While flying somewhere in Europe last month on a short Wizz Air flight we happened to spot an article about the salt mines near Krakow in the in-flight magazine. Hey, an in-flight magazine on a budget airline and more leg room than say Ryan Air – we were happy. In any case, the article caught my eye – a salt mine that continuously operated for 700 years and over time contained huge man-made caves, tunnels and sculptures carved entirely from rock salt. I was intrigued and planned a trip. A month later I was back in Europe – specifically in Krakow Poland on bus number 304 heading to the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
After a bit over an hour I arrived at the entrance to the mine and quickly purchased a ticket. Soon I was shuffling down wooden steps – down 60 flights to the bottom. We were going to walk about 3.5 km on the tour over 3 hours and even this was just less than 1% of the entire tunnels!
Copernicus visited the mine about 500 years ago and a statue in his likeness was carved by the miners. The highlight of the entire tour is a huge chapel – hollowed out from solid rock salt and then salt chandeliers were installed, statues carved, and even parts of the stone walls are now home to carvings including a beautiful take on Michelangelo’s “Last Supper”.
Tours of the non “touristy” part of the mine are also given by advance reservation.
For more information visit: http://kopalnia.pl
John D. Wilson says
I grew up in Detroit, which is actually on top of a salt mine-they use the salt in the winter time to melt the snow laden roads.
John – Detroit is one of the cities I want to spotlight soon. I’ve only flown in a few times and need to take some time to explore. Thanks for reaching out – I’ll add your site under our blog directory.
Jan Ambrose says
I love your blog David. I’m not sure how you got to mine, but I’m glad you did. I adore travel and right now I can only do it through people like you. Thanks!
Catwalk Criminal says
Very cool pics ♥
The Circus says
I need to see this in person.
Elizabeht B. says
Beautiful! I’m tempted to photoshop myself in that first one and pretend to be better traveled than I actually am. 🙂
Passport Stamps says
Someday Poland, someday 🙂
Great Post! Looks amazing! I’ve always loved Poland
Vanessa – checked out your site – looks like you are having a great time on the road. Thanks for joining our site. Yea, can’t wait until I return to Europe next year.
It’s an amazing place! Hope you didn’t have to queue for hours like us!
Hi Paul – I got their fairly early – there were already lines but I don’t think I waited for much more than 20 minutes. I guess sometimes it can be much much longer to enter!