foundation stones – they were taken from the ancient Roman ruins of the surrounding cities. Nearby is the monastery church of St. Daniel, whose interiors are decorated with stunning frescoes from the 15th century, and in the adjacent chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows you can admire a magnificent wooden carved pieta. Next to the church, you will see the ruins of the medieval city walls. The central square of the old town of Celje has the logical name Main. In its surrounding quarters, there are many urban mansions of the 17th and 18th centuries, the first floors of which turn into pretty cafes during the summer months. In the center of the square rises a column in honor of the Holy Virgin, who saved the city from the plague of 1776. Other squares include cozy Slomshkov with a 15th-century chapel of St. Elizabeth and an almshouse, and Krekov Square, nestled in the shadow of the Gothic City Hall. On its sides, in addition to the town hall, there is the Watch Tower of the 16th century and the historic hotel “Europe”. The Town Hall itself houses the Tourism Office and the Children’s Art Gallery.
On the north coast of Savigny, it is worth visiting the open-air archaeological park with the ruins of an ancient Roman settlement and admiring the old town hall of the 16th century, a beautiful building in the Renaissance style. In the inner courtyard is the entrance to the Regional Museum of Celje, which displays exhibits illustrating the long history of the city and the region. Among the unusual – 18 skulls of prominent residents of the city, enclosed in glass containers, and a magnificent ceiling fresco in the style of “decoy”: columns blowing up with a cloud-covered sky somewhere far away. And in the so-called Lower Castle, you should definitely see the restored section of the original Roman road of the 3rd century, located in the basement.