Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the hidden underground treasures of Krakow and a unique must-see attraction. Just a short journey outside of the city, delve into the depths of the 327-meter-deep mine. Prepare to be amazed at the century old secrets that await at this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site. This mine, together with Bochnia Royal Salt Mine., has been a part of the World Heritage List since 1978. Experience the truly magical atmosphere of the salt mine, where even the chandeliers are carved from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to give a clear, glass-like appearance.
A labyrinth of underground chambers
The salt mine dates back to the 13th century and actually produced table salt right up until 2007. A labyrinth of passages and chambers run 14 kilometers underground. These passages are home to dozens of statues carved out of the rock salt, creations that were made by miners throughout the centuries. All visits are conducted by a guide, presenting a good opportunity to absorb their knowledge and stories of this underground world. There are two main tours to choose from: Tourist Route and Miners' Route.
The Tourist Route takes you on a journey through three kilometers of passageways and 20 chambers, each carved from salt. There are over 800 steps to climb so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. One of the main highlights, apart from the actual chambers, is the spectacular underground Chapel of Saint Kinga. This is a vast, cavernous vault carved entirely out of rock salt. After the tour, finish the afternoon with a stop at the underground tavern and sample delicious Polish dishes, all seasoned with salt from Wieliczka Mine.
The Miner's Route is for adventurous people who want a hands-on experience. It involves getting into workers' clothing, putting on a hard hat, and carrying mining tools down into the depths of the shaft. It is here that your guide, the Foreman, will assign you a role in the mining profession. On this tour, you will gain fantastic insight of this profession and learn the inner workings of the mine including the daily routine and other secrets of the trade. If you want an authentic experience, then choose this route.
Travel deeper into the mine to the serene underground lake and wellness center. This chamber, 135 meters underground, offers a unique micro-climate with a constant temperature, high humidity and free from pollutants and allergens. This provides the perfect atmosphere to offer health benefits and treatments to those with respiratory ailments such as asthma. It also has benefits to those without such conditions. Massage and care packages, a day spa, as well as medical and physiotherapy treatments are available here. Try these healing mines for yourself.
The mine is located 10 kilometers outside the city and can be reached by bus, taxi or train from downtown.