One answer to the question “What’s on in Ljubljana this week?” is Martinovanje / St Martin’s Day / the Ljubljana Wine Road, joining events taking place across Slovenia at the end of the week to celebrate the year’s new wine. In the capital these will happen around the Old Town of Ljubljana from 10:00 to 17:00 on Saturday, with producers from all the wine-growing regions of Slovenia, along with food and performers. In order to taste wine by the glass you’ll need to buy or rent an official wine glass at the Info stands, where you can also buy coupons for purchases.
Another big event this week starts on Wednesday, and that’s LIFFe, the Ljubljana International Film Festival, which runs until November 18th and offers a long list of varied features, shorts, documentaries and works of fiction. You can see the official site and schedule here.
As ever, clicking on the venue names in the list below should get you more details with regard to the time, price and location, as well as other events on this week in the same place. Finally, if there's something you want to promote in a future edition of What's on in Ljubljana please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com
Getting around Ljubljana
If you want to get a Ljubljana Tourist Card, which gives you travel on the city buses and entry to a lot of attractions, then you can read more about that here, and if you want to use the bike share system, as useful for visitors as it is for residents, then you can learn more by clicking this. Visitors with reduced mobility will be pleased to find that downtown Ljubljana is generally rated as good with regard to accessibility, and that there’s a free, city-sponsored app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair highlighting cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here. If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to part, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
The city’s main tourist attraction is the Castle, and you’ll enjoy your visit a lot more if you know what you’re looking at, so take a look at our 25 Things to Know about Ljubljana Castle and learn, among other things, why Rome lives on in it’s walls.
Want / need cigarettes but the stores have closed? Here's an incomplete list of bars downtown that will satisfy your craving for the demon weed. While if you’re having trouble with the ATMs then here’s a guide to the Slovene you’ll see on screen. If you get a hangover then find out where to get paracetamol (and prescription drugs) in Ljubljana here, while details on emergency birth control can be found here.
Ljubljana is a small and relatively safe city, but if need to contact the police then there’s a special number for foreigners, and that’s 113.
Cinemas and films playing in Ljubljana this week
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kid’s movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, so do check before driving out to a multiplex and dropping off the young ones. That said, parents should pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, witrh special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here. (And if you like watching trailers with subtitles as a way of learning Slovene, then catch up on some from earlier this year here and here).
As noted in the intro, the Ljubljana International Film Festival starts on Wednesday, with a long list of varied features, shorts, documentaries and works of fiction. You can see the official site and schedule here.
Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station, but still rather tucked away, showing, among other features, The Children Act, Cold War, Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, and Jusqu'à la garde. For children there’s The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child, albeit in a dubbed version.
Kinoteka – The revival house at one end of Miklošičeva is showing, among features, a number of classics from Czechoslovakia, such as Černy Petr, Nejkrásnější věk, O slavnosti a hostech, Ostře sledované vlaky, Ecce homo Homolka, Lásky jedné plavovlásky, Hoří, má panenko, Rozmarné léto and Spalovač mrtvol.
Kolosej – The multiplex out at BTC City Mall is playing all the big movies, which this week include Bohemian Rhapsody, Hunter Killer, Halloween, Hell Fest, Johnny English 3, Posledice, The Children Act, Venom, A Star is Born, Gajin svet, Night School, Mamma Mia! 2 and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Starting Tuesday you can enjoy The Girl in the Spider's Web, while from Wednesday on there’s Overlord.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Bohemian Rhapsody, Johnny English 3, and A Star is Born.
Clubbing in Ljubljana
Compared to some European capitals it can seem that nightlife in Ljubljana ends rather early, but there are still bars that stay open late and clubs were you can dance until dawn, and perhaps the best place to stumble across something interesting is the legendary Metelkova. Be aware it's a grungy kind of place and not for all tastes, but also that there's consideable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay caberet to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here.
Channel Zero – Monday night is Dub Lab, this week with an event called Domaćica Original. Friday is an all-nighter called Everything GOES with DJs Rope, Jerry, Sunneh, Fogy, and Stojc. Then on Saturday there’s drum’n’bass with DJs Dub_Tone, Fornax, Trdee,Yoo Ron, Yaa, and Rak3ta.
Gala Hala – Friday there’s funk with Zeleno Sonce #118: Jesenski ogenj, as played by DJs Kool S and Udo Brenner. The on Saturday there’s Versus: Shekuza / Roli, playing what I think will be techno.
Klub Cirkus – Plan your outfit for Friday for an all-nighter called BLACK MOON – Black Light Gathering #3, with the glowing colours being moved to the sounds of dance, future house, edm, house, r&b, hip hop, and trap. Then on Saturday it’s house music with Housekeeping: PEZNT ft. Who Am I? VIP Experience.
Klub K4 – The klub 4 kool kids that’s entwined with the history of electronic music in Ljubljana has two nights this week. On Friday there’s K4x4 w/ Ichisan, Stascha & Past Present, with a shimmering mix from Ichisan below. Saturday there’s the intriguingly named 666 Trillity 666, playing trap, memphis rap, chopped n screwed, and phonk (sic) from Bor$aleano, Cookie and Some1Else.
Harm reduction and drug testing
Drogart is an organization that aims to minimise harm on the party scene, and offers drug-testing services and reports on their webpage. It’s in Slovene, but you can Google translate it or work things out yourself. One thing they recently warned of were pink Pharaoh pills with around twice the normal MDMA content (measured at 261 mg). See pictures and learn more here, but do remember that all the usual drugs remain illegal in Slovenia, while our in-depth profile of the group is here. We've also heard increasing reports - albeit anecdotal - of women's drinks being spiked in the city, so take care and let friends know where you're going.
Things to do with children in Ljubljana
You can find our Top 12 list of things to do with kids in Ljubljana here. If want to read more about the philosophy behind the wonderful House of Experiments look here, while our trip to the Museum of Illusions is documented here, and there’s always riverside walks, ice cream and pizza.
Photo: JL Flanner
Fun facts about Ljubljana Castle
The city’s main tourist attraction is the Castle, and you’ll enjoy your visit a lot more if you know what you’re looking at, so take a look at our 25 Things to Know about Ljubljana Castle and learn, among other things, what the holes shown below were used for.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you want to learn more about Ljubljana Pride, then take a look at our interview with its president here. If you're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here. We recently also published an interview with the LGBT activist and writer Suzana Tratnik, talking about - among other things - the occupation of Metelkova.
Klub Monokel – No events are being promoted this week, but that’s no reason not to head to this lesbian bar and see what’s happening on Friday night.
Klub Tiffany – The gay bar next door to Monokel is also open every Friday, but this week there’s also a very special Thursday event, from 20:00 to 23:00, Kavarniški večer: Salome, featuring Slovenia’s most famous transgender personality.
Pritličje – This is the closest Ljubljana comes to a "gay bar" so it's a good thing this LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space is such a good one, and open from morning to night. You can read more about it here.
Museums and galleries in Ljubljana
Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.
Ljubljana Castle has an exhibition on the history of dragons in Slovenia and around the world that runs until November 11, and there's plenty more to see and do when up there, including some nice walks in nature. Note that the bathroom is in the basement and rather difficult to find.
Plečnik's desk. Photo: JL Flanner
Plečnik’s House is worth a visit if you want to learn more about the architect who gave Ljubljana much of its character. Read about our guided tour here.
The Balassi Institute (The Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Hungary) – This is at Barvarska steza 8, Ljubljana, not far from Dragon Bridge, and until November 9 you can see a show with works from Igor Andjelic (1961) from Slovenia, Dénesa Farkasa (1974) from Estonia and Hungary and Pétra Mátyásija (1982) from Hungary.
Cankerjev dom – Running until the end of February 2019 is an exhibition titled Ivan Cankar and Europe: Between Shakespeare and Kafka. This is “An examination of Cankar’s art through an analysis of influences and interpretations, and juxtaposition with contemporary European writers. The visually elaborate architectural and graphic layout, supported by audio-visual media, installation art and diverse visual highlights, offers a vivid account of Cankar’s excellence, his comprehensively exquisite aesthetic and artistic vision.”
City Art Gallery – Tadej Pogačar’s CODE:RED project will be presented here until November 4, including documentary material, texts, interviews, videos, photographs, and newspapers. It’s being promoted with the following image.
CODE:RED Venice, Red umbrella march, public action, 49th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art, Venice, 2001 / on the picture: Carol Leigh
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square has an exhibition on the writer Ivan Cankar that’s on until the end of February 2019, with pictures, books and manuscripts, all presented in Slovene and English. It also has a very interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my recent visit here. Until March 2019 there's a show highlighting the work Elza Kastl Obereigner (1884-1973), a pioneer Slovenian sculptress, with an example of her work shown below.
Photo: M Paternoster
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
International Centre of Graphic Arts – Running until November 11 is an exhibition of works by Riko Debenjak, including prints, drawings, paintings and illustrations.
Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre – Just outside the centre of town, at Dunajska cesta 18, you can see a lot of plasticized bodies at the Body Worlds Vital show, running from October 20 until January 20 2019.
Photo: Body Works Vital
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design is showcasing Slovenian designers in a show called Made in Slovenia, lasting until the end of 2018: “The selling exhibition aims to present good practices of Slovenian designers and companies in the creative sector.” The same venue has an exhibition based on Slovenia’s Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, called “Living with Water”, and on until November 25.
Sam, 1966, fotografija na srebroželatinskem papirju. ©Stojan Kerbler
Moderna galerija – The main branch of this gallery, to be found near the entrance to Tivoli Park, has a good collection of modern art, as well a nice café in the basement, and it's latest exhibition focuses on the photographer Stojan Kerbler, which runs until January 13, 2019, and shows rural live in Slovenia for the recent past.
Museum of Contemporary History – The museum in Tivoli Park has two new shows. One is called Museum's (R)evolution 1948-2018, marking the place's 70th anniversary with an exhibition tracing its evolution through artefacts, photographs and personal stories and running until January 6 2019 (details here). There's also In Search of Freedom: 1968-2018, looking at the 1968 student protests.
National Gallery – The country’s main gallery has “the best” of what’s on offer from the Middle Ages to non-contemporary modern visual arts, and is in a great location for exploring other areas, just by Tivoli Park and opposite the main branch of the Moderna galerija. Running until February 10 2019 is a show called Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926): But Of Course, Painting Is Something Beautiful!, featuring works like the one below. You can read about our visit to the room containing scared art from the Middle Ages here, and see a picture from our trip after the two girls.
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more, with the big draw this season being the exhibition of over 140 items of gold from Ming Dyntasy China, as reported here, and with an example below.
Photo: Wang Wei Chang
Meanwhile, the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum has some rooms on Church art, funiture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household objects.
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum currently has a temporary show on Bees and Beekeeping, as well two permanent exhibitions. One of these is called Between Nature and Culture, and has a great collection of objects from Slovenia and around the world, well worth the trip up to the third floor to see it (as recounted here). This place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova.
Photo: JL Flanner
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljana here.
Photo: Alternative Ljubljana
Live music in Ljubljana
Cankerjev dom – Tuesday, 20:30, there’s a show from Secret Chiefs 3, part of a series curated by John Zorn, which we’ll use as an excuse to slip in Little Bittern (and to note that the man himself will be in town summer 2019, headlining the Ljubljana Jazz Festival).
Channel Zero – Thursday you can enjoy post-industrial noise from Australia’s Kollaps.>
Klub Gromka – Wednesday, starting at 20:30, a silent movie (Aelita – Queen of Mars) will be accompanied by live music from Marc Ribot, as played on acoustic and electric guitars. Friday night there’s change in mood, with a live show from Ruinas, MatraK AttaKK, and Ascidie, with the headlining act offering “misanthropic stenchcore crust” from Argentina. Forewarned is forearmed, so check out the third video below.
Kino Šiška – Monday there’s RE_HUMANIZACIJA V, from 20:00 on, playing “interdisciplinary sonic works that are the result of the vision of the youngest generation of Slovenian musicians” – details here.
Ljubljana Castle – Friday night is music night at the Castle, and this week sees a show from Nas3, as hear below.
Orto Bar – Thursday there’s live death metal from Beyond Creation, Gorod, Entheos, and Brought by Pain. Friday there’s then another Kadilnica of Death event, with SkyEye, Hangar 55, and Sketne. Saturday there’s then a Muse tribute band by the name of GeMÜSE.
Slovenska filharmonija – Thursday and Friday you can hear the orchestra lead by the conductor Dmitrij Liss and playing along with Duo GrauSchumacher on the piano. The music will be Messiaen, Poulenc and Tchaikovsky.
Tivoli Hall – Sunday night the Pink Floyd tribute band, Brit Floyd, are coming to town. You can get tickets here and get some idea of how good they are below.
Opera, theatre and dance in Ljubljana
Gledališče IGLU - IGLU Theatre – Saturday night this group is usually putting on an English improv show somewhere in town, but it’s generally promoted after this is written, so check the Facebook before putting on your shoes.
SNG Opera and Ballet – Thursday, Friday and Saturday you can enjoy ballet from Kompozicija in a show called Moški z nožem , while on Sunday there’s Madame Butterfly.
Slovensko mladinsko gledališče – Tuesday and Wednesday evening you can see a stage performance of Lar von Trier’s Idiots, as presented with English surtitles.
Other things to do in Ljubljana...
Open Kitchen is now over, but from November 2 to 30 there’s the Gourmet Ljubljana Festival, with a full programme of culinary events, as detailed here, as well as the St Martin's Day wine festival in the streets on Saturday, as noted in the intro.
If you'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,
Breg Embankment, just opposite the Old Town and by the river, has a small flea market open every Sunday morning. Learn more about it here.
If you can't make it to Breg on Sunday morning, but still want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Flickr - Dave Rosenbaum CC by 2.0
Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. If you're heading to the coast, check out our interview with a yoga teacher who offers breakfast sessions there, while if you're staying in town (or nearby) and want to try some "family yoga" then you can learn more about that here and maybe get your kids to calm down a moment or two.
There are some golf courses near Ljubljana, but even ones further away are not far, as seen in our list of all the golf courses in Slovenia.
Photo: maxpixel.com, public domain
Daytrips from Ljubljana
Photo: Google Image Search
Most of Slovenia is only a few hours from Ljubljana, and you can easily visit Lake Bled, Lipica Stud Farm, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, the coast and other locations, while if you'd like to take a photo of from that bench in Bled, then you can learn how to get there here. If you’re looking for something more ambitious, then check out our recent guide to the 17 members of the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia
If you want to try some interesting candies, or other Russian products, then consider a visit to 1000 Slaščic, tucked away by the main library in the centre of town (and this isn’t a paid ad or compensated content, I just happen to visit once every three weeks so I’ve something to chew on while choosing my books, as I did this morning). And if you'd like to join the library and enjoy its huge collection of books in various languages, as well as CDs and DVDs, then you can find out how to do that here.
Photo: JL Flanner