Idrija is one of the most stunning small towns in Slovenia, with incredible history, homely charm and friendly people. The simplicity of the town is just a cover up, as it is actually a very important UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for the rich mining history and lace making.
One day’s time is more than enough to visit the cultural, architectural and religious attractions in the city, to try out the local cuisine and take a short walk into the stunning nature around the city. Although, I would recommend you to take some extra days to explore the wider natural surroundings
Your one day in Idrija should start with a walk through the centre of the town, which is really small, so you do not have to worry about getting lost. End it in one of the most interesting tourist attractions – the old mine.
I would recommend you to make some prior arrangements with the Tourist Information Centre in Idrija as some attractions can only be seen with a local tourist guide. Do not worry about it though, the local guides will organise a lovely one day trip for you and make this an even more unforgettable experience.
You can find Tourist Information Centre on the Mestni trg square, close to the Town Hall and Gallery and Crypt under the Mestni trg Square. I would recommend this to be your starting point for the day in Idrija.
The main square with the Town Hall and some small cafes offers great opportunities for a coffee break and enjoyment in the authentic local atmosphere.
Art lovers can head out to the Gallery and Crypt under the Mestni Trg Square and take a look at the artworks of local artists.
Just a short walk away is the Trg sv. Ahacija square, where you can see two attractions right away: The Mine Granary with the Military Museum and the Theatre Building. Both buildings are very important for the everyday life of the miners that lived in Idrija. The granary was used as a storage for the grain that was a part of the miner’s salary, and the theatre was build for the miners’ entertainment. Both are great reminders of the prosperity and development of the city which began with the success of the mining industry.
Continue with a visit to the Former School Building and Lace Centre. Do not forget to stop here and take a look at the lace making process, which Idrija has been famous for and is now part of UNESCO World Heritage. It is not exactly known who started the lace making in Idrija, but it is obvious that women here have really transformed this craft into an art. A visit to a lace centre is also a great opportunity to buy unique lace products for you and your family.
The next attraction is great for families, so be sure to visit the M Idrija Aquarium and spend some time surrounded by beautiful creatures from the seas.
You can now see your next attraction ahead of you – the Castle Gewekenegg with Idrija Municipal Museum located inside it. The castle is also one of the most important buildings from the mining history of the town. Take time to visit the museum, which holds many interesting objects connected with the history of Idrija mining and lace.
Continue your way to the Church of Holy Trinity, which is located where the first mercury part was found and it proudly represents the importance of that find with the magnificent interior design. Take a walk to the backyard of the church where you will find the traditional Idrija’s Municipal Apiary.
After this cultural walk through Idrija, it is time to start discovering the mining history of the town. A five to ten minute walk will lead you out of the city centre to the Francis’ Shaft and to Idrija Miner’s House. Visit the inside of the Miner’s House and discover how miners used to live. You will see some unique furniture, small rooms and lace accessories which were widely used to add some homely charm into the house. Try to imagine how Idrija used to look like, with those traditional houses located all over the town.
Another short walk leads to next attractions, the Scopoli’s Memorial Garden and the Kamšt Water Wheel.
Kamšt Water Wheel is one of the most astonishing attractions in Idrija. The huge wooden wheel demands attention and admiration. Only here can you start to imagine how big and important the mining industry really was.
It is also a great starting point for those who want to spend some time in nature, as you can follow the Rake Kanal into the Idrija Landscape Park. Read more about it in the post about Geopark Idrija.
Scopoli’s Memorial Garden is located just a few steps away from Kamšt Water Wheel. This is unlike huge botanical gardens that you are used to seeing in the bigger cities, it is a nice, very small garden with about 100 plants, dedicated to one of the most famous citizens of Idrija, the miner’s doctor and dedicated botanic Scopoli.
If you are running out of time, head back to your starting point, the Trg sv. Ahacija Square, where the last adventure awaits you. And it will surely leave an impression. Anthony’s Shaft is an old mine, transformed into an adventure tourist attraction that will lead you back in time and into the dark underground. Take the opportunity to become a miner for a day, search for the mining elf and try the traditional miner’s drink for courage.
The only thing left to do after this great day in Idrija is to head out into a traditional restaurant and try the delicious “Žlikrofi”, which has a protected geographical status, awarded by the European Union.
1 Day10 kmEasyVisiting all the attractions will cost around 28 EUR for adults and about 17 EUR for children.Best way to come to Idrija is by car. Riding from Ljubljana to Idrija will take about one hour (use the highway and exit at Logatec). You can also use public bus that drives multiple times from Ljubljana main bus station to Idrija.Best way to travel from one attraction to another is by foot.Make prior arrangements at the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) Idrija. That will allow you to see all the attractions and will also be able to book a guided tour around the city.The best place to stay in Idrija is Kendov Dvorec. This beautiful manor is famous for its tranquility, excellence and delicious food.
Updated: April 6, 2015