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Wieliczka Salt Mine

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With over 1 million visitors annually, the Wieliczka Salt Mine (or Kopalnia soli Wieliczka) are one of Poland’s most popular tourist attractions! Mining at the site only ended in 1996, but it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 and it’s a fascinating example of the centuries-old tradition of salt mining. With underground lakes and chapels, plus tunnels where you can enjoy the healing salt microclimate, visitors can take the official tour, enjoy a concert, or even watch a theatrical performance! Tickets for the tour through this fascinating attraction that is one of the most favorite places to visit from Krakow in 2020 are available to be booked online.
Maurizio MassaroBy Maurizio Massaro
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Book your ticket in advance to skip the lines for the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
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Krakow: Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour
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4 tips for visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Saint Kinga Cathedral | Flickr: Brian Snelson CC-BY 2.0
Stay warmThe temperature underground is always between 57 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (14 and 16 degrees Celsius), so you’ll need to bring warm clothes, even in summer! Comfortable, waterproof shoes are also advised, as you’ll need to climb around 800 steps over the course of the tour.
Salt Carvings | Photo: Brian Snelson - CC-BY 2.0
Book in advance when visiting with a wheelchairOnly parts of the route through the tunnels are accessible by wheelchair. It’s advised that you reserve well in advance of your visit if you want to visit the attraction with any mobility aids so that staff can make sure you can be accommodated to the greatest extent possible.
Have a strategy regarding personal needsThe average length of a visit to the salt mines is around 3 hours. Bathrooms are available about 40 minutes and 90 minutes into the tour, so make sure to pay a visit before the tour sets off!
Clear the right to taking photosIf you’d like to take photos or film then you’ll need to buy a permit, which can be purchased at the ticket office before you set off on your tour. All bags must be left in the cloakroom by the information desk.
Entrance to the former salt mine | Pixabay: Roman Polyanuk

Wieliczka Salt Mine: An Astounding Place

One of the oldest salt mines in Europe is located in Wieliczka. Already in the 13th century the rock salt deposit was discovered at this place.


Formation of the Salt Deposit

The salt in the Wieliczka mines is older than modern humans. During the Miocene era, 13.6 million years ago, the plates of the earth in central Europe shifted to create new mountain ranges, including the Carpathians. Salty seawater pooled in the depression in front of the Carpathians, which left salt deposits behind as the region developed, leaving layers of rock salt buried between 30 and 330 meters underground. The salt mined in the Wieliczka and Bochnia mines was extremely pure and was sold as Eagle Salt, in barrels featuring the white eagle of Poland.

History of Salt Mining

The Wieliczka salt mines are some of the oldest in Europe, with rock salt being discovered there in the 13th century. The mines received their charter from King Casimir III the Great in 1368, which laid down the rights of the miners and the laws that regulated the production and trade of salt. In the 15th century, approximately 350 people worked in the mines, producing up to 8,000 tonnes of salt per year. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (as they came to be known) flourished as the largest mining company in Poland. From 1772, the region was ruled by Austria, and the mines were extremely important for the economy of the large and powerful empire. Tourism was recorded in the mines as early as 1774, with the oldest tourist route through the mines dating back to the 19th century - it soon became another source of income for the company, in addition to the sale of their products. Commercial mining ended in 1964 after nearly 700 years of operation as a result of the rising costs and the new competition from sea salt, which meant that running the mine became economically unviable.
Visitors in the Kinga Chapel | Pixabay: Ron Porter

Tours Through the Wieliczka Salt Mine

The underground paths through the former salt mine are a total of 2.2 miles (3.5 km) long and there is much to discover.

Tourist Route

The so-called Tourist Route takes visitors through stunning chambers and halls carved into the rock salt, past mystical underground saltwater lakes, and through magnificent rooms and even chapels. One highlight is the chapel of St. Kinga, a patron saint of miners, which features furniture and artworks carved out of rock salt.

Miners’ Route

On the Miners’ Route, groups of up to 20 visitors can take part in an interactive guided tour that will teach them all about the difficult but exciting daily lives of the miners who worked in the salt mines.

Pilgrim’s Route

There’s also a special Pilgrim’s Route, which can be booked by appointment only and is led by a priest, which focuses on the chapels built in the mine and allows time for prayer at each stop.


After you’ve finished your chosen route through the salt mine, you can also pay a visit to the Krakow Salt Works Museum to see artifacts and learn even more about the salt mining community!
Underground Restaurant | Pixabay: Erwin Bauer

Wieliczka Salt Mine: Healing Power of Salt

One of the oldest salt mines in Europe is located in Wieliczka. Already in the 13th century the rock salt deposit was discovered at this place.

Healing Tunnels

The air in the mine’s tunnels has very low levels of pollutants and allergens, so spending time breathing in tunnels can have a positive effect on sufferers of asthma, bronchitis, and other conditions that affect breathing. The health resort in the Wieliczka Salt Mines offers a range of treatments both underground and overground, from physiotherapy to specialized breathing exercises and massage, as well as the possibility of overnight stays underground. Please note that these are private spa stays which aren’t subsidized by health insurance providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a trip to the salt mines suitable for children?

Absolutely! The route through the elaborate tunnels and chambers is an adventure which all ages will enjoy, though parents are asked to supervise their children during the tour. The Miners’ Route is designed to be an interactive experience suitable for visitors aged 10 and over, and kids will enjoy dressing up in overalls as working miners and exploring. Changing tables are available in bathrooms and high chairs are also available at the mine’s restaurants, but the use of strollers is not advised as the many steps on the route mean any strollers will have to be carried over some distance. Read more.

How long should I plan for a trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mines?

A tour of the Tourist Route, including a trip to the museum, takes about 3 hours. The interactive Miners’ Route tour takes about 3 hours, so you should plan extra time to visit the museum afterward if you’d like to see it. If you’d like to spend longer in the tunnels in order to feel the healing effect of the salt, then it’s recommended that you plan a stay in the health resort! The resort offers a range of day treatment options as well as overnight stays. Read more.

General information

opening hours

Between April 1 and October 31, the salt mine is open daily from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm. From November 2 to March 31, it’s open from 8 am to 5 pm. The attraction is closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, November 1, December 24, and December 25. On December 31, the mine is open from 8 am to 4 pm. The ticket office in Krakow is open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm during the peak season (from April until October) and from 9 am to 5 pm between November and March.


Daniłowicz Shaft (Tourist Route)
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Daniłowicz Street 10
32-020 Wieliczka

Regis Shaft (for the Miners’ Route)
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Plac Kościuszki 9


Tickets for the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which include the tour in Polish language, cost PLN 82 or a reduced rate of PLN 72 for students and senior citizens, and PLN 62 for children. Foreign-language tours cost PLN 116, PLN 106 for students, seniors, and people with disabilities or PLN 96 for children. A family ticket is available for 2 adults and 2 children ages 4-16 and costs PLN 238 (Polish tour) or PLN 347 (foreign language tour). Children under 4 can enter free of charge.

how to get there

The salt mine can be reached by taking bus number 304 from the stop Kurniki Street in Krakow to the bus stop Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli. There are also minibusses which leave from the main station in Krakow (Dworzec Główny PKP) and arrive at Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli, for the Daniłowicz Shaft (Tourist Route) and Rynek Kopalnia for the Regis Shaft (Miners’ Route) or local trains. The E40 highway is located close to the salt mine so it’s easy to drive to the site from many major cities. Parking is available at the attraction.
Maurizio Massaro
Written byMaurizio MassaroMaurizio is a cosmopolitan, a musician and comes around. In his role as a content manager at TicketLens, he is always striving to find new offers as well as writing about sights all over the world.
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