How to Visit the Salt Mines – Krakow
The Wieliczka salt mine near Krakow is a must for any visit to the Polish city. It’s a fantastic way to spend a few hours away from the city center. It’s an important part of the history of Krakow and brought a lot of wealth to the capital which in turn paid for all of those beautiful buildings in old town. But which entrance should you use? How do you get there and how much does it cost? Read on to find out how to visit the Wieliczka salt mines near Krakow.
How to get there
You can take a taxi or Uber which will take about 25 mins and cost around 30zl. There is also a train direct to the city of Wieliczka which takes around 30 mins. The bus is more frequent though running every 20 mins from a stop opposite the main station. The 304 bus to the salt mine costs just 4zl one way and drops you off practically outside the tourist trail. You can buy tickets on board. Just make sure to validate your ticket when you travel as there are often checks.
There are two trails in to the mines
The tourist route is the one most people visit. It’s about a 2km trail with around 800 steps in total and a lift back up to the surface. It generally takes 2-3 hours taking in the main chambers complete with chapels, chandeliers and boating lakes. It’s easy going and there are special disabled routes (made when the pope was set to visit). Tours in various languages run every half hour or so, booking online is possible to avoid waiting in line.
The miners route at the Shaft Regis is a lesser known attraction. Here you don a hard hat and harness and explore as the original miners once did. It’s a different part of the cave system and is much less accessible but more of an adventure.
It costs 65 zloty to go down into the mines. There are restaurants and gift shops down below the surface on the tourist route but they do accept card payments somehow.
Good to know
It’s pretty warm down there. The mines are kept dry and warm to stops the salt sculptures from dissolving. Even if it’s a chilly zero degrees outside the mine remains at around 15 degrees centigrade.
The town is beautiful. If you have time explore the area surrounding the mines. There are some beautiful buildings and great restaurants with authentic local food for very good prices.
There are a lot of stairs. The tourist route kicks off with a decent down 30 odd flights of wooden stairs. If you have any problems with mobility an accessible tour might be best.
So there we have it. One of my favourite things to do when visiting Krakow. Make sure not to miss it!