The beautiful saltmines of Wieliczka

Wieliczka Travel Blog

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View from our hostelroom
My plan for this morning was to look out the window right when waking up, to check on the weather. Unfortunately, that isn't even necessary. I can hear the rain pouring outside... We'd planned to get a firm introduction on Krakow today by making a walk through the old town, the Jewish quarter Kazimierz and Podgorze. Yet in this weather, we will be soaked by the time we reach the square, so there is no use in even trying.

A bit disappointed we get downstairs for breakfast. This turned out really well. Yesterday the lady that checked us in told us "breakfast in cellar". That didn't sound too good to us, as we all promptly imagined a dark, dirty and dusky area. Yet this is not the case. In fact, the room is really well kept up and decorated. The food as well looks wonderful. Many things to choose from and everything really neat and clean.
Breakfast in the hostel


While having breakfast we decide to catch a minibus to Wieliczka, a small town nearby. Wieliczka is (world?)famous for one and only thing: the salt mines. These are not only big, but also beautifully decorated by carved out sculptures. You'll even find underground chapels and ballrooms here. As the mines are so deep beneath the ground, there is no point in worrying about the rain there. So it seems like the perfect thing to do today.

The minibus passes by really close to our hostel, so there is no need to walk all the way up to the bus station or the post office (the main departure site of the buses. After a small half hour we get dropped of almost right in front of the salt mines entrance. For the occasion, it even stopped raining! Perfect.
Nicolas Copernicus statue in the Nicolas Copernicus room.


We have to wait about 20 minutes after the purchase of the tickets, until the English tour started of. Our guide is a funny woman, I suppose around 30, and without a doubt no higher than 1,55 meters. She does a perfect job though, telling us everything we wanted to know. Her English is fluent, and she has well practiced all of her jokes. Yet she knows what she's talking about and is able to answer every question.

The tour starts with a long walk down wooden stares, after which we enter the first room. After that comes another and another, and another. There is much to be learned here about how the work was like in the mine, and what equipment was used, but the most impressive are the chapels and rooms carved out of the salt. These are simply amazing. The tour took us about 2 hours, after which we have diner in the underground restaurant.
We continue the visit with another guided walk through the museum, which is equally interesting but very fast paced. You can read more about our visit to the mines in the review I wrote about it.

After having spend such a long time deep under the ground we cue for the lift to bring us back up. This goes in groups of 9 people, but when you get to see the lift you might feel doubtful. We have to try really hard to fit all 9 people in, especially because some of them have backpacks with them. And when everyone is finally in, it turned out that the doors couldn't close so we needed to push harder to make some extra space.

Back in the open air rain was pouring again. At first it looked pretty much ok, so we opened our umbrella's and started of for a walk to the church nearby. Yet as soon as we were out of the garden, things got worse.
Salt mine equipment, like a lift to make the salt travel up or down. Seen in the Casimir the great chamber.
So now we sit sheltering in some doorway, watching the water falling down by buckets on the Wieliczka square. After a while we decide we can't stand here all day and rush to the bus stop. Every one is soaked by the time we arrive there, especially my mother, who didn't have an umbrella neither a raincoat. The bus is late, and of course, when does it stop raining? Yes, right when we get on to the van. The vehicle is crowded with people and so I have to stand all the way to Krakow. Yet we're dry now and all still impressed by what we just saw in the mines. So it has been a great day anyhow. Wieliczka was well worth getting showered.

We get of the bus at the post office at the crosspoint of the Sienna street and the Westerplatte. We thought of having diner in a restaurant in Kazimierz, but we're all wet now and don't immediately find a nice place.
So after having a drink in the Alchemia bar, we go back to the old town. Here we discover the most wonderful Italian restaurant, called Trattoria Soprano. Everything here is just perfect: the service, the setting, the diner, the price,... all of it. We stay here for a very long time. Having another glass of wine, a dessert,... So delicious. A perfect ending of a wonderful day.
Eric says:
Great photos, I remember visiting this place. Happy Holidays!
Posted on: Dec 24, 2009
newtampo says:
Italian food is wonderful! Haha.
Posted on: Aug 19, 2008
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View from our hostelroom
View from our hostelroom
Breakfast in the hostel
Breakfast in the hostel
Nicolas Copernicus statue in the N…
Nicolas Copernicus statue in the …
Salt mine equipment, like a lift t…
Salt mine equipment, like a lift …
Saint Kingas chapel.
Saint Kinga's chapel.
Saint Kingas chapel.
Saint Kinga's chapel.
Saint Kingas chapel.
Saint Kinga's chapel.
The Erazm Barakz chamber.
The Erazm Barakz chamber.
The Erazm Barakz chamber.
The Erazm Barakz chamber.
Cauliflower salt on the walls.
Cauliflower salt on the walls.
Many many wooden stairs. Luckily t…
Many many wooden stairs. Luckily …
Our guide is the small lady on the…
Our guide is the small lady on th…
Small corridors.
Small corridors.
The underground restaurant.
The underground restaurant.
Salt Crystals.
Salt Crystals.
An old book in the museum.
An old book in the museum.
Staircase and chandelier.
Staircase and chandelier.
Church in Wieliczka
Church in Wieliczka
Ooops, it started raining really b…
Ooops, it started raining really …
Main square of Wieliczka from unde…
Main square of Wieliczka from und…
Wieliczka Sights & Attractions review
If you'd visit one mine in your life, make sure it is this one
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 t… read entire review
Wieliczka
photo by: EmyG