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How to Visit Wieliczka Salt Mines on Your Own from Krakow

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a must-see place to visit during a trip to Krakow. If you want to see them on your own, in this post you will find very useful information to plan your visit, read on!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

7 min read

How to Visit Wieliczka Salt Mines on Your Own from Krakow

Mine galleries | © Anna & Michal

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the oldest and largest salt mines on the planet and one of Krakow's most famous tourist attractions. Since they were first visited in the 15th century, what is known as "Poland's subway salt cathedral" has never ceased to amaze visitors from all over the world.

Would you like to explore the Wieliczka Salt Mines at your own pace? Read on, I'll tell you how you can do it!

1. Buy tickets online

Machinery used to exploit the mine| ©Milan Boers
Machinery used to exploit the mine| ©Milan Boers

Considering that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions near Krakow, I believe that buying tickets to the Wieliczka Salt Mines online is the best way to ensure access on the day you want and to avoid the endless queues at the ticket office.

Also, by buying your tickets online you will be able to reserve your place on the tour in a language other than Polish and English. As I said before, there are very few tickets available in other languages so buying in advance is an important factor to get your tickets in the language you want if you are not fluent in English.

Since all visits to the Wieliczka Salt Mines must be done inside with a guide, in order not to complicate your search for transportation, tickets, languages and so on I recommend you to simplify things and book a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mines where everything is already organized so you don't have to worry about anything, just enjoy.

In the post Excursions to the Salt Mines from Krakow you will find several interesting proposals to which I advise you to take a look if you want to buy tickets online. Remember that after the online booking you will have to contact the provider to confirm the starting time of the tour in the language you have chosen.

Visits to the Salt Mines

2. Buy tickets at the monument's ticket office

Exterior of the salt mines| ©NH53
Exterior of the salt mines| ©NH53

If you are planning a trip to Krakow and would like to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own, the first thing I recommend you do is to check the opening hours to plan your visit and then get your tickets.

To visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own you can get tickets at the monument's ticket office for tours in Polish and English, but if you want to do this tour in a different language, then you will have to purchase them online on their website and in advance of your travel date as tours in other languages are scarce but in high demand.

Once you have your tickets, you will be assigned to a group with which you will tour the mines with a guide and although for conservation and safety reasons you will not be able to visit them completely on your own in explorer mode, the experience is also very exciting and you will have a great time during the tour.

What is a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines like?

Salt mining dwarfs| ©Dennis Jarvis
Salt mining dwarfs| ©Dennis Jarvis

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a mind-blowing place. Who could have imagined that the bowels of the Earth could be home to such a place?

Just looking at the pictures of its interior makes you want to go to explore the depths of the mine like Indiana Jones, but those who wish to enter the Wieliczka Salt Mines to explore them at your own pace should know that during the route you will always be accompanied by a professional guide of the monument itself for conservation and safety reasons.

This may sound like a bit of a spoilsport, but nothing could be further from the truth. The guides know many stories and curiosities about the mines that make the visit even more fun.

In addition, we must take into account that the tourist route runs 135 meters deep through 3.5 kilometers of labyrinthine galleries and chambers with subway lakes, so moving in the darkness in the depths of the earth with a guide who knows how to find the way back and has knowledge of first aid and safety always gives more peace of mind.

In case you feel claustrophobic on a section of the route that is a bit more enclosed, they have a protocol to accompany you and help you. So don't worry, everything will be perfect and it will be an unforgettable experience!

Visiting the Salt Mines

What will you see in the Wieliczka Salt Mines?

Chapel of St. Kinga| ©G. Weston
Chapel of St. Kinga| ©G. Weston

Along the way you will see breathtaking sites that will exceed all your expectations. The visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines starts at the Danilowicza Pit and from there you will descend from the first level to the third level through different galleries that lead to chambers such as the Copernicus Chamber (one of the first visitors to the mines), the St. Barbara Chamber (patron saint of miners), the Kazimierz Chamber (an important Polish king), the Weimar Chamber (with a small illuminated lake) or the Chapel of the Cross, among many others.

Of all of them the Chapel of St. Kinga is, in my opinion, the jewel of the mines of Wieliczka. Just to contemplate this chamber is worth the visit. It is a very special place more than 100 meters underground decorated with beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, statues and reliefs about the life of Christ. It is a place where you can feel a unique atmosphere! It really catches your attention.

If you want to know more about the chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mines and what you can see during the sightseeing tour, don't miss the post What to see in the Salt Mines.

5. What is the best time to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines?

Detail of the decoration of St. Kinga's Chapel| ©Dennis Jarvis
Detail of the decoration of St. Kinga's Chapel| ©Dennis Jarvis

In my opinion, the best time to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines is early in the morning. That way you will have the rest of the day to make other plans around Krakow that you still have pending.

In this sense, I recommend you to read the post What to see and what to do in Krakow where you will find some ideas to make the most of a getaway to this Polish city.

Visiting the Salt Mines

6. How long does the visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines last?

Altar of St. Kinga's Chapel| ©Dennis Jarvis
Altar of St. Kinga's Chapel| ©Dennis Jarvis

Whether you go to the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own or on an organized tour, the sightseeing tour inside the monument takes about 2 hours and can be extended to 3 hours if you add a visit to the subway exhibition at the Salt Mine Museum in Krakow.

Perhaps some people may find it a long visit but, to tell the truth, it is not an activity that becomes too heavy because the way is fascinating and you have a great time during the tour. After all, you don't always have the opportunity to enter a real mine as artistic as this one, which is still active and is also one of the oldest and largest in the world.

If you are organizing a trip to Krakow, in the article How long are the tours of the Salt Mines I explain in detail how much time you will need to see the monument so you can better plan the activities of the rest of the day.

7. How to get to the Wieliczka Salt Mines?

Elevator to the mines| ©Dennis Jarvis
Elevator to the mines| ©Dennis Jarvis

This will be of great interest to you if you plan to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own.

The monument is located only 14 kilometers from Krakow so it won't take you long to get there. Depending on the means of transport you choose, it will take about 30 minutes at most.

Being such a touristy place, the Wieliczka Salt Mines are very well connected with Krakow and there are multiple transportation options to get there on your own.

In the post How to get to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow I tell you all the alternatives at your fingertips, but as I said before, if you do not want to complicate looking for transportation and tickets, calculating routes and transfers, looking at the stops, parking and so on, my advice is to simplify things and book your place in an organized tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines where you are picked up at the hotel or at a meeting point in the city in a private vehicle to head to the monument. So easy!

8. Other tips on how to get to the Wieliczka Salt Mines

Lake of the mines| ©Aleksandr Zykov
Lake of the mines| ©Aleksandr Zykov

If you are planning to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own, in addition to the opening hours, booking tickets or the best way to get there, there are other questions to know in order to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

In the post Tips for visiting the salt mines from Krakow you will find some useful tips that will surely help you, don't miss it!

Visiting the Salt Mines