The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular tourist attractions around Krakow and one of the oldest in the world. They are striking not only for their longevity but also for their size and artistic dimension. So much so that UNESCO chose this monument as one of the first to be declared a World Heritage Site in 1978.
During the touristic route through the depths of the mine you will see amazing things. From the machinery used by the miners to extract the salt to subway galleries that house curious rock formations, beautiful lakes and even religious chapels.
To get the most out of your excursion to the Wieliczka Salt Mines I recommend you take note of these tips and I assure you that the visit will go smoothly.
1. An organized tour is always better than a visit on your own
Although you can go to the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own, if you are one of those people who prefer not to have to deal with foreign languages and simplify things when looking for transportation and routes to the monument, the services of a guide or tickets, my advice is to opt for an organized tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow where you will not have to worry about any of these issues because everything is designed for you to let go and enjoy the experience to the fullest.
To make an organized tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow there are several options but usually most usually include round trip transportation in a private vehicle in comfort, tickets to the attraction and the guide.
If the idea of taking an organized tour to this magnificent monument appeals to you, I recommend you take a look at the post Excursions to the Salt Mines from Krakow where you will find more detailed information about it.
2. Book your tickets or tour in advance
The Wieliczka Salt Mines are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Krakow, in fact it is the second most visited in Poland.
Whichever way you decide to visit this monument book your tickets as soon as possible. Almost 2 million people visit it every year, so if you don't want to run out of tickets after you've been there and don't want to queue endlessly at the ticket office to get a place on the tours in Polish or English, my advice is to buy your tickets online.
For more information you can read the post Tickets for the Salt Mines: prices and how to buy them.
Booking online your tickets to the Wieliczka Salt Mines will allow you to compare schedules, availability, rates and types of routes (there are some tours that combine the visit to the mines with Auschwithz, with a Christmas market or with Oskar Schindler's factory). In Hellotickets you will have many options to choose from!
However, as I mentioned before, an organized tour that includes the round trip will simplify the logistics much more and will help you to enjoy the experience much more by not having to worry about anything.
3. Comfortable shoes and warm clothes, a must for this excursion
Whether you visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own or on an organized tour, the sightseeing walk through the depths takes about 2 hours and can be extended to 3 hours if you add a visit to the subway exhibition at the Krakow Salt Mine Museum.
As you can see, the tour is long and in some sections you have to go down some steep wooden stairs with many steps so I advise you to wear comfortable shoes whose soles are not slippery to avoid falls.
On the other hand, do not forget to bring some warm clothes to wear during the tour regardless of the outside temperature. Due to the humidity inside the mines it is quite cool even in summer and temperatures range between 17ºC and 18ºC.
4. Go to the restroom before starting the excursion
Although during the tourist route through the Wieliczka Salt Mines there will be a short 5-minute break to go to the toilets (at 40 and 90 minutes after the start of the visit), in order not to spend a rush on the way, I recommend you to go before starting the tour either at the hotel or at the toilets that are located next to the Daniłowicza Well. Especially if you visit the mines with children, who are often surprised by the call of nature at the most unexpected moment.
5. Is the tour inside the mines difficult?
The tourist route to the Wieliczka Salt Mines starts at the Danilowicza Pit where you will have to descend a seemingly endless flight of stairs to reach the starting point in the subway galleries.
The route runs through 3.5 kilometers of labyrinthine galleries, shafts and chambers with mostly flat ground so that it is not too complicated for a person in normal physical condition. In fact, even children can participate in the tour!
The good thing is that at the end of the route you will not have to walk back up the 800 steps to get out, but you will ride an elevator like the one used by the miners that will take you to the surface.
However, the big doubt that many people have when visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mines is if they feel a lot of claustrophobia during the tour and I have to say that although some sections may seem a little more closed, the truth is that there is enough space to move quietly and without problems.
In addition, throughout the tour you will always be accompanied by a professional guide of the monument itself that has knowledge of first aid and safety, so if at any time you feel claustrophobic and get nervous, do not worry because the guides have a protocol to accompany you and help you. Everything will be fine and it will be an unforgettable experience!
6. Get the most out of your visit to the mines if you go with children
Although the inside of a mine may seem like an atypical place to visit with the family during a vacation, the truth is that it is a very original excursion where children can let their imagination run wild, something they will always remember!
The Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour is open to children of any age (admission is free for children up to 4 years old), but as with any outing with children, this one has its tricks.
Wear comfortable shoes because they will be walking a lot and keep them warm because it is a bit chilly inside the mines. Also, don't forget to bring some snacks and water in your backpack in case they get the bug during the excursion. In the Drozdowice Chamber you will have a short break to have a drink and you can also buy food and drinks there.
These are some tips to see this monument as a family but in the post Visiting the Salt Mines with children you have more information.
7. Is it possible to take pictures?
That's right but you should know that to take pictures inside the Wieliczka Salt Mines you will have to pay a small supplement at the entrance of about 2,50 euros or else you may be called to attention if you are caught during the itinerary.
That said, the Wieliczka Salt Mines tourist route is well lit so visitors walk comfortably and don't trip. However, in certain places the lighting conditions are not optimal for taking pictures so it may be the case that when you try to take pictures, the images you get are poorly defined.
In the post The best pictures you can take of the Wieliczka salt mines from Krakow you will find some tips to get some nice pictures and some places where you can not leave without taking several pictures.