The most popular route through the mine is the Tourist Route, which starts and ends at the Danilowicz shaft.
Your tour starts with a descent of more than 50 flights of stairs, with a total of 378 steps. By advance arrangement it is possible to take the elevator down and if you have any problems with your knees, this is advisable. Once in the mine there are a few more staircases to climb and descend but nothing too difficult by comparison.
In comparison to the salt mines around Salzburg, the emphasis of the Tourist Route at Wieliczka is much different, focused not so much on the story of the mine itself and its importance to the history of the nearby city, but about the miners who spent so much of their lives in the mine, creating awe inspring chapels and chambers and salt sculptures to fill them with.
As well as the impressive St Kinga’s Chapel, still used for mass on Sunday mornings you will come across chambers with underground lakes that look like something from a Harry Potter movie Along the way you’ll find seams of white salt ‘cauliflowers’ that your guide will encourage you to lick (take a bottle of water with you if you plan on tasting the walls).
The tour is described as a 3 hour tour though after two hours (and at the location of the third gift shop – something makes me think they’ve gone a bit far) you can choose to exit (which most do) or to take an extension to see more chambers and galleries. You will surface at the exact place you entered.
There are trains and local buses to get you to Wieliczka and back but the timetables are sparse so the best way to see it is by using one of the organised shuttle plus tour packages offered by various agencies in Krakow. For guests traveling with us we can make all the arrangements for this in advance, including a pickup and a convenient drop-off service from your hotel.