Bochnia Mine [Kopalnia Soli Bochnia]

The oldest industrial site in Europe and Poland’s most ancient salt mine, Bochnia, some 45km west of Tarnów, has been in continuous operation since 1248. Though less celebrated than the region’s Wieliczka mine, a recent influx of investment has made Bochnia more worthwhile than ever. Guided tours are obligatory and despite regular tour times in Polish, unfortunately English-speakers must arrange in advance for an English-speaking guide at a cost of 170zł per group.

The pride of Bochnia is the new ‘Underground Multimedia Exposition,’ during which local tour guides are assisted in telling the mine’s story by ‘holoscreen’ characters of Polish kings, Genoese merchants and ghostly monks. Through state of the art technology, guests experience the challenges miners faced underground and the development of mining techniques from the Middle Ages to the present day. The highlight for some, however, may be the short train ride at 212m underground. The 2.5-hour tour through various exhibition tunnels, geological chambers and chapels with magnificent sculptures concludes with 30 minutes in the Ważyn Chamber, whose therapeutic microclimate is used as a health and recreation centre, and which hosts a number of attractions including a 140m slide, sports field, children’s playground, discotheque, souvenir shop and the world’s deepest underground restaurant. With so much to do, guests can extend their stay by spending the night in one of the underground hotel rooms; overnight stays, or ‘Inhalation holidays’ as they’re called by some, also include the opportunity to take a 120m-long boat ride through the mine’s original flooded tunnel.

Getting to Bochnia from Tarnów takes about 45mins or less by car. Trains run frequently during the day, with the possibility of catching a return as late as midnight. The journey costs 7-13zł and takes 40-55mins depending on your train. From Bochnia train station it's about a 20min walk to the entrance of the mine on ul. Campi: head right out of the station down ul. Solidarności, staying on this road the entire time as it turns into ul. Ofiar Katynia and ul. Pileckiego, before making a right onto ul. Campi at the mine. The camp is also about 20mins on foot from the Bochnia market square, just off of which at ul. Solna 2 is the town's welcome centre where you can pick up maps and other info.

Polish tours depart Mon-Fri at 09:30, 12:00, 15:30; Sat-Sun every hour  at :15 past from 10:15 - 16:15. Cost 42/32zł. English tours depart at 15:00 every day; cost 65/50zł. English tours at other times must be arranged in advance; cost 170zł per group.

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Address:

ul. Campi 15, Bochnia

Phone:

(+48) 14 615 24 60

www:

http://www.kopalnia-bochnia.pl
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