Wieliczka - UNESCO heritage medieval salt mine

One of the World oldest and still working salt mines is located just outside Kraków, only 11 km from the Wawel Castle. The Wieliczka Salt Mine in the town of Wieliczka is one of the most valuable monuments not only in Poland, but also in the World. It is absolutely one of the must-to-see of your visit in Kraków. It has entered the UNESCO's First World List of Natural and Cultural Heritage, as one of the first among the twelve listed sites in 1978. Today, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a monument commemorating the work of tens of generations of salt miners and salt artists and hundreds of years of excavations and salt-mining tradition.

The history of the town starts in early mediaeval ages, when already three settlements existed in the place of today`s Wieliczka. According to the legend the salt under the town is a wedding gift of the Hungarian princess Kinga, also called Kunegunda (1234 - 1292), to the people of Poland. She was the daughter of the King of Hungary Béla IV and was married to the Polish ruler, Boleslaw V the Chaste. When asked what she wishes for her new home, Poland, she wished a salt mine for her new country – a source of high royal income and prestige for a country. She throw her wedding ring into the chasm of one of the Hungarian salt mines located in the wild mountains of Transylvania (today part of Romania). When arriving for the wedding ceremony to marry  Boleslaw V a peasant approached her carriage offering a piece of salt rock to the queen with a ring inside. Her wedding ring. She ordered to start mining on the field, where the peasant found the rock with her ring and thus started the history of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

However, the legend is true to a certain degree, because the salt in Wieliczka falls in the category of Miocene salt-bearing series consisting of rock salt deposits and (to a significantly smaller degree) potassium-magnesium salts, stretching along the arch of the Carpathians, starting in the area of Silesia to carry on as far as the Iron Gate region of Romania.

In reality, salt was produced earlier in the region by evaporation from surface waters using metal pans (as suggested by archaeological finding). In the 12th century a document of the papal legate, Giles, first mentioned and confirmed the privileges granted to the Benedictine monastery in Tyniec/Krakow to receive evaporated salt without payment from Magnum Sal (i.e. Wieliczka). When rock salt was discovered in Wieliczka, the first shafts were dug under the names of „Na Zamku" and "Goryszowski". Today the oldest existing shaft is "Regis" established in the 14th century. The Saltworks Castle in Wieliczka was the head office of the mine's board since medieval times and till 1945. Currently, it is the location of the Kraków Saltworks Museum.

Tours to the Salt Mine are a breath-taking experience. Wonderful sculptures, chambers and a whole cathedral carved in pure rock salt, underground lakes enchant visitors with their unique beauty. Remember, however, that all this is situated deep under the ground.

The trip along the Tourist Route of the Wieliczka Salt Mine consists of a tourist route plus a visit to the underground Museum of Krakow Saltworks, within the same admission ticket. However, the latter can be omitted on request. Thus, the total distance to travel underground is approx. 3.5 km, and visiting both attractions lasts approx. 3 hours. However, this duration may vary. Please remember that it is quite cool in the mine (between 14° C and 16° C). Make sure to take warmer clothing even in summer. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, as well. The journey begins with a descent down the Danilowicz Shaft to Level I of the mine. It is situated 64 m underground, thus the visitors have to walk down 380 stairs. The next levels lead the tour participants even deeper, i.e. 135 m underground. There are 800 steps along the whole route. Luckily, after the tour visitors take a mining elevator for going up J. During the visit there is time for a short snack in the Salt Mine`s underground restaurant and bar.

Taking photographs requires a special permit which may be purchased in the ticket office or during the visit itself. The permit price is PLN 10. Tourists may leave their luggage for the time of their visit in the mine in a left-luggage office situated by the information point.It is forbidden to smoke tobacco products and use electric torches. Pets are also not allowed in the mine.

Salty facts

  • The Academy of Kraków (later renamed as the Jagiellonian University) was founded in 1364. Professors at the academy were paid from revenues generated by the Krakow Salt Works.
  • Work at the mine was seasonal and lasted from the Day of St. Martin (11 November) till Easter or from the Day of St. Michael (29 September) till Semik.
  • By the end of the middle ages almost 350 people worked at the Wieliczka salt works, and about 8,000 tonnes of salt were produced annually.
  • The period of glory of the Krakow salt works is marked from the beginning of the 16th century to the mid-17th century. The mining crew consisted then of almost 2,000 people achieving an output of over 30,000 tons of salt.
  • The Wieliczka salt deposit was formed over thousands of years as a result of multiple processes. It has a diversified and unique geological structure and it is over fourteen million years old. Very pure intermediate layers of salt are called eagle salt in polish. This salt was dispatched directly to Wawel to the king. Since then it has borne the name of eagle salt for it was transported in barrels featuring the emblem of the Kingdom of Poland.
  • Today the Wieliczka Salt Mine has 9 levels reaching 327 m under the ground. Underground architecture of the mine consists of almost 300 km of pavements approx. 3000 chambers. Tourist routes are 3,5 km long and stretches in the depths of 64 to 135 m below the surface.


See detailed information on the Wieliczka Salt Mine`s webpage.

Tickets are available both online or if you are lucky, than on spot. However, during the tourist season it is safer to purchase tickets on-line.

The prices are depending on the type of the route: Tourist (recommended), Miners (for passionate geologists :-) ), the Graduation Tower or the Secrets of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Tourist route for individual visitors costs (guide included):





55 PLN /
1 person

79 PLN / 
1 person


38 PLN /
1 person

64 PLN / 
1 person


148 PLN /
4 persons

222 PLN /
4 persons

Discounts are available for children over 4 years of age, pupils and students up to 26 years of age upon presenting a valid school ID, tourists unable to move without assistance, and their assistant, for families of 2 adults and 2 children between 4 – 16 years of age

Guided tours with chosen language guide (for 5-35 persons):





49 PLN /1 person

49 PLN /1 person


32 PLN /1 person

32 PLN /1 person

Guide fee

165 PLN

245 PLN


Additional services for group tourists

Fee for taking photos and filming along the Tourist Route

10 PLN

Fee for a guide waiting for the arrival of an organized group if the group is late

60 PLN

Elevator ride (entering or exiting) of an organized group into the mine – Level I

250 PLN

Elevator ride (entering or exiting) of an organized group into the mine – Level II



How to get there?

The Salt Mine in Wieliczka town can be reached from Kraków using public transportation, private mini-buses or by organised tours (ask agents around the old town in Kraków) starting from Kraków`s city centre.

By  train: from the Main Railway Station in Krakow (Dworzec Główny) to the Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia train station.

By bus: # 304 departing in the vicinity of the shopping mall Galeria Krakowska (ul. Kurniki), getting off the 13th bus stop called Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli (Wieliczka Salt Mine). Zone I (Strefa I) and II Agglomeration (II Aglomeracja) transport tickets are valid in public buses travelling from Krakow to Wieliczka.

By mini-buses: departing in the vicinity of the Main Railway Station in Kraków, going in the direction of Wieliczka Rynek. Very frequent. Get off at a stop called Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli (Wieliczka Salt Mine) at the crossroads of ul. Dembowskiego and ul. Daniłowicza in Wieliczka (aks the driver). To reach the Regis Shaft, get off the bus one stop later, i.e. Wieliczka Rynek.