Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most famous salt mines in the world! If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and you’re thinking of visiting, then make sure to check out this post all about everything you need to know about Wieliczka Salt Mine and my review!
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What is Wieliczka Salt Mine?
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in the small town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, just about 30 minutes from Krakow. It is one of the world’s oldest and most famous salt mines. It has been in operation since the 13th century when it was first opened by the Polish ruler, Bolesław V the Chaste. The mine was a significant source of income for the Polish monarchy for centuries and played an essential role in the country’s economy and history.
The salt mines are made up of 20 chambers and over 300 kilometres of galleries that have been excavated over the centuries. The mine has been in continuous operation since the 13th century and still produces salt today. The mine is sometimes referred to as the “Underground Salt Cathedral” due to the numerous chapels and sculptures that have been carved from the salt by miners over the years.
The mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by thousands of people yearly. It is one of Poland’s most popular tourist destinations, with visitors visiting the underground chambers, chapels, and sculptures. Visitors can eat in the underground restaurant and visit the museum, which contains a wealth of information about the mine’s history.
Everything you need to know about Wielizcka Salt Mine and its fascinating history will be covered in the guided tour, but keep on reading to find out more about the attraction itself.
How long does it take to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine?
How long does it take to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine? The average visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine is 3-4 hours, although this can vary depending on how much of the mine you want to explore. A guided tour visiting the main chambers often takes around 2-3 hours. However, if you wished to explore the whole mine – which isn’t accessible to the public – it would take a whopping one month in total!
How do you buy tickets for Wielizcka Salt Mine?
If you’re interested in visiting Wilizcka Salt Mine, then you can purchase tickets from the Wielizcka Salt Mine website. Tickets are available to be bought by time slots for the guided tour – so make sure you leave plenty of time to reach there in time for your tour.
You can also purchase tickets for the salt mine through Get Your Guide* or simply turn up on the day to buy tickets – however, be aware that the salt mine is very popular, and tickets sell out very fast!
Can you do Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine on the same day?
It is possible to do both Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine on the same day, although this would be a very busy day with not much time to relax and take in the history of either site. Both sites are located near Krakow, which is around 1.5 hours by car from each other. It is possible to take a tour that combines both sites, but this will likely take the whole day.
As I’ve been to both, I’d personally advise you to visit both on separate days, especially as Auschwitz is very moving and heavy on some people. Due to this, it’s best to take your time in each location and truly try and gain a deeper understanding.
How do you get from Krakow to Wieliczka Salt Mine?
The easiest way to get from Krakow to Wieliczka Salt Mine is by taking a public bus. The journey takes around 40 minutes, and the bus departs from the main Krakow train station. You can also take a taxi, which will take around 20 minutes, or rent a car and drive yourself.
Driving to Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow takes around 25-30 minutes, depending on the traffic and where in Krakow you depart from.
There are plenty of car parks located around Wielizca Salt Mine. The official car park costs around £6 – (approx. 30zl) for the whole day, and it is gated and secure. If you wish to use the official car park, then be sure to keep an eye out to avoid other car parks trying to confuse you to drive into theirs – although your car should be just as safe!
You can also get an Uber or a FreeNow vehicle to take you to the Salt Mine, which usually doesn’t cost too much if you can split with someone.
The train from Krakow to Wieliczka is very easy to navigate. The train station at Wieliczka is called Wielizcka Rynek-Kolpania, and tickets from Krakow Glowny cost as little as £1 (approx. 5zl) each way. The journey takes around 25 minutes in total, and trains are almost every hour.
To take the bus from Krakow to Wieliczka, all you need to do is board bus number 304 at Galeria Krakowska, and then get off at Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli. The journey takes around 25 minutes and costs around £1 (approx. 5zl) each way.
The Tourist Route vs The Miners Route
The Tourist Route at Wielizcka Salt Mine is the most popular route and the one most often visited by people. This route takes visitors through the chambers and galleries of the mine, showcasing its history and the work of the miners who used to work there. It also offers a chance to explore the chapel and other attractions, such as the “Underground Lake”.
The Miner’s Route at Wielizcka Salt Mine is a more challenging route that takes visitors to the deepest parts of the mine, including areas that were formerly used for mining operations. Visitors get to suit up and get a real hands-on experience! It offers a unique opportunity to see the mining infrastructure up close and even to explore some of the tunnels and galleries used by the miners in their work. This route also includes a visit to the “Underground Lake”.
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging and fun, then you should definitely consider the Miner’s Route! However, the Tourist Route is just as nice and as interesting.
Related article: Energylandia Theme Park, Poland – 10 Major Things You Need to Know
Things to do near Wieliczka
If you’re interested in doing some more amazing things near Wieliczka, have a look at these great activities:
- Oskar Schindler Factory Tour – Visit the interesting and informative Oskar Schindler Factory, which played an essential part in helping save the lives of hundreds of Jewish people during WW2. This tour is one that you will remember for your entire life, and you will be amazed learning about all of the stories and the man that put others’ lives before his own.
- Zakopane and Thermal Springs Tour – Relax and unwind with this scenic Zakopane and Thermal Springs tour. You will love the beautiful views that Zakopane has to offer and you will most definitely feel refreshed after taking a dip in the warm thermal springs.
- Wawel Castle Guided Tour – Wawel Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the whole of Poland! A guided tour will allow you to understand its interesting history in more depth than usual, and you will feel enlightened with everything you have learnt.
- Krakow Old Town Guided Segway Tour – Have some fun exploring the Old Town of Krakow on this guided Segway tour! If you’ve never segwayed before, don’t worry as your friendly guide will show you how. It’s one of the best ways to get around Krakow and learn about its history.
Wieliczka Salt Mine Review
I visited Wieliczka Salt Mine in January 2023 and did the Tourist Route, which I thought was really good as the guide covered everything you need to know about Wieliczka Salt Mine and its history! I took the tour in both English and Polish, however, if you can speak Polish – it’s important to know that the tour costs a little less.
I did the tour at 11 am and booked the day before due to it being the off-peak season. When I booked the tickets, it said that there were 34 spaces available for the 11 am time slot, however, during the tour – there were lots of people! Therefore, I need to reiterate how important it is for you to pre-book your tickets if you’re thinking about visiting.
It was very easy to get to via car, and the car park was located just around the corner from the entrance. Once parked, we went to have a little look around as we arrived before our allocated timeslot. On the site, there is a bistro, a little souvenir shop, toilets, some benches and a Krakow bagel cart – which is so tasty.
Once we were getting closer to our timeslot, we joined the queue and waited whilst our tickets were scanned. Then we went into a room to wait for everyone else on our tour and our guide, and off into the mine we went.
Firstly, we had to walk down allllll of the stairs, which felt like it took forever – don’t worry though, you take an elevator back up 😉 Then we explored various sections of the mine.
There are some very impressive salt sculptures that we saw – I wondered how they transported them all the way down there and through the narrow little corridors. Additionally, there were some really nice ‘hands-on’ sections where you could taste the salt. If you’re worried about licking the salt (trust me, I understand), then there’s a section where you can dip your finger in the water and taste it that way, so you won’t miss out.
The church is one of the most beautiful sections of the mine! Here, you’re given a few minutes to walk around and admire the beauty and the wonderful salt carvings that are etched into the walls. You’re also able to get married there if that’s something that interests you 😉
Sometimes, there were some sections where there was a ‘display’ – these were a bit hit-and-miss I thought. For example, I really liked the display about the legend of the Princess; however, there was also a display where flashing lights just appeared which was a bit ‘eh’ in my opinion.
Additionally, there are also a few underground gift shops and a restaurant that you can eat in, as well as a snack bar in one section. I thought this was really good, as many people would have gotten hungry and thirsty after all the walking and would need a little break. The food was very reasonably priced, which I didn’t expect, if I’m honest – as usually, some attractions hike the price up if you’re stuck in there.
After the restaurant, there is also the option to visit the museum, which takes around an hour. The tour I took was in Polish, and I’m unsure if it’s in English, though I did notice that some of the signs during the tour were in English – so it could possibly be. If you get the chance to do this additional tour, then it’s definitely worth it, as it was nice to see all of the artefacts and learn more about the salt mine.
From the museum tour, we then got the chance to take the lift up to the surface and ended up in another gift shop, which sold really nice soaps and salt to buy, as well as other things. Then we had to walk back to the car park, which was only around 8 minutes away. The walk back was very nice, and you get to pass the castle and other little shops.
Overall, I really enjoyed Wieliczka Salt Mine, and I am very interested in returning and doing the Miners Route one day! The only thing I felt that could do with being changed a little is that I think it’s a bit too expensive. I feel like £12-14 should be the maximum price for a ticket, although I do understand that it’s a guided tour and people need to be paid fairly, and the mine needs to run effectively. However, on the other hand, The Big Pit in Wales, is a free mine, but is run by volunteers – so I’m not sure if it’s totally comparable.
Tips for visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine
If you’re visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine, make sure to read these top tips to help you with everything you need to know about Wieliczka Salt Mine:
- Wear sturdy shoes – Some places in the mine can be especially slippery, so make sure you wear some sturdy shoes to help prevent any accidents. Additionally, you will also have to walk 2 miles down 800 steps in total, so be prepared.
- Wrap up warm – The temperature in the salt mine is around 14-16°C at all times due to it being located 135 metres below the ground. Therefore, if you’re visiting, it’s best to wear some warm-ish clothes.
- Buy your tickets in advance – As I’ve stated before, the tickets for the salt mine can and do sell out, so it’s best to buy them in advance in order to avoid any disappointment.
- Have time to spare – If you haven’t travelled to the salt mine by car, then make sure you leave some time to spare if you need to get the train or the bus. When you exit the salt mine, you will usually exit in the town centre, at least a few minute’s walk from the entrance.
- Arrive on time – As the tickets are timed entrance tickets, this means that if you don’t arrive on time, then you might not get to enter the salt mine at all, depending on how busy they are that day. Due to this, it’s best to leave some time in case of any traffic, delays or general things that could go wrong.
Wieliczka Salt Mine FAQ
Wielizcka Salt Mine has tours available in many languages! These are: Polish, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian.
Yes, there are toilets in Wieliczka Salt Mine. The toilets are located in the middle and at the end of the tour.
Wieliczka Salt Mine is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area! It’s one of the most famous salt mines in Poland, and the sites are unlike what you can find in any other mines!
The salt mine is 327 metres deep – meaning you could almost fit the empire state building in there!
Yes and no. The salt mine stopped commercially producing salt in 1996 due to salt prices falling and the mine getting flooded, however, salt is still produced.
Everything You NEED To Know About Wielizcka Salt Mine & Review – Conclusion
After reading this post, you’ve hopefully learnt some things that will help you on your trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine. What are you looking forward to seeing at Wielizcka Salt Mine the most? Will you do the Tourist Route or the Miner’s Route at Wielizcka Salt Mine? Let me know by commenting down below. Hopefully, I’ve covered everything you need to know about Wieliczka Salt Mine, but if not, send me an email and I will try to get back to you! If you liked this post, then you might also like to have a look at these similar posts: