Something that restarts this Friday, March 22, and a real sign the tourist season is set to begin, is Open Kitchen. This takes place each week in the marketplace between the river and Cathedral, and sees dozens of stalls from the city's restaurants selling hot food and cold drinks for lunch, through the afternoon, and a relatively early dinner. Even if you're not hungry it's worth visiting for the sights, sounds and aromas. Read our interview with the co-founder here, and find out what's on the menu this year.
Photo: Špela Verbič Miklič (PEPERMINT)
Want to learn more about the city’s architecture? Check out our review of a book that includes photos, maps, plans, walking tours and more. Feeling uptight, want a legit massage and don’t feel like leaving your home, office or hotel? Then consider a mobile massage here (and – again – it’s legit) from the same team behind the Sense Wellness Spas.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (March 18 – 24, 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 & miscellaneous
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kids' 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 continuing the documentary festival this week, and also has a Francophone one, and is showing, among other titles Days of Madness, My Last Year as a Loser (in Slovene, with French subs), Faces Places, Colette, Vision, Maria by Callas, I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians and What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire?
Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, is also part of the documentary and Francophone festivals, and the programme includes Dead Souls, Lucy, The Wild Blue Yonder, Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski, Le livre d'image, and La chute de l'empire américain.
Kino Bežigrad - Here you can see the Queen’s Corgi and Captain Marvel.
Kolosej - The multiplex out at BTC City Mall is playing all the big titles, but note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones may only be playing once or twice a week. Click on the theatre name to see the actual times before making a date. New this week are Creed II and Yao, while starting Wednesday is Us. Continuing are Captain Marvel (2D and 3D), Colette, Posljednji Srbin u Hrvatskoj, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Green Book, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (dubbed), A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Escape Room, Lego Film 2, Cold Pursuit, Alita: Battle Angel (2D and 3D), Qu'est-ce qu'on a encore fait au bon Dieu?, Happy Death Day 2U, Instant Family, Mia et le lion blanc, a dubbed version of Liliane Susewind, Replicas, Izbrisana, and a dubbed version of The Queen’s Corgi.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Colette, Green Book, Yao and Qu'est-ce qu'on a encore fait au bon Dieu?
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. And if you're curious about how the place started then read our story, and look at some pictures, about last year's 25th anniversary.
Channel Zero – Saturday, March 23, there’s DeepEnd! x DubLab - chapter XII. w. RDG, a Sound System event with a line-up of RDG (Circle Vision, All Out Dubstep), Kanomotis (DeepEnd!), CLZ (DeepEnd!), RawLand (DeepEnd!) and VJ 5237 SI.
Gala Hala – Friday there’s a techno all-nighter called Versus: Shekuza / Splinterhouse. Saturday you can then enjoy Bollywood & Bhangra Night with DJ Shanti Priya and DJ Borsan.
Klub Cirkus – The more commercial side of klubland, which doesn’t itself too seriously, has an all-nighter on Friday called Crazy Cirkus x Avadox - supported by CHRNS, playing festival anthems & party hits. Saturday, another all-night affair – as most club events are in Ljubljana – is Best of R’n’B (and hip hop) with DJ Martee.
Klub K4 – More than three decades in and the klub at Kersnikova 4 (hence K4) has two nights this week. Friday is UK4 Garage: Enchanted Rhythms. Saturday things take a darker turn with Temnica, with DJs Dojaja (Kvalitat) and Nulla Nitz (Synaptic Crew), a techno event.
Orto Bar – Friday there’s a DJ all-night party that takes you back to the 1980s, with the tunes lined up by the 80s Crew.
Božidar – Thursday, 20:00 to 01:00, there’s Jazz klub Mezzoforte.
Cankerjev dom – Tuesday, March 19, there’s a concert by the pianist Uri Caine. No idea what he’ll be playing, and he can play it all, but below there’s a show from him below.
Cvetličarna – Friday Bajaga & Instruktori have a show marking 35 years in the business.
Channel Zero – Sunday, March 24, there’s Belgium’s THOT.
Kino Šiška – Tuesday Zabranjeno pušenje are another band this week marking 35 years. Wednesday it’s the turn of Jon Spencer & the Hitmakers. Thursday the Icelandic post-metal band Sólstafir take the stage.
Klub Gromka – Friday night there’s melodic death / groove / thrash metal from Darkfall and Ashine.
Koncertna Dvorana Rog – Tuesday night there’s live punk at the dirty end of Trubarjeva, where we call home, with Oi Polloi and Open Veins.
Ljubljana Castle – Friday night is jazz night, and this week it’s from the Mirna Bogdanović Group.
Orto Bar – Thursday night Kadilnica of Death is presenting more metal with Dickless Tracy, Sarcom, and Morbid Creation. Saturday you can then see Mookie, a Pearl Jam tribute band.
Slovenska filharmonija – Tuesday the Josef Suk Piano Quartet are playing (butnot four pianos).
Cankerjev dom - It’s some way off, but Eddie Izzard is playing here April 14.
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.
Kino Šiška – Saturday and Sunday you can see a new show, Alien Express: Second Flight.
Klub Gromka – Thursday night one of my favourite shows is back on stage here, the techno burlesque of Tatovi podob / Image Snatchers, starting 21:00.
SNG Opera and Ballet - A new Slovenian opera called Koda L is playing here Tuesdau, Thursday, Fridau and Saturday.
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. You can find the latest warnings on fake drugs and high strength pills and powders (in Slovene) here. However, be aware that all the usual drugs are illegal in Slovenia.
CBD is legal, though, and our retailer of choice can be found on Trubarjeva cesta - read more about Sena Flora here.
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.
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 Ghetto Vanessa (DE) + Bojler, and Playboi Cati, playing bass, club, dancehall, afrobeat, dembow and rap.
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, and Tuesday, 19:00, there’s a talk on sex and drugs
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.
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard
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.
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, and it's also in a really nice part of town, Trnovo, just a short walk or cycle upriver. Read about our guided tour here.
Balassi Institute – The Hungarian culture centre has an exhibition entitled “Encounters in Visual Art” introduces works of selected visual artists, painters and sculptors, who define today's art scene in Hungary and Slovenia, as promoted with the image below. Free to enter, this venue is next to a Spar and Hofer, and not far from Dragon Bridge, and always has something interesting going on. Learn more here.
Cankerjev dom – Showing until the end of March is a selection of specimens (in Slovene, English and other languages) from The Newspaper Museum, while there are also some architectural models and plans on display.
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square an 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.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
City Gallery - Not far from the Robba Fountain and running until March 24 is a show presenting drawings by Iztok Sitar, the original pages that were used to make his graphic novels over the last three decades. Rather adult in nature – think Robert Crumb in terms of sex, drugs and religion, in places – it’s free to enter and has much to enjoy. One of the pictures I took on my visit is below.
Photo: JL Flanner
International Centre of Graphic Arts – Starting March 22 and running until May 19 is Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration. One of the images promoting the show is shown below.
Kosuke Kimura: Present Situation – Existence A, colour and silkscreen, 1971.
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.
Rafikun Nabi: Poet, 1980, print, 96.5 x 110 cm. Courtesy of the Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro. On display at the Metelova branch of the Moderna galerija
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). The museum's Metelkova branch also has a big new show, runing until at least September 2019, an the art of the Non-Aligned Movement, with an example shown above.
Iva Tratnik, Mating Season Totalitarianism, 2014, oil on canvas, 210 x 194 cm
Arjan Pregl, from the Carnival series, oil on canvas (6 paintings 120 x 100 cm; 3 paintings 80 x 60 cm), 2018. Mr Pregl was recently voted "worse than Hitler" on Twitter.
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. You can read about our visit to the room containing sacred art from the Middle Ages here.
The real Robba Fountain can be found in the entrance to the National Gallery - the one you see in the Old Town is a genuine fake, as seen below and reported here.
Photo: JL Flanner
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. 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.
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 Flanner
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 domain
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 Search
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.
Photo: JL Flanner