How to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow in Poland

Great room of the chapel of Santa Kinga in the Wieliczka Salt mines in Krakow

Without a doubt, one of the essential visits in youtrip to Krakow at southern Poland, is the Wieliczka Salt Mines known as the «underground salt cathedral of Poland«.

Located just 14 kilometers away southeast of Krakow, In the town of Wieliczka, this is one of the salt mines most famous in the world.

Declared World Heritage by Unesco, have become a major tourist attraction with more than one million visitors every year.

Chapel of Santa Kinga in the Wieliczka Salt mines in Krakow

TheWieliczka Salt Mines they have their origin in the Middle Ages and still in production.

History of the Wieliczka salt mines

The first references to mines of Wieliczka date back to 1044.

In the following centuries they reached a great importance, generating in the fourteenth century more than 30 percent of the total income of the then Kingdom of Poland

How many kilometers are the mines of Wieliczka

With a depth of 327 meters, these mines extend over more than 300 kilometers of tunnels.

Chapel of Santa Kinga in the Wieliczka Salt mines in Krakow

The tourist activity in the mines They already date back to the fourteenth century, when access to relevant characters from the court of Polish kings was allowed for their visit.

And the tourist visits were already promoted in the 16th century with a cultural objective.

At present, the tourist route It takes place on a journey of three kilometers and a half, between the levels of 64 meters and 135 meters.

How to visit the Wieliczka salt mines

When you arrive at the site of the mines, very close to the city ​​of Krakow, you will find the great entrance building.

I already warn you that in holiday seasons, like the month of August when I had the opportunity to visit them, it is certain that you will find large queues of tourists before the ticket offices.

Salt sculpture in the Wieliczka mines in Krakow

If you go to go on your own to the Wieliczka salt mines, an important tip is to locate the queue for language visits (Spanish, English, French ...) other than Polish.

They are different ticket offices and, therefore, different queues, and I anticipate that that of local visitors is much longer.

Spanish tour to the Wieliczka salt mines

If instead of moving on your own from Krakow and to visit the salt mines you prefer to do it in a Spanish guided groupyou can sign up Wieliczka Mine Tour,

This excursion you will do by bus from Krakow It will have a total duration of four hours, and with the company of a guide in Spanish you will travel 3.5 kilometers of galleries.

Salt sculpture in the Wieliczka mines in Krakow

What to see in the visit of the Wieliczka mines

The visit to the Wieliczka mines It starts down a long and deep staircase, with 350 steps that you need to go down to reach 135 meters deep.

The temperature at that depth will be around 14-16 degrees Celsius.

Throughout the visit you will go through long tunnels and up to 20 rooms where you will find exhibitions and objects related to the salt production in the mine, so you can discover the ingenious systems used for salt extraction.

But in you visit by salt mines you will also reach cameras where you will see numerous salt statues sculpted by miners throughout history, the vast majority,religious sculptures.

These are true works of art that have given these Polish mines worldwide fame.

Wieliczka Salt Mines in Krakow

Keep in mind that if you sign up for the full visit by all the salt mine tour has a duration Up to three hours

Chapel of Santa Kinga in Wieliczka

You will find the maximum artistic expression in the undoubtedly the most important chamber of the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a large room called Chapel of Santa Kinga.

It is a huge room inside the mines that has become a great chapel, with different statues and religious decorative elements, but at the same time it is used asconcert hall.

Really thetourist visit atmines of Wieliczka, whose route is a succession of corridors, small halls and elevators, has its climax when you arrive at theSt Kinga's Chapel.

This great room was created in 1896, and is 54 meters long by 18 meters wide and 12 meters high.

Great room of the chapel of Santa Kinga in the salt mines of Wieliczka

Since it was created, for years it was gradually decorated by sculptor miners who left expressions of their artistic skills on the walls and ceilings of the room.

The most important thing about it is the altar, in whose central part thesculpturemade in salt rock from Santa Kinga, and on whose sides other sculptures ofSaint Joseph YSan Clemente, the latter patron of the miners and the parish of the town of Wieliczka.

Apart from the numerous sculptures and panels with religious scenes, all of them made in salt, thehuge chandeliers that hang over the great room, made with salt crystals.

Although in the 60s it was planned to finish the decoration of this room, it was decided to continue incorporating new decorative elements made by new generations of artist miners.

To highlight themonument to John Paul II in salt rock,which rose between 2002 and 2003.

Of themagnitude of the Chapel of Santa Kinga of the Salt Mines of Wieliczka, the view from the upper access to this great room is good.

Salt sculpture in the Wieliczka mines in Krakow

And given the impact of this first vision, they have already taken care of putting a small box office next to the viewing terrace to charge a small fee to those who want to take pictures.

Therefore, if you are a photographer, carry the portfolio ready ...

Wielizcka mine hours

The Visiting hours of the Wielizcka Salt Mines they are, from April to October, from 7.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., the last hour of entry to the mine; from November to March, from 8 to 17 hours.

The visit on your own is done in groups of up to 35 people through guided tours in different languages.

Guided tours in Wielizcka mines

Theofficial guided tours in Spanish They are throughout the year, at 11.40 and 16.40.

Salt sculpture in the Wieliczka mines in Krakow

Keep in mind that you should arrive well in advance to book this visit.

Given the limited number of visits in Spanish, you also have the option to sign up forguided tours in English which are done every 30 minutes.

Or if you prefer, the aforementioned alternative of the Wieliczka tour from Krakow which already includes the transfer by bus from the city center to the place where the mines are located, just outside them.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Ticket Prices

Theticket prices (2019) to visit the mines with guided tours in languages ​​other than Polish are, the general rate, 89 PLN (20.79 euros), and 69 PLN (16.12 euros) the reduced rate for students under 26 and disabled people.

There is a family rate for two adults and two children from 4 to 16 years old for 247 PLN (57.71 euros).

On certain dates of high season (late April, early May and the months of July and August) the respective prices are 94 and 74 PLN (21.96 and 17.29).

Children under 4 enter free.

How to get to Wieliczka

For get to the Wieliczka salt mines from Krakow by bus you have to take line 304 on the Kurniki Street, on the sidewalk opposite the mall Krakowska Gallery, with buses that run every 20 minutes (see bus schedules 304).

There are also minibuses that circulate from the Krakow Railway Station to the salt mines.

Video: MUST VISIT! Krakow Salt Mines - Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour. Poland Travel Vlog 2018 (February 2020).