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 it was first visited in the 15th century, the so-called "underground salt cathedral of Poland" has continued 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!
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 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 from your hotel in Krakow and from there you will drive 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 metres underground, so you will always be accompanied by an expert guide who will take you through the underground city and tell you stories and curiosities. You will see underground lakes and rooms decorated with sculptures so impressive that 1978 UNESCO declared them a World Heritage Site.
Recommended if... you don't want to miss this unique visit and prefer to save time and money by booking an organised tour.
How to buy tickets for the Wieliczka Salt Mines
Buy tickets online
As one of the most popular tourist attractions near Krakow, I believe 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, buying your tickets online allows you to book 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 in getting 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 on the inside with a guide, in order not to complicate your search for transport, tickets, languages and so on, I recommend simplifying things and booking a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mines where everything is already organised so you don't have to worry about anything, just enjoying yourself.
In the post Excursions to the Salt Mines from Krakow you will find several interesting proposals that I advise you to take a look at if you want to buy tickets online. Remember that after booking online 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 Mine on your own, the first thing 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 need to purchase them online and in advance of your travel date as tours in other languages are rare 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 will not be able to visit the mines 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 Mine Tour like?
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is an amazing place - who could have imagined that the bowels of the earth could be home to such a place?
Just looking at the pictures of the interior makes you want to explore the depths of the mine like Indiana Jones, but those of you who want to explore the Wieliczka Salt Mines at your own pace should know that you will always be accompanied by a professional guide from 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.
Also, bear in mind that the tour route runs 135 metres down through 3.5 kilometres of labyrinthine galleries and chambers with underground lakes, so moving through the depths of the earth in the gloom with a guide who knows how to find your way back and has knowledge of first aid and safety is always reassuring.
In case you feel claustrophobic on a section of the route that is a little 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!
What will you see at the Wieliczka Salt Mines?
Along the way you will see impressive sights that will exceed all your expectations. The visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines starts at the Danilowicza Shaft 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 Saint 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 Wieliczka mines. This chamber alone is worth the visit. It is a very special place more than 100 metres underground, decorated with beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, statues and reliefs about the life of Christ. It is a place with 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. 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.
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 organised tour, the tour of the Wieliczka Salt M ines takes about 2 hours and can be extended to 3 hours if you add a visit to the underground exhibition at the Salt Mine Museum in Krakow.
Some people may find it a long visit but in truth, it is not a very demanding activity because the walk is fascinating and you have a great time during the tour. After all, you don't always get 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 planning a trip to Krakow, in the article How long are the tours to the Salt Mines I explain in detail how much time you will need to see the monument so you can better plan the rest of the day's activities.
How to get to the Wieliczka Salt Mine?
This will be of great interest to you if you plan to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own.
The monument is only 14 kilometres from Kraków, 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 to Krakow and there are multiple transport 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 available to you, although as I said before, if you don't want to complicate yourself looking for transport and tickets, calculating routes and transfers, looking at stops, parking and so on, my advice is to simplify things and book your place on an organised 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. It's that easy!
Other tips for the Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour
If you are planning to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own, in addition to opening hours, booking tickets and the best way to get there, there are other things 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 very useful tips that will surely help you. Don't miss it!