If you enjoy honest trash then check out the Kurja polt (Goosebumps) festival of genre film, 9–14 April, which takes place at Kinodvor and Kinoteka. This year’s theme is freaks, and the programme is packed with cheap sex and nasty thrills, with a selection of cult classics and classics in the making. Check out our write up and some of the trailers here. Another festival this week, albeit just Friday and Saturday, is Tresk – “the clash between music and record labels” – which you can read about here.
If you want to wake up to the big headlines in Slovenia then take a look at the new format of our daily morning news feature.
Something new we added recently that will delight or enrage you is our suggestions on how to spend from four to 48 hours in Ljubljana. Check it out here.
If you're not in town for the week of this guide (April 8 to 14, 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 or try and find me on Facebook.
- 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, while non-English language movies for older viewers will have Slovenian subtitles. 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.
As noted in the intro, this week Kinodvor and Kinoteka are hosting a festival of genre film, with more details and some trailers here.
Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station is showing, among other features, Loro, Vision, Leave No Trace, My Last Year as a Loser (a good Slovene film – I’ve seen it – with a lot filmed in downtown Ljubljana; it’s screened with English subtitles), Transit, Un couteau dans le coeur (in French, with English subtitles)
Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, is showing Ilsa Harem Keeper Of The Oil Sheiks and Der Fan (German, with English subtitles). Yep, they’re both part of the genre film festival
Kino Bežigrad - This place is showing Dumbo and Shazam!, while starting on Thursday is a remake of Hellboy.
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. Click on the theatre name to see the actual times before making a date. This week there are Pet Sematary, Shazam!, The Aspern Papers, 100 Dinge, Dumbo, Ne bom več luzerka, Storm Boy, Us, Creed II, Captain Marvel (2D and 3D), Colette, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Green Book, A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Escape Room, Alita: Battle Angel (2D and 3D), Qu'est-ce qu'on a encore fait au bon Dieu?, Mia et le lion blanc, Happy Death Day 2U, Instant Family, Replicas, Izbrisana, and a dubbed version of The Queen’s Corgi. New this week is Loro.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing, among other features, My Last Year as a Loser, Loro and Colette.
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 – Friday there’s an all-nighter (as most club events are) called Mami's Magic & Mo:Dem Teaser Party, a Mushroom Magic Lights affair, with the main DJ being Val Vashar.
Gala Hala – Friday there’s Balkan Campers Opening Party, with DJ Bayo (Jugofunk set), Mokoš (ex-Yu hip hop set) and Brat & Sestra (ex-Yu rock set) – sadly, no sets from this crew seen to be online. Saturday there’s Versus: Shekuza / Brtinzz, a techno event, a set below.
Klub Cirkus – Friday night it’s time to dress for the lights with BLACK MOON – UV Gathering, with the music being dance, future house, edm, house, r&b, hip hop, and trap. Saturday you can then enjoy El Fuego with latino flavored pop, r&b, dance, reggaeton, latin house, tropical, and island beats.
Klub K4 – Friday the klub 4 kool kids has 30K4 : Jane Fitz [Night Moves, Freerotation / UK], Jane Fitz (NIGHT MOVES, FREEROTATION / UK), Lara H., Fraku, Nulla, Maša, Nika (Rite of Passage), and Nikolaj (PHI), with visual support from VJ 5237. The night, a Saturday, it’s K4 Gibanica x Tresk, with Blaž (playing live), along with DJs Terranigma (Tigerbalm), Šuljo, and DVS (Tigerbalm, RŠ), and back again is VJ 5237.
Božidar – Friday evening there’s the Jazz klub Mezzoforte, Freestyle Karaoke & Jam Session.
Cankerjev dom – Tuesday evening, 20:00, the country’s main arts centre will see a concert by Mario Batković + Damir Avdić – sadly, no videos are available. The same evening, same time, in a different hall, there’s the Partisan Choir, celebrating it’s 75th anniversary with an event partisan and patriotic songs. Thursday, the 11th, Teresa Salgueiro – “the finest voice of Portugal and beyond” – is on stage. Friday it’s then the turn of the Dresden Philharmonic, with Beatrice Rana on the piano, playing Brahms.
Cvetličarna – Saturday you can see a true legend of the Slovenian music scene, with Vlado Kreslin and the Little Gods.
Kino Šiška – Thursday evening The Ills are on stage, the Slovakian champions of instrumental post-rock, shoegaze and prog. Saturday this venue is hosting the Tresk Festival, with details here. Sunday there’s a live show from Raul Midón.
Klub Gromka – Thursday, 11th, 20:00 to 02:00, there’s Noites do Brasil #2, an evening of Brazilian music with several acts on the bill, as organised by Sherzer Brigade. Friday things are very different with a packed programme of grindcore (and mincecore) coming from Aligrindtor, Decom-Posers, Dead Corcoras, and Morbid Creation.
Ljubljana Castle – This Friday there’s a Bob Dylan Tribute - The Complete Unknowns.
Orto Bar – Orto Fest continues with more hard rock and metal. Tuesday there’s Lumberjack, Wednesday it’s Demolition Group, Thursday come Avven with support from Tears of Kali, Friday DMP take the stage, as do, at a different time, The Stroj. Saturday the week ends with Bohem.
Slovenska filharmonija – There seems to be noting in town from the orchestra this week, as they're in Zagreb.
Cankerjev dom - Thursday evening there’s a staging, in Slovene, of Martin Sherman’s Bent. Sunday the British comedian Eddie Izzard will be taking the stage.
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 – There’s a lot of dance out at this venue. On Monday there’s REAR WINDOW / Dancers Without Answers, Tuesday it’s Ana Kreitmeyer and Sonja Pregrad: Out There and In Here, with the same evening also seeing Maja Delak: Just For Today. Wednesday there’s David Somló: Mandala. There seem to be no videos to promote these shows.
Klub Gromka – Saturday evening you can go to Metelkova and enjoy Sindikat odklonskih entitet / the Syndicate of Outlandish Entities, with new comedy, performative humour, irony, satire, parody, and social commentary, in Slovenian
SNG Opera and Ballet - Adolphe Adam’s ballet Giselle will be performed here Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with choreography by the Cuban ballet artist Howard Quintero Lopez.
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 this week we also added an interview with the guy behind Responsible Pot, which is getting CBD into the city’s cafés and bars.
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, and thus are serious about the dessert.
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.
Cankerjev dom – A Slovenian version of Martin Sherman’s Bent will be staged here on Thursday evening.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, and this week there’s an all-night techno event called Katarza, Noir, featuring two DJs with those names.
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. This week the events page seems to be missing.
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.
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
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, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. Until May 19 there's Tendencies: Architecture and Urban Planning in Celje, 1955–1985.
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. 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.
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). From April 18 until October 19 (2019) you can also see a show called Shamanism of the Peoples of Siberia, from the Russian Museum of Ethnography, Saint Petersburg. The 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.
Prefer to have someone else stretch you? The check out the totally legit massages you can get from Sense Wellness - either in one of their spas or in you home, office or hotel. (And - to repeat - these are legit and non-sexual in nature)
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.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