Tuesday 14 February 2023

Visiting the Krakow Salt Mines

One of the most popular things to do in Krakow is to visit the nearby salt mines - I've been to Krakow five times and it wasn't until my most recent visit that I actually got round to doing it. And when I say it's amazing, believe me! In this blog post I wanted to share with you our experience, including how to get to the salt mines from Krakow itself.

Krakow to the salt mines

You can book an excursion which takes you from Krakow to the salt mines, but this isn't necessary whatsoever. It will cost you over £40 if you book, and this includes a coach from Krakow to the salt mines as well as your entrance fee. However, we did it ourselves and got the 304 bus (included in the weekly transport pass we had bought, which cost £13 for 7 days) from Krakow to Wieliczka. It leaves from plenty of stops around the city, and I used the FREE Jakdojade app to help plan where to get on.

Even if you don't buy a transport pass, single journeys on the bus are less than £1 so you're still saving money! All tours are guided when you get to the salt mines anyway, so you don't need to worry about not having a guide. We got off the bus and it was around a 3-minute walk to the ticket booth, where we paid 116 zloty each for a guided tour. So we paid less for the two of us than you would pay per person if you book an official excursion.
How to get to the salt mines from Krakow blog post - photo is of the UNESCO sign at the front of the salt mines.

The salt mines experience 

I will say that this tour is not for the faint hearted; we descended around 80 flights of stairs to get down, and they honestly seemed endless. Just round and round and down and down - if you're unsteady on your feet then it's a bit of a no-go. There are wheelchair-friendly tours which take place just twice per day, and these need to be booked in advance via their website.

Fun fact: the lifts which are now used by wheelchair users were installed especially for Pope John Paul II's visit, which never actually happened due to illness.

Anyway, there are a *lot* of stairs and the whole tour route is around 3.5km, led by an English speaking guide who will tell you everything you need to know about this incredible place - how it came to be, how the salt was and is used, how it was/is mined and so on. You can taste the salt by licking your finger and then the wall and then your finger again, which is in fact quite sanitary due to the natural antibacterial properties of the salt. Or, if you're like the little kids on our tour, you can just lick the wall or floor itself. Up to you...

You'll descend to depths of around 135m, and it gets really warm down there - we ended up carrying out coats at one point! The air down there is perfectly safe and healthy due to the proper filtration system they have, which will also be explained to you by the guide.

What you can see

There is so much to see on the salt mines tour, from recreations of how the salt was mined over the years to stairs made of actual salt. There's an underground church area, and even the chandeliers are made of salt - mass takes place here regularly, which is amazing! Throughout the tour you'll see various statues carved from the salt, and hear the stories behind them. The whole thing is truly fascinating and I'm SO glad I finally got to do it. 

There is a souvenir shop/refreshments bar around 2/3 of the way through, where you can buy salt as well as ornaments made from the salt alongside cold drinks and a few snacks. At the very end of the tour is a canteen-style restaurant, serving traditional Polish food as well as hot and cold drinks.

Coming up from the salt mines

Now here's the killer - when you come back up you thankfully *don't* have to go all the way back up 800 steps. You do, however, have to cram into a proper miner's shaft lift which is absolutely tiny; if you're claustrophobic I don't think I'd recommend the tour, because this bit will absolutely freak you out. It was lovely to get out of it, and back into sunlight!

For everyone else, though, I'd highly recommend the tour - and the DIY aspect of it too, getting a public bus rather than paying extra for a coach journey. We'd bought sandwiches from a bakery near our hotel, and we ate these in the little park nearby before heading back to Krakow on the bus. It was a perfect day, and we really enjoyed it. It's so easy to get to the salt mines from Krakow DIY-style!


  1. I've not been, but my other half said the lift at the end was worse than the actual stairs. Eeep! Krakow is definitely on our list to visit!


  2. Thanks for sharing, I have not been, but it looks a very interesting place to explore :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures