Krakow Salt Mines – Read This BEFORE You Go! (Wieliczka Salt Mines)




The Krakow salt mines (which are actually called the Wieliczka Salt Mine)  is an impressive salt mine that dates back to the 13th century.

krakow-salt-mine-sculpures

You can do a tour down the salt mines, and see many sculptures, carvings, and are given a full (and interesting) history tour.

krakow-salt-mine-shaft

There is, unsurprisingly, still salt that you can touch – or even taste.

Salt that has been scraped off by a finger

Salt that has been scraped off by a finger

It is definitely worth seeing the salt mines if you have a spare time to go down there. There are many impressive sculptures, many of them hundreds of years old.

King Kazimierz in Salt Sculpture

King Kazimierz in Salt Sculpture

But the most impressive parts are the big rooms, which are lit up brightly.

salt-mine-chappel

Things to know before you go:

1) It involves a lot of walking, and some low(ish) ceilings

When you arrive you have to go in a tour (if you arrive via a tour company you end up doing the same tours. The tours are run by the salt mine – see point 3)

Salt on the ceiling

Salt on the ceiling

These tours last 2-3hours, and you are walking most of the time. To begin with you spend about 5-10 minutes walking approx 60m down, then it is a lot of walking up and down mine shafts. If you are over approx 6ft7 you will spend a lot of time bending over.

Krakow salt mine with old ropes and pulleys on display

Krakow salt mine with old ropes and pulleys on display

2) Getting out of the mine shaft would not be fun if you claustrophobic

When you leave the mine shaft they put you in a small lift/elevator that feels about 30 years old. If this was in an office building people would not get in once 3 other people were in it. But they ‘cram’ in about 5 people. It isn’t too squished, but it is definitely not ideal. But it is over in about 1 minute, so isn’t too bad

Photo from Krakow Salt Mines (it isn't normally this crowded!)

Photo from Krakow Salt Mines (it isn’t normally this crowded!)

3) You can make your own way there!

Despite what all the tour companies in the city center (or your hotel reception desk) will want you to believe, you can easily make your own way to the salt mines.

With a cheap taxi company (such as Mega or iCar, about 1.80 zl/km) it would cost around 40-50zl to the salt mines.

Once you want to leave the salt mines there appears to be one taxi rank, with more expensive taxis (around 2.80 zl/km), and it cost us around 70-80zl on our return back to the city center.

There are also bus services to/from the salt mines – see details here.

krakow-salt-mine-room

Once you arrive there you end up doing the exact same tour in the mines as if you did it with a tour guide, but once the tour is done you can leave as and when you want. We have heard of friends who did the salt mines through a tour company. They got picked up / returned to town for around 105zl (cheaper for students), but they had to wait a long time once the tour was over before their return mini coach arrived.

If there are a few of you, the approx 150 zl for return trip in a taxi might be worth it.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia