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General Guide for Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine is a subterranean wonder that dazzles visitors to Krakow. Discover more about this underground wonder.

5 minutes

One of the most exciting attractions in Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a big hit with tourists. The subterranean wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site delivers thrills and spills deep under the earth’s crust. Here’s all you need to know about this headline destination just outside Krakow.

What is Wieliczka Salt Mine

Salt miners arrived in Wieliczka in the 13th century, boosting the local economy and feeding an insatiable appetite for sodium chloride. When the last miner turned off the lights in 1996, the tunnels reached 1,073 ft (327 meters) underground, with passages covering a remarkable 178 miles (287 km).

An underground lake, salt statues carved by miners, and four subterrestrial chapels were already drawing tourists, including historical figures as diverse as Copernicus and Bill Clinton. In 1978, the mine was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list alongside Poland’s oldest salt mine in Bochnia.

After salt mining ceased, the manmade marvel went into the tourist business full-time and now welcomes around 1.2 million visitors annually.

Why Visit Wieliczka Salt Mine?

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Beautiful sculptures made from salt in the Wieliczka mine.

To discover why the Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular activities in Krakow, you’ll need to join one of the frequent tours. 

  • Tourist Trail – The original trail that first wowed tourists starts at Daniłowicz Shaft. Covering 2.2 miles (3.5km) and 330 daunting steps, the route winds past key sights:
  • St Kinga’s Chapel – stunning showpiece chamber buried 331 ft (101 m), an underground church carved from salt over 30 years, illuminated with chandeliers (surprise, also made of salt), and 
  • Chapels and chambers – numerous chambers and chapels show how the miner’s built an alternate world underground. 
  • Salty statues – creative miners and modern artists left a mine filled with intricate salt carvings and statues, from historical scenes to Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. 
  • Saline Lakes – the route navigates shimmering salines lakes for more jaw-dropping moments.  
  • Tools and machinery – tour guides keep it real with insights into the demanding world of salt mining. 
  • Miners’ route – For a more adventurous journey to the depths, head down the St Regis Shaft and along the evocative Miners’ route. This 3-hour interactive tour invites you to don headlamps, grab a pick, and join experienced hands as you search for salt. Exciting, educational, and sure to make you appreciate your career choices more.
  • Underground concerts and events – From time to time, the singular setting hosts concerts with unbeatable acoustics. You can even say “I do” at an underground wedding, taking the traditional bread and salt wedding to a whole other (subterrestrial) level.  

Tickets for Wieliczka Salt Mine

Standard tickets for the hourly English language tours along the Tourist Route or Miners’ Route cost 116zł (2023 prices). Discounted tickets are available for families, young persons (19 or under), and disabled visitors. The Miners’ Route is only open to children 10 years and older. Access to the Graduation Tower costs 9zł for a standard ticket.

Purchase online or on-site, although we recommend booking the Miner’s Tour in advance as demand is high.

How to get to Wieliczka Salt Mine?

Solid transport options and close proximity make Wieliczka Salt Mine one of the most accessible things to do outside Krakow.

Private transport – Skip the complications and let us arrange private transport with special access as part of the Monty Experience.

Trains – Regular trains connect Krakow Główny and Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station, a short walk from the mine. 

Buses – Line 304 drops at both entry shafts. Board at Dworzec Główny Zachód (Galeria Krakowska) and grab Zone 1-2 tickets.

Car – Public parking on site.

When to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Tourist Route opens daily from 08:30 to 17:30.

The Miners’ Route opens daily from 10:00 to 17:00.

Tours depart hourly.

There is no need to worry about the seasons when planning a visit. Opening hours are as consistent as the underground temperatures.

But if you don’t miss out on the slow travel adventures that make Krakow a world-beating city break, our tips on how many days to spend in Krakow are essential reading. 

Accommodation and Dining at Wieliczka Salt Mine

If you’re not claustrophobic, spend a memorable night in the Słowacki Chamber deep down on level III, complete with dinner, a tour, and a most welcome elevator ride down.

Boost your well-being at a salt-infused health resort, which includes overnight stays in the incomparable microclimate of the Eastern Mountain Stable Chamber. Visitors often choose extended stays to help ease health problems.

For those who prefer to know what time of day it is, stay at the more classic Grand Sal Hotel and restaurant above ground.

And if all the steps and salty air make you hungry and thirsty, dine underground at the Karczma Górnicza restaurant, which offers a menu the salt diggers probably daydreamed about.

Attractions and Events at Wieliczka Salt Mine

If you want a little taste of the mine’s healing properties without eating into your vacation time and staying at the health resort, visit the Graduation Tower, which is said to soothe allergies and other ailments.

And be sure to check the events schedule when you’re visiting, as the Wieliczka Salt Mine makes good use of the fabulous and unique backdrop with occasional concerts and festivals.