The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the oldest and largest salt mines in the world and one of the most famous tourist attractions in Krakow. Since they were first visited in the 15th century, the so-called "subway salt cathedral of Poland" has never ceased to amaze visitors from all over the world.
Would you like to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines at your own pace? Read on, I'll tell you how you can do it!
Enjoy this impressive visit to the mines on an excursion with transfer included.
You will tour the entire Natural Park, with plenty of time to hike and see the waterfalls illuminated at night. On the way back, you will make a stop for shopping at an outlet store.
Enjoy a guided tour in a group of about 35 people. You will be picked up by an air-conditioned vehicle at your hotel in Krakow and from there you will go directly to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. The tour lasts about 4 hours during which you will go deep into the earth to explore chambers, corridors, salt chapels and lakes.
The Wieliczka Salt Mines are 135 meters underground, so you will always be accompanied by an expert guide who will take you through the subway city and tell you stories and curiosities. You will see subway lakes and rooms decorated with sculptures so impressive that in 1978 UNESCO declared them a World Heritage Site.
Recommended if... you do not want to miss this unique visit and prefer to save time and money by hiring an organized tour.
How to buy tickets to the Wieliczka Salt Mines
Buy tickets online
Considering that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions near Krakow, I think that buying tickets online for the Wieliczka Salt Mine 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.
Buying tickets at the ticket office
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 to 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 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 whom you will tour the mines with a guide and although for conservation and safety reasons you cannot 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 the Wieliczka Salt Mines tour like?
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is an amazing place - who could imagine that the bowels of the Earth could hold 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 of you 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.
Maybe this may sound a bit 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 in a section of the route that is a little more closed, 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!
What will you see in the Wieliczka Salt Mines?
Along the way you will see breathtaking sites that will exceed all your expectations. The visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines begins in the Danilowicza Well and from there you will descend from the first level to the third through different galleries that lead to chambers such as the Copernicus (one of the first visitors to the mines), St. Barbara (patron saint of miners), the Kazimierz (an important Polish king), the Weimar (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.
What is the best time to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines?
In my opinion, the best time to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines is early in the morning. So you will have the rest of the day to make other plans in 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.
How long does it take to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines?
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 the visit to the subway exhibition of 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 chance 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 for the rest of the day.
How to get to the Wieliczka Salt Mines?
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, at most it will take you about 30 minutes approximately.
Being such a touristic 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, although as I said before, if you do not want to complicate yourself looking for transportation and tickets, calculating routes and transfers, looking at 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 set course to the monument. It's that easy!
Other tips for going to the Wieliczka Salt Mines
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 issues that you should know to make the most of the experience.
In the post Tips for visiting the salt mines from Krakow you will find some useful tips that will surely help you. Do not miss it!