A Couchsurfer’s Guide to… Celje

Niko is a Couchsurfing Ambassador in Celje, Slovenia. Here he has provided his tips to help you experience the best of Celje on your next trip to Slovenia!

The Old Castle of Celje (by milosk50 / shutterstock)

Best breakfast in town!
There are a few nice breakfast places in town. One is Prešernova 15. A nice little breakfast place that serves food from local farms. For example, you won’t find Coke, but you will get Cockta, which is the Slovenian answer to Coke, dating back to the time when Slovenia was still part of Yugoslavia. As the name says, it’s located on Prešernova street, four minutes walk from the train station, next to Museum of Recent History.

1 museum not to miss!
The Museum of Recent History. It hosts the only Slovenian children’s museum called Herman’s den, after a famous count from 15th century. Besides that, there’s a really nice Living in Celje 1900-2000 multimedia exhibition that will take you on a history tour of Celje across 20th century.

Best quick bite!
The most famous, you can say legendary (with a reason) quick bite in Celje is Burek Šerifi. For decades their offer hasn’t changed: burek (traditional Bosnian pastry, although people in Turkey might have a word here), with cheese or meat, yogurt and ice cream. And that’s it. When I was a child, it was a celebration for me and my friends to get some pocket money, sit on a bike and have an ice cream at Šerifi. Later a burek. It’s one place I try to take each Couchsurfer to. You CANNOT leave Celje without having a burek at Šerifi! Period!

Burek by Filip Koric / shutterstock

Where to try the local cuisine!
If you are into local cusine, then Francl restaurant is for you.

Best place to grab a drink!
There are few bars right in the city center that locals call The Golden Triangle.
One is TamKoUčiri, literally meaning ThereAsYesterday, shortly TKU. It’s located in the heart of the historical old town in the middle of the Art Quarter, an area that hosts different artists and has a really lively vibe.
Less than two minutes away is Špital, a bar, situated in the building that served as the first medieval hospital on Slovenian soil. Great atmosphere, a place where locals watch football or other matches. Also good selection of beers and regular concert venue. In the summer they put out a summer stage.
And four minutes walk from Špital is The Golden Cave. The most underground bar from three. Open quite late in the night, it also has a small basement concert space. Situated on the former medieval corner tower of city’s defensive wall.
The fourth part of the golden triangle is Nobelplatz, just behind the corner of TKU, on the main square. With it’s secret cozy garden and very good wine selection is a bit (just a bit) more chic than the other three.

Where to sweat!
A really really popular hike is to the Celjska koča ( Celje hut ), a small ski resort with a hotel and adventure park. It takes a good hour from the parking and during weekend it is quite crowded. But a really moderate and doable hike.
There is also an outside gym called Špica, a kayak/canoe club next to the summer pool by Savinja river. There is also a good pizza place there!
Besides that, in a range of 10 to 30 km, you have three or four spa towns where you can sweat yourself out in sauna.

Savinja River with the Old Castle and Capuchin Church in the backgorund (by Haidamac / shutterstock)

Best view in the city!
There are quite a few view viewpoints of the city from above or within. The closest is from the terrace of the Capuchin Church (Church of St. Cecilia) next to the park. Some 85 stairs lead to it and it is 8 minutes from the main square. If you are in a hiking mood, you prolong the hike behind that same church/monastery. 15 minutes through the woods (follow the sign Razgledni Stolp) and you are on a small tower above the park. Wonderful view.
On the other hill, just across, is the Old Castle, the mighty fortress of the Counts of Celje. It offers magnificent view of Celje and on a clear day, you can see the Alps in distance.
And if you are in a really good hiking mood, climb up Grmada, a hill opposite Celjska Koča. It takes a good hour from the parking, but it’s worth the effort. You can reach it if you follow the Celjska Koča path and turn left at the sign, or just go to Celjska Koča and follow the signs from there. It’s a bit longer, but not so steep and the view is incredible.

Cutest cafe!
If you are a coffee freak, there’s one and only place in Celje where your wishes will come true: Mala Kuba also known as Kofein Teater. A small cafe on Prešernova street, 300 meters straight from train station. You can spend hours there, drinking coffee, reading, have a breakfast, try their delicious pies and cookies. They also sell and grind their various kinds of coffee they serve. It is THE place to go in Celje!

The perfect picture!
If you are looking to get a really nice photo, go to the Old Castle and find a view terrace on the western most part of the fortress.

By imarovich / shutterstock

A tourist trap to avoid!
The beer fountain in a nearby town of Žalec (10 km) is gaining a worldwide reputation. But people are disappointed when they see it’s really not a fountain, just a number of pipes pouring different kinds of beers (not always the best). You buy a glass (not cheap) and can pour yourself one deciliter of beer, six times. And you get to keep the glass. A classic tourist trap.
A shot away is a great hops museum. Spend your money there and you won’t be disappointed.

Best day-trip out of town!
Since Slovenia is really small, you can make a day trip to almost any part of the country; seaside, the Alps, Soča river valley, Prekmurje region… Nothing is more than three hours away. There’s far too many places to mention.

Julian Alps in Northern Slovenia (by Adrian_am13 / shutterstock)
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