The Wieliczka Salt Mines date from the 13th century and were used continuously for centuries. While the salt mines are a tourist attraction today, their significance has earned them World Heritage status. Wieliczka, where the salt mines are located, is located near Krakow, in the southeastern part of Poland, and therefore makes a great day trip from the city.
Why Visit Wieliczka Salt Mines:
Wieliczka Salt Mines represent 700 years of salt-mining history, but a trip to the mines isn't purely educational. Salt sculptures, some created by the miners who worked there, decorate the mine's caverns. These decorations include chandeliers, gnomes, and a chapel. The mine also sponsors photography competitions and hosts concerts. Visitors to the mine can even sample foods flavored with Wieliczka salt in an underground restaurant.
English Language Tour Guides for the Salt Mines:
Visitors who arrive to Wieliczka Salt Mines on their own may either join a Polish-speaking guided tour or schedule their arrival to coincide with the departure of an English-speaking tour. Information about when English-language guided tours depart can be found on the Wieliczka Salt Mine website.
Tips for Touring Wieliczka Salt Mines:
The temperature in the salt mine stays around 14 degrees Celcius (about 57 degrees Fahrenheit), so be sure to bring a jacket if you visit the mind during the summer months. In addition, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Tours of the mine are about 3 hours long, so plan your day in advance.
Hours of Operation for the Wieliczka Salt Mines:
The Wieliczka Salt Mines operate on a seasonal schedule. From April 1 to October 31st, the mine is open from 7:30am to 7:30pm. The mines run on a slightly shortened schedule from 8am to 5pm from November 1st to March 31st.
Wieliczka Salt Mine website: www.kopalnia.pl.