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Wieliczka Salt Mine Day Trips from Krakow

Almost 1,000 feet below the ground you will discover not only salt mines, but also a tiny subterranean city that will leave you in awe.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

8 min read

Wieliczka Salt Mine Day Trips from Krakow

St. Kinga's Chapel | ©jhadow

For seven centuries, salt was extracted in these mines located 7.5 miles away from Krakow. Today, here you will find a gallery of subterranean tunnels with a climate that is said to be therapeutic and an exhibition of impressive salt figures. This is one of the most popular excursions from Krakow and there are several ways to do it.

1. Types of tours to visit Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow

Outside of the mines | ©Brian Snelson
Outside of the mines | ©Brian Snelson

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wieliczka Salt Mines welcome hundreds of visitors every day. Normally the visit takes place on an organized tour departing from Krakow. Several options are available, depending on whether you are interested in transfer only, transfer and entrance fees, or a guided tour with a specialized guide.

2. Transfer from Krakow to Wieliczka with a guided tour

Mine elevator | ©Dennis Jarvis
Mine elevator | ©Dennis Jarvis

Tunnels, chapels, passages, chambers carved into the rocks, salt statues... This is what you will find in the Wieliczka Salt Mines, but first, you have to get there. This transfer from Krakow to Wieliczka with guided tour includes transfer in a private vehicle, with WIFI, air conditioning, and bottled water, from your hotel in the center of Krakow or from a meeting point of your choice among eight possibilities.

In addition to the transfer, the price of $ 49 includes the services of a professional guide employed by the museum and headphones that you can use to listen clearly to the guide's explanations during the tour. The tickets for the Wieliczka mines, however, are at your own expense since they are not included in the price of this tour.

You can book this tour online knowing that, if your plans change or something unforeseen happens, you can cancel with 24 hours' notice. Once your reservation is confirmed you will receive an email that will serve as a voucher or receipt with all the information needed to enjoy your visit.

3. Tickets to the Wieliczka Mines with a guided tour

Mining machinery | ©Dennis Jarvis
Mining machinery | ©Dennis Jarvis

You can also buy your tickets to the Wieliczka Mines without booking transportation from Krakow (you can make the trip by rental car or public transportation). Tickets to the Wieliczka Mines include a guided tour available in English, German, Italian, French, German, Italian, or Spanish and are priced at $ 45.

Tickets for the Wieliczka Mines will be sent to you by mail after you book them online. You can choose the day and time of your visit from several options and, thanks to booking in advance, you will not have to wait in line at the ticket office upon arrival. Right before you start the tour of the mines, you will receive headphones so that you can listen clearly to the guide's explanations.

The complete visit to the mines will last about 3 hours and it is essential to do it with a guide both for the explanations on the importance of the mines and their working system, and to avoid getting completely lost inside the galleries. Remember to wear comfortable shoes for the tour and try to be at the door about 15 minutes before the appointed time.

Ana's Traveller Tip

Tickets to the Wieliczka mines sell out well in advance; it's best to book a few days before your trip.

4. Transfer from Krakow to Wieliczka with mine tickets and guided tour

Stairs and wooden shoring | ©G. Weston
Stairs and wooden shoring | ©G. Weston

This guided tour of the Wieliczka Mines from Krakow is intended for a maximum of 40 travelers and the price includes transportation, guided tour and entrance fees to the mines. The pick-up of the travelers will take place on the day and at the time you choose when booking online. You will be picked up at a central meeting point in Krakow; the exact location will be indicated to you via email.

It is also possible to make a night tour through the mines. Whatever time you choose, you will get a transfer in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan shared with other travelers. The transport to the mines takes about half an hour from Krakow and once there, you will start the tour which lasts about two and a half hours; you can do it in English, Spanish, German, French, or Italian.

Among all the available options, this is the one that offers the best value for money since you only have to worry about getting to the meeting point in Krakow, and once there, the transfer, tickets, tour, and return are all included in the price.

5. All-inclusive tour of Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow

On the tour you will learn how salt was mined throughout history | ©Aleksandr Zykov|
On the tour you will learn how salt was mined throughout history | ©Aleksandr Zykov|

If you are looking to visit the Wieliczka mines on a private tour, you can do so by booking this option online. The price, $ 146, is a bit higher than the group tours, but in exchange, you will enjoy a private transfer and an expert driver who will pick you up at your hotel and will be at your exclusive disposal.

The price of this tour includes the guided tour of the mines, admission to the mines, and private transfer from Krakow. As for the schedule of the visit, you can choose the one that best suits your schedule; keep in mind that the tour inside the mines takes about two and a half hours and the journey from Krakow is half an hour to go and half an hour to return.

The guided tour can be done in English, Spanish, French, Italian or German, and during it, you will be shown the whole network of underground chambers and tunnels, a Catholic chapel made entirely of salt, an exhibition of the tools used to extract salt during the Middle Ages and an exhibition of mythical figures also carved in salt.

6. What you will see in the Salt Mines of Wieliczka

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

The excursion to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, located half an hour's drive from Krakow, is one of the most popular among travelers visiting the Polish city. The mines have been a World Heritage Site since the 1970s and are famous for the beauty of their salt-built halls and the network of tunnels that spans more than 186 miles.

The salt working process

During this visit, you will learn about the salt extraction process that has been used in the mines, now a museum, since the Middle Ages. Also, you will be explained how the weather conditions at a depth of 200 miles have created a unique underground microclimate that is ideal for people suffering from respiratory conditions.

The tour

During the visit, you will descend into the mines by stairs and, at the end of the tour, go back up in an elevator similar to the one used by the miners. Inside you will find an illuminated lake, chambers decorated exclusively with salt, figures of famous people made of salt, and a chapel so beautiful that will leave you speechless. Also, thanks to the explanations of the guide who will accompany you during your visit, you will discover how was a typical day in the life of the miners who for centuries worked in these mines.

Ana's Traveller Tip

The tour of the mines includes a total of 800 steps, so it is not recommended for visitors with mobility problems.

7. Practical tips for your visit to Wieliczka

Extraction gallery | ©Aleksandr Zykov
Extraction gallery | ©Aleksandr Zykov

How to get there

The most common way to get to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow is by private transport offered by organized tours. However, you can also get to Wieliczka on your own using a rental car with GPS (it will take you about half an hour). Another option is getting a cab (it shouldn't cost more than 15 euros each way), or going by train from Krakow Central Station (there are at least two trains every hour to Wieliczka) or by bus 304 getting off at the Wieliczka Kosciól stop.

Timetables

Opening hours may vary depending on the time of year, but normally the opening hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in summer and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in winter. The most important thing is to pay attention to the schedule of the guided tours in your language since throughout the day there are several tours in different languages. This is why it is strongly recommended to book the tickets for the Wieliczka Mines in advance.

Languages

In addition to Polish, you can take a guided tour of the mines in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Russian. All tours include headphones to listen to the guide and are organized in groups of about 35 people.

What to bring

Regardless of the temperature outside, it is quite cold in the mines due to the humidity. Don't forget to bring something warm to wear during the tour. We also recommend comfortable, non-slippery shoes.

Is it possible to take pictures?

To take pictures of the inside of the mines, you will have to pay a supplement to the entrance fee of about two and a half euros. Otherwise, you will not be permitted to take any photos.

Is the tour hard if you are not in good physical condition?

The complete descent to the mines consists of about 800 steps. To go up, you will use an elevator used by miners which may not be suitable if you suffer from claustrophobia. In general terms, the tour itself is not very difficult, but it is not recommended for people with reduced mobility.

Is it possible to eat and drink inside the mines?

Although one of the rooms in the mines can be rented for events and weddings, it is not allowed to eat or drink inside the mines and you will find no place to do so either.

8. If you are interested in a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, you will also be interested in...

Train entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp | ©Ofer Deshe
Train entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp | ©Ofer Deshe

The excursion to the Salt Mines of Wieliczka is one of the two most popular tours that can be made in the surroundings of Krakow. The other, even more popular, is of a very different nature: it is the tour of the Auschwitz concentration camps.

Although at first this visit may seem morbid or unpleasant, I assure you that it is a real history lesson given with the utmost respect for the memory of the victims. You can find many different options for this tour from Krakow; I recommend you do some research before deciding how to get the most out of this experience. Here is a link to my article on Auschwitz Day Trips from Krakow so you can organize your visit.

And if you prefer to learn about what other options Krakow has to offer, I have also written an article about Krakow Tours so you can choose the one that best suits your trip.