One focus this week is Friday, February 8th, which is Prešeren Day, or Slovenian Cultural Day (Prešernov dan, slovenski kulturni praznik). This marks the death of the country’s national poet in 1849 and has been a national holiday since 1991, the year the country declared independence. In addition to being a day off work for many, most public museums and galleries also have free entry, so check out that section below and see what’s available.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (Feb 4 - 10, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and you can enhance your stay in the city and impress or annoy friends and companions by learning some obscure facts about the city here, and the Castle 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 at this place in whatever week you're here. 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
- Cinemas and films
- Live music
- Opera, theatre and dance
- Harm reduction and drug testing
- Things to do with children
- LGBT+ Ljubljana
- Ljubljana Castle
- Museums and galleries
- Other things to do in Ljubljana
- Getting around
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 if they can't understand Slovene. Parents should also pay attention to Kinobalon, which is Kinodvor's regular weekend series of film screenings and events for children, from babies on up, with special parent/child events, "first time in a cinema" screenings, and babysitting. Learn more about it here, and see the current schedule here.
Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station is showing, among other features, The Favourite, Women at War, Maria by Callas, The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear (dubbed into Slovene), Jack bestelt een broertje, Green Book, Climax and Igram, sem
Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, is showing Eraserhead, Dogville and Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life. There’s also von Trier’s Antichrist and the very different Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
Kolosej - Recent arrivals at the multiplex out at BTC are Papillion, Taksi bluz, Serenity, a dubbed version of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Green Book and Vice. A little older, and perhaps leaving soon, are Mary Queen of Scots, Glass, The Mule, The Favourite, The Upside, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (dubbed), Asterix: Le secret de la potion magique, Second Act, Južni veter, Aquaman, a dubbed version of Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Grinch, A Star is Born and the #1 box office film of 2018 in Slovenia, Bohemian Rhapsody. New this week is Escape Room, opening Tuesday.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice and Green Book.Back to the top
Compared to some European capitals it can seem that nightlife in Ljubljana ends rather early, especially along the river, 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 considerable variety to found within the various clubs there, from death metal to electropop, gay cabaret to art noise. You can read "the rules" of the place here.
Channel Zero – Thursday it’s Everything GOES, from 23:00 to 06:00, with party music from DJs Rope, Jerry, Sunneh, Fogy, and Stojc. Friday it’s the turn of Elektroliza: SYNC 24 (Cultivated Electronics), with dance music from Sync 24, Le Chocolat Noir, Ocular, And Nulla, and RGB on video. Saturday the third all-nighter of the week will be shaking the room with an event called Frag::ments w. HYDRO (Commercial Suicide / UK), where the music will be drum’n’bass, techstep, and neurofunk, which Wikipedia claims “emerged between 1997 and 1998 in London, England as a progression of techstep”.
Gala Hala – There seems to be no Dub Lab this week, but on Thursday there’s SOUL REBEL VII ★ Inna Soundsystem Style with a playlist that’ll include roots, dub, rocksteady, reggae, ska, drum’n’bass, jungle, hiphop, dubstep, and more. Friday thing move up in tempo with Wave Riders! This will bring the sounds of electroclash/leftfield and house/techno to clubbers, with the mixes coming from Torulsson and Kobayashii.
Klub Cirkus – Three all-nighters at the end of the week, starting on Thursday with Ice Cold pres. Zonderling (Tomorrowland, Spinnin, Hexagon). Friday it’s an RnB Explosion with fresh anthems and classics cuts with DJ Dej and DJ Martee. Things come to a head on Saturday with Tutti Frutti - Slovenska edicija, playing Slovenian dance hits from the hands of Matthew Z and Matteo Kunst.
Klub K4 – Thursday night it’s Just Us x Spaced, headlined by Joe Delon. Two events on Friday – 18:00 to 21:00 there’s an Ableton Live workshop, then an all-nighter from 23:00 on called Gibanica, with the electronic music provided by Deconstructor Live (Destruktura), Urban Jeram (REMM), Herman K (Machine City), Thomas L (Sw:idr) and Izza. Saturday the fun continues with a night of electronic dance and hip hop called KROM w/ Traples, Tikach, and YNG Firefly.Back to the top
Cankerjev dom – Monday evening Dani De Morón - '21' will be bringing flamenco guitar accompanied by voices and dance. Tuesday it’s then Drago Ivanuša “Dviganje Glasu” and Leïla Martial “Baa Box”.
Kino Šiška – Wednesday, 20:00, the Igor Matković Quintet will be playing jazz to celebrate the release of a new album. Same time, next day, the stage will be occupied by the Austrian group Elektro Guzzi playing live techno, followed by a DJ set from Alleged Witches.
Klub Gromka – Thursday evening there’s Bernays Propaganda, Xaxaxa, 21 Vek, My Tear, and Vasko Atanasoski.
Ljubljana Castle – Friday, 21:00, Jazz at the Castle has The Dukes of Prunes playing the music of Frank Zappa.
Orto Bar – Wednesday night it’s Riffeater #7 w/ Jucifer, Asheraah, and TSO. Guitars and the heavy side of things return to the stage on Thursday, with Kadilnica of Death presenting Grob, Britof, and Smrt. And that’s that not all. Friday is Prešeren Day, in honour of Slovenia’s national poet, and Orto Bar is marking the 170th anniversary of the man’s death with two stages and a line-up of Eruption , Penitenziagite , Seul Océan , Vigilance , China_traffic , and Malorshiga. Saturday things then calm down a little, with Arstiđir (Iceland/Season of Mist). The video they’re promoting the show with is quite surprising – it’s the fourth one below. The same night you can enjoy Pence, a Queen tribute band. You can see them below, too.
Slovenska filharmonija – Friday, Prešeren Day, there are two family concerts taking place here, at 10:00 and 13:00.Back to the top
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.
Grand Hotel Union – The fancy hotel on Miklošičeva will have an evening of romantic arias on Monday, starting at 19:00, as performed by José Cura, Elvira Hasanagić and Monika Bohinec, with support from the SNG Maribor Symphony Orchestra. Then on the 6th, a Wednesday, the same venue is hosting The Queen’s Six vocal group.
Orto Bar – Tuesday night there’s stand-up with Antivalentinova StandUp predigra - BREZ censure. You have been warned
SNG Opera and Ballet – Stravinsky’s ballet Orphic Hymn is on here Wednesday and Thursday, 19:30, while opera fans should consider attending Smetana’s Bartered Bride, to be performed at 11:00 Monday and 18:00 Saturday.Back to top
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, and our story on the group is here. They recently published a story warning about three pills with very high contents of MDMA, with details (in Slovene) here. Also be aware that all the usual drugs are illegal in Slovenia, although CBD is allowed (here's a look at a store on Trubarjeva cesta).Back to the top
Photo: JL FlannerBack to the top
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, pizza and ice cream. With regard to the latter, take a look at our guide to six places that serve good ice cream in winter.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - The puppet theatre near the Central Market and next to the Castle funicular has a full programme or shows, for children and adults, with the schedule here. A sample of some of the shows from several years ago is below.Back to the top
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, while our stories about the community can be found here.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, and this week on Thursday there's also Druga redna skupščina, while on Saturday night it's open as a bar again.
Klub Tiffany – And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays, while every Monday until June 2019 there's tango at 18:00. On Thursday, 20:00, there's Kavarniški večer: Rave.
Pritličje – This seems to be the only "always open" LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space in town, and perhaps the country, so it's a good thing it's such a good one, open from morning to night, and with fliers and posters letting you know what's happening outside the narrow confines of, say, a general interest online what's on... guide.Back to the top
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyardBack to the top
The city’s main attraction is said to be the top tourist draw in the country overall, and to my mind it earns a spot near the top just for the history and views. But beyond that the current owners, the City of Ljubljana, have laid out a varied, interesting and enjoyable programme of events, one that rewards regular revisits.
I try and get up there every Saturday morning to clear my head and move my feet on the trails, and never tire of that end of the hill. At the other end, where the Castle sits, there’s a lot more than fresh air on offer. There are guided tours, restaurants, a café, Castle museum, puppet museum, a Watchtower you can climb to the highest point in the city, art shows, dances, live music, movies under the stars, festival days and more – enough to reward multiple trips up the hill through the year. All of these activities and events can be found on the Castle website, while on TSN you can see “25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle” here, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.Back to the top
Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum, and - as noted at the start
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.
Cankerjev dom – On until February 28 is the exhibition Ivan Cankar and Europe, Between Shakespeare and Kafka, while until March 10 there’s a photographic show on the Ljubljanica, with images of the city’s river captured by Bojan Velikonja. Showing until the end of March is a selection of specimens from The Newspaper Museum.
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square also 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 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 from Friday until March 3 2019 there will be a show of posters from Milton Glaser, while paintings, drawings, prints and from Nathalie Du Pasquier in a show called Fair Game. The latter is being promoted with the following image.
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, and until March 25, 2019, has a show on Ljubljana and it's relation with water. Until February 24 visitors can enjoy Toasted Furniture, which presents some experiments with the reuse of plastic waste, and until February 28 there's a show on Oskar Kogoj and his chairs.
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. Running until March 31 is a major show on young Slovenian painters, Time Without Innocence – Recent Painting in Slovenia, where you’ll see works like the following. You can read about my visit here (I loved it).
Iva Tratnik, Mating Season Totalitarianism, 2014, oil on canvas, 210 x 194 cm
Tina Dobrajc, The Balkan Saga II, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm
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 sacred 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 Dynasty China, as reported here, and with an example below. This runs until February 15th.
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, furniture 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 items.
Natural History Museum – On until the end of June 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.
Ravnikar Gallery Space – Tina Konec has a show here until February 8, v megli (In the Fog).
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum currently has a temporary show on Bees and Beekeeping, on until June 16 2019, 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.
Union is "the Ljubljana beer", but now both it and Laško are owned by Heineken. There are many local brews on offer around town, though, if you want to explore IPAs, stouts, wheatbeers, sours and so on 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: JL FlannerBack to the top
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,
If you want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here. The man behind it, Jaka Prijatelj, has a fine eye for life on this street, as you can see on his Facebook account.
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.
maxpixel.net, public domain
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. Note that these close when the snow starts, if it ever does this year, in which case you might be interested in what's new at Slovenia's ski resorts for 2019, as reported here.
Photo: maxpixel.net, public domainBack to the top
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
Photo: Google Image SearchBack to the top
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. Manual wheelchair users can also borrow, for free, an attachment that will motorise their equipment, as reported here.
Screenshot from a Twitter video
If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to part, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
There aren't many places to eat after midnight, and most of them are by the train station, as reported here.
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.Back to the top