Wieliczka Salt Mine - Tourist Route

What to Know Before You Go

For literally hundreds of years, tourists have enjoyed the underground wonders of Wieliczka Salt Mine, and the easiest and most popular way to visit is via the traditional 'Tourist Route.' The Wieliczka Salt Mine Tourist Route takes you through 3.5km of the underground mine over the first 3 of its 9 levels, reaching a maximum depth of 135 metres below ground. The guided tour takes 2-3 hours, and comprises several of the biggest highlights of the underground realm, including a saline lake and the famous St. Kinga's Chapel. The route is designed to be accessible for people of all ages in average physical condition, but do bear in mind that it involves lots of walking, and over 800 stairs (most descending, but still). Wear comfortable shoes and dress so that you'll be comfortable over several hours in the steady year-round underground temperature of 17 degrees Centigrade

Book Wieliczka Salt Mine tour with KrakowDirect.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is loaded with wondrous chambers and fabulous salt sculptures.

Food and snacks, including a proper restaurant, is available 125 metres underground, which you will reach after about 2 hours. Toilets can be used in 2 places along the route. There is no cell phone service underground, however there is a designated area where wi-fi is available if necessary.

A trip to the mine involves lots of stairs, so stretch out those calves, and put your baby in a carrier.

If you want to endear yourself to the guides, memorise the wonderful words Szczęść Boże (shtench boes-zyuh); this essential, unpronounceable bit of miner’s lingo effectively means ‘God be with you’ and substitutes for Dzień dobry (‘hello’) when underground.

Starting Point

The Wieliczka Tourist Route begins at the Daniłowicza Shaft, located just a short walk up ul. Daniłowicza from the Wieliczka train station. This is also the location of the ticket offices; toilets, luggage lockers, a restaurant and shop can also be found here.

The Daniłowicza Shaft/ticket offices.


Tickets, Tours & Prices

Tickets can be easily bought online through the multilingual Wieliczka Salt Mine website, which is the best way to see the tour times, languages and variety of tickets available. It also ensures you a place on a tour at the specified time, without the risk of having to wait. Tour times and frequencies vary throughout the year, but tours in Polish are generally offered several times per hour, tours in English are offered at least once per hour, while tours in Ukrainian, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish and German are at least once a day (but more frequent in the summer months). If you've arrived in Wieliczka without first purchasing tickets online or through an agency, buy one (if still available) from the ticket machine or ticket office near the entrance of the Daniłowicza Shaft.

Ticket prices for Polish language tours are 86zł; 68zł for kids, seniors and students (with ID); free for kids under 4. Ticket prices for foreign language tours are 122zł; 102zł for kids, seniors and students (with ID); free for kids under 4. Family tickets - valid for 2 adults and 2 kids 4-16 - are also available for 254zł (Polish) or 366zł (foreign).
'Oy vey, these prices!' Bas-relief in Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Your ticket is valid for two parts of the salt mine: the Tourist Route, which comprises the first 2 hours, and the Underground Museum which takes an additional hour to visit. In between there’s an opportunity to take a break, use the restrooms and even get something to eat (or escape if that’s your preference). However, be aware that the tour does not end at the restaurant as many tour guides suggest it does to foreign groups; in fact, they are obliged to escort you to and through the Underground Museum (which you have already paid for) as well.

The Underground Experience

Your tour begins in earnest by descending 380 wooden stairs to the first level 64m underground; don't worry, you won't have to climb them, but just descending will give your calves a work-out. Of nine levels, the tour only takes you to the first three (a max depth of 135m), with the 3.5km covered during the 3 hour tour (including both parts) comprising a mere 2% of this underground realm. While wandering the timber-reinforced tunnels you’ll gain insight from your guide into the history of the site, the techniques used to extract the salt and the lives of the men who worked there. There’s the opportunity to not only operate a medieval winch used for moving massive blocks of salt, but also to lick the walls (bring some tequila). The tour visits numerous ancient chambers and chapels in which almost everything around you is made from rock salt, including the tiled floors, chandeliers, sculptures and stringy stalactites that hang down.
St. Kinga's Chapel -  the glorypiece of the Tourist Route

The highlight of the tour is the magnificent 22,000m³ St. Kinga’s Chapel dating from the 17th century. Known for its amazing acoustics, the chapel features bas-relief wall carvings from the New Testament done by miners that display an astonishing amount of depth and realism. After passing a lake that holds more than 300g of salt per litre, and a hall high enough to fly a hot-air balloon in, the first part of the tour ends at the underground restaurant and souvenir stands, at which point you should be instructed on your two options: how to exit (option A) or where and when to join the second part of the tour (option B). If this option B is unmentioned or unclear, inform your guide that you also want to see the Underground Museum and ask them how to do so.
A saline lake along the Tourist Route.

At your leisure you can take advantage of the restaurant and restrooms, beyond which you’ll find the queue for the high-speed lift that shoots you back up to the surface (option A), or the separate area to the right where your original guide should admit you into the Underground Museum exhibition (option B) - an additional 16 chambers over 1.5kms packed full of artwork, artefacts and mining equipment which your guide will elaborate on. Perhaps the most fascinating and informative part of the Wieliczka experience, the highlights of these beautiful exhibits include two paintings by famous 19th century Polish artist Jan Matejko, and an entire room full of sparkling salt crystals. Upon completion your guide leads you back to the ancient lift which takes you above ground back to where you started.


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Price/Additional Info

EN tours 122/102zł, kids under 4 free.

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Nice place for a side trip from krakow.
They raise the prices every summer!
These prices are scandalous. Every year they go up, and they charge you 10zł on top of that for photos. Now they are charging extra just for Majówka?! 104zł?! - what a rip-off! They should be ashamed. Tell your friends to sit in a Krakow beer garden instead.
James Clarkson

We just attended the salt mines and was impressed however... We knew the warning about the tour ending early but should have read more detail. After the end of the first tour, the guide suddenly could not be heard by anyone. To which she stated, "if you have any questions after come ask me." You return your head set on a rack and assume that was over. Then after a couple of self guided things and a movie, we were escorted out to the elivator by another guide that spoke English. When we made the comment about the exhibits we were passing, she suddenly could not speak English? Not sure why the would do this. Conspiracy?
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