The Wieliczka salt mines tour is a popular attraction for visitors to Kraków, Poland. Visiting Poland’s salt mines with kids, even babies or toddlers, can easily be done, but parents should be well prepared. The guided tour of the Wieliczka salt mines takes awhile to complete, and the mines are cold. But the experience is well worth it, and I think even kids will enjoy and learn something during your visit.
Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour in Poland
Wieliczka is located just outside of Krakow, Poland, about a 20 minute drive from Old Town. We rented a car and drove ourselves. There is paid parking near the salt mines, and parking attendants to direct you. For visitors to Poland, it costs roughly $21 US a person for the basic tour. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the mines, and they do take credit cards. If you aren’t booking in advance, I would recommend planning a tour earlier in the day, as the afternoon tours book up fast. The mines open at 8am. We arrived around 9am and didn’t have to wait very long.
History of the Wieliczka Salt Mines
Centuries ago, salt was a major trading commodity. Before the age of refrigeration, salt was the only means of food preservation. So where there were salt mines, there was also great wealth. The Wieliczka salt mines have a rich history, all detailed in the guided tour and illustrated throughout the mines in beautiful sculptures carved our of salt rocks.
Wieliczka Salt Mine tour with kids
Touring the salt mines in Poland is a great experience, but one we considered skipping since we were traveling with a toddler. While it had its challenges, we still took our chances and booked the Wileliczka salt mine tour. The only way to visit the Wieliczka salt mines is on a guided tour. We typically avoid guided tours like the plague right now because toddlers are unpredictable and often (always) unruly. But we made an exception to visit this popular and historical attraction made entirely of salt.
Tips for touring the Wieliczka salt mines with a baby or toddler
Having made the decision to book a guided tour with our toddler, we planned ahead, hoping to keep her entertained enough that she wouldn’t bother others in our group. Here are a few things to know if touring the Wieliczka salt mines with kids – especially little ones.
Keep in mind, you will be visiting a mine deep under the earth’s surface. It is cold in the mines and you need to dress you and your little one accordingly. No need to bundle up in coats and hats. But dress in long sleeves and pants. I wore a fleece pullover and was comfortable.
The mines are not stroller friendly. There are lots and lots of stairs. Don’t worry, you only have to walk down them. You’ll take an elevator out at the end. But with that said, a stroller won’t work. Even though our toddler was old enough to walk at the time, my husband wore her in a child carrier. It made the tour much easier, kept her contained, and luckily she loves being in the “pack”, as we affectionately call it. There is a lot of walking, so be prepared to wear or carry your child for at least part of the way.
The Wieliczka salt mines tour takes approximately three hours. And once you start the guided tour, you’re committed. There is no place to bail out early if your child gets fussy. So plan accordingly. We brought snacks, an iPhone loaded with cartoons, and a stuffed animal. Still, our daughter got a little fussy during the tour. We stayed toward the back of the tour group so we didn’t bother anyone. Although the guide is with you the entire time, you listen to him speak on a headset, so luckily our fussy toddler was my causing too much of a disruption… except for us.
Kids may get bored
You may find the mines fascinating and remarkably beautiful, but your kids won’t appreciate the age-old carvings and lessons in Polish history. They will probably like the salt mine tour for a little while because it’s something new and unique, but toddlers especially will get bored. So be prepared and find creative ways to make the tour fun for them, as well.
Other things to know about the polish salt mine tour
There are stands outside the mines that sell food and drinks, as well as a snack bar and gift shop half way through the tour. A restaurant and another gift shop are located at the end of the tour. There are also bathrooms at the halfway point.
Photography is also an issue. You have to pay extra to bring a camera inside, and the lighting is dim in most places and you’re constantly moving, which made it difficult to truly capture quality photos.
Have you been to the Polish Salt Mines in Wieliczka? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts or any questions you have about the Wieliczka salt mine tour!