Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is home to a rich cultural heritage and an array of museums showcasing its history, art, and science. From contemporary art to natural history, Ljubljana’s museums have something for everyone. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best museums in Ljubljana and what makes them unique.

The best museums in Ljubljana

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During my recent trip to the capital of Slovenia, I focused on exploring some of the best museums in Ljubljana. I also wanted to learn more about one of the most critical Slovene architects of the 20th century, Jože Plečnik. So, I also visited his house and a few exhibitions dedicated to his work. Since the country is also well-known for its Impressionist painters, I wanted to see some of those paintings, too.

Read more: What to see & do in Ljubljana

National Gallery of Slovenia

The National Gallery of Slovenia is home to some fascinating artworks from Middle Ages to Modern art. Although I wanted to visit it for its Impressionist collection, I was quite surprised by some other works, too. The exhibition starts with medieval art. I especially liked the part dedicated to the medieval frescoes of Slovenia, which have a lot in common with the medieval frescoes in Istria (Croatia). After that, a large gallery section is dedicated to Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist paintings. But, the most fascinating part is the exhibition about the Slovene Impressionists.

Read more: 15 Best exhibitions in European museums in 2023

Plečnik House

Jože Plečnik was a notable 20th-century architect, born and raised in Ljubljana. After studying architecture in Austria, he worked in Vienna and Prague for years. However, when he was almost fifty, he moved back to his hometown, began teaching at the university and started rebuilding Ljubljana.

The house where he lived and worked is turned into a museum today. It’s fascinating to see the way he designed it. I especially liked the furniture he built. It tells so much about his personality and dedication to his work. If you’d like to learn more about this architect, visit Plečnik House in Ljubljana.

Read more: Jože Plečnik & his architecture in Ljubljana

City Museum of Ljubljana

As its name suggests, City Museum of Ljubljana is dedicated to the history of this city. It starts with Prehistory, showcases the city’s appearance when it was known as the Roman town of Emona, and continues exploring the history of Ljubljana until nowadays. The museum is often home to some interesting temporary exhibitions, making it an interesting cultural stop during your trip to Ljubljana.

Read more: 15 Best museums in Europe you have to visit this year

Slovene Ethnographic Museum

The museum that probably surprised me the most during my visit was the Slovene Ethnographic Museum. I went there to see the Plečnik exhibition, but, also explored some other shows on display during my visit: one about the cotton production in the world and another about the local Carnival celebration. All of them were so well done, interesting and had a beautiful setup. This museum is, without any doubt, one of the best museums in Ljubljana you should visit.

Museum of Architecture and Design

The Museum of Architecture and Design is located in Fužine Castle in Ljubljana. Located just a bit outside the city centre, it’s easily reachable by public transport. The museum is home to artefacts celebrating architecture, design and photography of the 20th and 21st centuries. It organises interesting temporary exhibitions during which you can learn more about those topics.

TIP: Entrance to most Ljubljana museums is free with Ljubljana Card. It also includes free public transport, so I used it to visit museums outside the city centre, like the Museum of Architecture and Design. Get your Ljubljana Card on this link.

Some other museums in Ljubljana to visit

There are many more interesting museums in Ljubljana, so here are some other cultural venues for you to visit in Ljubljana.

National Museum of Slovenia

The National Museum of Slovenia is one of the oldest and largest museums in the country. It features many exhibits showcasing Slovenia’s rich history, culture, and heritage. The museum takes visitors through the country’s past, from prehistoric times to the present. It provides an in-depth look at its development and cultural achievements.

Some of the museum’s highlights include its collection of medieval frescoes, an extensive library, and a diverse array of historical and cultural artefacts. The museum also boasts a comprehensive collection of natural history specimens, including fossils and minerals, and a wide range of ethnographic exhibits.

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to showcasing the best of Slovenia’s contemporary art scene. The museum features diverse exhibits, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and installations, all created by some of the country’s most talented artists.

The museum’s exhibitions are constantly changing, but some notable past exhibits include works by prominent Slovenian artists such as Zoran Mušič and Matej Andraž Vogrinčič, as well as exhibitions of international artists. Visitors can also attend special events and workshops and enjoy a cup of coffee at the museum’s café.

Read more: How to visit a museum: A guide for the perfect museum visit

Slovenian Museum of Natural History

Slovenian Museum of Natural History is dedicated to studying Slovenia’s rich natural heritage, focusing on geology, botany, and zoology. The museum features many exhibits showcasing the country’s unique flora and fauna, geological formations and mineral resources.

Some of the museum’s most popular exhibits include its fossils and dinosaur skeletons collection. Visitors can also learn about Slovenia’s role in the study of geology and the natural sciences, and view the museum’s extensive collection of specimens.

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Ljubljana is home to many great museums showcasing Slovenia’s rich history, art, and science. From the National Gallery of Slovenia to the Ljubljana City Museum, these institutions offer visitors a unique and fascinating look into the country’s cultural heritage. With so many fantastic cultural venues, picking the best museum in Ljubljana is hard. So, the next time you’re there, be sure to visit some of these fantastic museums.

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Cover photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash