Spending time down a mine may not be on your list of things to do when on holiday but you should maybe think again if you stay in Krakow. Approximately, 10 kms away is the UNESCO world heritage site of Wieliczka salt mine and is well worth a visit if you can spare the time.
Wieliczka salt mine is over 700 hundred years old and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Poland.
There are two separate tours, a “miners’ route” and “tourist route”. The miners route involves wearing a hard hat, other safety equipment and involves a more challenging trail whereas the tourist route is the more popular and easier of the two options.
The miners’ route is accessed via the Regis shaft which is located in the centre of town-the other tour is accessed at the mine area itself.
Tourists are led down 64 metres of steps although a lift is available for the infirm. The tour then meanders through the underground caverns and passages with some jaw dropping sights along the way.
Once the novelty of knowing that you can lick the walls wears off (after about 30 seconds) then you’ll be impressed with what has been accomplished using only salt as building material with underground lakes, statues and a breathtaking chapel where masses are held every week. The chapel is also very popular for wedding ceremonies and private banquets.
As this is a walking tour then I would recommend a basis level of fitness to be able to comfortably complete the tour.
The salt mine can be reached from Krakow by:-
Train – Catch the Krakow – Wieliczka train and get off at Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station
Bus – Catch the 304 bus next to the Galeria Krakowska on Ulica Kurniki and get off at Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli
Minibus – Catch next to Krakow’s railway station. Prices for minibuses and trains are around 5 złoty