Visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a fascinating and unique experience, offering a glimpse into the underground world of this historic site. This was, hands down, one of our kid’s favourite experiences during our family city break to Kraków. The Wieliczka Salt Mine has been mined since the 13th century, and a tour of this incredible mine should be high on your list of things to do when you visit Kraków.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the world’s oldest salt mines and was in continuous operation for over 700 years. The mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Whenever we go on a city break, and there is a UNESCO World Heritage site at our destination, we try to make a point of visiting, and this was no exception.

What is the Wieliczka Salt Mine about – is it worth a visit?

The Wieliczka Salt Mine played a crucial role in the region’s economy and the production of salt, which was once considered as valuable as gold. The mine showcases the ingenuity and craftsmanship of miners throughout the centuries, with intricate salt carvings, sculptures, and even an underground lake.

Visitors can learn about the mining techniques, tools, and equipment used throughout history, offering insights into the mining industry’s evolution.

Here are the highlights of the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour, as my kids recall:

There were certain highlights of the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour that showcase the unique features and historical significance of this incredible underground site. Here are some of our tour’s highlights:

Underground Chambers and Tunnels:

The tour takes you through a labyrinth of underground chambers, tunnels, and passageways, allowing you to explore the vastness of the salt mine. You’ll walk along well-maintained pathways, some of which are adorned with wooden supports and handrails, creating a safe and comfortable environment for visitors.

Chapel of St. Kinga:

St Kingas chapel at wieliczka salt mine

One of the most stunning highlights of the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour is the Chapel of St. Kinga (also known as the Salt Cathedral). This remarkable underground chapel is entirely carved out of salt and features intricate salt sculptures, altars, and chandeliers, creating a breathtaking sight. Visitors are often in awe of the craftsmanship and the overall beauty of this underground place of worship.

Salt Carvings and Sculptures:

Increible Salt Sculptures in the Wieliczka Salt Mine


Throughout the mine, you’ll encounter various salt carvings and sculptures showcasing the miners’ artistic talents. Intricately carved statues, bas-reliefs, and even whole rooms carved out of salt demonstrate the miners’ creativity and dedication. These salt artworks depict historical figures, mythical creatures, and scenes from Polish folklore, adding to the unique charm of the mine.

Underground Lake:

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is also home to an underground lake called the “Mirror Lake” or “Lake Wessel.” This naturally occurring lake provides a serene and picturesque setting within the mine. Visitors can marvel at the reflections on the water’s surface and learn about its formation and significance.

Mining History and Exhibitions:

The tour offers insights into the rich history of salt mining in the region and the mining techniques used over the centuries. You’ll have the opportunity to see historical mining tools, machinery, and equipment on display. Exhibitions within the mine provide educational information about the mine’s operations, geology, and the impact of salt mining on the local economy.

These highlights collectively make the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour an unforgettable experience, combining stunning salt-carved artwork, historical significance, and the exploration of an underground world. It’s a journey that offers a glimpse into the fascinating history and geological wonders of the mine.

religious and mythical sculptures in the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Do yourself a favour, and book a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Whilst booking tickets direct and making your own way there etc, is a possibility, I would strongly recommend a guided tour. As far as guided tours go, this was one of the best, most well-organised guided tours that I have ever experienced. Not only are the guides polite and well-spoken with amazing English, but so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the Wieliczka salt mine and it’s history. And whilst we enjoyed the English tour, there are so many different language tours available accommodating visitors from across the world!

The mine offers two different guided tours of the mine itself. One is a Miner’s Tour, and the other is the Tourist Route (which is the one we did). The tourist route takes visitors through various chambers, tunnels, and impressive salt-carved sculptures. You’ll explore different levels of the mine, including the famous Chapel of St. Kinga, a stunning underground chapel adorned with salt sculptures and chandeliers. Honestly, it’s one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen, and the entire thing is carved out of salt rock.

Chandelier made from Salt

Getting To the Wieliczka Salt Mine from Kraków

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in the town of Wieliczka, about 10 kilometres or 6.2 miles southeast of Kraków. It is easily accessible from Kraków by public transportation or organized tours. Buses and trains run regularly between Kraków and Wieliczka, making it a convenient day trip.

As I said, I recommend a guided tour. If you do book a guided experience, there are numerous tour operators offering packages that include transportation, a guided tour of the mine, and sometimes additional attractions or activities. We booked our tour using the Viator app, which included pick up from Kraków a short walk from our city centre hotel.

How long is the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour?

The tour typically covers a distance of around 3.5 kilometres, providing a comprehensive experience of the mine’s history, legends, and unique features. The tour takes around 3 hours with a couple of stops during the guided tour where you can buy a snack, have a break, use the restroom etc.

During the tour you will walk all the way, and reach a depth of 135m below ground. Although I have to say that the air down there is incredibly clean. As someone who has suffered asthma my whole life, the air down there smelt so clean, and pure I found myself enjoying the act of simply breathing in and out.

Practical Tips for your visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Depth of Wieliczka Salt Mine
  • It’s recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred time slot.
  • Wear comfortable footwear as you’ll be walking for a significant portion of the tour, and the mine’s floors can be uneven.
  • I would not say that this tour is buggy-friendly… just getting down from ground level to where the tour starts takes a lot of steps. I’m sure they must have a lift system for disabled people, but during our tour, I didn’t notice anyone with a buggy or pushchair.
  • The temperature inside the mine remains relatively constant throughout the year, around 14°C (57°F). Consider bringing an extra layer of clothing to ensure your comfort.
  • Photography is allowed in most areas of the mine, but there might be restrictions in some sections, particularly the Chapel of St. Kinga. Check with the tour guide for specific guidelines.

Is the Wieliczka Salt Mine still mined?

Whilst it is no longer mined as such, there are still around 400 miners employed by the mine to look after it, preserve it maintain it and protect it from the forces of nature. When you visit the mine, you’ll appreciate what a huge undertaking it is to preserve this important piece of history.

Visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine offers a unique opportunity to explore the underground world and learn about the historical significance of salt mining in the region. It’s a memorable experience that combines history, culture, and natural beauty.

Please check out the video I posted on Tiktok, showing a bit more about what you can expect to see on your tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland.

@amoreintentionallife This is the Wieliczka salt mine which dates back to the 13th century is a Must Do experience when you visit #krakow! All the sculptures and chandeliers are made from Salt. Its just incredible! #poland #krakowcityguide #wieliczkasaltmines #unescoworldheritagesite #visitpoland #traveltok #citybreaks #salt #ukmumsoftiktok #uktravelblogger #culture #educationalopportunities ♬ Paradise – TELL YOUR STORY music by Ikson™