12th Century Salt Mine
Bochnia Salt Mine – updated 10 January 2023
Established between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Bochnia Salt Mine, is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and the oldest commercial company in Poland. The mine stopped producing salt in 1990 at which time, it became a tourist attraction. In 2013, a multimedia aspect was added to the tourist route, which spans two kilometres in length.
Underground mining train
The complex offers four different routes for visitors. Among the mine’s attractions, there is the underground mining train that transports tourists along the tourist route, a 140m slide connecting two levels of the mine, and an underground boat crossing.
National Historic Monument
The history of salt extraction in the Bochnia region dates back to 3,500 years B.C. Prior to mining, salt was acquired by evaporating water from brine.
What to see
There’s a lot to see within the mine including historical mining tools and equipment, galleries, chambers and a chapel with train tracks running through it.
The two main parts of Bochnia Salt Mine are the August Passage and the Ważyn Chamber.
The August Passage
The August Passage is the main communication and transportation route in the mine, running from east to west and connecting the Campi and Sutoris mine shafts. The Passage has a depth ranging from 176m to 212m and is nearly 3km in length.
The Ważyn Chamber, which has no supporting pillars, is the biggest chamber in the mine and can be found at a depth of 248m. It is 255m long, 14.4m wide and has a maximum height of 7.2m.
Here are some common questions and answers that you might find helpful:
Q: Where is the Bochnia Salt Mine located?
A: The Bochnia Salt Mine is located in the town of Bochnia, which is about 40 kilometers east of Krakow, in southern Poland.
Q: How old is the mine?
A: The Bochnia Salt Mine has been in operation since the 13th century, making it one of the oldest mines in the world.
Q: What is the history of the mine?
A: The mine has a long and rich history. It was first opened in the 13th century and was in continuous operation until 2007. During this time, it played an important role in the development of the town of Bochnia and was a major source of salt for the region.
Q: How deep does the mine go?
A: The mine extends to a depth of 327 meters (1,073 feet) below the surface.
Q: What can I see on a tour of the mine?
A: A tour of the mine will take you through a network of tunnels and chambers, where you can see the salt deposits, mining equipment, and the beautiful chapels that have been carved out of the salt. You’ll also learn about the history of the mine and the people who have worked there.
Q: Is the mine open to visitors?
A: Yes, the mine is open to visitors and guided tours are available. Visitors should take note that the mine is not accessible for people with disabilities, it is not allowed to take big bags, food and drink, or selfie sticks.
Q: How long does a tour of the mine last?
A: A typical tour of the mine lasts about 1.5-2 hours.
Q: Are there any special requirements to visit the mine?
A: Visitors should be aware that the mine can be quite chilly (around 10-12 degrees C), even during the summer months, so it’s a good idea to wear warm clothing. Comfortable shoes are also recommended as you will be walking on uneven surfaces.
Q: Are there any other things to do in the area?
A: In the surrounding area of Bochnia, you’ll find plenty of things to do, including visiting the historic town center, the Bochnia Saltworks Museum, and the Bochnia Castle. There are also many hiking and biking trails in the surrounding countryside. Krakow, being quite close can be a great idea for visit as well.
Visit the Bochnia Salt Mine website.
Bochnia Salt Mine Tour
- Explore the oldest salt mine in Poland
- Discover the oldest Bochnia mine workings
- Learn what the work of medieval miners looked like
- Stop in Tarnow, a charming little city
- Visit Zalipie with picturesque little houses painted in flowery patterns
After transferring from Krakow to Bochnia, you will experience the oldest salt mine in Poland. Complete with a beautiful underground chapel, you will explore the mine with your friendly English-speaking tour guide.
The mine features galleries which are filled with works of art and statues sculpted into salt. The mine itself was added to the UNESCO Heritage List back in 2013. Later, you will transfer to Tarnow, a charming little city with an originally preserved Old Town which dates back to the 18th century.
The final stop on your tour will be to Zalipie, a true pearl of rural Poland. Here you will discover picturesque little houses painted in flowery patterns, and visiting this small village will truly make you feel as if you have traveled through time. At the conclusion of your tour, you will transfer back to Krakow.