Wieliczka Salt Mine is situated about 12 kilometers from Kraków and was one of the first places put on the UNESCO Work Heritage list in 1978. It was mainly appreciated for being the only place in the world where the mining process has been continued since the Middle Ages until now.
Mine’s depth is 327 meters with 9 levels including chambers, lakes, traverses and shafts which gives a total of 300 kilometers. There’s no need to worry since the tour is not covering all of them.
It has been always seen as an unique place. In the Medieval Ages it was visited by queens, kings and renown scientists, such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Dimitri Mendeleev, John Paul II.
The visit starts with walking down to level 1 which is 64 meters underground. The local guide will lead you through 20 historic salt chambers of 2 kilometers where you can learn about old and modern methods of the mining process, see emerald salt lakes, listen to legends and stories of the miners and maybe even meet Skarbnik – the good spirit of the Salt Mine that helped the miners survive.
Among those, some of the sculptures were made by miners-artists themselves. The most remarkable sights are surely the chapel curved in salt with impressive chandeliers where people can even get married! It’s also recommendable for people that have health issues with their lungs since the Salt Mine is known for its therapeutic microclimate.
The tour finishes at level 3 at the depth of 135 meters from where the miner’s lift takes you up to the surface. Visiting the Salt Mine takes approximately 2 hours with one break in the underground café.
The temperature in the mine is 14-16 Celcius degrees (57-60 Fahrenheit) so we suggest taking some light outwear, as well as comfortable shoes to walk 800 steps.
In case of taking photos, you have to buy permission at the entrance of the Chapel of St. Kinga which costs 10 PLN (2,5 euro) per camera. Please remember to take your student ID as it will be verified at the entrance.
Duration: 4,5-5 hours
• entrance fee,
• comfortable bus to Wieliczka and back,
• professional English-speaking guide and tour leader