I am wondering if it is better to purchase tickets/tour of the Krakow salt mine prior to leaving the U.S. or if it is ok to buy the tickets/tour once I am in Krakow. We will be on a RS tour (Eastern Europe).
Are you going during a particularly busy time (i.e. summer) or with a group? Those are the only two considerations to advance tickets I can see....in worst case, you'll have to stand in line to get tickets. Alternatively, just buy them online a few days ahead (but no need to buy them months ahead).
The site itself confirms no need to buy individual tickets in advance.
By the way, this is a fantastic attraction to tour...you'll have a great time.
Thanks! We will be there in September.
I will also be there in September. I looked at the website (thanks Agnes - your info is always so helpful).
You must visit with a tour. If you want an English tour, advanced ticket times are 7.50, 8.30, 9.00 and 9.30 in the morning, then another 3, from 6 pm every half hour. The tour takes 2 hours (3 if you include the museum, which RS says is a waste of time). From what I can figure, the foreign language tours are fixed. There are some Polish tours that can be booked in advance. The site says that groups of about 35 are organized ad hoc as people arrive with no more than a 1 hour wait, so presumably there is the possibility of turning up and joining a Polish tour if the English tours are sold out. In mid-September, sunset's about 6.45 pm, so taking an evening tour means finishing between 8-9 pm and still having the 40 minute bus ride back to Krakow. I didn't see it - or look for it - on the website but the RS book says you can join a Polish tour and rent an audio guide for 10zl.
What I don't understand is that the website also says: Tours for individual tourists . . . in English . . . are organized . . . All year round, every 30 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
We will be on the Eastern Europe beginning 9/1, and also want to go. Have you planned other trips during our free time?
I emailed the RS office and went with their suggestion of booking through cracowcitytours.com for transfers from krakow to the salt mine and back. I'm looking forward to seeing this place!
Just so you know, it's also very easy to get there by public transport. The directions and map are on the link.
If possible buy tickets on-line - it will save a lot of your time in Wieliczka.
Second thing: do not skip the Square in Wieliczka where you can enjoy very tasty food for half of the prices you get in Krakow (or even less) + they made an interesting 3D painting on the Square in Wieliczka :)
Have a great time in Poland!
It is a 20-minute ride from Krakow to Wielicka (stop: Wielicka Rynek-Kopalnia) with two trains per hour (at around 10 and 40 past the hour). It is probably not necessary, but have a look at GoogleMaps or OpenStreetMap for the less than 10-minute walk from the station to the salt mine. Write down your destination when buying the tickets, and it can't go wrong. Much nicer to do it on your own than being shuttled.
Jamie, My wife and I were on the Eastern Europe tour last September and we visited the salt mine. It is not part of the tour agenda. Our guide was very good about letting us know what to do on our free time and there were several of us who had the desire to go. She arranged the whole outing. She secured the tour company who transported us to the site. I don't remember if we paid her or the tour company but we thought it was so interesting. We are so glad we went. I think 12 of our tour members signed up. We have a good friend who lives in our town and is from Poland. She told us it was a "must see". My suggestion is to consult with your tour guide. Hope you have a wonderful tour. Our guide was Katka and she was amazing.