Note that this edition of What’s on… runs for two weeks, so if you something’s planned for Friday check if that’s the 19th or the 26th.
Two events in the days ahead are 420 – April 20th – the usual celebration of marijuana, and then the next day, Sunday 21st, which is Easter. With regard to the former note that cannabis remains illegal, although widely tolerated, and you’ll certainly be smelling it in Kongresni trg on Friday afternoon (yep, the 19th), for the annual marijuana march / event. Turning to Easter, note that some stores may be closed on Monday, including the all-important supermarkets, so stock up on milk, coffee and so on.
A weekly event that many enjoy is Open Kitchen, bringing food stalls to the market next to the Cathedral every Friday, and giving you the chance to eat outside and sample dishes from many of the city’s restaurants, as well as beer, wine and other drinks. It’s colourful and lively, and worth checking out even if you’ve already eaten. Read out interview with one of the organisers here.
If you're not in town for the time of this guide (April 15–28, 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.
Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station is showing, among other features, the Ljubljana comedy Ne bom več luzerka (often with English subtitles), Putin’s Witnesses, Loro, Transit, High Life, Missing Link, Us, Shoplifters, Non-Fiction, The Favourite and Mirai of the Future.
Kinoteka – This revival cinema isn’t far from Kinodvor, at the train station end of Miklošičeva, is showing, among other titles, The Rider (Chloé Zhao), Irréversible (Gaspar Noé); Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton), and Riding in Cars With Boys (Penny Marshall). On Thursday, April 25, there’s also the LGBTQ+ FestIval of Short Film.
Kino Bežigrad - Hellboy, Shazam! , a dubbed version of Missing Link, a dubbed version of Wonder Park, After, The Curse of La Llorona, and – from April 25, something called Avengers: Endgame
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. This week there are Loro, Pet Sematary, Shazam!, The Aspern Papers, 100 Dinge, Dumbo, Ne bom več luzerka, Storm Boy, Us, Creed II, Captain Marvel (2D and 3D), 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, Instant Family, Izbrisana, and a dubbed version of The Queen’s Corgi. New attractions are Missing Link and Wonder Park (both dubbed), The Curse of La Llorona, After, The Beach Bum (starting April 23), and Avengers: Endgame (April 24).
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Ne bom več luzerka, Colette, and Loro. That only takes us up to April 17, beyond which the schedule is a mystery, so click the cinema name if looking for something after that and see the latest news.
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.
Božidar - Friday April 26 the club night is back with Shanti Celeste (UK).
Channel Zero – April 19, a Friday, there’s SUBØ: 7 years of Bojler w/ Retina Set and support, playing club, bass, trap, grime, footwork, dancehall, dembow, baile funk, hardcore, and trance.
Cvetličarna – April 20th, a Saturday, there’s PURE Oldies Goldies with a live performance by Lisa Millett, an all-night affair orchestrated by DJ Shift. The Friday the 26th it’s RnB Reunion Season Closing, with DJ Sami Biyeh, DJ Em Bee, and DJ Sheko.
Gala Hala – Friday, 19, there’s drum’n’bass and a night called DIVE IN with Hugh Hardie (UK) and support. The next day, 420, it’s the turn of Rapetek Extra: Puff Puff Pass, playing reggea, hop hop and footwork, as the promo says “Se weedmo!”. The this place seems to go quiet until Friday the 26th, when there’s Umešana jajca, with a music policy of jungle, hip hop, dnb and breakbeat, including DJ Woo-D.
Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of club land, with a lot of student nights, has a packed schedule the next two weeks. Thursday 18th there’s a party aimed at medical students, but open to all. Friday there’s Kosta Radman Special, with the man himself picking the tunes. Saturday, 420, there’s an all-nighter (as most club nights are) with Best of RNB. Easter Sunday it’s a big night, not least of all because Monday’s a holiday, and the kids at Cirkus will be spening it with Velikonočna HITčina, organised by another group of students. Going into the second week of this guide, Wednesday April 24th there’s a night for “all students”, Vseštudentski RnB w/ Clemens. The big party though seems to be Friday, with Crazy Cirkus x Furious Stylez (Las Vegas, USA), with EDM, Festival Anthems & Party Hits. The week, and almost the month, then come to an end on Saturday 27th, with the regular Tutti Frutti night of 90s and 00s hits.
Klub K4 – Friday’s post marijuana march party (and yes, it’s on the 19th), will start at 22:00, and the all-night event will feature reggae, drum & bass, dub, and liquid. Saturday it’s a party called K4 ROZA: Tama Sumo, plus suppory, with a set from Ms Sumo below. Sunday, 21st , it’s time to dust off your dancing shoes, squeeze into your old jeans, and head down to Techno Oldies Goldies w/ Ben Long [Space DJz / UK]. Jumping all the way ahead to Friday the 26th, you can head back to K4 and enjoy LuckIsOn w/ Onur Özer, slicing and dicing techno, electro and house (I think). Saturday, 27th, it’s a night called Knauf – with techno being played by Thon Kland, Tritch, Shekuza, RSN and Herman K.
Koncertna Dvorana Rog – It’s all quiet at the dirty end of Trubarjeva until April 26th, a Friday, when you can enter this bicycle factory and dance to Tektonika vol.2. One of the DJs will be Nulla, as heard below.
Orto Bar – Friday the 19th, starting at 23:59 and going on until 05:00, there’s Petkov 80s Žur, which will be playing 80s music.
Božidar – Friday April 19 there’s Interstellar Funk (Rush Hour / NL), while the next night there’s the Vasko Atanasovski Trio.
Cankerjev dom – Monday (15th) the Schallfeld Ensemble will be presenting Fluid Disorder, which “explores extended perceptions of contemporary sound”. On the Thursday you can then see and hear Lojze Lebič, Fauvel '86, a “vocal-instrumental stage performance for mixed choir, soloists, instruments, percussion and audio recordings”. Jumping ahead to the 23rd, A Tuesday, there’s The New Standard Trio featuring Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow & Bobby Previte. Then the next evening The Gesualdo Six, Vocal Ensemble will hit the stage.
Channel Zero – Saturday, April 20th, there’s the 420 Weekend with a live show from Newly Crowned Hope, along with Paprika Korps (Heavy Reggae / POL).
Klub K4 – Thursday 18th, 20:00 to 22:00, you can see Slovenia’s Eurovision hopefuls, Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl, live on stage.
Kino Šiška – Monday (15th) IC3PEAK are in town, the “provocative Russian duo, whose blend of alternative hip-hop, post-internet bass tunes, explicit, fantasy-filled lyrics and a daring visual aesthetic is winning over the new generation”. Thursday “The gods of stoner. The marijuanauts of doom. The high priests of heavy riffs and meaty grooves.”…i.e. Sleep, are playing. Friday (19th) it’s then Chui and Porto Morto. Tuesday, the 23rd, “one of the fastest pianists in the world, Lubomyr Melnyk” will be tickling the ivories. The next evening Divanhana, a popular neosevdah group, are on stage. Thursday (25th) the Slovenian a cappella group Bassless will be singing. The legendary Japanese instrumental band Mono are here on Friday. Finally, our two-week guide comes to an end in Šiška with The Iron Maidens on Sunday the 28th – a great-sounding all-female Iron Maiden tribute act, as seen and heard after the other acts below.
Klub Gromka – April 19th and 20th there’s Antifa Fest, with music and other events, and details here. Friday there’s industrial, drone and experimental music from Author & Punisher, along with Lingua Ignota. The jumping ahead to Friday, April 26th, you can come here and enjoy Ritval IX - Stasis, Shock Troopers, and Zabojnik, a punk metal affair.
Ljubljana Castle – Friday 19th you can make your way up the hill for a show by the Full Moon Collective, while the next week, Friday 26th, it’s the turn of Nipke & The Nipples, doing local rap.
Orto Bar – Ortofest continues, with another full schedule of live music, mostly metal and rock, but not always. Tuesday (16th) it’s Samuel Blues & Miha Erič. Wednesday there’s Detour. Wednesday there’s another Kadilnica of Death presentation, with Simptomi. Thursday Raggalution reggae zmešnjava take the stage. Friday (19th) local legends Borghesia take the stage. The same night you can also see Riffeater #10 w/ Wrong, Coilguns, She Loves Pablo. Going into the following week, Tuesday 23rd there’s the fairly unGoogleable Jackson, joing by Fat Butlers. The next night Smaal and N3L take the stage.
Slovenska filharmonija – Thursday 18th the orchestra and chorus will be performing Verdi, with the programme being: Vespri Siciliani – Overture, Ave Maria from Otello, Libera Me (from Requiem), and Quattro pezzi sacri. The next evening there’s a celebration of the 80th birthday of Alojz Ajdič, which actually comes in September, including performances of his works and a talk with the man himself. The pieces will be chamber music and solos, and while I don’t know the programme there’s an example work below.
Cankerjev dom – Saturday, April 27th, there’s a performance, in English, marking the 70th anniversary of ŽKUD Tine Rožanc Folklore Group and its activities aimed at celebrating the national folklore heritage. The show, which starts at 19:30, “brings together more than a hundred performers including three generations of dancers and the diverse line-up of musicians of the ŽKUD Tine Rožanc Folklore Group who will be joined by the vocal music group Katice.”
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.
Klub Gromka – Tuesday, 16th, 21:00, there’s a Slovenian language performance of “Endless Medication” at this Metelkova venue, with the evening going out under the name Marijs Boulogne & Simona Semenič: Večna medikacija, and part of the Syndicate of Outlandish Entities. That Syndicate continues 20:00 Wednesday with Zatiranje v Gromki: 108,1 MHz, an art piece. The mini Syndicae festibval then closes with an all-ight party on Thursday, Zaključni sindikalni žur, which promises theatre, world music, and alt-rock.
SNG Opera and Ballet - There will be performances of the opera Giselle, by Adolphe Adam, on April 15, 15, 24, 25 and 26. Philip Glass’ Beauty & the Beast is staged April 18 and 20.
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, while you can read about another new player on the scene - Responsible Pot - and it's efforts to get CBD into more cafes and bars 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, 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.
Klub Monokel – This lesbian bar in Metelkova is open every Friday, but nothing special seems to be planned for the next two weeks.
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. Thursday, 18th, there’s a coffee evening (20:00) on the DJ and LGBT+ club scene. Saturday the 27th there’s an all-nighter with the intriguing name Cerkev Sodomije – TransForma.
Kinoteka – There’s the LGBT+ festival of short film on here Thursday April 25.
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
Cankerjev dom – The 13th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration is here until May 19th, while a free to see show called Subterranean Worlds, showing cave photography, runs from April 24th until June 16th.
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 Interlacement – exhibition of Éva Farkasvölgyi and Žiga Okorn, starting April 16th. 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.
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. Opening Thursday, April 25th, 20:00, The Visual Arts in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1929–1941, which then runs until September 15th 2019. This offers “an overview of painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, and film from the time the king's dictatorship was set up (6 January 1929) to the beginning of World War II on Yugoslav soil (April 1941).”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 below.
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
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. You can read about this fascinating show here.
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