Friday, 4 December 2015

Kraków, Poland - Wieliczka Salt Mine.

I've visited a lot of underground caves and mines over the years, but this was without a doubt the most spectacular. Wieliczka Salt Mine is famous for its underground church, with every sculpture and chandelier carved out of salt. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, if you have the time it's well worth a half day trip from Krakow.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Chapel Krakow Poland

Claire and I had already decided that we didn't want to visit Auschwitz, neither of us felt emotionally ready for such an excursion, and Claire had family who died there. We did want to do a trip outside of Krakow though, so after speaking to my Uncle we decided on Wieliczka Salt Mine. He raved about it and after looking at photos online we were sold.

Sheraton Hotel Krakow Breakfast

After a huge breakfast at our hotel, the Sheraton Krakow, we got a taxi to the salt mine, which is located just outside the city in the village of Wieliczka. It was quite confusing, with different signs telling you to go to different places. Eventually we figured it out and realised that the 'foreign' ticket office is outside in the freezing cold, while the Polish ticket office is inside in the warmth. Typical Eastern European hospitality eh. Welcome to Poland!

Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow Poland

We joined the 11am English tour, and descended down 378 steps, 210 feet below the ground. The steps took ages to climb down and made me go quite dizzy as you only go down five at a time before turning a sharp corner. We eventually got to the bottom and our guide told us to breathe in the air as deeply as possible while we were down there, as the minerals in the air are really good for your lungs! I wanted to get the full experience, so I took a puff of my asthma inhaler just to make sure my lungs got all the goodness of the minerals in the air from the rock salt!

Wieliczka Salt Mine Rock Salt Krakow Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow Poland

The tour was fascinating, but 30-60mins too long. It was two hours and to be honest, once you've seen one empty room made from salt you've seen them all. The ones I really enjoyed were the chapels, and lakes. In the emptier rooms they had lots of wax models, which made me leap back in horror and hide in the corner (I have a terrible phobia of them). 

Wieliczka Salt Mine Salt Water tunnel Krakow Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine Salt Water Krakow Poland

The history of the salt mines was really interesting, as it was originally opened in the 13th Century! Everything in the mine is carved out of the rock salt, and the detail in the chapels was honestly breathtaking. I mean, can you believe this incredible room is hundreds of feet under ground!?

Wieliczka Salt Mine Chapel Krakow Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine Chapel Salt Altar Krakow Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine Chapel Krakow Poland

At the end of the tour you get a lift back up to the top, but a word of warning - this is not for the claustrophobic! They're traditional miners lifts, which means you're shoved into a very small space with eight other people (trust me, it was worse than my rush hour commute on the London tube every morning), and then whizzed to the top at a very fast speed with air rushing by you as the edges of the lift are open.

We got a taxi back to our hotel in Krakow, and then slowly walked along the beautiful quiet back streets, finding a cute little square enroute, and towards the main square for lunch.

Exploring Krakow in Poland

Krakow church

French institute in Krakow Poland

Cute street in Krakow Poland

Cute square in Krakow Poland

We went to the famous Noworolski Cafe at the Cloth Hall, which was originally a confectioner's shop in 1910, and is currently owned by the same family who opened it (after a long break during WW2 when the Nazi's took it, and again in 1949 when the communists took it).

Noworolski Cafe Krakow Poland

Noworolski Cafe Krakow Poland

The cafe itself was beautiful, and the food was OK, but not as good as the food we'd had at Honey & Raspberry the previous day. After lunch we had another walk around the main square (I don't think walking around that beautiful square could ever get boring), took some photos, and then headed back to the hotel.

Krakow Poland Main square

Krakow Poland horse and carriage ride

Krakow Poland Main Square Tower
We had a dip in the pool, and then Claire had a massage while I watched National Geographic (it's one of my favourite channels, but I don't have it at home so have to make the most of it whenever I'm in a hotel). We then got changed and headed out for dinner.

I'm ashamed to say that we just weren't in the mood for Polish food after three very heavy Polish meals, so we went to a gorgeous Italian restaurant called Le Grande Mamma. We had delicious pizzas, and it was such a nice break from the heavy Polish food! We decided to skip dessert and also skipped the Polish bars we wanted to try, and instead opted to head back to the hotel for £3 cocktails (yes, even in a five star hotel bar the cocktails were still insanely cheap)! 

We sat in the bar for an hour or so sipping on vodka cocktails and chatting about our trip, and made plans for our last morning in Kraków. I can't wait to finally show you Krakow in the sunshine tomorrow!!

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  1. I would feel the same about Auschwitz though it's cool that you saw the salt mines. Definitely two hours is too long I would start to feel claustrophobic and miss daylight!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

  2. That square is stunning, Krakow has recently made it on to my 'want to visit list' so I'm very jealous of your trip! The salt mines sound cool but I totally know that feeling of 'once you've seen 3 temples, you've seen them all', haha. Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

  3. I'd love to visit Poland and the salt mine though I'm a bit claustrophobic so might have to skip the lift up and walk!

    Suze - Luxury Columnist

  4. The salt mines look beautiful!! I never managed to visit them when I was there but would love to go back!

    Ash | Liakada

  5. Ohh the salt mine looks so cool. I don't think I've visited one before. I've had Poland on my list to visit for ages, we might try and get there for Easter next year! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

  6. I recommend everyone to go to Wieliczka Salt Mine, an amazing trip :)

    KGrylek |


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