How to prepare for a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is located in a small town near Krakow. Entered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978, the mine was a valuable source of salt throughout the centuries and is nowadays a priceless monument open to visitors. Its history and incredible sights make this a must-visit spot while you’re in Krakow. If you’re wondering whether you need to do anything first to make sure you’re properly prepared for a trip there, it really depends on which route you choose. And that’s why we’ve put together the following to give you all the information and tips you might need!

Daniłowicz Shaft, main entrance to the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine

TOURIST ROUTE

The tourist route was established at the turn of the 19th century and goes along a path taking in beautiful chambers carved from rock salt (like the unique St Kinga’s Chapel), underground lakes, large wooden structures and salt statues.

Important information:

  • It can only be visited with a qualified guide
  • Starting point of the trip: Daniłowicz Shaft
  • Duration of the trip: around 2 hours
  • Distance: 3.5 km
  • The route is located 135 m below the surface (anybody who suffers from claustrophobia should bear this in mind)
  • Minimum age of the participants: no limitations

The route is not difficult but it does involve going down 800 steps, which means that it’s not really tailored to the needs of people with mobility problems. However, the mine does have the option of a special route in that respect, so you should contact the mine’s customer service department if you are interested in finding out more. The temperature inside is a constant 17-18°C, and we highly recommend wearing comfortable, non-slip shoes. Any hand luggage taken with you must not exceed 35 x 20 x 20 cm.

Smoking, open flames, electric torches and taking in animals are all strictly prohibited.

There are 800 steps down in the mine!

MINERS’ ROUTE

When you go for a visit on the miners’ route, you are not just a regular tourist, but you actually become a novice miner. First you are given some professional mining equipment (work overalls, along with a lamp, helmet and carbon monoxide absorber) and then, under the supervision of a guide, you start to learn more about the work of the miners. Among other things, this involves measuring methane concentration levels, weaving ropes and learning how to use a shovel efficiently. And at the end, you receive a certificate confirming the new skills you have acquired.

Important information:

  • It can only be visited with a qualified guide
  • Starting point of the trip: Regis Shaft (arrive 15 minutes before the start time)
  • Duration of the trip: around 2 hours
  • Distance: around 2 km
  • The route is located 101 m below the surface (anybody who suffers from claustrophobia should bear this in mind)
  • Minimum age of the participants: 10 years old

The miners’ route is not difficult, but you will be involved in various types of mining work. Remember to dress appropriately (the temperature in the mine is 14-16ºC) and wear comfortable footwear! Before the tour, you will undergo a short training (both on the safety rules and how to use the equipment you have received) and you will be asked to sign your name to confirm that you have completed the training. Don’t worry about your belongings! You will be able to use the cloakroom (in the Regis Shaft building) and a locker. We recommend that you leave larger items such as suitcases in the storage room (near the Regis Shaft).

Smoking, open flames, electric torches and taking in animals are all strictly prohibited.

One of the underground tunnels in the salt mine in Wieliczka

GRADUATION TOWER

The graduation tower is the perfect spot for allergy sufferers or people living in places with polluted air as it helps to clear the respiratory tract and enables you to relax.
The building is located in St Kinga’s Park, near the Daniłowicz Shaft. It’s good to wear something light and breathable, as the brine will be absorbed over the entire surface of your skin. For optimal results, it is recommended to stay inside for 30 minutes. Before entering the graduation tower, you have to buy a ticket near the entrance.

Important information:

  • There are no toilets in the graduation tower
  • Any hand luggage must not exceed 35 x 20 x 20 cm
  • It’s possible to take a guide dog (assistance dog) with you
  • The graduation tower is partially adapted for the needs of people with disabilities (on the ground floor)
Graduation tower at the salt mine in Wieliczka

Hopefully you will find all this information useful, and it will help to make your trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine as enjoyable and comfortable as possible!