Ljubljana related

01 Aug 2019, 15:52 PM

STA, 1 August 2019 - TrNOVfest, the successor to the Trnfest annual summer festival in Ljubljana's Trnovo borough, will open on Thursday with concerts by the bands Hamo & Tribute to Love and Buržuazija, followed up by shows every evening until the end of August.

The popular festival open-air venue in Karunova Street will also notably see performances by Rambo Amadeus, Zabranjeno Pušenje, Noctiferia, Nipke and N'toko, Soul Fingers and Zaklonišče Prepeva, among others.

The 28th festival, marking the 99th anniversary of the Trnovo Culture Centre, which hosts the festival, will conclude on 31 August with concerts by Tabu and Traffic Religion.

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In addition to getting a new name, what is also new about the festival, which used to be free of charge, is tickets, costing five euros.

Iztok Kurnik told the STA on behalf of the organisers that they wanted to offer a diverse programme and explained that payable tickets had been introduced in order to cover the security costs.

Unlike the previous years, the festival will not come to a close with the traditional street festival Emonska Promenada at the end of August.

The 19th Emonska Promenada will have a different concept and take place in a different location, on the Shoemakers' Bridge in the centre of Ljubljana. It will be held between 22 and 24 August.

TrNOVfest’s schedule is perhaps best seen on the related Facebook events page, but can also be found on the official website and this PDF

 

27 Jul 2019, 11:21 AM

This week’s photos come from Aleksander Sandi, and show some different views of Ljubljana.

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You can see more of his work on Facebook, and if you like images of the Slovenian capital that go beyond the usual sights, then check out these earlier “photos of the week” from Igor Andjelić and Jaka Prijatelj.

27 Jul 2019, 14:30 PM

If you're not in town for the week of this guide (29 July to 4 August, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity 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.

In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.

As ever, links to the basic listings are after the following selection, while a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.

Jump to listings

Skunk Anansie are performing at 20:00 Kino Šiška Monday evening (29 July). At the same time, in the National Gallery, Avi Avital will be playing the mandolin as part of the Ljubljana Festival (details). Tuesday (20:00) the National Gallery will then see a show by the Georgian Chamber Orchestra (details), while Wednesday there’s an evening called Death and the Maiden, with the soprano Nika Gorič (details). More music can be found in the regular listings below.

You can enjoy beach volleyball in Kongresni trg (Congress Square / Zvezda Park) Friday to Sunday, with the Ljubljana Beach Volley Challenge, and international beach volleyball championship. More details here.

TrNOVfest  is back for the whole month of August, with theatre and dance workshops, art exhibitions, Indian dances, literary and film evenings, stand-up comedy, graffiti workshops, DJ sessions and more, with food and craft beer to go along with music that ranges from jazz and acoustic to rock, metal, and trap. Tickets at €5, things happen at the Centre of Slavic Cultures France Prešeren, and details (in Slovene) are here.

I took a trip to the Botanical Garden last week, a short or cycle upriver from the centre. I know nothing about plants but I like them, took a camera and had a good time. All the outside part is free to enter, and there’s a small café with ice cream, coffee and beer.

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JL Flanner

The Ljubljana Festival, which continues until 5 September and has a packed programme of world-class concert, opera, and ballet events – see more here. Other festivals of note include the start of Gala Hala Summer Stage at Metelkova Mesto, running until 31 July and offering bands and DJ sets, with all evenings free. Details here (Slovene only). On until August 3rd is Film Under the Stars, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Thursday, at Kavarna Plato, Ajdovščina 1 (on end of Slovenska cesta, not far from Nebotičnik) there’s also free open-air salsa, starting 20:00. Same same, but different, every Friday, 20:30, there’ll be free live jazz in Stari trg (Old Town Square).

The Summer in Ljubljana Old Town goes on until 28 August. This presents classical concerts, many of which are free, in the churches, inner courtyards and squares in the old city centre. The programme is here. Running until 1 September is the Mini Theatre’s season for children and young people, with details here.

Volčji Potok Arboretum (Volčji Potok 3) has a rose garden in bloom until 31 August, nature permitting.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.

Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Ljubljana is forecast to be the fastest-warming city in the world over the next few decades.


Contents

Cinemas and films

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.

Film Under the Stars gives you the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.

Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.

Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.

Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.

Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.

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Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).

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Clubbing

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 - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.

Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.

Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.

Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,

Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.

Orto Bar80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.

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Live music

Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.

Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.

CvetličarnaRegional pop and rock concerts can be found here.

Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.

Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.

Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.

Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.

Ljubljana CastleJazz, funk and pop every Friday night.

Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.

Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.

Slovenska filharmonijaClassical music in the centre of town.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.

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See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here

Theatre and dance

Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.

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 – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.

Mini Teater Ljubljana –The English schedule of varied performances, for adults and children, for the month is here.

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.

Pocket Teater Studio– There are regular flamenco evenings at perhaps the smallest venue town, but note that the number of seats is very limited, and thus you should make a reservation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 070 325 522.

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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, 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.

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Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here

Things to do with children

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.

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.

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.

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Vice meets Žižek in Ljubljana. If you want to see more of the most successful writer who lives in Ljubljana, click here

LGBT+ Ljubljana

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, although sometimes there are other events

Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.

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.

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Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard

Ljubljana Castle

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. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.

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 Castlehere, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.

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Museums and galleries

Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.

Looking to buy some high end, big name local art from a trusted gallery? Check out our look at Sloart.

Cankerjev dom – On until 3 March 2020 there's an exhibition on Ancient Greek Science and Technology. Details here.

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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 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. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.

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The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

International Centre of Graphic Art  – The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.

Kapelica Gallery, Kersnikova 4 – In the same building as Klub K4 you can enjoy Earth Without Humans: 'On The Boundaries Of Artificial Life' until August 23, described as follows: “We have started trusting high-tech more than we trust our close friends and family and an increasing number of technology manufacturers are becoming aware of this. The applications that they are developing are becoming increasingly smart and cooperative, while also becoming increasingly aesthetically neutral and humanised.”

Ljubljana Castle on until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title. There's also the Parallel Worlds of Alan Hranitelj runs on until September 8, showing the work of the acclaimed costume designer.

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.

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Photo: Urša Premik

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)” - you can read more about it here. 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. Until September 15 you can also enjoy Maja Hodošček, a video artist you “explores social relations through the politics of exchange and collaboration; in particular, she is interested in speculative models of representation in relation to the documentary.”

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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

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Alan Ford at the National Gallery

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 hereThe Space Within the Space: Scenography in Slovenia before 1991 will provide a comprehensive historic, stylistic, visual and theatrical overview of Slovenian scenography until 8 September. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October.

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JL Flanner

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. 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 December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.

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 Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below

National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to his permanent collection will be showingIn Search Of Freedom: 1968-2018 until 16 August. Until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image. On until 18 August is Walls, described as follows: “Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is clear that the processes of democratisation and integration of Europe, announced in the historical year of 1989, have failed to achieve their goals. Although many real and symbolic walls have been demolished, new ones have been raised instead, and some still deeply disturbed our society.”

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Photo: Edi Šelhaus

Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has 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 calledShamanism 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. On until September 15 is Petra Šink: The circle between design and nature, in which the award-winning designer takes visitors through the life cycle of useful products for the home which are made from natural biodegradable fungal materials.

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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.

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Vžigalica Gallery – If you’re curious about the man who commissioned that Melania Trump sculpture, then you can see more of activities here, in a show called Brad Downey: This Echo.

Volčji Potok Arboretum - Running until 3 November you can see a large collection of cacti 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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Other things to do in Ljubljana

Learn more about Ljubljana with "25 things to know about Slovenia's green city of dragons", or take a look at our guide to spending from four to 48 hours here.

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If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.

Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.

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Photo: Open Kitchen

Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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Nataraja Studio

Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. We go to Nataraja Studio, by Dragon Bridge, and here's a story about it.

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.

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Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain

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Daytrips

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. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.

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Photo: Google Image Search

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Getting around

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.

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Screenshot from a Twitter video

If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.

Emergencies

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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.

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26 Jul 2019, 19:18 PM

Most visitors to Ljubljana, even those who live in the country, focus on the very centre of town, the picturesque and increasingly pedestrianised area that runs roughly between Žitni most (Grain Bridge) – the next bridge after Zmajski most (Dragon Bridge) – and Šentjakobski most (St James’ Bridge), at the end of the old town in the other direction. So in this series of articles we’ll write a little about places that are just outside this area, within an easy walk, cycle or so on, and which can be used as anchor points to explore further.

Today’s focus is Ljubljana Botanical Garden (Botanični vrt Univerze v Ljubljani), just passed Špica. I visited and took these pictures in late July. The date is important, as what you'll see obviously depends on the time of year, with repeat visits yielding different views. All of it, apart from the tropical greenhouse, is free to enter, and the walk there takes you along the Ljubljanica, via Špica.

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Inside the tropical greenhouse

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Founded in 1810, when Ljubljana was capital of the short-lived Illyrian Provinces (1809—14), part of the French Empire under Napoleon, when it was built to go along with the Ecole Centrale. Two centuries later, and it's now part of the University of Ljubljana.

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Now I'll say right in the open that I have no idea what I'm looking at when I visit, other than the broad categories of grass, flower, and tree, but that doesn't spoil my enjoyment, especially with a camera in hand and a book to relax with in the shade of a tree.

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There are paths to follow and many things to enjoy. In addition to the plants, there are all the insects you'll come across, with one focus of the garden being pollinators. The best known of these are of course the bees, and here you'll find a colony of the Carnolian Grey, the native Slovene species. There's an “education bee house”, out by the railtracks, where you can stand behind glass and watch the bees come and go from the hive. Or go out, as I did, and rest on your back looking up between the hive and the nearby grape vine, a superhighway of insects going back and forth above me.

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Go slow enough to smell the flowers and take in the great variety packed into a relatively small area. Keep going ang eventually you’ll come across a pond with some turtles, or a cafe among the trees. Just lots of small things to enjoy.

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If you like being in nature but find Tivoli Park too big,  or just want a greater concentration of varied plants, the Botanical Garden is highly recommended, and visiting will also give you a chance to see more of the city, following the river upstream, to places where not everyone goes.

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From June to August it's open every day 07:00 to 20:00. September and October it closes an hour earlier, while from November to March the hours are 07:00 to 17:00. April to June it's then open 07:00 to 19:00. The tropical greenhouse and store are open 10:00 to 19:00, every day of the week, where you can buy seeds and plants (although the latter only Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 18:00). Entrance to the greenhouse is €2.80 for adults and €1.30 for children, and annual tickets are available. The official website is here, and the address is Ižanska cesta 15, 1000 Ljubljana.

20 Jul 2019, 12:21 PM

Time flies and while the days are getting hotter they’re also getting shorter, so if you have the chance to get out and enjoy yourself then take it, with a packed programme of events in town this week, mostly festival based, as well as plenty of street life.

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See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here

If you're not in town for the week of this guide (22 to 28 July, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity 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.

In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.

As ever, links to the basic listings are after the following selection, while a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.

Jump to listings

The biggest thing is the Ljubljana Festival, which continues until 5 September and has a packed programme of world-class concert, opera, and ballet events – see more here. Other festivals of note include the start of Gala Hala Summer Stage at Metelkova Mesto, running until 31 July and offering bands and DJ sets, with all evenings free. Details here (Slovene only). On until August 3rd is Film Under the Stars, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Thursday, 18:15, head to Dvorni trg and see some Slovenian folk dances. It’s right by one of our favourite pizza places, too, far better, and cheaper, than the premium view would lead you to expect. Plus they have 100+ pizzas on the menu, with the largest a full  1,963 cm2. [Note - any and all food recommendations I make are based on meals I paid for, with no input or offers from the places in question.]

Thursday, at Kavarna Plato, Ajdovščina 1 (on end of Slovenska cesta, not far from Nebotičnik) there’s also free open-air salsa, starting 20:00. Same same, but different, every Friday, 20:30, there’ll be free live jazz in Stari trg (Old Town Square).

The Summer in Ljubljana Old Town goes on until 28 August. This presents classical concerts, many of which are free, in the churches, inner courtyards and squares in the old city centre. The programme is here. Running until 1 September is the Mini Theatre’s season for children and young people, with details here.

Volčji Potok Arboretum (Volčji Potok 3) has a rose garden in bloom until 31 August, nature permitting.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.

Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Ljubljana is forecast to be the fastest-warming city in the world over the next few decades.


Contents

Cinemas and films

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.

Film Under the Stars gives you the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Note - Toy Story 4 only seems to be shown in dubbed versions Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.

Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.

Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.

Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.

Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.

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Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).

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Clubbing

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 - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.

Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.

Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.

Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,

Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.

Orto Bar80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.

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Live music

Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.

Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.

CvetličarnaRegional pop and rock concerts can be found here.

Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.

Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.

Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.

Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.

Ljubljana CastleJazz, funk and pop every Friday night.

Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.

Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.

Slovenska filharmonijaClassical music in the centre of town.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.

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Theatre and dance

Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.

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 – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.

Mini Teater Ljubljana –The English schedule of varied performances, for adults and children, for the month is here.

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.

Pocket Teater Studio– There are regular flamenco evenings at perhaps the smallest venue town, but note that the number of seats is very limited, and thus you should make a reservation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 070 325 522.

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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, 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.

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Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here

Things to do with children

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.

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.

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.

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Vice meets Žižek in Ljubljana. If you want to see more of the most successful writer who lives in Ljubljana, click here

LGBT+ Ljubljana

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, although sometimes there are other events

Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.

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.

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Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard

Ljubljana Castle

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. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.

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 Castlehere, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.

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Museums and galleries

Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.

Looking to buy some high end, big name local art from a trusted gallery? Check out our look at Sloart.

Cankerjev dom – On until 3 March 2020 there's an exhibition on Ancient Greek Science and Technology. Details here.

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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 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. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.

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The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

International Centre of Graphic Art  – The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.

Kapelica Gallery, Kersnikova 4 – In the same building as Klub K4 you can enjoy Earth Without Humans: 'On The Boundaries Of Artificial Life' until August 23, described as follows: “We have started trusting high-tech more than we trust our close friends and family and an increasing number of technology manufacturers are becoming aware of this. The applications that they are developing are becoming increasingly smart and cooperative, while also becoming increasingly aesthetically neutral and humanised.”

Ljubljana Castle on until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title. There's also the Parallel Worlds of Alan Hranitelj runs on until September 8, showing the work of the acclaimed costume designer.

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.

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Photo: Urša Premik

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)” - you can read more about it here. 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. Until September 15 you can also enjoy Maja Hodošček, a video artist you “explores social relations through the politics of exchange and collaboration; in particular, she is interested in speculative models of representation in relation to the documentary.”

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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

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Alan Ford at the National Gallery

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 hereThe Space Within the Space: Scenography in Slovenia before 1991 will provide a comprehensive historic, stylistic, visual and theatrical overview of Slovenian scenography until 8 September. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October.

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JL Flanner

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. 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 December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.

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 Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below

National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to his permanent collection will be showingIn Search Of Freedom: 1968-2018 until 16 August. Until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image. On until 18 August is Walls, described as follows: “Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is clear that the processes of democratisation and integration of Europe, announced in the historical year of 1989, have failed to achieve their goals. Although many real and symbolic walls have been demolished, new ones have been raised instead, and some still deeply disturbed our society.”

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Photo: Edi Šelhaus

Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has 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 calledShamanism 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. On until September 15 is Petra Šink: The circle between design and nature, in which the award-winning designer takes visitors through the life cycle of useful products for the home which are made from natural biodegradable fungal materials.

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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.

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Vžigalica Gallery – If you’re curious about the man who commissioned that Melania Trump sculpture, then you can see more of activities here, in a show called Brad Downey: This Echo.

Volčji Potok Arboretum - Running until 3 November you can see a large collection of cacti 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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Other things to do in Ljubljana

Learn more about Ljubljana with "25 things to know about Slovenia's green city of dragons", or take a look at our guide to spending from four to 48 hours here.

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If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.

Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.

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Photo: Open Kitchen

Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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Nataraja Studio

Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. We go to Nataraja Studio, by Dragon Bridge, and here's a story about it.

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.

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Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain

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Daytrips

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. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.

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Photo: Google Image Search

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Getting around

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.

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Screenshot from a Twitter video

If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.

Emergencies

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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.

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15 Jul 2019, 17:41 PM

The Slovenian gin scene is booming, helped along by the country’s long history of distillation and production of juniper-based schnapps (brinjevec or brinavec), as well as it’s growing reputation as a culinary destination.

One of the dozen or so gin producers that started business in recent years is Broken Bones, with a name that comes from when the owners, Borut and Boštjan, both had accidents when working with their first whisky barrels, resulting in a broken leg and broken nose.

I’d briefly met Boštjan at various gin-related events around town, but curious to know more about the first gin maker in Ljubljana, and the first new distillery in the capital in some 50 years, I decided to visit the place myself, an experience that’s now open to all.

It’s a short drive or cycle from the centre of town, at 132 Tršaska cesta, just between a Toyota showroom and a Petrol station. Since there are samples on offer you might prefer to get a bus, with both 6 and 6b taking you there from Slovenska cesta.

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From the outside it’s easy to miss. Photo: JL Flanner

It's a small place, divided into a clean, white tiled distillery and a wood and leather showroom / store / bar. Playing the background is a sound collage of distillery sounds, put together by a DJ Boštjan knows from his time when he and the legendary Umek helped kickstart the techno scene in Slovenia, releasing records putting on club nights at Nexus and K4, two or three lifetimes ago.

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Photo: JL Flanner

What’s your background?

Computer programming, a very different business. I worked in that for years on various projects. For example, I started the bolha.com, the online market, before eventually selling that, and then there was Napovednik. I was still working on that until recently, in fact, but Broken Bones (BB) was taking up more of my time, so now this is it.

How did you and Borut get into distilling?

It was a long process. I’m a technical guy, and my wife’s family has a vineyard, so I’ve been working with wine, thinking about wine for over 20 years. I also got into making beer, and was interested in whisky, starting from about eight years ago. But these were hobbies, not businesses.

At the same time my partner in Broken Bones, Borut, had been importing whisky in Slovenia since 1991, when the country became independent and that kind of business was possible. He also has a family history of distilling, so that was a hobby of his. He was making schnapps, and then he started making absinthe, one of the first producers in Slovenia.

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Broken Bones still makes small batches of whisky

So when we started working together it was in my basement in Kodeljevo, and we made our own still, for whisky, soldering the parts together ourselves, one that we still use here.

But whisky takes a long time, and it can be a very long time aging in barrels before you get a good whisky, because the raw whisky – the new make, the colourless liquid that comes out of the still, is really not something anybody would like to drink. Gin, on the other hand, is a lot faster to produce, with no real aging. It just needs to rest for a month or so and it’s ready to drink, so from a production point of view it’s a lot more appealing. We knew that many small whisky distillers were making gin precisely because of that, but not really liking classical gins we were not interested in making them. This changed a couple of years ago when we discovered the modern styles of gin by going to whisky events in London, where we learned about modern, much more interesting and aromatic gin, the kind from, say, Bombay Sapphire onwards, and that really started us thinking, especially because Slovenia is well known for its juniper berries.

We started experimenting with gin. Did about a hundred distillations on a small scale, studying a lot of the literature and using the knowledge we already gained through working with whisky. We experimented with botanicals, their ratios and different still designs. It took us about a year to get to the recipe we really liked.

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The distillery is open for small groups, where you can sample the drinks along with some appropriate snacks

How long has Broken Bones been open?

Since May 2018, and we were very lucky when we launched. It was just when the gin craze was getting started here, with more producers, more bars and events.

I have to say that the craft beer scene really helped in this, too. Before then people were just drinking local lager, not thinking much about anything else but price. Then with craft beer things became more like wine. People were interested in what’s new, what’s next, and they also understood that you have to pay more for quality. So when people started making craft gin in Slovenia there was an understanding that this could be an interesting product, that it was worth exploring, and when you found something you really liked also that it was something worth paying for.

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What’s the response been like?

Very good, both here and abroad. I’ve been going to London quite a lot, showing our gins to various bars, and we have a distributor in the UK now, as well as several awards. We currently have a 600 litre still, more than we need, but the way the business is growing it may be too small soon.

What ingredients do you use, and how are the London and Navy gins different?

We start off with a neutral alcohol, made of molasses, although grain is more common in the industry. For the botanicals we use the same in both our London Dry and Navy gins. Of course there’s juniper berries, but also lemon and cardamom, among other things, and then, as a Slovenian element, rosehip and linden. The Navy gin is stronger, with more alcohol, and that is why it can also carry more flavour it also has more botanicals.

We’re very busy at the moment, we only moved into this site at the start of May, but as things are settling down we should be able to launch something new soon, Old Tom Gin, with added linden tree flower honey and matured in Slovenian oak casks. Then we have a few more things we’re planning, including one that’s a more distinctive, Ljubljana gin, but that’s for another day.

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And where can people find you?

You can find our gin at various bars and stores in Slovenia and the UK, but if you’re in Ljubljana then perhaps the best place is our distillery shop or the Central Market. Monday to Saturday, the part by the arcades that connects the two squares. Here you’ll find a stall where you can sample the gin. If you’d like a fuller measure, perhaps with a mixer, then the nearby Magda bar will do you. Elsewhere in town we’ve been working closely with Pritljičje and Kolribi, and if you’re looking for something a little different then Sveti Florijan, in the Old Town, makes a gin dessert.

People can also come here, for the Broken Bones Experience. We didn’t just want to do a classical tour of the distillery as such, although you obviously see it as well. But if you make a visit then you’ll learn about the history of gin, the process of distillation, the different kinds of gin, and, of most importantly, you’ll get to sample some, including in several cocktails from the selection of recipes created by Tina Pirnat especially for our gin accompanied with snacks, and try our gin pralines.

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You can see the cocktail recipes here, with the one I tried below, while you can learn more about the Broken Bones Experience here.

The Martini Espresso with a Gin Twist

Ingredients:

  • Broken Bones Gin - 30 ml
  • Kahlua - 30 ml
  • Espresso coffee - 30 ml
  • Simple syrup - half a teaspoon

Preparation

  • Shake and strain

 

14 Jul 2019, 06:31 AM

If you're not in town for the week of this guide (15 to 21 July, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity 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.

In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.

As ever, links to the basic listings are after the following selection, while a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.

Jump to listings

The summer continues to heat up - with Ljubljana forecast to be the fastest-warming city in the world over the next few decades - and you can expect more events each day throughout the season, both free and paid, with the streets coming alive with music, performances and crowds.

The biggest thing is the Ljubljana Festival, which continues until 5 September and has a packed programme of world-class concert, opera, and ballet events – see more here. Other festivals of note include the start of Gala Hala Summer Stage at Metelkova Mesto, running until 31 July and offering bands and DJ sets, with all evenings free. Details here (Slovene only). On until August 3rd is Film Under the Stars, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Thursday, 18:15, head to Dvorni trg and see some Slovenian folk dances. It’s right by one of our favourite pizza places, too, far better, and cheaper, than the premium view would lead you to expect. Plus they have 100+ pizzas on the menu, with the largest a full  1,963 cm2. [Note - any and all food recommendations I make are based on meals I paid for, with no input or offers from the places in question.]

Thursday, at Kavarna Plato, Ajdovščina 1 (on end of Slovenska cesta, not far from Nebotičnik) there’s also free open-air salsa, starting 20:00. Same same, but different, every Friday, 20:30, there’ll be free live jazz in Stari trg (Old Town Square).

The Summer in Ljubljana Old Town goes on until 28 August. This presents classical concerts, many of which are free, in the churches, inner courtyards and squares in the old city centre. The programme is here. Running until 1 September is the Mini Theatre’s season for children and young people, with details here.

Volčji Potok Arboretum (Volčji Potok 3) has a rose garden in bloom until 31 August, nature permitting.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.

Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.

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Photo: JL Flanner


Contents

Cinemas and films

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.

 

Thursday, 11 July, Film Under the Stars begins again, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Note - Toy Story 4 only seems to be shown in dubbed versions Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.

Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.

Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.

Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.

Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.

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Looking for a souvenir you'll really enjoy? Take a look at Broken Bones Gin, the first gin made in Ljubljana (learn more here, and try it at the Central Market or selected downtown bars).

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Clubbing

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 - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.

Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.

Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.

Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,

Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.

Orto Bar80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.

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Live music

Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.

Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.

CvetličarnaRegional pop and rock concerts can be found here.

Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.

Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.

Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.

Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.

Ljubljana CastleJazz, funk and pop every Friday night.

Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.

Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.

Slovenska filharmonijaClassical music in the centre of town.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.

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Theatre and dance

Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.

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 – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.

Mini Teater Ljubljana –The English schedule of varied performances, for adults and children, for the month is here.

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.

Pocket Teater Studio– There are regular flamenco evenings at perhaps the smallest venue town, but note that the number of seats is very limited, and thus you should make a reservation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 070 325 522.

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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, 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.

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Things to do with children

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.

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.

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.

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LGBT+ Ljubljana

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, although sometimes there are other events

Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.

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.

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Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard

Ljubljana Castle

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. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.

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 Castlehere, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.

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Museums and galleries

Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum, and - as noted at the start

Cankerjev dom – On until 3 March 2020 there's an exhibition on Ancient Greek Science and Technology. Details here.

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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 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. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.

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The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

International Centre of Graphic Art  – The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.

Kapelica Gallery, Kersnikova 4 – In the same building as Klub K4 you can enjoy Earth Without Humans: 'On The Boundaries Of Artificial Life' until August 23, described as follows: “We have started trusting high-tech more than we trust our close friends and family and an increasing number of technology manufacturers are becoming aware of this. The applications that they are developing are becoming increasingly smart and cooperative, while also becoming increasingly aesthetically neutral and humanised.”

Ljubljana Castle on until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title. There's also the Parallel Worlds of Alan Hranitelj runs on until September 8, showing the work of the acclaimed costume designer.

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.

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Photo: Urša Premik

A new show by one of the best photographers of the city, Igor Andjelič, on the theme of Bauhaus, is on at Galerija ŠKUC until 17 July (here).

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Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here

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)” - you can read more about it here. 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. Until September 15 you can also enjoy Maja Hodošček, a video artist you “explores social relations through the politics of exchange and collaboration; in particular, she is interested in speculative models of representation in relation to the documentary.”

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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

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Alan Ford at the National Gallery

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 hereThe Space Within the Space: Scenography in Slovenia before 1991 will provide a comprehensive historic, stylistic, visual and theatrical overview of Slovenian scenography until 8 September. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October.

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JL Flanner

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. 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 December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.

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 Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below

National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to his permanent collection will be showingIn Search Of Freedom: 1968-2018 until 16 August. Until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image. On until 18 August is Walls, described as follows: “Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is clear that the processes of democratisation and integration of Europe, announced in the historical year of 1989, have failed to achieve their goals. Although many real and symbolic walls have been demolished, new ones have been raised instead, and some still deeply disturbed our society.”

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Photo: Edi Šelhaus

Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has 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 calledShamanism 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. On until September 15 is Petra Šink: The circle between design and nature, in which the award-winning designer takes visitors through the life cycle of useful products for the home which are made from natural biodegradable fungal materials.

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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.

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Vžigalica Gallery – If you’re curious about the man who commissioned that Melania Trump sculpture, then you can see more of activities here, in a show called Brad Downey: This Echo.

Volčji Potok Arboretum - Running until 3 November you can see a large collection of cacti 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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Other things to do in Ljubljana

Learn more about Ljubljana with "25 things to know about Slovenia's green city of dragons", or take a look at our guide to spending from four to 48 hours here.

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If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.

Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.

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Photo: Open Kitchen

Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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visitljubjana.si

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Nataraja Studio

Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. We go to Nataraja Studio, by Dragon Bridge, and here's a story about it.

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.

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Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain

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Daytrips

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. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.

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Photo: Google Image Search

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Getting around

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.

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Screenshot from a Twitter video

If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.

Emergencies

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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.

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06 Jul 2019, 12:01 PM

If you're not in town for the week of this guide (08 to 14 July, 2019) then you can see all the editions here, and if there's event or activity 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.

In town and want to follow the news? Check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.

As ever, links to the basic listings are after the following selection, while a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here.

Learn more about The Miha Artnak here

  Jump to listings

The summer continues to heat up, and you can expect more events each day throughout the season, both free and paid, with the streets coming alive with music, performances and crowds.

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Photo: JL Flanner

The biggest thing is the Ljubljana Festival, which continues until 5 September and has a packed programme of world-class concert, opera, and ballet events – see more here.

Other festivals of note include the start of Gala Hala Summer Stage at Metelkova Mesto, running until 31 July and offering bands and DJ sets, with all evenings free. Details here (Slovene only). 

Thursday, 11 July, Film Under the Stars begins again, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Monday and Wednesday there are some concerts of baroque music at Town Hall, in the Old Town, at 20:30 (details here).

Every Thursday in the summer, at Kavarna Plato, Ajdovščina 1 (on end of Slovenska cesta, not far from Nebotičnik) there’s free open-air salsa, starting 20:00.

Same same, but different, every Friday, 20:30, there’ll be free live jazz in Stari trg (Old Town Square).

Ljubljana Castle – Parallel Worlds of Alan Hranitelj runs from July 5 to September 8, showing the work of acclaimed costume designer Alan Hranitelj.

The Summer in Ljubljana Old Town goes on until 28 August. This presents classical concerts, many of which are free, in the churches, inner courtyards and squares in the old city centre. The programme is here.

Running until 1 September is the Mini Theatre’s season for children and young people, with details here.

Volčji Potok Arboretum (Volčji Potok 3) has a rose garden in bloom until 31 August, nature permitting.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here

While the Old Town is quaint, and full of music, where does Ljubljana really shop? One popular answer is BTC City, a vast complex of malls, entertainment facilities and more, including more than 70 different food vendors, offering everything from Slovenian to Thai, Indian to Italian, Mexican to Chinese. Check out my recent visit here.

Looking for something different to eat? Trubajeva cesta, running right by Dragon Bridge, has the greatest concentration of "ethnic food" places in Ljubljana, and thus perhaps the country. Check out our walk through guide as of June 2019.

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Photo: JL Flanner


Contents

Cinemas and films

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.

Thursday, 11 July, Film Under the Stars begins again, giving the chance to watch some of the leading art films of the past year outside at Ljubljana Castle, each night at 21:30. The full schedule and trailers are here.

Note - Toy Story 4 only seems to be shown in dubbed versions Kinodvor –This is an arts cinema, not far from the train station, that shows new features as well as hosting the occassional festival.

Kinoteka – And not far from Kinodvor you can find this revival cinema, which shows art house classics along with some deep dives in the archives.

Kino Bežigrad - A relatively small theatre, but one which usually has the biggest of the new releases.

Kolosej -The multiplex out at BTC City Mall shows all the big movies, with well over a dozen titles on the schedule, although note that there are far more movies than screens, so some of the older ones mayonly be playing once or twice a week.

Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store shows two or three different features a week, usually including the biggest titles.

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Clubbing

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 - DJ events aren't too common here, but when they happen they often have a big name.

Channel Zero – DJs shows here include regular dub nights as well as electronic music.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue, you can sometimes hear bhangra and Bollywood here, but more often funk, hip hop, breakbeat and so on.

Klub Cirkus – The more commercial end of clubland, and a venue that aims to serve the student party scene. Expect house, anthems, and bangers.

Klub K4 – The home of techno, old and new, along with various other electronic genres,

Koncertna Dvorana Rog– There are irregular DJ sets at this underground (not literally) venue at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, and they range from techno to goa to drum'n'bass.

Orto Bar80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.

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Live music

Balassi Institute – Free Hungarian music, when available, from the Hungarian cultural institute just a short walk downriver from Dragon Bridge.

Cankerjev dom – The main arts venue in the country hosts classical, opera jazz, folk and occassinally pop.

CvetličarnaRegional pop and rock concerts can be found here.

Channel Zero – This Metelkova venue sees live shows from punk and rock bands, as well as others.

Gala Hala – Another Metelkova venue with indie bands of various styles.

Kino Šiška – One of the top live venues in the city, with a varied programme that include indie, rock, pop, experimental, hip hop, and so on.

Klub Gromka – Live music is often metal, from sludge to stoner, death to thrash, while punk bands also appear, as do others.

Križanke – The venue that hosts the Ljubljana Festival often has classical music, and some rock, in the open air.

Ljubljana CastleJazz, funk and pop every Friday night.

Orto Bar– The home of live rock, metal, punk and other guitar-based genres.

Pinelina dnevna soba – LIve music is rare here, but it does happen.

Slovenska filharmonijaClassical music in the centre of town.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - While dance is more common here, they also have some contemporary and experimental music shows.

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Theatre and dance

Cankerjev dom- The main arts venue in the country always has something of interest going on.

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 – One of the top live venues in the city also hosts some dance performance, often of the more experimental variety.

Mini Teater Ljubljana –The English schedule of varied performances, for adults and children, for the month is here.

Ljubljana Puppet Theatre - Puppetry has a long and noble tradition in Slovenia, and you can see performances for children and adults (including non-puppet shows) drawing from the Theatre's rich repetoire as well as new productons.

SNG Opera and Ballet - As the name suggests, here you'll find the best of opera and ballet in the country.

Španski borci - The home ofcontemporary dance(and the EnKnapGroup) in Slovenia.

Pocket Teater Studio– There are regular flamenco evenings at perhaps the smallest venue town, but note that the number of seats is very limited, and thus you should make a reservation via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 070 325 522.

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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, 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.

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Things to do with children

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.

Mini Teater Ljubljana – The season sees a lot of puppet performances for children, in Slovene, at this theatre not far from Križanke. The English schedule for the month is here.

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.

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LGBT+ Ljubljana

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, although sometimes there are other events

Klub Tiffany –And the gay bar next door is also open on Fridays. Other things coulds also be planned, so click on the name to find out.

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.

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Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard

Ljubljana Castle

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. On until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.

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 Castlehere, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.

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Museums and galleries

Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum, and - as noted at the start

Cankerjev dom – On until 3 March 2020 there's an exhibition on Ancient Greek Science and Technology. Details here.

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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 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. On until 25 September is Treasures from Russian Museums, an exhibition showcasing more than 80 Russian icons from leading Russian museums.

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The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner

International Centre of Graphic Art  – The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts runs until 29 September. It's called Crack Up – Crack Down, and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tartars, with a focus satire and the graphic arts. Learn more here.

Ljubljana Castle on until 17 November Mighty Guardians of the Past: Castles in the Slovenian Lands, a presentation that delivers on the promise of its title.

MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design has much of what you'd expect, along with some temporary shows and a good cafe. On until 19 September is a show called Creators, on contemporary Slovenian fashion and textile design, which is being promoted with the following image.

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Photo: Urša Premik

A new show by one of the best photographers of the city, Igor Andjelič, on the theme of Bauhaus, is on at Galerija ŠKUC until 17 July (here).

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Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work here

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)” - you can read more about it here. 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.

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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

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Alan Ford at the National Gallery

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 hereThe Space Within the Space: Scenography in Slovenia before 1991 will provide a comprehensive historic, stylistic, visual and theatrical overview of Slovenian scenography until 8 September. There’s also a big show on Alan Ford, one of the great comic books of the Yugoslav era, on until 13 October.

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JL Flanner

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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Running until 3 November is Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture. With sculptures from the collection of the Santarelli family in Rome, ranging from the age of the Roman Empire to that of neoclassicism. 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 December 2019 is Our Little Big Sea, which takes a look at the oceans.

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 Roma Aeterna: Masterpieces of Classical Sculpture - see below

National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, in addition to his permanent collection will be showingIn Search Of Freedom: 1968-2018 until 16 August. Until 29 September there also a retrospective on the photographer Edi Šelhaus, which is being promoted with the following image.

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Photo: Edi Šelhaus

Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum has 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 calledShamanism 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. On until September 15 is Petra Šink: The circle between design and nature, in which the award-winning designer takes visitors through the life cycle of useful products for the home which are made from natural biodegradable fungal materials.

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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.

Volčji Potok Arboretum - Running until 3 November you can see a large collection of cacti 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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Other things to do in Ljubljana

Learn more about Ljubljana with "25 things to know about Slovenia's green city of dragons", or take a look at our guide to spending from four to 48 hours here.

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If you like the city's architecture then check out this great book, Let’s See the City - Ljubljana: Architectural Walks & Tours, with our review here and a page from the book shown above. We took a walk with one of the authors who showed us how much there is to learn and enjoy if you slow down and pay attention - read about that here.

Open Kitchen brings market stalls selling food and drink from some of the best restaurants in town every Friday, from 11am to 11pm, in the square between the cathedral and the river - just follow your nose and the crowds. Read more about it here.

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Photo: Open Kitchen

Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.

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Photo: Neža Loštrek

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Photo: JL Flanner

Some view of the city you can only get from the river. If you'd like to take a boat ride then read about my experience here. If you prefer to get in the water rather than on it, then here's a guide to the various open air pools in Ljubljana. Note that it was written last year and so the prices and times may have changed, so do click the links and check.

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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,

JL Flanner P9148114.jpg

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.

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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.

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visitljubjana.si

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Nataraja Studio

Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. We go to Nataraja Studio, by Dragon Bridge, and here's a story about it.

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.

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Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain

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Daytrips

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. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.

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Photo: Google Image Search

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Getting around & miscellaneous

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.

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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.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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05 Jul 2019, 18:58 PM

Summer nights offer many pleasures, but those in Ljubljana present the opportunity to indulge in one that’s rather special – watching movies in the open air, in the courtyard of a castle, with a bar serving drinks and a great view of the city at the end.

It’s that time when Kinodvor takes over the main attraction after the sun goes down, with screenings of some the best art movies of the past year, plus some never seen before in the country. All films start at 21:30 and are shown in their original language with English subtitles, unless the original language is English, in which Slovenian is used for the subs (although note that movies like The Square, which are predominantly in English but have sections in other languages, are likely to be fully subbed in Slovene.)

In case of bad weather the screenings will be cancelled, as announced at kindovor.org and ljubljanskigrad.si by 19:00 on the day of the scheduled screening, with rescheduled screenings taking place the following evening at 21:30 at Kinodvor.

Tickets are 5 euros for regular screenings, 6 for premieres and “special screenings”. You can buy tickets at the Castle and Kinodvor, or online from the links under the the titles below.

Thursday, 11. 07 - My Last Year as a Loser

Slovene language only / Buy tickets

Friday, 12. 07 - Diego Maradona

English subtitles / Buy tickets

Saturday, 13. 07 - Green Book

Buy tickets

Sunday, 14. 07 - Woman at War

English subtitles / Buy tickets

Monday, 15. 07 - Colette

Buy tickets

Tuesday, 16. 07 - Rocketman

Buy tickets

Wednesday, 17. 07 - Pain and Glory

English subtitles / Buy tickets

Thursday, 18. 07 - Maria by Callas

English subtitles / Buy tickets

Friday, 19. 07 - The Dead Don't Die

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Saturday, 20. 07 - A Star Is Born

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Sunday, 21. 07 - Stan & Ollie

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Monday, 22. 07 - Shoplifters

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Tuesday, 23. 07 - Pavarotti

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Wednesday, 24. 07 - Everybody Knows

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Thursday, 25. 07 - The Favourite

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Friday, 26. 07 - Free Solo

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Saturday, 27. 07 - The Old Man & the Gun

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Sunday, 28. 07 - If Beale Street Could Talk

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Monday, 29. 07 - The Children Act

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Tuesday, 30. 07 - The White Crow

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Wednesday, 31. 07 - Bohemian Rhapsody

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Thursday, 01. 08 - Cold War

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Friday, 02. 08 - BlacKkKlansman

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Saturday, 03. 08 - Yesterday

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29 Jun 2019, 20:32 PM

Trubarjeva cesta is not one of the more obvious tourist streets of Ljubljana. It’s not the Old Town and it’s not by the river. It doesn’t have great views of the Castle or many beautiful buildings. It’s where the smart townhouses end and the smaller homes begin, where the artisans used to live and the actual work got done.

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Of course it’s changing as the city becomes more famous, and well-visited, but it’s still got a character all its own, especially the half that starts around Dragon Bridge and heads out of town. It’s a diverse, graffiti-covered part of the street that has perhaps the greatest mix of ethnicities in Ljubljana, and thus the country, along with the greatest variety of food on offer, from budget prices on up. A place you want to go if you’re hungry, or thirsty, or to see some of street level life of the city, and one with food options to midnight and beyond.

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Right now the road being torn up and replaced, and in some places a little hard to navigate. But the people who live and work there, including myself, are part of a real community of friends and neighbours, and business keeps going despite the dust and rubble. I thus present a walk along the street as of the end of June 2019 with an eye to the food you can get there, in the hope of encouraging you to make a visit and enjoy a meal or two.

Asian, Indian and Turkish food

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Photo: Svilna pot, Facebook

We’ll start our journey at 20 Trubarjeva cesta with Svilna Pot (Silk Road), a small Asian food centre where you can pick up spices, pastes, sauces, ramen, frozen food and so on, with a focus on the foods of India, China, SE Asia, Japan and Korea. It’s run by the people behind Osha – the Thai / Vietnamese place further up the street. A little further up there’s the very lively Centralna Postaja (Central Station) , which offers drinks, burgers and DJ sets.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

Keep walking and you’ll hit Namaste Express, an Indian restaurant, while next door is Šeherezada, a fresh, fast Turkish restaurant with kebabs, falafel, salads, and more, and a best option for food well after midnight on the street. On the opposite side of the street, on the corner, there’s another late night option, the Pekarna Zmajski most (Dragon Bridge Bakery) is open even on days when nothing else is.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Balkan, Arabic, Thai, Vietnamese and Slovenian food

Gordana Grlič  Trubarjeva cesta Ljubljana ethnic food (1).jpg

Photo: Gordana Grlič

Cross the street and the livelier, funkier end of the Trubarjeva begins, with a narrower street, smaller buildings, and more graffiti. The first food place here is Riviera, and also the first so far with a Balkan menu of soups, steaks, burek, ćevapčići and the like, and open until 01:00. Big soccer games are shown outside or inside, depending on the weather>

A little further up there’s a closely packed run of places that you’ll want to stop and consider in turn.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

There’s Abi Falafal, a clean, well-lit place that offers an extensive menu offering Arabian food and open until 01:00 from Thursday to Saturday. Just up from this is Osha, a Vietnamese / Thai place with soups, noodles, rice dishes and so on. Next to this is Čompa, a place that looks like nothing special from the outside but is fully booked almost every evening due to its lively atmosphere and short but well done menu of Slovenian meats and wines. It’s one of the pricier places on the street, so check those first if on a budget, and book ahead if you want make sure of a table.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

It’s not a restaurant or bar, but just opposite these places is Hiša Začimb (House of Spices), a fantastic little store that has all the herbs and spices you want and many you’ve never heard of. Well worth checking out, and the only place in town to get many of these things.

Lebanese, burgers, pizza and beer

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Photo: JL Flanner

Keep walking and on your left is Libanonske meze in drugi užitki (Lebanese meze and other delights). In the warmer months you can eat outside, but if you want some shade, or it’s cold, head inside, down a few stairs, and be transported to another place. Read our interview with the owner here.

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Photo: JL Flanner

On your right is then Kavarna Mačkon (Café Tomcat), a place you might hear before you see. It has a short café menu, more drinks and snacks than food, and if you like guitar-based music then this is a spot you’ll want to sit down and enjoy, with the outside tables great for watching the life of the street. Next to this is Pinsa Rustika, a pizza place that sells by the slice, to go or eat in, along with beer and wine. The slices are sold by weight and cut to order.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Opposite this, and tucked just off the street, is Burger Time and its craft beer tap room, with burgers, hotdogs and French fries in the formers, and a selection of craft beers in the latter. You might recognize the name from Izola. If you want vegan food then keep walking up through here and you’ll come across Veganika (which is actually at Komenskega ulica 30).

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Photo: JL Flanner

If you want more craft beer to go, and to choose from one of the best selections in the country, then next to Pinsa Rustika you’ll want to visit the wonderful ŽE V REDU, Primož (Are you OK, Primož?). Run by the people by the Lajbah bar on the other side of town, the right side of the store has a selection of Slovenian beer, while the left side focuses on imports. Unless you’re the owner I guarantee they have things you’ve never heard of, never mind tasted.

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Photo: JL Flanner

The food and drink action then pauses for 15 metres or so, until you come across Trubar on your left. This is a café bar that has all the usual drinks, along with ice creams in the summer and very good croissants and donuts. I’ve spent more time here than any place in Slovenia I don’t keep a toothbrush in.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Italian, Chinese, African and Indian food

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Photo: JL Flanner

On the other side of the road, on a lane that takes you to the river, there’s Capriccio, a pizzeria and Italian restaurant that’s run by Italians. Pizzas are big, thin crust, and come fast – I eat here far too often. Opposite this is the Zhong Hua (China, in Chinese) Chinese restaurant, which is a pretty authentic place that tends toward the spicier dishes and sees a lot of Chinese tourists. If you can read Chinese – simplified or traditional – then ask for the Chinese menu, as the English or Slovenian names aren’t always clear. I go for the 魚香肉絲.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

If you return to Trubarjeva then there’s just two more places before the street quietens down, in culinary terms. First up is the most diverse of the lot, and that’s Skuhna. This project works at integrating recent immigrants by training them for restaurant work, and makes use of their skills by offering a rotating menu of specialities from around the world, with each day focusing on a different country, most often from Africa or Asia. It’s a really interesting project that produces very good food, and you can learn more about it here. After this there’s Tandoori, a small Indian restaurant that has a few – very few – seats inside, although it’s easy to get something to go.

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Photo: JL Flanner

And that, as of the start of summer 2019, is what the food scene is like on my favourite street in Ljubljana, and where I currently reside, Trubarjeva cesta. Check it out next time you’re in town.

Note: This story was produced in collaboration with Trubarjeva na dljani (Trubarjeva at your fingertips), a community-led project to promote the street. You can follow it here

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