Wieliczka salt mine, all you need to know

May 1, 2023Niry Fidelis
Wieliczka Salt Mine

Tell me guys, is Poland worth visiting? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Or simply, have you ever thought of going to Poland? Well, it’s time for you to take it into consideration because Poland really offers  a lot. From its natural beauty to its rich history, Poland has everything you might want to visit. In this post called “Wieliczka salt mine, all you need to know” I want to tell you about one of the most popular attractions in Poland. 

In the past, when I was holidaying in Obertraun, I went to visit Hallstatt salt-mine. So I thought the one in Wieliczka would be very similar to it, but it’s nothing like it. Wieliczka salt mine has its own pattern and it is absolutely worth seeing it. It is a spectacular place due to the views which it presents and how elegantly it is organized. Believe me, Wieliczka salt mine inspires more emotions.

In a nutshell, if you are in Poland, you must not miss this place.

What is Wieliczka Salt Mine?

As I said before, Wieliczka salt mine is one of the most beautiful and unusual places to visit in Poland. It is, as the name implies, a salt mine that was opened in the 13th century located 136 meters underground in the city of Wieliczka.

Just 13km southeast of Kraków’s city centre, this subterranean labyrinth illustrates the historic stages of the development of mining techniques in Europe since the 13th century.

For more than seven centuries the Wieliczka Salt Mine has been a factory of superlatives, now hailed as the world’s longest active salt mine, home to  one of the world’s oldest active business ventures (the Żupy krakowskie salt works of Kraków), and perhaps the world’s most startling example of industry meets art.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is absolutely breath-taking. Since ancient times, this place has drawn a lot of attention. So much that some famous people, like Nicolaus Copernicus, Fryderyk Chopin, Jacob Bronowski, U.S. President Bill Clinton, and many others, didn’t fail to visit it.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, two main tours.

At Wieliczka Salt Mine there are two types of visits: Miners route tour and tourist route tour.

The participants in the miners tour set off under the supervision of a guide foreman to the underground mine to gain their first experience as miners. They are equipped with professional equipment and wear work suits. Awaiting the daredevils are real mining tasks, the performance of which will be assessed by the foreman.

Meanwhile the tourist route tour is dedicated to experiencing a number of underground chambers carved in salt. Walking through some of the 246 km long passages (visitors are allowed to see just 2% of the mine’s network of tunnels) of the oldest operating salt mine in the world is really exciting. Normally the tourist walking tour at Wieliczka salt mine lasts 3 hours and during this visit you are taken through around 20 underground salt chambers, lakes, chapels, restaurants, as well as many statues sculptured in salt rock by the miners.  The Chapel of St. Kinga is the highlight of the tour. With its illuminating salt chandelier, salt structures, and salt-yet-marble-polished floor it will truly enchants you. Generally speaking, Wieliczka salt mine offers a unique experience to each of its visitors. The English-speaking guide will tell all the stories about salt extraction from medieval times.

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Admission fees to Wieliczka Salt Mine Tourist route.

The tourist route is open from 08:30 am to 05:30 pm, and the  English-speaking tour takes place at the following times: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm every hour. For other languages such as Polish, German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian contact informacja@kopalnia.pl  to find out the touring times.

Distance to walk: approx. 3.5 km

Group size: max. 35 people

Minimum age: none

Standard ticket: 116 PLN / 1 person

Discount ticket for students and seniors: 106 PLN / 1 person

Discount ticket for people with disabilities: 106 PLN / 1 person

Discount ticket for children and youth: 96 PLN / 1 person

Family ticket (2+2): 347 PLN / 4 persons

Pass for a child under the age of 4: 0 PLN / 1 person

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Admission fees to Wieliczka Salt Mine Miners route.

The miners route is open from 10:00 am to 05:00 pm and the tour in English takes place at the following times 10:30 am, 02:00 pm.

Distance to walk: approx. 2 km

Group size: max. 20 people

Minimum age: 10

Standard ticket: 116 PLN / 1 person

Discount ticket for students and seniors: 106 PLN / 1 person

Discount ticket for children and youth: 96 PLN / 1 person

Family ticket (2+2): 347 PLN / 4 persons

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Wieliczka Salt Mine, things to know before you purchase your tour ticket.

  • Make sure to be at the entrance at least 15 minutes before the start of your Wieliczka Mine tour. The start time of the tour is indicated on your ticket. If you arrive late, you will be unable to enter and consequently to tour the mine. Tickets, which cannot be used due to late arrival, are not refundable. They are very strict about this point.
  • You cannot roam freely inside Wieliczka Salt Mine. The visits are available exclusively under the supervision of a guide. A fee for the guide service is included in the price of your ticket.
  • You may purchase your tour ticket at the mine’s ticket offices but know that it is subject to availability. Normally the number of the participants for each tour is 35.
  • Tickets to Wieliczka Salt Mine may be purchased online. They must be produced before the start of the tour using a mobile device or printed out. There is a special counter for those who bought the admission tickets online. I suggest you go for this option because the queue to this counter is very fast.
  • Polish citizens have a lower price ticket and at the entrance there is a special counter for them. Even if the queue in this line is very small, if you are a tourist you are not allowed to buy your tickets here.
  • The duration of the tour is 3 hours.
  • The tour is available in Polish, English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian. Before you reserve write to the following email address in order to confirm with them that the tour in the language of your interest in available. informacja@kopalnia.pl
  • There are approximately 800 stairs along the entire Tourist Route. So make sure you have  comfortable shoes. And also that the itinerary is suitable for your physical condition.
  • Due to the large number of stairs in the mine, the use of strollers is not recommended.
    You can leave the stroller in the storage room, which is located on the surface near the Daniłowicz Shaft (tourist tour starting point). There is no place where a stroller can be left after the start of the tour.
  • Only  small bags (with maximum dimensions of 20x20x35 cm) are allowed during the tour of the mine. There are luggage lockers for any larger luggage but know that the number of lockers is limited so they can’t always guarantee  availability.
  • If you are on a road trip in Poland, know there are many car parking places in the immediate vicinity of the mine. In my case I was based in Katowice, and I travelled from Katowice to Wieliczka by train.
  • Free toilets are available at the mine, both above and below ground. There are toilets also in the waiting area.
  • During the tour you can purchase some snacks and beverages. Actually, a short break is made to relax and enjoy a quick snack and drink.
  • Regardless of the season, the temperature underground falls within the range of 17-18°C. There is also a lot of humidity here. Well, all those steps and all that walking, in addition to the humidity, could make you sweat a little.  Consequently at an early stage you may not feel the cold, but I suggest that you  take a small backpack filled with appropriate needs.  It could come in handy at break times. If you have long hair, bring a rubber band with you.
  • People with limited mobility can see only some of the mine routes. Not all the places are adapted for them, so double check this point  before you buy your ticket.
  • Pets are not allowed into the mine, with the exception of service animals. The mine does not have a place where you can leave your pet.
  • Only a few chambers on the tourist route have mobile phone coverage, and Wi-Fi service is also available there.
  • At Wieliczka Salt Mine photography and filmography is allowed for private purpose only. Know that it is very dark down there so it is hard to take good pictures here. It gets harder when the environment is poorly lit right?
  • All tourists leave the mine and return to the surface in a lift. This means that you don’t have to climb all those 800 previous stairs. The ride is included in the ticket price.

Based in Krakow? ▶ Check out this private tour from Krakow to Wieliczka Salt Mine

Is Wieliczka Salt Mine worth visiting?

No stay in Poland may be considered complete without a visit to its impressive Wieliczka Salt Mine. Not for nothing it has over 1.5 million visitors per year. And it is expected that this number will increase in coming years.

It’s definitely one of the top places to see when visiting Poland!

Are you looking for a place to stay in Wieliczka?


Are you looking for more interesting things to do in Poland?

Comments (1)

  • Christian B.

    May 12, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    The tourist route tour really sounds incredible, I’m definitely adding it to my must-visit list for my next trip to Poland! Thanks for sharing your experience and all the helpful information. I actually was in Krakow just a few years ago, but unfortunately didn’t have the chance to visit the mine. Reading your post, I now realize what a mistake that was! 😀

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