Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia, and indisputably probably the cultural capital of the country as it has the highest number of museums in Slovenia. Visit the top 10 museums in Ljubljana and discover the rich Slovenian tradition and history, alongside the many talented Slovenia artists.
The museums listed below are ten of our favourites, but if that’s not enough to satiate your cultural appetite, you can check out our full guide to Ljubljana’s museums and galleries here.
National Gallery of Slovenia
Number one on our list of top 10 museums in Ljubljana is the National Gallery of Slovenia. Housed inside a fabulous late 19th-century neo-Renaissance palace designed by the Czech architect František Edmund Škabrout and with extra space in a modern wing, this wonderful gallery features the very best in Slovene art from the 13th century up to the first half of the 20th century, including paintings by such notable artists as Ivan Grohar (1867-1911), Richard Jakopič (1869-1943) and Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926).
Museum of Modern Art
This top museum in Ljubljana is one of the most popular ones. This half of the state-owned Moderna Galerija focuses predominantly on showcasing a diverse and equally inspiring collection of Slovene and international art dating more or less from the ‘modern’ period of the 20th century. Not just focusing on painting, the collection holds works spanning many genres including photography, sculpture, and graphic art. There is also an amazing cafe by this top museum in Ljubljana.
City Museum of Ljubljana
The City Museum of Ljubljana is located in a true architectural monument. It is also one of the top museums in Ljubljana. The permanent exhibition brings a chronological overview of the Ljubljana basin area and gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the town’s history. It draws attention to the city’s important geostrategic position and to the extraordinary events in the history of the area.
Slovene Ethnographic Museum
The Slovene Ethnographic Museum is a museum ‘about people, for people’, which prides itself as being the link between the past and the present, between our own and other cultures, between nature and civilization. A central museum of ethnology, a museum of dialogue, open, active and hospitable with dedicated public services, the museum is located in an urban cultural center and former military barracks in the Metelkova area, which have undergone a complete restoration, and in the future will form the center of Ljubljana’s arts scene. No wonder this museum in considered one of the top 10 museums in Slovenia. Through two permanent exhibitions, diverse annual temporary exhibitions, and other events, Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana presents and reports on the traditional culture of Slovenia and other cultures of the world in creative and imaginative ways.
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova
This half of the state-owned Moderna Galerija follows on from the work on show at its sister Museum of Modern Art and concentrates on work from all genres produced both in Slovenia and abroad from the 1960s onwards. Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova is one of the top museums in Slovenia. Among the many things on display, we recommend the permanent collection devoted to Eastern Europe’s post-war avant-garde movement.
National Museum of Contemporary History
If you needed a reason to visit Tivoli Park, here is the next top museum in Ljubljana. This fascinating museum inside a wonderful 18th-century mansion presents the history of Slovenia from the period around the start of the First World War until the Slovenian Presidency of the EU in 2008. Using a combination of well-presented exhibits including old photographs, clothing, and household items the museum charts the often wobbly path of the nation through and between the two world wars and the difficult and truly fascinating post-war communist years. The building alone is worth seeing, being a marvelous combination of original Baroque and the interesting modernist work of the Slovenian architect Jurij Kobe who extension to the museum dates from 1991.
International Centre of Graphic Arts
Located inside the gorgeous 17th-century Tivoli Mansion, this must-see attraction for anyone with even a passing interest in the visual arts contains a staggering 4,000 prints and the same number again of art books and other printed ephemera, mostly dating from the second half of the 20th century onwards and including the work of many of the great masters of European graphic art, all of which can be ordered for viewing in the centre’s Study Room.
National Museum of Slovenia
Found lurking inside another of the city’s fine, late 19th-century neo-Renaissance buildings complete with gorgeous painted ceilings and elaborate sculptures on the stairs, founded way back in 1821 this is the oldest museum in country. The museum’s collection now spreads to another location in Ljubljana’s museum quarter in Metelkova.
Museum of Puppetry
Slovenia has a rich history of puppetry dating back to the 1920s and beyond when the grandfather of Slovene Puppetry Milan Klemenčič opened his Tiny String Puppet Theatre. Almost 100 years later the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre is still going strong and continues to stage internationally acclaimed puppet performances.
Museum of Architecture & Design
Located in Fužine Castle in the far east of the city, the Museum of Architecture and Design is the main Slovene institution operating in the fields of architecture, urban planning, industrial and graphic design and photography. The museum collects and archives work from these areas, which can then be used for both educational purposes and public exhibition, and also acts as a museum and architectural and design centre whose mission is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge and the establishment of urban, architectural and design dialogue.