Eight miles from Krakow and 210-feet under the earth lies the sprawling labyrinth of The Wieliczka Salt Mine. The mine opened in the 13th century and produced salt until 2007, making it the world’s oldest salt mine in operation. The Wieliczka Salt Mine was one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Bochnia Salt Mines are located on the same geological rock salt deposit. Excavations in both mines have been transformed into four chapels, workshops, and storehouses, all filled with statues and other decorative elements. Deep inside the mine is a grand chapel that includes an altar, chandeliers, and sculptures all made with salt. Contemporary artists have also contributed to the works of art.
The Wieliczka mine is often called “the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland.” This underground salt cathedral is dedicated to Saint Kinga, the patroness saint of Poland and salt miners. There is a strange legend involving Princess Kinga, a salty dowry, and an engagement ring lodged in a lump of salt. In 1999, Princess Kinga was canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and is currently honored at the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Since the 19th century, tourists have explored the salt mines Krakow. About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually. There are several options for tourists who visit the salt mines Krakow. The Tourist Route is the main visiting route of the mine, leading tourists through 3 kilometers of meandering corridors. The Miners’ Route Expedition allows tourists to experience work as a medieval miner. The Mysteries of the Wieliczka Mine tourist route involves exploring and climbing through less accessible areas of the salt mine. And, finally, the “God Bless” Pilgrims’ tourist route allows visitors to learn more about the religious aspects of the salt mines Krakow.
Because the salt mines Krakow are so expansive, there are different entrances visitors can choose:
This is the main entrance of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
The Miners’ Route and the Mysteries of the Wieliczka Mine start at the Regis Shaft. The Regis Shaft is located in the town center of Wieliczka.
Rules and Facts for Salt Mines Krakow
Dress warm! Temperature underground ranges between 55 fahrenheit and 60 fahrenheit.
Visitors climb 800 steps, so wear comfortable shoes.
It takes approximately 3 hours to tour the salt mines Krakow.
Transportation to and from the Salt Mine Krakow
Catch the train from Krakow’s Main Railway Station (Dworzec Główny) to the Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia train station.
Bus number 304 departs from ul. Kurniki near the shopping mall Galeria Krakowska. Ride the bus until Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli. Zone I (Strefa I) and II Agglomeration (II Aglomeracja) transport tickets are valid in public buses travelling from Krakow to Wieliczka.
Minivans depart from the Main Railway Station in Krakow, going in the direction of Wieliczka Rynek. Ride the bus until the stop Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli (Wieliczka Salt Mine) at the crossroads of ul. Dembowskiego and ul. Daniłowicza.
Enjoy your Krakow tour!
Krakow Tour Benefits
- Curated Sites
- Audio Tours
- Offline Map