The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular tourist attractions around Kraków 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 World Heritage Sites in 1978.
During the tour through the depths of the mine you will see some amazing things. From the machinery used by the miners to extract the salt to underground galleries that house curious rock formations, beautiful lakes and even religious chapels.
To get the most out of your trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mines I recommend you take note of these tips and I can assure you that your visit will go smoothly.
1. An organised 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 it comes to finding transport and routes to the monument, the services of a guide or entrance fees, my advice is to opt for an organised tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow where you will not have to worry about any of these issues as everything is designed for you to let yourself go and enjoy the experience to the fullest.
There are several options for an organised tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow, but most of them include transportation to and from the salt mines in a private vehicle in comfort, entrance fees to the attraction and a guide.
If the idea of an organised tour to this magnificent monument appeals to you, I recommend you take a look at the post Salt Mine Tours from Krakow where you will find more detailed information about it.
2. Book your tickets or tour in advance
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kraków, 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 travelled there or have 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 Salt Mine tickets: prices and how to buy them.
Booking online your tickets to the Wieliczka Salt Mines will allow you to compare schedules, availability, prices and types of tours (there are some tours that combine the visit to the salt mines with Auschwithz, a Christmas market or Oskar Schindler's factory). On Hellotickets you will have plenty of options to choose from!
However, as I mentioned earlier, an organised tour that includes the return trip will simplify the logistics and help you enjoy the experience much more, as you won't have to worry about anything.
3. Comfortable shoes and warm clothes are a must on this excursion
Whether you visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines on your own or on an organised tour, the tour 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.
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 with non-slip soles to avoid falling.
On the other hand, don't forget to take some warm clothes to wear during the walk, 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 toilet before the tour starts
Although during the tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mines there will be a short 5-minute break to go to the toilets (40 and 90 minutes after the start of the tour), in order not to be in a hurry on the way, I recommend you to go before the start of the tour either to the hotel or to the toilets 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 Mine starts at the Danilowicza Pit where you will have to descend a seemingly endless flight of stairs to reach the starting point in the underground galleries.
The route runs through 3.5 kilometres of labyrinthine galleries, shafts and chambers with mostly flat ground so that it is not too difficult for a person of normal physical condition. In fact, even children can take part in the tour!
The good thing is that at the end of the route you won't have to walk back up the 800 steps to get out, but instead you'll ride a lift like the one used by the miners that will take you to the surface.
However, the big question that many people have when visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mines is whether they feel too claustrophobic during the tour and I have to say that although some sections may seem a little more enclosed, the truth is that there is enough space to move around without any problems.
In addition, throughout the tour you will always be accompanied by a professional guide from the monument itself who has knowledge of first aid and safety, so if at any time you feel claustrophobic and get nervous, don't 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 as a family on holiday, the truth is that this is a very original excursion where children can let their imagination run wild - it will be something they will always remember!
The Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour is open to children of all ages (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 as they will be walking quite a bit and keep them warm as it gets a bit chilly inside the mines. Also, don't forget to pack some snacks and water in your backpack in case they get the munchies during the excursion. At the Drozdowice Chamber you will have a short break for 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 photos?
You should know that to take photos inside the Wieliczka Salt Mines you will have to pay a small entrance fee of about 2.50 euros or else you may get a warning if you are caught during the tour.
That said, the Wieliczka Salt Mine Tourist Route is well lit so that visitors can walk comfortably and not stumble. However, in certain places the lighting conditions are not optimal for taking photographs, so it may be the case that when you try to take a picture, the images you get are poorly defined.
In the post The best photos you can take of the Wieliczka salt mines from Kraków you'll find some tips on how to get some great shots and some places you can't leave without taking several photos of.