For seven centuries salt was extracted in these mines located 12 km from Kraków. Today you will find a gallery of underground tunnels with a therapeutic climate 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 the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Kraków
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wieliczka salt mines are visited by hundreds of visitors every day. The visit usually takes place on an organised excursion from Kraków and there are several options depending on whether you are interested in a transfer only, transfer and entrance fees or a guided tour with a specialised guide.
2. Transfer from Krakow to Wieliczka with guided tour
Tunnels, chapels, passages, chambers carved into the rocks, salt statues... All this is what you will find in the salt mines of Wieliczka, but first you have to get there. This transfer option from Krakow to Wieliczka with guided tour includes a private vehicle with WIFI, air-conditioning and bottled water from your hotel in the centre of Krakow or from a meeting point of your choice of eight possibilities.
In addition to the transfer, the price of £0 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. Tickets to the Wieliczka Mines, however, are at your own expense and 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 booking is confirmed you will receive an email which will serve as your voucher with all the information you need to enjoy your visit.
3. Entrance fees to the Wieliczka salt mines with guided tour
You can also buy your tickets to the Wieliczka Mines without booking transport from Krakow (you can travel by rental car or public transport). Tickets to the Wieliczka Mines include a guided tour available in English, German, Italian, French, Spanish or Italian and are priced at £30
Tickets for the Wieliczka Mines will be sent to you by email once you have booked online. You can choose the day and time of your visit from a number of options and having booked in advance you will not have to wait in line at the ticket office on arrival. During 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 take about 3 hours and it is essential to do it with a guide, both for the explanations surrounding the importance of the mines and their working system and for the guide to guide the group through the museum. 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 is best to book a few days before your trip.
4. Transfer from Krakow to Wieliczka with mine tickets and guided tour
This guided tour of the Wieliczka Mines from Krakow is designed for a maximum of 40 travellers and the price includes: transport, guided tour and entrance fees to the mines. The pick-up will take place on the day and at the time you choose when booking online from a central meeting point in Krakow; you will be informed of the exact meeting point via email.
There is a choice of times to take a night tour of the mines. In all cases the transfer will take place in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan shared with other travellers. Transport to the mines takes about half an hour and once there the tour lasts approximately two and a half hours; you can do it in Spanish, English, German, French or Italian.
Among all the available options, this is the one that offers the best value for money as you only have to worry about getting to the meeting point in Krakow and once there, the transfer, entrance fees, tour and return are included in the price.
5. All-inclusive tour to Wieliczka Salt Mines from Kraków
If you are looking to visit the Wieliczka Mines on a private tour, you also have the opportunity to do so by booking this option online. The price, £58, will be higher than the group tours, but in exchange you will enjoy a private transfer and an expert driver who will pick you up from your hotel and will be at your exclusive disposal.
The price of this tour includes a guided tour of the mines, entrance to the mines and private transfer from Krakow. As for the timetable of the tour, you can choose the one that best suits your needs; please note that the tour inside the mines takes about two and a half hours and the journey from Krakow takes half an hour to go and half an hour to come back.
The guided tour can be done in English, French, Spanish, Italian or German and during the tour you will be shown the whole network of underground chambers and tunnels, a chapel made entirely of salt, the tools used to extract the salt during the Middle Ages or the exhibition of mythical figures also carved in salt.
6. What you will see in the Wieliczka Salt Mines
A trip to the Wieliczka salt mines, located half an hour's drive from Kraków, is one of the most popular with travellers visiting the Polish city. The mines have been a World Heritage Site since the 1970s and are famous for the beauty of their salt rooms and the network of tunnels that spans some 300 km.
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 and also how the weather conditions at a depth of 325 metres have created a unique underground microclimate that is ideal for people suffering, for example, from asthma.
During the visit you will descend into the mines via a staircase and go up in a lift 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 even a chapel that will leave you speechless. The explanations of the guide who will accompany you during your visit will help you discover the way of life and working conditions of the workers who worked in these mines for centuries.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The tour of the salt 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
How to get to Wieliczka
The most common way to get to the Wieliczka salt mines from Kraków is by private transport offered by organised tours. However, you can also get to Wieliczka on your own using either a rental car with GPS (it takes about half an hour) or a taxi (you should pay no more than 15 euros each way). You can also get there by taxi (you shouldn't pay more than 15 euros each way), by train from Kraków Central Station (there are at least two trains every hour to Wieliczka) or by bus 304 from the Wieliczka Kosciól stop.
Opening times may vary depending on the time of year, but normally the opening hours are from 7.30am to 7.30pm in summer and from 8am to 5pm in winter. The most important thing is to pay attention to the opening times of the guided tours in your language, as there are several tours in different languages throughout the day. This is why it is strongly recommended to book tickets for the Wieliczka Mines well in advance.
In addition to Polish, you can also take a guided tour of the mines in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian. All tours have headphones to listen to the guide and are organised 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 take some warm clothes to wear during the tour. Comfortable, non-slippery shoes are also recommended.
Is it possible to take photos?
To take photos of the interior of the mines, you will have to pay a supplement of about two and a half euros at the entrance. Otherwise you may be noticed during the tour.
The tourIs it hard?
The entire descent to the mines consists of about 800 steps. Most of the way up is in a lift like the one used by the miners, which may not be suitable for claustrophobic people. In general terms, the route 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 occasionally be rented out for events and weddings, eating and drinking is not allowed inside the mines and there is no place to do so.
8. If you are interested in a visit to the Wieliczka salt mines, you will also be interested in
The excursion to the Wieliczka salt mines is one of the two most popular tours around Kraków. The other, even more popular, is of a very different nature: the tour of the Auschwitz concentration camps.
Although at first this tour may seem morbid or unpleasant, I can 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 that you do some research before you decide to make the most of this experience. Here is a link to my article on Auschwitz Day Trips from Krakow so you can organise your visit.
If you prefer to learn about other options Krakow has to offer, I have also written an article about Best Tours and Day Trips from Krakow so you can choose the one that best suits your trip.