Visit the Salt Mines of Wieliczka on your self-catering holiday to Cracow

salt mine wieliczka
The salt mine in Wieliczka is a highly recommended trip during your holiday to Cracow, Poland


Salt Mine in Wieliczka, south east of Cracow

The salt mines of Wieliczka are a rightly popular place to visit. They are found south east of Krakow (Cracow) - only a short journey away. You can get there either by bus, taxi, or during the summer there is a steam train service that leaves from the main railway station (beside the bus station) in Krakow.

Anyone who has any interest in art cannot fail but appreciate the love that gone into carving sculptures, friezes, and an underground cathedral including the chandeliers from rock salt.

The tunnels are about 300 km long and the route is varied to show about 3 km during the visit. Guides escort people in groups according to language. They used to permit people to wander individually which was better because it allowed more time to 'stand and stare'.

Wear comfortable shoes and something warm. You will need to be able to navigate stairs and walk fairly briskly to really enjoy this.

An underground restaurant serves good soup, snacks and drinks. We can recommend the chicken. There are a few gift shops if your guide will give you enough time to make a purchase.

The lift that takes visitors back to the surface is an unforgettable experience.

There is plenty car parking if you plan to drive there.

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As you walk through the tunnels

Try wetting your finger and tasting the salt on the walls of the mine to differentiate between the old salt and new 'green' salt.

The Wieliczka salt mine used to be considered the eighth wonder of the world.

Photography is supposedly allowed with a permit but people have told me that no one checks. Most parts of the mine are very dark so it's not easy to get decent photos, even with a flash.

It's supposed to be a good environment for anyone with asthma so breathe deeply. The Wieliczka salt mine is just one of around 200 salt spas in Poland. Scientists in the 19th century discovered that salt miners have fewer respiratory problems than the general population. It is possible to arrange a stay in Wieliczka or indeed one of many others for health reasons.

There is the usual gift shop to walk though before departure that sells salt of varying types in tubs as souvenirs, books about the area, crystal, and lots of other things. Another shopping opportunity is available at the market stalls ouside the main salt mine buildings.

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