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Salt mines near Krakow?

Hi
Are the salt mines worth the visit?
We are adults traveling and wanted to do Auschwitz and the Salt mines as a day trip. Are they worth the visit?
Thank you

Posted by
5185 posts

Yes, but I would not try to squeeze them both in on one day - it's too much.

Posted by
308 posts

I had 4 days in Krakow, and am very glad I did both tours … on separate days.

I LOVED the (obligatory) guided tour of the Salt Mines. I hadn't been to anything like it before. The tour was very nicely done by a very engaging (English-speaking) guide. The salt carvings and figures are simply amazing. Every time I look at my pictures, I can't believe they were done in salt. A few of my favorites were Pope John Paul II, The Last Supper and The Chandelier.

I'm not clear on whether you're considering doing both in the same day, or each as separate day trips. I went to Auschwitz and the Salt Mines on separate days and am very glad I did. It would have made for a long day to do both. Plus, for me, after Auschwitz, I wanted to go off and contemplate, reflect on what I had seen and heard. I wouldn't have been in the right state of mind to fully enjoy the Salt Mines afterwards. And it wouldn't have felt appropriate, for me.

Posted by
476 posts

They are both very much worth the visit. We did them as a day tour from Krakow. I hadn't prearranged anything, but looking at bus tours from our hotel, they suggested that since there were 3 of us, hiring a private driver connected with them would be cheaper and easier. We first went to Auschwitz and Birkenau and were able to go at our own pace, then went to the Wieliczka Salt Mines later in the afternoon. We found the driver very pleasant and reasonable, and arranged a trip the next day to the Tatra mountains in Zakapone--southern Poland near the border with Slovakia.

Posted by
1711 posts

My wife and I did both as separate day trips last May. Both are worth a visit. The downside is that Auschwitz takes some time to get to, and then you end up waiting around for your tour (we waited about an hour). We also waited on the bus as they picked up at every hotel and dropped at every hotel. Of course we were first on and last off and some people weren't ready to meet the bus, and then the driver had to go looking for them at the hotel, etc. Plus the time on the bus. So it was a bit frustrating but worth it. Go with a tour company where you meet at one central location. We took one that left at noon so we still had the morning to do as we pleased. The overall professionalism of tour companies in Poland is lower than what you might expect in other parts of Europe. It was still a good visit. The salt mine was also great, though a bit long at close to three hours. We probably could have done with an hour an a half. For this one we took a late afternoon tour so we still had most of the day to do other things. It depends upon how many other days you have in Krakow. We had four nights and arrived around 6 p.m. the first day. With these two tours on different days that only left us with one full day in Krakow. I could have used another day. There are tours that do both on one day, but in my opinion, that would be way too much. They are not the same direction from Krakow and it's something like an 11-hour tour.

Posted by
12858 posts

You can also take a public bus to Auschwitz, which will at least eliminate the need to drive around Krakow, pickup up people at a bunch of hotels. You'll still need to arrive early at Auschwitz to be sure you don't miss your pre-booked tour (you do that on the official website; it's very easy).

I haven't been to the salt mine and have not researched whether it is feasible to do that by public transportation. I'm sure that's covered in all the guidebooks.

Posted by
3927 posts

I think the salt mines were worth it, especially if you've never been in one. But it depends on how much total time you have to spend in Kraków, and whether you would be giving up other things that are more worthy.

Posted by
1711 posts

When we were there in May 2018, we intended to visit the salt mine on our own but were informed at the train station that the usual train did not run in the middle of the day (from 10-4) due to work on the tracks. One would hope that work would be done by now, but you never know.

Posted by
10520 posts

I got to the salt mines by public bus, so even if the train is not running, there is that alternative.

Posted by
84 posts

HI
thanks for all the information. We are looking to do a private group tour for a few days from Prague to Krakow. So putting a lot of stuff into a short period of time. Trying to figure out how to make it all work. What else would you recommend as a must see in Krakow?

Posted by
251 posts

I did both and they were both very worthwhile. I started out on a day tour (they sell them all over Krakow) that was to cover both, but didn't realize it would go back into Krakow in between them, so when it did I asked the driver/guide if I could do the salt mine the following day and they said yes. So ended up doing Auschwitz one day and the salt mines the next and think that worked out best.

Old town Krakow has amazing architecture so just wandering around is wonderful. The castle and the university are also worthwhile. Here is the trip report I wrote about my five day visit to Krakow : https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/krakow-with-photos-1026941/

And here are the photos - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p107489376

Posted by
3927 posts

Things worth seeing in Kraków: yes, the Wawel Castle, adjacent to the old town area. Its all very walkable. Schindler's factory and the old Jewish quarter. Da Vinci's Lady with Ermine, if you're interested in art. Wandering the old market. The Church with the legend of the trumpeter (St Mary's?). A very helpful guide to use is the InYourPocket Guide: Krakow, which you can download from the InYour Pocket website (which has interactive map features. Probably one of those available for Prague as well.

Posted by
12250 posts

Schindler's Factory is an excellent museum. I took two of the free walking tours (Old Town and Jewish Krakow). They were both excellent. You could probably arrange private walking tours with them.

Posted by
4 posts

We were in Krakow 2 years ago and we used Krakowdiscovery.com for visit both trips in one day. Unfortunately, but we had only 3 days in Krakow so we wanted to see as more as possible. First day we were on trip to Auschwitz and Salt Mine. Next day we have seen Old Town and then we went to visit Nowa Huta (communism district). Last day in Krakow we spent in Jewish area and Podgorze district.

Posted by
38 posts

Both Auschwitz concentration camp and Wieliczka Salt mine are worth visiting, but it's better to split the visit into 2 days.

After Auschwitz you will probably need mental rest (maybe some peaceful walk), but definitely not rushing into Wieliczka mine.

Have a look at this posts to get some more ideas about southern Poland must-see places:
https://overhere.eu/blog/krakow-zakopane-trip-5-day-itinerary/
https://overhere.eu/blog/9-best-places-to-visit-in-southern-poland/
https://overhere.eu/blog/the-best-polish-mountains-in-a-nutshell/