An eerie world where everything has been carved from salt blocks, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is made up of a labyrinth of tunnels, the deepest of which lies 1,075 feet (327 meters) underground. The ancient UNESCO World Heritage site is a major part of Poland's salt mining history, one of the country's most popular attractions, and one of the world's oldest salt mines, having produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007.The Basics
Three of the mine's nine levels are open to visitors. Explore these upper areas and see underground lakes, pits and chambers that have been made into detailed chapels, and an array of statues and monuments, all carved from salt. The mine's claim to fame is its ornate Chapel of St. Kinga, made entirely of salt—from the chandeliers to the altarpieces—over the course of 30 years. Wieliczka is a popular site for travelers to Krakow, often visited on a half-day trip with a tour guide or combined with a trip to the nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get to Wieliczka Salt Mine
- Visitors to the mine are guided in groups, with most salt mine tours lasting two hours.
- To avoid long lines often seen in summer, book your tour in advance.
- Tours through the mine involve walking about 1.25 miles (2 km) and descending dozens of stairs (the return trip up is by lift).
- Temperatures are cool below ground, so dress accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.
- Admission to the onsite Krakow Salt Works Museum is included with mine entry.
While the easiest way to arrive from Krakow is via a guided tour, buses to Wieliczka run from Krakow’s main post office every 10 minutes and drop passengers off at the bottom of the road leading up to the mine's entrance. Trains between Krakow and Wieliczka depart every 45 minutes—the Wieliczka train station is about one mile (1 km) from the mine.When to Get There
The most popular months to visit the salt mine are July and August, though it is open year-round. During these summer months, English-language tours depart every half hour between 8:30am and 6pm. At all other times of year, six to eight English tours are offered daily.