In the Spring of 2018 Ivan and I made a trip through Germany, Poland and Czechia. On this trip we stayed a few days in Kraków and after we had visited the infamous death camps of Oświęcim (Auschwitz) we decided for some lighter items to fill our next day.
After Ivan received the recommendation to visit the salt mines in nearby Wieliczka we decided to try it out. As the Polish railways where in the middle of rebuilding the railways in the Kraków area there was only a very irregular train service to Wieliczka, and as I did not feel like figuring out how to use the local bus we took an Uber down to the salt mine from our hotel.
Arriving at the salt mines we could feel that this was very much a tourist attraction, there where lines everywhere. First we had to queue to get some tickets for a visiting slot with a tour guide, after which we quickly had to walk to another building to drop off Ivan’s backpack for storage as we were not allowed to take it along with us.
When it was our time to enter the mine shaft we received headphones and a radio transmitter so we could hear our guide better. Going down the mine we used stairs ever circling down a deep wood cladded shaft.
During the first part of the tour we mostly got an explanation of the history and workings of the mine and the effect it had on the region.
Further down the tour we got to see some of the spaces for which the mine is most famous, like a fully decorated church and other beautifully carved caverns. The entire mine is now a beautiful must–visit attraction, while there isn’t a lot to write about it the beautiful views you get inside are priceless.
After the tour we surfaced through another shaft in the centre of the small village and we had to walk across the village back to the main mine site where we had stored Ivan’s backpack before we could grab an Uber back into Kraków.
After arriving back in the city centre we decided to first go for a visit of the castle overlooking the city.
As we were quite late in acquiring tickets for the castle we only had 1 option for a guided tour of the royal apartments left. As it was in French we were very happy in that we were multilingual and that it did not pose a big problem for us. We got a nice tour of the royal apartments, and while they might not have been the nicest I have seen I still was happy to have walked around them.
Unfortunately photographing was forbidden inside, so you will have to come for a visit yourself to see what it is like.
We finished off the day by a walk through the quaint old town and along the former fortifications of the town, seeing some more beautiful buildings and monuments along the way.
All in all Kraków is worth a visit, but you can already see it is quickly becoming very touristy. If you get the chance to visit it, don’t hesitate and just go it still is one of the nicest places in the region.
Did you visit Poland or Kraków? And what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!