Tag: Wieliczka Salt Mine

Tag: Wieliczka Salt Mine

Things to do in Krakow

Top 10 things to do in Krakow

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top 10 things to do in Krakow. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour.

1. Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site located around 14km southeast of Krakow and is one of Poland's most popular attractions, welcoming tourists since 1722. Wieliczka Salt Mine is a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels, shafts and chambers, underground saline lakes, chapels with altarpieces, majestic timber constructions and unique statues sculpted in rock salt. The size of the mine is staggering, it reaches a depth of 327m and extends via horizontal passages and chambers for over 287 km distributed over nine levels. Only a small part of the mine is open to the public.

Further information

Wieliczka Salt Mine tickets and tours

2. Historic Centre of Kraków

Historic Centre of Kraków

The historic centre of Krakow has been featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1978. Packed full of restaurants, museums, galleries and bars, the medieval layout of the Old Town has not changed for centuries. The heart and focal point of the historic centre of Krakow is its graceful main market square, the largest medieval town square of any European city. Most visitors to Krakow visit the market square with its Cloth Hall, the Church of the Holy Mary, Wawel Hill and its Royal Castle, Wawel Cathedral with its outstanding Renaissance chapel, the Barbican and St. Florian’s Gate.

Further information.

Grand city tour through Krakow with Old Town and Jewish quarter

3. Wawel Royal Castle

Things to do in Krakow

Wawel Royal Castle and the limestone Wawel Hill are extremely important historical and cultural sites containing one of the most important collection of buildings in Poland. Wawel was once the seat of Polish rulers, the residence of kings and the focal point of many Polish historical events. The hill is a symbol of the Polish nation and has witnessed some of the greatest moments in Polish history. Many Polish kings have been laid to rest below Wawel Cathedral. Located south of the old town and next to the Vistula River, Wawel Hill showcases an incredible assortment of architectural delights including Renaissance, Gothic and Romanesque designs. Wawel Royal Castle and the Cathedral are must-see attractions and a walk around the castle courtyards and open spaces are highly recommended.

Further information

Wawel Castle private guided tour

4. Auschwitz-Birkenau

Things to do in Krakow

Auschwitz-Birkenau is synonymous with the Holocaust and the largest attempt at genocide in human history. More than a million Jews, and many Poles and Roma, were murdered here by German Nazis during WWII. Both sections of the camp, Auschwitz I and the much larger outlying Birkenau (Auschwitz II) have been preserved and are open to visitors. Everyone should visit Auschwitz at least once in their lives, it is a stern reminder of the horrors that human beings can inflict on each other and the only way to understand the extent and horror of the place and the atrocities that took place there.

Further information

Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial guided tour from Krakow

5. Schindler's Factory

The story of Oskar Schindler is well-known since Steven Spielberg's film Schindler’s List; however, despite the name of the museum, it covers all aspects of the German occupation of Krakow from 1939 to 1945 through a series of well-organised, interactive exhibits. Take a tram to Plac Bohaterów Getta, then follow ul Kącik east under the railway line to find the museum. Learn the story of Krakow and its inhabitants, both Polish and Jewish, during the war. The exhibition, ‘Krakow under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945’, is in the former administrative building of Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory. An amazing venue, not to mention subject!

Schindler's Factory tours and tickets

6. Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

The Krakow Cloth Hall dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognisable icons. Dominating the centre of the Main Market Square, this building was once the heart of Kraków’s medieval clothing trade. The hall was once a Gothic structure but rebuilt in the Renaissance style after a fire in 1555. On the ground floor, you’ll find craft and souvenir shops and on the upper floor is the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Painting.

7. St Mary's Basilica

Saint Mary’s Basilica is a striking 14th century brick Gothic church adjacent to the Main Market Square in Kraków, best known simply as St Mary’s. The church is dominated by two towers of different heights and is famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss, which took over 10 years to complete prior to it being consecrated in 1489. The altarpiece has a central panel and two pairs of side wings and is intricately carved in lime wood. It measures about 13m high and 11m wide and is the country's largest and most important piece of medieval art. On every hour, a trumpet signal called the Hejnał mariacki is played from the top of the taller of Saint Mary's two towers.

Further information

 8. National Museum

The National Museum in Krakow is the largest museum in Poland and also the main branch of Poland’s National Museum. The collections of the museum number almost 780 000 objects, with the core of the collection being Polish art. You’ll find the museum on ul. Piłsudskiego, around 500, west of the Old Town.

Further information.

9. Rynek Underground

Beneath the city of Krakow and housed within the underground corridors of the market square, you will find a museum, which showcases how the city looked and felt during the Middle Ages complete with stone roads with potholes made by cartwheels during the 13th century. It consists of an underground route through medieval market stalls and other long-forgotten chambers.

Krakow Main Market Square Underground Museum guided tour

10. Kościuszko Mound

Kościuszko Mound was erected in commemoration of the Polish military hero Tadeusz Kościuszko between 1820 and 1823. It stands 34m high and includes soil from both the Polish and American battlefields where Kościuszko fought. A serpentine path leads to the top with a panoramic view of the Vistula River and the city. The memorial is located in Zwierzyniec, 3km west of the Old Town.

Further information.

Adventure experiences Krakow

Things to do in Krakow

What to expect from this tour

Fuel up your adrenaline thirst with this special offer combining off-road quad biking and extreme shooting experience. This expedition includes shooting with specially selected guns from over 30 types of firearms like pistols, submachine guns, various AK rifles, shotguns, quad ride through rough terrain and to end your day roast some meat and sausages while taking a break by the bonfire.

To start the journey, a qualified instructor will get you briefly through safety instructions. Then, hop on your ATV and get through the off-road track in beautiful Kraków's outskirts landscape. After the ride, you can load out your emotions shooting some targets with a variety of firearms. At the end of the adventure, participate in a great BBQ with a lot of food, drinks and beer so you can enjoy your day off even more. This offer will pump you up with the adrenaline you need, and you will forget about the whole world and focus on having great fun in good company.

Krakow Old Town Tours & Experiences

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Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka

Wieliczka Salt Mine – Updated 23 August 2022

The salt mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site located around 14km southeast of Kraków and is one of Poland’s most popular attractions, welcoming tourists since 1722.

Wieliczka

Going underground

Wieliczka is a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels, shafts and chambers, underground saline lakes, chapels with altarpieces, majestic timber constructions and unique statues sculpted in rock salt. The size of the mine is staggering, it reaches a depth of 327m and extends via horizontal passages and chambers for over 287 km distributed over nine levels. Only a small part of the mine is open to the public.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Sculptures

The oldest sculptures were carved out of rock salt by miners; more recent figures have been fashioned by contemporary artists. Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. The rock salt is naturally grey in various shades, so that the carvings resemble unpolished granite rather than the white or crystalline look that many visitors expect. The carvings may appear white in the photos, but the actual carved figures are not white.

Chapel of St Kinga

The highlight of the mine is a vast chamber housing the ornamented Chapel of St Kinga. Everything that you will see within the chamber is made from salt including altarpieces and chandeliers. It took over 30 years for three sculptors to complete this underground temple, and about 20,000 tonnes of rock salt had to be removed. The rock salt in the mine resembles unpolished granite and its natural colour is grey, not white as many people might expect.

Salt Mine

The older sculptures have been supplemented with new carvings made by contemporary artists.

Working mine

Historically, Wieliczka was a working mine; however due to falling salt prices and flooding, commercial salt mining was discontinued. The mine has produced salt since the 13th century and was one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Salt Lake

Other highlights are the Salt Lake in the Erazm Barącz Chamber, whose water is denser than the Dead Sea, and the awe-inspiring 36m-high Stanisław Staszic Chamber.

If you’re worried about the air quality down there, great news: the mine’s special microclimate actually has a beneficial effect on asthma sufferers and those with allergies!

UNESCO World Heritage Site

378 steps

To get down to the 64-metre level of the mine, visitors must descend a wooden stairway of 378 steps. After the 3km tour of the mine’s corridors, chapels, statues and lake, 135 metres underground, visitors take an elevator back up to the surface. The elevator holds 36 persons (nine per car) and takes some 30 seconds to reach the surface.

Getting there

Getting to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow shouldn’t prove too difficult or expensive. Regular buses run from the top of Starowislna Street opposite the Main Post Office, taking around forty minutes to get there. Be warned that buses are a little cramped and we advise you check departure details at one of Krakow’s tourist information offices as these routes chop and change quite a bit. You’re best asking a friendly Pole where to get off too, as this is a public bus not a tourist service.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Tours & Experiences