Wieliczka Salt Mine

  based on 13 reviews   write a review

10 Daniłowicza Street, Wieliczka, Poland
12 278 73 75

Wieliczka Salt Mine Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
641 reviews
Wieliczka Salt Mine Aug 27, 2013
Wielickza Salt Mines lie a short distance outside Krakow, and are astonishing. They are, as you’d expect from the name, a former industrial salt mine. Commercial mining stopped several decades ago but they still extract several thousand tons a year, partly as a result of pumping out floods and partly because it keeps the souvenir shop in bath salts and little lamps. Two shafts are open to visitors; one is a “Tourist Route” which takes in the most fantastic chambers and chapels, and one is a “Miner’s Route” where you can try out mining. As it was my first trip, this review refers to the tourist route.

Tours are available in several languages, including Polish, English, Russian and German. Visitors buy a timed ticket and it is not possible to go down except as part of a tour. Our guide was brilliant. The mines have been worked for centuries, and the tour includes information on the history of mining in the area, the equipment used, and a bit on the history of the region. But the highlight is the salt carvings, all done by a small number of miners with no art training. These range from larger than life statues of famous heroes like Copernicus and legends about the Queen who introduced industrial scale mining in the middle ages, to an entire, stunning chapel complete with relics of John Paul II and bible scenes. There are chandeliers made of pure crystals (most of the natural salt here is grey with minor impurities; there are some pure veins and those are used for the chandeliers), and you can get married here and hold your reception in a nearby hall, all 500ft below ground.

The sheer size of some of the caverns is also impressive, and the guide explained about the engineering needed to stabilise chambers. Some of the pit props are enormous, and even without the carvings it would be an astonishing place.

Expect to spend about 3 hours below ground. The tour is about 2 hours, but there is a little canteen that sells beer, and who could resist the chance to have a bottle of Tyskie hundreds of feet below the earth? You can go up whenever you like, once your tour is finished. The mine claims that there are health benefits to staying underground breathing in the salty air, and there is even a subterranean health clinic that claims to cure asthma.

There are also a great many gift shops, selling salt lamps, salt carvings of cats and mice, amber jewellery and bath salts.

This is quite an expensive attraction by Polish standards, with tickets at about the 70zloty mark and a 10 zloty fee to take photos, but it is well worth it. This really is a unique attraction, nowhere near as kitsch as it sounds. The mine on its own would be an interesting trip, but the carvings are astonishing and the fact they were done by volunteers, just for the joy of doing it and because they were deeply religious and wanted a church, is fascinating.

There is a separate tour available for families, and a further one for people who are disabled that only takes in the flatter parts of the mine by lift.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Link
sarahelaine says:
You're welcome :)
Posted on: Sep 09, 2013
jeanh2 says:
This sounds such an amazing place. I wish I'd known about it when I was in Poland. If I ever go back I shall definitely make a point of visiting this mine. Thank you for such an interesting review ...
Posted on: Sep 09, 2013
Ils1976 says:
Already looking forward to them! :D
Posted on: Sep 05, 2013
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
haidgirl haidgirl
28 reviews
blown away by the mine! May 30, 2013
I must admit when we were told the Wieliczka Salt Mine was something not to be missed in the Krakow area, I thought it sounded rather boring and dull. But, I kept an open mind and went anyway...even with a banging hangover; I'm so glad I did.

The size and depth of the mine is mind blowing!!! It is 327 metres (1,073 ft) deep and over 287 kilometres (178 mi) long. There is no way you can see all of this place because: a) it's just too vast and b) some of the areas are just not safe/viable to enter. You actually only end up seeing something like 2% of the entire mine, but even that feels like you've seen a huge amount of the mine. You do see many chambers; within those chambers are salt sculpture exhibits about the mine and Polish legends, cathedrals, and a salt lake. The most impressive chamber is the Chapel of St. Kinga. It is huge, and beautiful!!

I really enjoyed seeing all the chambers, especially St. Kinga's Chapel. And low and behold, after the tour...no hangover! Must have been the healing powers of the mine our tour leader told us about!!

A hint of caution: They do warn you about the amount of walking you do in the mine, and the many steps you encounter while going further down into the mine. At one point there is a wooden staircase that has 378 steps; so, if you struggle with stairs or if you have little ones, beware.
Link
WalterC WalterC
181 reviews
Worth the time, but if you can, skip the museum part Mar 12, 2011
Located just outside of Krakow, the Weiliczka Salt Mine is an underground adventure that is well worth the time. At least the part with touring the actual mines.

There are ways to get there, but the cheapest option is taking a bus. Just hope you don’t have to stand, because it is about a 30-minute ride. I caught the stop near the train station. Check with the information center or hotel, to see which bus to get on. I don’t mention it here, just in case the number changes.

The salt mines can only be seen on a guided tour, which is given in various languages. And there is a fee to take photos in the mines, and you get a sticker. If you missed the chance to get it at the ticket window, you can get one along the way, as there is a cashier that hands out those camera stickers during the tour.

Make sure you stay with a group, because it can be easy to get lost in miles of tunnels. And regardless how hot it is outside, it is a constant chilly temperature in the mines, so you may need to bring a jacket along.

And there are 2 breaks during the tour, but each one is just too short. One of them takes place in the huge cathedral, that is made of salt with a lot of art around the place. And the other in the restaurant area, which is 20 minutes, but just not enough time to eat. But if one ends up being left behind by their original tour, they can always join the next one that comes through. This is also an option in case you want to spend more time in the gift shop or restaurant.

The museum in the end, is forgettable and not really worth the time. It’s basically a rehash of what you already saw earlier in the tour. If you can, skip it, and just proceed to the elevator shaft, which should take you up to ground level.

But the salt mines is well worth the time, and the artwork in the mines, is very impressive.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Link
laly0717 laly0717
3 reviews
Great place to visit during the summer Jun 17, 2010
Krakow, in general, is a great place to visit. Lots to see and to do, the nightlife is amazing and the people are so kind! But if you ever make it to Poland, you can't miss the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The impression of being 300m underground is amazing, but probably not the best idea for those who suffer of claustrophobia. Anyhow, the experience is very enriching. You will get to see some art made out of salt, as well as a church, fully built with salt. It's also good exercise for your legs, but dont worry, the you can take an elevator on the way back up! Highly recommendable!
The underneath chapel!
Link
lindader lindader
4 reviews
Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland Oct 25, 2010
These salt mines are a Unesco World Heritage listing near Krakow Poland. The carvings in this mine are what make it very special...from historical figures to wonderful and grand chapels, this salt mine is loaded with wonderful sculptures. It is an easy public bus ride from Krakow...totally worth the half day excursion!
Link
JoeriNL JoeriNL
47 reviews
A potentially great place spoilt... Aug 18, 2009
It sounded great, 700 years old huge saltmine, statues, impressive rooms , Unesco site etc. There definitely are impressive rooms, and statues, but all that was spoilt by scenes with salt statues converted into a childish Disneyworld like settings with leprechauns or even corny little shows.

Too commercial, too sleak and overpriced. Maybe the extended non-tourist route is more interesting (but also costs more than double), but for now I wouldn't recommend going here.

If you are though, take the train and walk 450 meters from the Wieliczka Rynek station. The route is well signed. Entrance is 64 zloty (€16). The train from Krakow leaves every hour and costs only 2,50 zloty for a single trip (€0,65). Don't believe stories of taxi drivers waiting near the train station.
Best way to get there: by train.
Link
Pearl510 Pearl510
157 reviews
If you'd visit one mine in your life, make sure it is this one Jul 14, 2008
The salt mines made little town Wieliczka famous, and are a very popular destination for a day trip from Krakow. It is though, just as easy to visit the mines by yourself. I've seen some tours that were only little more expensive than what you pay when you travel to Wieliczka yourself, but others were just way over prised. So you can just make out for yourself how much you are willing to pay more for an organized tour. In my opinion, they are quite unnecessary though.

We left to Wieliczka in the early morning, by minibus. The prize was 3 PLN for a one way ticket. There are public transport buses riding too, but the minibuses go faster and are more comfortable too. The main departure for those minivans to Wieliczka is at the post office, at the intersection of the Sienna street (old town) and the Westerplatte. We caught a bus at the Al. Mickiewicza street though, just north of the Biblioteka, because it was way shorter to our hostel. If you see a minibus en route for your destination approaching, you have to stop it like a cab, get on board and by your ticket from the driver. This goes very easy.

Ones in Wieliczka the bus stop is right in front of the museum entrance. There is a whole complex of shops, small restaurants, tourist info, etc. around the salt mines entrance, where you can buy basically everything you might need.

The people behind the ticket office speak English very well. You have to tell them what language tour you want to take and then they give you the tickets and the approximate hour on which this tour leaves. There are waiting benches in the entrance building where you can sit down until your group leaves.

Prices aren't cheap, for Polish standards they are even expensive. We payed 64 PLN per person for the English guided tour, plus an additional 10 PLN for photo and film permission. There is a student discount though, but make sure you got a student card with you or else you won't get it.

Ones inside the mines a guide takes you on a (rather fast paces) tour through the halls and chambers that are open to the public. This is only about 1% of the total mine. Most of it can't be visited by tourists. The walk lasts about 2 hours, depending on how much questions there are asked, I suppose. I must say it went really fast. I was the one taking pictures and by the time I had captured everything I wanted and was ready to take a look around for myself, the group often moved on already. So be prepared to take things in quickly.

About the pictures: as I said there is an additional fee to pay when you want to capture things. I feel like this is really worth the money as I like to bring home pictures of everything I saw. These mines are so impressive that I'd feel frustrated walking around without a camera. If you don't care much about pictures though, don't wast the money on it. If you don't have a really good camera and/or a tripod, you must take quite a lot of pictures to make sure some of them will be good. There isn't much light around and flashing often gives really ugly results, as the white salt reflects the flash a lot and all the details and nice lightning will be lost. So either be prepared to spend a lot of time taking pictures and choosing settings on the camera, or either don't buy the photo permission. If you are planning to take only 10 pictures, considering 5 of them won't be sharp, you're wasting money.

The rooms itself are though beautiful. The sculptures all were made by amateurs, people that worked in the mines and wanted to decorate the chambers and chapels. Yet they are masterpieces really. Those people were very talented. The tour is also very informative. You'll learn a lot about the instruments used by the miners, the way they worked, why they used certain materials, etc.

Especially when you visit the museum as well (another 1 hour guided walk, included in the entrance fee) you'll get quite some information about this. I would really advise to see the museum as well, as I liked it just as much as the first tour and it gives an extra dimention to the visit. But prepare for an even more fast paced walk around with this one. The guide here really rushes through the chambers.

Yet the mines are really amazing. First there is a very special atmosphere so deep under the ground. The lightning gives the whole area a special flair and the air itself is said to be very healthy too. All the halls and statues are given an amazing look by the game of light and shade, and the various colors of the salt. Because all you see around you, is salt and some timber to hold the ceilings up.

Temperature in the mine is the same all year round, some 15 to 18 degrees. It isn't really cold down there, and you walk a lot so most of the time I felt pretty warm even. If you aren't really claustrophobic there is no need to feel scared about going down. Everything here looks really well maintained and kept up, guides really know what they're doing and the chambers and halls never get that small or low. You can just walk around everywhere without crawling or stumbling, and there is plenty of space and air in all the chambers.

As a conclusion, there is much to be said about this salt mines. I've read a lot of reviews before I went there. Some of them are boasting with compliments, saying that these mines are the highlight of a Poland trip, amazing, unmissable,... Other complain that the prize is far too high for a two hour stroll through some dark rooms with amateur sculptures. In my opinion, non of these extremes are true.

The salt mines are to me, a very nice day trip from Krakow. They certainly are something you haven't seen before, unique and authentic. Even if you have been in some mines already, like coal mines for examples, this will be something completely different. But the visit isn't life changing either. It is not like Wieliczka is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, it is not like I was deeply impressed after the tour either.

What more can I say? If you are in the area and you like to see these kinds of things (some historical, cultural, geological explanation, covered with a great deal of artwork) you should really go. This place is even more beautiful as it looks at the pictures. It will certainly amaze you. Yes, it is expensive, but what you get in return is a complete tour -museum visit included- with a tour guide that speaks very well English, a site that is perfectly save and maintained, and an organization that runs smoothly. More than a million tourists visit this place every year, so I must say they handle this buzzyness very well.

And yes, there is definitely a good reason why so many people come here. These mines are probably the most beautiful ones in the world, and have well deserved there place on the UNESCO inheritance list. A visit is highly recommended.

There is an official site about the Wieliczka Mines and the visit, available in English:

http://www.kopalnia.pl/home.php?action=&id_language=2&

You can visit this website too for more representative pictures of what the chambers look like. My pictures are pretty much crap. I've posted some more though in my Wieliczka blog...
Statue of Nicolas Copernicus in th…
One of the underground alleys. Wit…
Madonna statue and chandelier in t…
Sculpture of the last supper in th…
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Link
davidx says:
Thanks for such a comprehensive review
Posted on: Oct 26, 2010
derekbilldaly says:
Haha thanks Kim!! I will add it to the list of places to bring Bob to see ;op
Posted on: Jul 29, 2008
Pearl510 says:
Yes please do! I'm sure Bob will like it there too, those mines can use some light ;)
Posted on: Jul 29, 2008
Sunrise5 Sunrise5
43 reviews
It it ... Oct 17, 2008
...already a couple of years ago that I visited the Salt Mines last time.

I've been there twice and and everytime it was a great tour.

To begin with, it's advisable not only to wear comfortable shoes, but also to have a jacket or a warm pullover in the backpack, as it is fairly cool down there. You already feel that when you're walking down the stairs.

In the Salt Mines, you walk along narrow galleries as well as enormous caves, which were all chopped out of the rocks. One of them is propped up by a huge wooden construction, which even todays engineers are impressed by. Maybe the biggest highlight is the church of the holy Kinga, which is completely carved out of the salt - the pattern on the floor as well as the reliefs. Even the kandelabra are are made of it.

The tour ends in a sports hall 120 m (?? im not sure any more) unter the ground, where you can buy souvenirs from postcards to all kinds of gems and of course chunks of the salt from Wieliczka.

To sum up it's very impressive and really worth the money.
Link
pudwell pudwell
18 reviews
A Subterranean Wonderland Jun 29, 2008
I went there a few years ago, and really enjoyed the tour. As I recall the tour was about 3 hours long and they told us it covered about 1% of the mine. To start the tour you walk down some 400 something steps and then proceed through the labyrinth of sculptures, chapels, and other exhibits that tell about the history of the mine and other things as well. There is one spot on the tour that you can taste salt straight from the wall. I was impressed by the massive chandeliers made with salt crystals. The on Chapel also features reliefs that depict the life of Christ which are back lit, also carved from salt. The end of the tour brings you to a large chamber that houses the deepest subterranean gift shop and movie theater. Whenever you are done at the last stop you take an express elevator ride back to the surface which takes far less than a minute. If you intend to take pictures or video be prepared to pay a little more $$$.
Link
boxinbcn boxinbcn
72 reviews
Aug 14, 2007
While visiting Kraków, an attraction that is well worth visiting is the Wieliczka Salt Mine, in the town of Wieliczka, in Krakow’s metropolitan area, about a 20 minute drive from the center of the city. The mine, which reaches a depth of 327 meters, is a vast underground city in itself and has been in continuous operation since the 13th century. It still produces table salt to this day, although regular mining operations were discontinued in the late 1990s. The oldest salt mine is at Bochnia, 20 kilometers from Wieliczka). There are 2,040 chambers in the Wieliczka mine and they are connected by 200 kms of passages. During World War II, the salt mine was used by the occupying Germans as housing for war-related production plants. In 1978 the Wieliczka salt mine was placed on the original UNESCO roster of World Heritage Sites.

The visit begins with a long walk downs hundreds of steps and continues descending through numerous beautiful chambers and passageways. The chambers are enormous and for the most part the passageways are airy and bright, so that in no way did it feel oppressive. The entire walk is about 3.5 kms long and takes a little over two hours. I would only warn anyone who is very claustrophobic, that the elevator ride back to the surface at the end of the tour may be difficult for them. People with mobility problems would not have an easy time on this excursion as it involves a lot of walking and a lot of stairs. Tours are available in many languages and the stories and information shared are quite interesting. I have to admit that this is a very touristy site (over 800.000 people visit the mine every year) and when the crowds are heavy it gets pretty congested, but even so, I recommend the visit).

The Wieliczka salt mine’s tourist route (less than 1% of the length of the mine's passages) that includes statues of historic and mythical figures, all sculpted by miners out of the salt. Even the crystals in the chandeliers are made of salt. Also featured are beautifully carved chambers, chapels, an underground lake, and exhibits on the history of salt mining.

The underground climate is beneficial for asthma sufferers and through the years people have been flocking here continuously to revel in the atmosphere and get cured of their respiratory troubles. In fact, the world’s first subterranean therapeutic sanatorium is located here, 200 meters below the ground. Horses used to work in the mine. The last one was retired to the surface in 2002. According to our tour guide, the atmosphere in the mine was quite beneficial for the horses’ health and they enjoyed long and healthy lives down in the mine.

There are shops inside the mine which retail locally-made bath and foot salts, and special dietary salt for people with high blood pressure. You can also find lamps and candle holders made of salt and miniature salt replicas of the figurines that decorate the mine. There are also shops selling souvenirs behind the main building on the surface.

Some 800,000 persons visit the mine each year.

The excursion cost about $45 per person for a group of seven people, including transportation to and from the center of Kraków.
Exterior of Wieliczka Salt Mines, …
Wieliczka Salt Mines. Not even ha…
Wieliczka Salt Mines. One of many…
Wieliczka Salt Mines. Descent into…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Link
festerwretch says:
I just visited this on Saturday. :D
Posted on: Oct 28, 2007
CFD CFD
139 reviews
Jul 24, 2007
Krakow Salt mines are listed on Unesco's list of World Heritage, and its easy to understand why. With over 2000km of passages and chapels, museums, small underwater ponds (they are calling it lakes, but its more like ponds) and a lot of the old equipment from the mining that once took place here.

Show up in good time for a tour since the queue can be pretty long, expect around 30mins waiting for a ticket.

The Tour starts with a descending by the stairs to 64meters and goes all the way down to 135meter below the ground. Bring you walking shoes, since it can easily be around four kilometers of walking if you plan to take the museum afterwards (which you should, its good and even better, its free!)



There is a mandatory guided tour included in the admission price which is 68 zloty for Adults and 48 for Students. They did not check our student ID so if you are REALLY cheap perhaps you can get a student discount even if you're not a student. If you want to take pictures (which you do!) its 10zlotzy extra). There are reduced prices if you are willing to take the polish tour.

Regular ticket for a guided tour in a foreign language costs 60 zloty's.

Reduced-rate ticket for a guided tour in a foreign language costs 50 zloty's.

Highly recommended
Wieliczka saltmine's amazing Chape…
Wieliczka saltmine. People working…
Wieliczka saltmine. Example of how…
Wieliczka saltmine. The last suppe…
Link
the_bill the_bill
30 reviews
Jul 12, 2006
One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites near Krakow. Only a short bus ride from the Krakow bus terminal. An old salt mine with lots of incredible sculpture, carvings and other items made from the salt in the mine.
Link
Amanda says:
This place has always held such a facination for me! I've always wanted to go - but haven't gotten to yet! Someday...
Posted on: May 16, 2007
seraphimkarlien seraphim…
93 reviews
tourist trap, but still fun Sep 15, 2003
If you want to go on a fun daytrip from Krakow, and you're not strapped for cash, the salt mine in Wieliczka is probably the best place to go. It's not just an old salt mine (then it wouldn't be so popular), but contains a lot of salt sculptures. You can see anything here from statues of famous Poles to a whole chapel, including a reproduction of the Last Supper, carved out of the salt walls.

It's pretty cool, but I don't really understand what this place is doing on the Unesco World Heritage List.
Link

Check Wieliczka Hotel Deals

Check-in:
Check-out:
Guests:
Rooms:
Wieliczka Salt Mine Map
2 reviews
1 review
1 review - $41
1 review
1 review - $11
Wieliczka
photo by: festerwretch