If you're not in town for the week of this guide (2 - 8 March, 2020) 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. If you want something a little different and easy to print, then a comprehensive PDF of events for the next seven days, as prepared by Ljubljana Tourism, is here. If you're in town and want to follow the news then check out our regular morning headlines for Slovenia here.
The last day of this guide is 8 March, or Women’s Day, and since one day isn’t enough the 21st edition of the Red Dawns Festival (Rdeče zore / 21st Red Dawns) is back. This is Ljubljana’s International Feminist and Queer Festival that, with the Janez Janša likely to become PM next week, is set to be livelier than ever. It starts 5 March and ends on Sunday, with the programme here and the Facebook here. Workshops, music, films, food and above all a chance to engage and connect with a vibrant community working to make Slovenia a better place for everyone.
Want to advertise in this space? Learn more here.
Similarly, the Festival of Tolerance runs most of the week, 1-6 March, to remember and reminds us of the horror of the Holocaust. Films shown as part of the programme with hvae subtitles in both English and Slovene. Everything is free to enter, and centred on the Ljubljana Mini Theatre's Theatre for Children and Young People, with more details here.
Another festival, this one running until 8 March, is the Fabula Festival of World Literatures, with more details here.
Still open until 5 March, 2020, Magic Ice-rink Lumpi Park offers 600 m2 of the covered ice surface and 180 m of ice-skating paths which enable you to skate through the Sports park Savsko naselje, at Kranjčeva ulica 24. Details here.
Monday Kino Šiška has one of the most prominent Slovenian jazz musicians abroad, New-York-based saxophonist Jure Pukl, in town to promote a new album as head above. Tuesday the same venue has Riverside, a Polish prog rock band who’ll be ending their Wasteland tour in Ljubljana.
Tuesday to Saturday SNG Opera and Ballet is putting on Verdi’s Luisa Miller. Details. Same evening, but at Cankarjev dom, you can enjoy Dejan Terzić Axiom, Samo Šalamon Trio feat. Igor Matković, & Kristijan Krajnčan. The first part of the evening will focus on drums, the second on guitar
Thursday, 5 March, Lola Marsh return to Kino Šiška . Same evening the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra will be led by the conductor Philipp von Steinaecker, and supporting the soprano Nika Gorič, with a programme of Osterc, Berg and Mahler
Friday night is Jazz Night at the Castle, and this week the place at the top of this hill is being taken by the Joe Pandur International Quartet, playing latin/jazz. Mr Pandur is in the clip below, but with support, I think, from a different band. Friday, 6 March, there’s also Irish music and dance with Erin’s Heartbeat, on stage at Španski boric (Zaloška cesta 61). Details.
Tovarna Rog, at the far, dirty end of Turbarjeva cesta, will have another edition of RedTecHno starting at 23:59 on Friday, with techno of the Berlin, dark and minimal varieties.
Saturday the Pocket Teater Studio has Breath of the East, a mosaic of music and dance form Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Iran, Armenia, India and more in the intimate atmosphere of the studio. The collaboration fee is 20€ and includes wine and treats. Seats, as always, will be limited and a sold night guaranteed, so reserve your seat at pocket.teater@gmail .com. The same evening is the biggest name of the week, Andrea Bocelli, 19:00 to 22:00, in Stožice (tickets).
Saturday there’s also the chance to see MI2, with an acoustic show in Cankarjev dom. Looking further ahead, to 31 March, I’ll highlight The Mission playing Kino Šiška if only because they were the first gig I ever saw, back in 1987 or 88, before rave made guitars old – but we still danced like maniacs to this. Anyway, key point: that was over 30 yrs ago and I still remember it, so go out and make some good memories this week.
New, new-ish and notable movies in town this week include the following.
A new book came out recently that tells some of the stories of Trubarjeva cesta – you can learn more about it here. If you want to buy a copy, look / ask around on your next visit to the street.
How much do tourists spend in Slovenia? Find out here
You may have heard about Free Tour Ljubljana, the tour company that’s #1 on TripAdvisor for the city and gives away its main product. What’s the deal with that? Find out 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 a visit before the recent renovation was finished for some idea of what's on offer here.
You're in the town of Slavoj Žižek, but do you find yourself lost when conversation turns to the philosopher? If so, check out our collection of quotes and clips to learn more.
K-pop band Red Velvet came to Ljubljana - with English subtitles
- Cinemas and films
- Live music
- Theatre and dance
- Harm reduction and drug testing
- Things to do with children
- LGBT+ Ljubljana
- Ljubljana Castle
- Museums and galleries
- Other things to do in Ljubljana
- Getting around
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that 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.
Note - most children's films will be dubbed (sinhronizirano) - for subtitles look for 'podnapisi'.
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.
In town and looking for a gift or souvenir? Take a look at Cook Eat Slovenia - the book.
Know that big triangular building behind the train station? Learn what's inside here.
Photo: Genius loci d.o.o.
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 Bar– 80s and 90s throwback nights can often be found here, along with rock-based DJ sets.
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.
Cvetličarna – Regional 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.
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 filharmonija– Classical 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.
Slovenska cesta, 1968. Wikimedia. See more pictures of Old Ljubljana here
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Igor Andjelič. See more of his work 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.
In warmer days than you'll see this week. Photo: JL Flanner
You can find our Top 12 list of things to do with kids in Ljubljana here. If want to read more about the philosophy behind the wonderful House of Experiments look here, while our trip to the Museum of Illusions is documented here, and there’s always riverside walks, pizza and ice cream. With regard to the latter, take a look at our guide to six places that serve good ice cream in winter, and thus are serious about the dessert.
If you'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.
Screenshot from Google Maps, showing the location of the Castle vineyard
The city’s main attraction is said to be the top tourist draw in the country overall, and to my mind it earns a spot near the top just for the history and views. But beyond that the current owners, the City of Ljubljana, have laid out a varied, interesting and enjoyable programme of events, one that rewards regular revisits.
On all 2020 is an Exhibition of Slovenian History, included in the price of a Castle ticket, that takes you through prehistory and the Romans, the Middle and early Modern Ages, the 19th century and WWI, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and WWII, Yugoslavia, independence and after. On until 22 March 2020 you can enjoy an inflatable spatial installation from Nina Koželj (free to enter).
At one of Castle hill there's a many walking and jogging paths, with good views of the city. At the other end, where the Castle sits, there’s a lot more than fresh air on offer. There are guided tours, restaurants, a café, Castle museum, puppet museum, a Watchtower you can climb to the highest point in the city, art shows, dances, live music, movies under the stars, festival days and more – enough to reward multiple trips up the hill through the year. All of these activities and events can be found on the Castle website, while on TSN you can see “25 things to know about Ljubljana Castle” here, and “Ten Ways to Enjoy Ljubljana Castle” here.
Most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.
Aksioma – On from 19 February 9 March is The Abstraction of Nature by Anna Ridler – “Anna Ridler’s work stands out for her effort to establish a feedback loop between herself and the machine, producing work that displays and thematises the amount of human labour involved in the process, from coding, to producing a dataset, to educating the machine.”
Bežigrajska galerija 2 – Take a trip to Vodovodna cesta 3 and you'll find nothing this week, according to the schedule, as the place will be between exhibitions.
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. Until 10 May you can see History of the Future. Archetypes of Plečnik's architecture – summarising the ideas of selected Plečnik works.
City Gallery – On until 5 April there’s a show from Vlado Martek, called Exhibition with Many Titles, the second part of a retrospective exhibition by the Croatian conceptual artist.
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 August 2020 there’s Book. Reason. Knowledge. From Protestantism to Enlightenment (1500–1800), which presents the processes and events that encouraged and fostered the cultural and spiritual development in Ljubljana from the end of the 15th to the beginning of the 19th century – from humanism and Protestantism to the Enlightenment. More on that here.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
Drink like a pro - find gallery openings. Photo: JL Flanner
Galerija Kapelica –Eirik Brandal: Electonic sculpture is on until 17 March, with the promotional image shown below.
Galerija Vžigalica – Until 15 March you can enjoy Counter:Movement / Gegen:Bewegung, an exhibition of contemporary artistic positions in Carinthia, selected by the Klagenfurt University Cultural Centre – the Universitätskulturzentrum UNIKUM.
International Centre of Graphic Arts – A show of works by Helena Tahir.
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 31 January 2021 is An Object and a Collection, showing part of the museum’s valuable and extensive collection of objects related to architecture, design, and photography of the 20th and 21st centuries.
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.
Alan Ford was recently at the National Gallery - read more about this comic book here.
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
The real Robba Fountain can be found in the entrance to the National Gallery - the one you see in the Old Town is a genuine fake, as seen below and reported here.
Photo: JL Flanner
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more. Meanwhile, the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum has some rooms on Church art, furniture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household items. A Millennia of Metallurgy in Slovenia is on until 3 May 2020.
A fragment of a Coptic textile; 5th–6th cent.: Upper Egypt; linen, wool; National Museum of Slovenia. Photo: Tomaž Lauko
Until 24 May 2020 you can see Coptic Textiles from the Collection of the National Museum of Slovenia at the branch in the Metelkova museum quarter, by the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Details.
Natural History Museum – Until 18 June 2020 there’s Enlightened Natural Sciences: Scopoli and Zois, looking at the lives and legacies of two pioneering naturalists, on the both Slovene and global scales, Sigismondo (Žiga) Zois and Giovanni Antonio Scopoli.
National Museum of Contemporary History - Tucked away in park Tivoli, you can see a permanent exhibition on Slovenians in the 20th century.
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). Nani in Ljubljana is on until 1 March 2020, in which Nani Poljanec, the folk creator and author of the exhibition, reveals fragments of his life, his roles and his mission. Until the same date there’s also a show on “Ravenski pust”, a Shrovetide custom which, according to village elders, represents an ancient pagan wedding and has been performed for more than a hundred years.
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljana here.
Photo: JL Flanner
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.
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.
Ljubljana has some beautiful buildings from the early 20th century, in the Secessionist style, like the one below. Learn where to find them here.
Photo: Neža Loštrek
For something a little more brual, check out Republika trg / Republic Square, in the heart of the political quarter.
Photo: JL Flanner
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'd like to spend an evening painting with others, then take a look at Design with Wine, which organises painting parties on Trubarjeva cesta,
If you want to see some antiques, then check out the wonderful Antika Carniola, as discussed here. The man behind it, Jaka Prijatelj, has a fine eye for life on this street, as you can see on his Facebook account.
Photo: JL Flanner
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Why would anyone want to eat Dinner in the Dark? Learn more about this unique experience in Ljubljana here.
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, which usually run until the first snow.
Photo: maxpixel.net, public domain
Most of Slovenia is only a few hours from Ljubljana, and you can easily visit Lake Bled, Lipica Stud Farm, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, the coast and other locations, while if you'd like to take a photo of from that bench in Bled, then you can learn how to get there here. If you’re looking for something more ambitious, then check out our recent guide to the 17 members of the Association of Historical Towns of Slovenia. We've also written guides on spending from four to 48 hours in Bled and Piran.
Photo: Google Image Search
If you want to get a Ljubljana Tourist Card, which gives you travel on the city buses and entry to a lot of attractions, then you can read more about that here, and if you want to use the bike share system, as useful for visitors as it is for residents, then you can learn more by clicking this. Visitors with reduced mobility will be pleased to find that downtown Ljubljana is generally rated as good with regard to accessibility, and that there’s a free, city-sponsored app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair highlighting cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here. Manual wheelchair users can also borrow, for free, an attachment that will motorise their equipment, as reported here.
Screenshot from a Twitter video
If you’re driving into town and don’t know where to park, our guide to how to park in Ljubljana is here.
Ljubljana is a small and relatively safe city, but if need to contact the police then there’s a special number for foreigners, and that’s 113.
Photo: JL Flanner
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.