Wieliczka Salt Mines

2 min read    95 comments

The idea of a fun trip to a salt mine may sound a little dubious. And as you head out through the suburbs you may wonder just why you are leaving the glories of the city behind.

However, it is not just the antiquity of these mines that makes them worth the trip (things got fully underway here as early as the thirteenth century), they are also home to one of the wonders of Poland. This is the chapel of the Blessed Kinga, which to all intents and purposes is a full blown church, the only difference being that it is 200 metres undergound, and carved entirely from salt, (including the chandeliers that hang from the ceiling). It is a quite astounding sight, and all the more so as it was carved not by an outsider, but by a group of gifted miners themselves.


Entering the mines involves a long descent by stairwell, and it feels very much like a Jules Verne Journey to the Centre of the Earth type adventure. The chapel of the Blessed Kinga is the undoubted show-stopper, yet it is only one of several attractions. There are a handful more smaller chapels, including the seventeenth century chapel of St. Anthony, and a huge underground salt lake. If Tolkien had seen this place he would probably have got down on his knees and kissed the salty ground. Venerable guests such as Goethe and Emperor Franz Josef were themselves suitably impressed. All tours are guided, which means that sometimes you cannot linger in the more captivating rooms for as long as you might like. However, if you have more than two nights in the Krakow, or bad weather strikes, the mines make a very worthwhile trip.

Getting to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow shouldn't prove too difficult or expensive. Regular buses run from the top of Starowislna Street opposite the Main Post Office, taking around forty minutes to get there. Be warned that buses are a little cramped and we advise you check departure details at one of Krakow's tourist information offices as these routes chop and change quite a bit. You're best asking a friendly Pole where to get off too, as this is a public bus not a tourist service. If you don't fancy taking your chances on the public transport of fair Poland, then booking your transport with our friends at Krakow-tours.com takes all the headache away from your salt mines adventure for just a few extra zloty.

Comments

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Janice
United Kingdom

Salt mines are spectacular, there 24 September 2017 great tour well worth it.

Reply Sep 24th, 2017
Sarh
Poland

Wieliczka w Krakowie jest fajny dla dzieci i mogą mieć doświadczenie

Reply Jun 23rd, 2017
Michel
Netherlands

Travel by local bus is easy (number 304), costs about 4 zloty. You need coins! I found the mine not that experience i expected. Very commercial, so i was disappointed.

Reply Mar 20th, 2016
Guest

If you take the bus just be sure to get the zone 2 ticket from Krakow. I bought the wrong ticket from the bus stop vending machine

Reply Dec 14th, 2014
ALLAN GARDNER
United Kingdom

FANTASTIC .COULD NOT ASK FOR MORE ON MY 70TH BIRTHDAY, FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE MUSIC PLAYED IN THE ST KINGA CHAPEL,AWESOME,CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT WAS, I HAVE AN IDEA ,BUT WOULD LIKE A DEFINITE,

Reply Apr 7th, 2013
Shania
United Kingdom

I LOVED IT, IT WAS AWESOME!!!

Reply Nov 22nd, 2012
ann
Ireland

Brilliant trip, loved every minute of it

Reply Nov 1st, 2012
s hecht
United States

QUESTION.I NAVE ABAD LEG, HOW CAN I GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SALT MINES?

Reply Aug 23rd, 2012
joan
Ireland

Hi I wanted to ask are the mines open on 15 aug . I know this is a feast day. Are any of the attractions open on that day, as I will be visiting the city that week.

Reply Aug 6th, 2012
Hemraj shakya
Nepal

Wieliczka salt mine of Krakow is a marvelous & unforgateble sightseeing place in my life.

Reply Jun 4th, 2012
Amy
United Kingdom

I thought this was absolutely fantastic! We had Sebastian, the greatest guide i've had on any trip (and i've been on quite a few)... he was knowledgeable, friendly, funny and genuinely enthusiastic. I absolutely loved this trip. The carvings a beautiful, especially Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' which is practically perfect. It's just amazing to think that ordinary miners (not experienced artists) carved those. I would recommend this to anybody, of any age. Our group ranged from 15 to 55 and we were all equal in our awe.

Reply Mar 27th, 2012
David
United Kingdom

Reading these comments sometimes makes me fear for humanity. To hear people complaining that the ceilings were too low....it's a mine! Or that there were too many steps down....it's a mine! Or that the sculptures were boring!!!! They were carved by the hands of the miners hundreds fo feet below ground with almost no light to work by. A new perspective on life is needed by some. This experience is stunning, the people of Krakow should be justly proud.

Reply Mar 22nd, 2012
Carley
United States

This place was great! We caught the last English-speaking tour of the day, and had a lot of fun waiting for the tiny lift to take us down. Once we got down there, the sights were fascinating. Learning about things like how the horses that worked in the mine just lived down there because there was no good way to transport them up and down was eye-opening. The legend of Kinga's wedding ring was also enchanting. The Church of St. Kinga was amazing, but I particularly enjoyed the Weimar Chamber, with the salt lake and mini-light show and Chopin soundtrack. Tasting the walls was quite an experience as well. :) All in all, we enjoyed ourselves immensely, and would recommend it to anyone coming to visit Kraków.

Reply Mar 22nd, 2012
Margaret van de Ruit
Australia

My son has just been to see the mine and said that it was wonderful. He lives in Sweden but has been working in Poland. My only other comment is that it had to be an American who has given this wonderful place a bad review.

Reply Mar 9th, 2012
Nic Ornaf
United States

I enjoyed it overall but there were a few problems. One was height, generally tall people shouldnt go into mines. Second it was way too commercialized. They started talking about bloody dwarves half the time.

Reply Feb 13th, 2012
Natalia
New Zealand

I thought this experience was amazing, I had lived in Poland until the age of 5 and in 2007 just recently moved bakc for a visit,normally wouldnt enjoy family holidays but was definitly an highlighting experience!

Reply Nov 23rd, 2011
MR Biggs
United States

Best salt mine, I've ever seen:)))

Reply Oct 8th, 2011
Joseph
Australia

I visited the salt mine in 1980. I was awestruck by the beauty and complexity of the mine. I will be visiting Poland next year and will be visiting the mine again! The Church of St. Kinga just blew me away!

Reply Oct 8th, 2011
Kinga
United Kingdom

Absolutely magical! Breathtaking experience. I will certainly visit again.

Reply Sep 28th, 2011
Frank
Australia

Great place to visit ,Saw it over a year ago.Got a lift down and back up ,nice tour,Also has a Cafe and amenities underground

Reply Sep 25th, 2011
LYDIA Q.
United States

Amazing,well worth the trip and the price of a tour is very reasonable.A very good exercise too since after the initial 380 step descent,lots ot walking and more stairs.The guide is very knowledgeable.The St.Kinga chapel is beatiful.

Reply Jul 20th, 2011
Tony
Ireland

Went to mines in June 2011.Great to see,but one down side.The queue for the lift back can be quite long.You might have to wait an hour or more.However the worst part was the lift.Its the size of 2 phone boxes stuck together,and it takes 9 people.

Reply Jun 20th, 2011
Bahrain

its a joyful place dont miss a chance to go there

Reply Apr 25th, 2011
shaz
United Kingdom

I visited the salt mines on 09/03/11. I thought it was great, good value for money, interesting, some of the sculptures are brilliant. Well worth the walk down the steps, lots of them.. Our guide was a polish woman, very knowledgeable and a great sense of humour. Both of us would go again.

Reply Mar 12th, 2011
Terrell
United Kingdom

I think its pretty amazing. Wish i could one day go there

Reply Mar 9th, 2011
bob
Cameroon

cool

Reply Feb 14th, 2011
Denis
Canada

Barney from the US, your such a loser. Don't you understand History? This is one of the great treasures of our time. Wonderful as usual. My second time at the Mine.

Reply Jan 14th, 2011
Marie Larsson
Sweden

Absolute marvellous and a nexpereience for life! We had a wonderful guide, Anna, who made the tour funny and very educational as well. Worth a visit, in fact don't miss it! Mark S Bradshaw; I think (not sure) that it is Etude op.10 n.3 Tristesse for orchestra.

Reply Aug 3rd, 2010
Mark S Bradshaw
United Kingdom

I was at the mine in February of this year. I was in Krakow for the wedding of my niece - none of us are Polish by the way - and two days after the wedding we went to Auschwitz. The following day we went to the Salt Mine. I was a bit dubious at first,thinking it would be boring,but how wrong I was. Having a delightful young lady as our guide,she made the tour very informative and amusing. I am really glad I went. However,can someone tell me the name of the Chopin music that was played in the vast chamber that was full of water and the "Treasurer (?)" made a brief appearance.

Reply Jul 21st, 2010
Daša
Slovakia

The music was Étude Op. 10, No. 3, in E major by Frederic Chopin, sometimes identified by the name "Tristesse" (Sadness).

Reply Sep 3rd, 2014
mick
United Kingdom

i was in the mine 3 christmases ago and it was amazing my chick is polish although we live in england we will definatley be going back to the mine when our littleone is old enough too apreciate it so ill be back

Reply Jul 11th, 2010
brien
Poland

Nico, a follow up. The mine tour dispatchers are able to arrange for an elevator to the bottom after you arrive and check in, though you may have to wait a bit until they sort it out. Once at the bottom, though, he will have to walk the remaining distance, including up and down some stairs that wind through the caverns. You'll have to judge for yourself if he's capable of making a 90-minute to 2-hour walk with your assistance. In some places there are benches and places to rest, and I doubt anyone will force him to walk faster than he's capable. Hope this helps.

Reply Jun 16th, 2010
John
Czech Republic

The 304 bus to the salt mine leaves from Kurniki street which runs off Plac J Matejjki towards Galleria krakowska. It took us ages to find it and even the Bus Station could't tell us where it was!

Reply Jun 9th, 2010
Delphine
United Kingdom

Maybe Rafal should spend more time learning how to spell instead of being rude to others.

Reply Jun 8th, 2010
brien
Poland

Hi, Nico. It depends on how well your father can walk. I am checking for you about tours for people who require assistance and also whether they can descend to the first lower level by elevator, however the tour after the first lower level does require the use of stairs as it rises and descends through the caverns. Will post again when I hear back from them.

Reply Jun 4th, 2010
Nico
Romania

I intend to visit the mine with my husband and his father who is 70 years old. How difficult is the descending? Can we stop and rest or we must step down all the 700 steps at once? I'll appreciate your information. Thank you.

Reply Jun 1st, 2010
Rafal
Australia

People that are to lazy to walk down stairs should stay home and watch the bloody thing on the discovery chennel. get of your ass and walk.

Reply May 28th, 2010
shane
Australia

the mine was breathtaking. my polish wife and i enjoyed the english tour

Reply May 28th, 2010
Willie
Ireland

I was privileged to sing solo and unaccompanied in the Church of Blessed Kinga and my own voice made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck - the acoustics are stunning. I found the caves to be well worth the visit - if you are going to complain about walking down the stairs underground, then you shouldn't go there.

Reply May 7th, 2010
barney
United States

i hate it

Reply Apr 16th, 2010
barney
United States

i hate it

Reply Apr 16th, 2010
Nicole
United States

I love everything that is givin. The picture is great and the information is useful.

Reply Apr 12th, 2010
Jonnie
United Kingdom

Hi, I read somewhere that you can lick the walls in this salt mine, and it all's salt! Is that true...? Cheers

Reply Mar 30th, 2010
Janet
United Kingdom

That room in the picture looks amazing...!

Reply Jan 29th, 2010
Kelly
United States

I was in this Salt Mine on 11/24/09. Yes, you walk about 700+ steps down a windy staircase to get to the 200+ feet underground mystery of the "salt adventure". I was a little disappointed because even though I can appreciate the hard work everyone did to make this a great success ... and sacrifice ... I expected more of everything. I wished it was over once we hit the 3rd level of 100+ stairs. Good air ventilation - so no worries. sculptures, thou interesting, were boring to me. Sure, the chapel is impressive. My knees and back hurt so bad the next day because of that adventurous walk. They really should find a better way to accommodate people with bad knees and backs. The elevator ride up was 40 seconds in a sardine crowded environment (9 per car-squashed). Very fast and just shut your eyes. If you are on tour with Crakow tours, you will have limited time to pick up souvenirs - work quickly at the end. Overall, interesting to some degree but not enough to bring me back.

Reply Dec 6th, 2009
Jim Alexander
United Kingdom

Just read my comments and must say I,m not known for my spelling sorry folks

Reply Nov 30th, 2009
Jim Alexander
United Kingdom

There on 28 Nov. 2009,absolutely amaxing. The ride up to the top in lift is not for the claustrophobic,did not like this at all,I now know what a sarddine must feel like. However amazing and the guide Sebastian was quite hilarious,Polish people are not usually known for a sense of homour. Jim.

Reply Nov 30th, 2009
Elizabeth
United States

I was there back in 2000 and was totally amazed. I did not have to use the stairs, but a rickety elevator that took you down in complete darkness. It rivaled some amusement park rides. It was a very good experience and I highly recommend it.

Reply Nov 29th, 2009
Giselle
France

We ordered the tour with krakow-tours.com and it was adequate. It was nice that our driver Paul took care of everything for us.

Reply Sep 15th, 2009
Janice harte
Canada

An absolutely awesome experience!! I'm glad I didn't know what to expect because with every step down, I was more and more awe-struck...and then the Chapel!! Wow! The tour was a highlight of my European trip.

Reply Aug 23rd, 2009
Janice harte
Canada

An absolutely awesome experience!! I'm glad I didn't know what to expect because with every step down, I was more and more awe-struck...and then the Chapel!! Wow! The tour was a highlight of my European trip.

Reply Aug 23rd, 2009
Stan
United States

That big room there is just completely awesome. Has to be seen to be believed!

Reply Jul 31st, 2009
Paul Haywood
United Kingdom

Why not use the train? There is an hourly service from Glowny (main) station, costing only Zloty 5.00 each round-trip, takes just 30-minutes and the mine is a 5-minute walk from the terminus. There's plenty of room on-board and it's an environmentally-friendly way to get there.

Reply Jul 18th, 2009
Marek
Poland

This is definitly an amazing place thar you have to see. You won't see anything like this anywhere.

Reply Jun 30th, 2009
Ron
Canada

Great......absolutly amazed.. going back again.

Reply Jun 28th, 2009
Sara
Sweden

I think that the greatness of the Wieliczka Salt Mine is rather exaggerated in the turist guides. I was not so impressed. But maybe that is because we have a lot of mines in Sweden, and I was more impressed by the Sala Silver mine. I recommend you to rather visit that mine if you like that kind of experiences! And I also think that they have spoiled the exciting roughness of The Salt Mine by making it so adapted to tourists. But the salt carvings were nice...

Reply May 17th, 2009
ROY.McGOWAN
United Kingdom

brill spent 5.hours in the mine wil be back soon god willing

Reply May 10th, 2009
James P
United Kingdom

This visit is worth the 780 steps (all down)and 2km of footwork underground. The carvings are impressive, I would have liked more time to view the chapel. I'd hate to go on a busy day. The cage coming up is a tight squeeze - especially when people don't think about taking their rucksacks off their backs before getting in. Mine cages are friendly places as any miner knows.

Reply May 9th, 2009
yoyo
United Kingdom

me and my mates went and it was pretty cool in my opinion

Reply May 4th, 2009
Myriam C de Alvarado
Colombia

Dios me dió la oportunidad de conocer esta maravilla en 1993 y no la he podido olvidar, cada paso lo recuerdo y lo añoro. Hoy visité la Mina de Sal de Nemocón (www.minadesalnemocon.com) cerca a Bogotá y es lo más parecido que he encontrado a Wieliczka!! Gracias!

Reply Apr 10th, 2009
mike moczyk
United Kingdom

it was a long time ago when I visited the salt mines but it was amazing and I can vividly remember tasting the walls made of pure salt, tasted horrible but woth visiting

Reply Mar 14th, 2009
Brid Mulhall
Ireland

it was incredible 2 be 135metres underground and it wasnt at all claustrophobic, the carvings were awesome, and the big church just amazing, well worth the visit.

Reply Feb 13th, 2009
lily
United Kingdom

This place is amazing it took my breath away, its one of the most amazing things ive ever seen in my life. But wear comfy shoes! I would reccomend going its fantastic, pure beauty

Reply Feb 9th, 2009
jack lowman
United Kingdom

not very good sorry :(

Reply Jan 9th, 2009
Kathy Heafey
United States

You need to see this place when you visit Cracow. Amazing

Reply Jan 7th, 2009
yeti9389
Ireland

i went there in 2008 ..was absolutly amazed.. going back again in january ..for the english version of the tour..

Reply Dec 31st, 2008
Mike Zawadzki
United Kingdom

Amazing experience. We had a rather amusing guide who didn't report us for taking photos without paying first!!!!!!!!! We travelled by local train. Dirt cheap if a bit uncomfortable. 5 minute walk from station to trhe Mine.

Reply Dec 2nd, 2008
michael ward
United Kingdom

me my wife and a friend went to tell you the truth it blue me away fantastic what an experiance i would recomend it to anyone

Reply Dec 2nd, 2008
Lynn T
United States

Was there in May of 2008 and it was well worth the tour! After the descent down to the bottom which felt like forever, there were so many amazing sights. If in Krakow, you must do this tour!

Reply Nov 28th, 2008
shannon
Australia

hi i went to the salt mine this year in 2008 i went around the world i am from QAustralia trust me guys who reads this poland is beautiful but so is Australia but it has completly mazing

Reply Oct 14th, 2008
Darren Marsden
United Kingdom

Simply amazing! I was there in November 2007 (and it was snowing quite heavily) with a friend. The moment you start to descend the (what seems like a million!) steps, the weather outside could be absolutely anything, such is the feeling of segregation from the outside World. Krakow is amazing itself, but if you are here you MUST go and see this wonder of the World. I can't put into words any write up that can convey how awe inspiring this place is. A must see, once (or twice!) event in your life!

Reply Oct 12th, 2008
george hart
United Kingdom

an awe inspiring experience, not to be missed

Reply Oct 4th, 2008
Phillip Bracewell
United States

I went a few years ago, near the end of 2003. My coworkers and I were on another trip to Poland to help upgrade their Search and Rescue systems. The Polish Air Force group we were with took us to see the salt mines and it was incredible. I want to go back some day and take my children to see this beautiful and historically rich treasure.

Reply Oct 3rd, 2008
Wendy Deamer
United Kingdom

Absolutely stunning. Only thing that spoiled it for us was the guides were very abrupt and not very visitor friendly.

Reply Sep 25th, 2008
HANNAHLAWS
United Kingdom

i went on a trip to slovakia and we went to see the salt mines in poland but we were staying in slovakia so it took four hours to get there and four hours to get back so we got back at about 12:30am but it was worth it though!

Reply Sep 20th, 2008
Mike Gryczko
United States

Today 9-19-08 was the first anniversary of my first trip to Poland. the salt mines are so amazing, very beautiful, something I will never forget.

Reply Sep 19th, 2008
john+maureen
United Kingdom

an absolute experience one of the wonders of our travels

Reply Sep 6th, 2008
Jon R. Duffy
United States

I went to the salt mines of Wieliczka in 2002 with my wife who was born in Poland and it is one of the most amazing feats of artistry, especially considering the time period that these amazing artistic creations were executed, I have traveled fairly extensively and I will never forget the awe inspiring beauty of the salt mines of Wieliczka.

Reply Aug 18th, 2008
Gasiorek
Canada

You have to see it to believe it. It's the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

Reply Jul 26th, 2008
amanda
United Kingdom

i have never seen anything like this in my life, i have travelled all over and i have found this place absolutely amazing. brilliant

Reply Jul 24th, 2008
Mhairi
United Kingdom

To see the Salt Mine was one of the host humbling experiences. To think that human hands could creat such a marvellous feat of workmanship. What was profoundly evident was the scrupulous work ethic that these young men of the time had displayed, a work ethic which one might fear will never exist again. A must see for everyone.

Reply Jun 29th, 2008
Mike Davies
United Kingdom

If you are fit and well, walk to Krakow Glowny main train station and catch a train to the mine, its the last stop and then a 300 yard walk, easy.

Reply Jun 10th, 2008
Francisco
United States

My wife and I visited the Salt mines in Krakow in June of 2007 and we were blown away. I highly recommend this site. it is a miracle carved in salt. Lovely.

Reply May 26th, 2008
Andrew Karpinski
Australia

i went in the 2007/2008 holidays and found a magnificent site as soon as my eyes lay upon the chapel of St kinga. a marvellous place i wouold recommend visiting.

Reply Apr 5th, 2008
Snake
United Kingdom

Best ever trip. If you get the chance to see then do not miss. stunning

Reply Mar 14th, 2008
james & kathleen tate
India

we visited salt mine from ireland, we never saw anything as beautiful, in our life, including our guide, who explained everything in great detail, we will recommend it to everyone.

Reply Jan 28th, 2008
Damian Byrne
Ireland

Stunning cravings, Ypu can even get married in the big church, nearly 1 km underground.

Reply Jan 3rd, 2008
nigel brown
United Kingdom

just got back go there dont miss awesom 900 years of history in one hit this place is a credit to polands history

Reply Dec 13th, 2007
Iain T. Christie
United Kingdom

If you are fortunate enough to vacation in Poland then take a trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, you will not regret it. I visited in January 2006 and was spellbound by the complexity and beauty of the mines.

Reply Oct 29th, 2007
Gordon Fulton
United Kingdom

To descend into the earth of Poland evokes an incredible sense of history. Wonderful and beautiful.

Reply Oct 23rd, 2007
the langley's
United Kingdom

amazing,we were awstruck by the vastness of the caverns and carvings, completleu unexpected.

Reply Oct 9th, 2007
Brian
United Kingdom

A very good trip a must see the carvings on the walls etc are marvellous if you come to krakow its a must see absolutely great .

Reply Sep 19th, 2007
Dagny
United States

As a Polish tourist attraction, Wieliczka is pretty expensive. It's 63 zloty to visit the mine with an English speaking tour guide. The price seems outrageous when compared with the price of a museum ticket here, but if you consider that it's a 2 hour guided tour that goes through 2 km of mines, it's a bit more reasonable - though still a lot of money.

Reply Jul 30th, 2007
thomas hagan
United Kingdom

its the 8th wonder of the world if you miss this youve missed a big attraction i was really really impressed

Reply Jul 1st, 2007
Duncski
United Kingdom

The Salt Mines in Wieliczka are simply stunning, and well worth the trip from Krakow. Apparently they are UNESCO's 12th rated treasure in the entire world!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply Apr 19th, 2007