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“impressive underground scale”

Cracow Saltworks Museum - Salt Mine Location
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Wieliczka
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The Saltworks Castle in Wieliczka was the historical seat of the mine's management board between the 13th century and 1945. Currently is available to tourists and is the official seat of the Cracow Saltworks of Wieliczka. You can see also: - Tower: (14th century) the only facility of this type preserved in Medieval urban fortifications - Shaft: (13th century)the oldest mining shaft in Poland. - Saltworks kitchen (15th century): the walls of the first "mass catering facility" -an astounding collection of of salt cellars (16-20 century), approx. 400 in all The Wieliczka Saltworks Castle was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Admission 4/3zl, family ticket 10 zl, Saturday free. Guided tours in English 35 zl per person; must be booked at least 14 days in advance.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“impressive underground scale”
Reviewed September 26, 2012

If you have never been in a mine or a cave complex, this will impress you.
The scale is to say the least impressive, someone that has done both.
The carvings are true art. This however was too touristy for me.The guide says they show you 3% of the mine, this is well lit. painted and at points has music. Entertainment if the weather is poor. I would rather put on waterproofs, a helmet and lamp set, for a truer experience.

Visited September 2012
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Thank tony m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Harleysville, PA
Level Contributor
116 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“Unique is the word...”
Reviewed September 21, 2012

My family recenty enjoyed a 1-week vacation in Krakow, Poland, and we explored the area by taking "day trips" each day, including this stop on our last day in Poland. The Salt Mines of Wieliczka is a fascinating and unique place to explore; I am 50 years old and I truly have never seen anything like it before.

Our travel agent made the arrangements for a group tour with "Cracow Tours". This tour company is quite good, and offers tours in several different languages. The way Cracow Tours operates is that they stop at several Krakow hotels to pick up passengers (who may be going on any number of different tours with them), and then they go to a central parking lot near the Wawel Castle/Vistula River where they will direct you to either stay on that bus or move to a different bus, depending on what tour you're taking that day. They run a variety of full-size coaches and some smaller buses as well. Generally their vehicles were pretty comfortable (moreso with the full size buses).

The Salt Mines tour is basically an easy half-day trip. It is located about 35-40 minutes from the departure point, and the mine tour itself lasts about 2 hours (plus add about 15 minutes before the tour and 30 minutes after the tour to wait in the queue).

Interestingly, this was the only tour during the week when the Cracow Tours guide did not give us the actual tour -- whereas they had remained our guides on other trips such as Czestochowa and the Tatra Mountains, at this location it was a Salt Mine employee who conducted the tour in the mine. She spoke excellent English, and was very informative and interesting. We gained a lot of insights from her.

What can you expect to see? Numerous carvings of all sorts of subject matter, haunting underground chambers, and a truly remarkable full-size church made of salt, featuring incredible 3D tableaus depicting numerous religious icons. The "salt chandeliers" and the large scale of the room with its towering ceilings were amazing, and the representation of The Last Supper was simply incredible. What is truly remarkable is that with very few exceptions, it was miners (not artists) who made these works of art...Incredibly talented miners as it turns out!

Supposedly the Salt Mines of Wieliczka are as deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall, and the mine dates back about 900 years (being mined actively until about 10 years ago). Most of the carvings that are shown on the tour date back to the 1700s and up.

We'd read in the tour books to bring a jacket, which we did. A light jacket should suffice unless you are prone to getting cold easily... it was only slightly chilly and a tad damp feeling underground.

Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes/sneakers... You will do a LOT of walking down through the mines. I would not recommend this tour for anyone who has difficulty walking or trouble climbing down stairs, as you will need to descend countless staircases and easily walk several miles over the course of the 2 hour tour.

TIP: The Salt MIne requires you to buy a Photography Permit if you plan to take pictures. These are for sale outside at the entrance, but you do NOT need to buy them there. Our tour guide informed us that anyone is welcome to take pictures and try out their cameras during the 1st half of the tour. Mid-way through there is a check point where you can pay a modest fee for the permit if you choose to. It's best to wait and see, because with the dim lighting underground your camera may or may ot be able to take good photographs in the mine. Be aware that the permits are sold just before you enter the full-size church, which (naturally) is one of the best "photo opportunities" on the tour.

There are a handful of souvenir shops along the way. Merchandise includes numerous salt products, tour books, post cards, amber jewelry, and mine souvenirs. Light refreshments are also available towards the end of the tour.

In terms of logistics, at the start of the tour you will walk down many, many staircases to reach the starting point of the "tourist route". From there, you will walk through a maze of chambers to see the sights. At the end, thankfully, there is an oversized elevator to take groups back up to the surface. You can expect a wait as they organize the groups for the ascent, but it is well organized and reasonably efficient.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Luv2Travel_19438
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
“Salt mine surprise!!”
Reviewed September 13, 2012

Not far from Cracow...about 40 minutes by road. Clean restrooms and good snacks and drinks available at reasonable prices. People are friendly and excellent English-speaking guides.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank bmt123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beckenham
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A COOL PLACE ON A HOT DAY”
Reviewed September 4, 2012

The air in the mine was refreshing. I did a short tour in a small group with a friend to push me in a wheelchair when I got tired. We saw the key places and i found the tour long enough. It was expensive as we had to pay for an English guide.in addition to admission but I did get to see it.

Probably not the best place to buy presents - jewellery was cheaper in regular shops.

Do not go if you cannot cope with confined places, the lifts are small and the space is very confined. Also there is limited access to loos.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank BeckenhamMoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
180 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Unique”
Reviewed August 27, 2012

We visited this mine with friends. You have to go on an organised tour down the mine for safety reasons. You walk down over 120 metres over a couple of hours. You will get a good insight into the history of the mine and see various carvings on your way down to the main chamber which is amazing. You then have the option to go on an additional hours tour but at this point we left. You have to queue to get out of the mine and you are then taken to a lift where you exit 9 people at a time. The lifts are very small so be prepared for a squeeze.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank gtnsjn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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