Arrive and visit the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland, near Cracow, is very easy.
A quick research on Skyscanner and here is the flight at an alluring price: return ticket Milan-Warsaw at 35€ each in May. Got!
A rent car advantageous as well, above all because of in Poland Euro doesn’t work and the change with the Zloty is very advantageous. And here we are: landed in Warsaw.
We arrived in the evening a bit tired. As usual the impact with Poland and its people is very good: at the airport the person in charge is waiting for us to give us the car. Kind, patient, speaking a very good English.
In a very short time we go out and go towards our B&B already booked the day before from Italy due to arrival time: 2km far from the airport and at a low cost price, too.
By car there are 400 km about from Warsaw to Cracow.
The Wieliczka salt mine is about 15 km far from Cracow. We are in the Southern Poland.
The town can be considered a very good base to explore the neighbourhoods and to reach the Oświęcim concentration camp, known with the German name “Auschwitz.
In this case, moving from Warsaw to Cracow, we’ll run into it on the road, 70 km far from Cracow.
So we stop and visit a place which stay in our memories. I’ll talk about it in a dedicated post.
The Polish motorways don’t have our standards and the travelling time is a bit slower than what we expect, but the distance glides among sweet landscapes and villages with the savour of other times. The Poles drive respecting meticulously the rules of the road.
Pay attention to the traffic lights along the motorway and their pedestrian crossings!
Visit salt mine of Wieliczka means dive into the mass tourism. It’s one among the most visited places in Poland.
The small town and the neighbouring little hamlets live exclusively of this wonder.
Admission is not properly cheap for the place’s standards, but the tourist tour lasts over three hours and it’s possible to get the guide speaking one’s own language once a day.
The English tours start every half an hour.
At the entrance an earphone is given to you so that you miss nothing about the guide’s explanation.
Groups are made of 30 people about.
For only 10 zloty (little over 2€) is possible to buy the permission to take photographs of the inside of the mine freely.
Checks are not very strict inside, but since the amount is ridiculous, it’s really worth it to move completely free. You won’t regret it.
The mine hides inside itself subterranean lakes, sculptures and rooms with very high ceilings.
From the outside we cannot even image what is ahead of us inside. It seems more an underground town than a mine: the rooms, the restaurants, the souvenir shops, the chapel and the cathedral…even a big wedding room.
The tour begins going down 380 stairs taking us to the first well 34meters deep (during the tour we’ll reach -135 meters!).
Don’t be afraid of the going up: you come back to the surface through comfortable lifts. So all age children are welcomed, too: under 4 they pay nothing.
Visit salt mine of Wieliczka it means to enter one among the most ancient and biggest salt mine in Europe.
The wonders appearing through the rooms are stunning: here the history and the wealth of this land were made.
Through the several levels we even find out a hotel, a curative centre for the breathing system apparatus pathologies and several salt caves where to rest on comfortable deckchairs and free bronchus.
The tour goes on accompanied by the clear and nice words of our guide who shows us the working of the machineries for the mining, and who tells us about the endless and charming legends, unavoidable in a place like that.
We arrive after almost an hour of walking to the main room of the mine: here ceilings reach 60 meters high. The grandeur of this place is beyond description.
Huge salt chandeliers tower from the top and majestic statues work as countermelody to cribs and altars entirely salt realized.
Here Christianity, after the fall of Communism, is very felt by people.
We have the chance to stay about twenty minutes in this room which bewitches us. We are stunned by the view and we take endless photographs as usual.
Really many artists sculptured artworks, candleholders, decorated rooms enchanting.
The tour goes on towards the subterranean lake welcoming us by light effects and fairytale music.
The organization of the tour is excellent, used to get the huge tourist stream off: visit it out of the season is a real relax. It is required to book only in the high season.
The salt mine appears maybe a bit too reconstructed for tourists and a bit less focused on the real life and on the story developing inside.
It’s very interesting the whole history of salt trade, without mention the geological aspect of the salt mine and the rocks, which is neglected.
Keep in mind that only a very little part of the salt mine can be visited.
Anyway there’s also another “mine” tour (the equivalent of our cave tours): through it – upon booking – it’s possible to go deeply into the bowels of the mine. A good physical training is required.
You can enter only with the guide. So, get informed well about the Italian tours hours.
No problem for the English tours.
If you don’t have a car, you can visit salt mine reaching it by train from Cracow in about 20 minutes.
It’s possible to visit salt mine all over the year (it closes 4-5 days a year). So if you go there during the Advent period, you can combine the tour of the Cracow Christmas Markets to it.