Krakow

Introducing Wieliczka

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Kraków is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist cities in Central Europe, and as you’ve likely heard, one of its top tourist attractions is a salt mine actually located in Wieliczka—a small town about 15km to the southeast. An astounding 1.2 million people visit Wieliczka Salt Mine each year (that’s one out of every seven or eight visitors to Kraków), and it’s hardly a recent phenomenon—people have been visiting the salt mine for centuries with notable guests including Nicolaus Copernicus, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Fryderyk Chopin, Ignacy Paderewski, Pope John Paul II and former US president Bill Clinton. In fact, the first official tourist trail opened underground here way back in the mid-19th century. But it’s not only tourists who come to visit. So deep is the love of the locals for this place that in a recent survey, Cracovians voted Wieliczka Salt Mine as their number one favourite thing about Kraków; again, not bad for an attraction in another town 15 kilometres away. Not only is Wieliczka a World Heritage Site, but it has the distinction of having been included (along with Kraków’s Old Town and Kazimierz districts) on UNESCO’s first-ever World Heritage List back in 1978 (you know, back when being a World Heritage site actually meant something). Additional accolades aside, this unique industrial heritage site has been a popular destination for centuries and if you’re visiting Kraków, you should also consider the short side trip out to Wieliczka, which in addition to the famous salt mine, also boasts a health resort, graduation tower, castle and museum.

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