Visiting Bochnia Salt Mine
The Bochnia salt mine is an inactive salt mine located in the village of Bochnia, in the malopolskie region. It is the oldest salt mine in Poland, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013.
The origins of the Bochnia salt mine date all the way back to 1248. This was most likely the time, when rock salt deposits were discovered during the excavation of the existing brine wells. These wells, which were located not far from the Babica stream, became the origins of two shafts – Gazaris and Sutoris.
The salt mine in Bochnia was a royal business, which made plenty of money for Poland. Between the 13th century and 1772, it was part of the Krakow saltworks. During the activity of the Bochnia mine, the excavated salt was exported to Russia and Hungary.
In the beginning, rock salt was excavated in close proximity to each of the shafts. The chambers of the mine were not conected to each other, while the ventilation system was far insufficient. At that time, the miners had severe problems with oxygen deficiency, which caused them to faint and fall from wooden bridges while working.
After 1772, the Bochnia salt mine was taken over by Austria and remained under its control until 1918. In 1990, the Bochnia salt mine went out of business. It is currently available for sightseeing.
You can get to the salt mine in Bochnia from Krakow in about 40 minutes. The Bochnia salt mine has various routes that you can visit. Some of these routes include:
- The Tourist Route with the Underground Multimedia Exhibit – the main route in the Bochnia salt mine. It has unique salt chambers with a characteristic shape and geological system, stunning chapels and gorgeous sculptures carved in salt and a collection of old mining tools. The sightseeing on this route ends with a stay in the largest of all the chambers called Wazyn, which has a souvenir shop and a playground for children. You can purchase a ticket for this route at the following prices:
Normal tickets – 68 PLN (January-March, November and December) or 77 PLN (April-October)
Reduced tickets – 54 PLN (January-March, November and December), or 58 PLN (April-October)
Sightseeing on this route lasts approx. 3 hours. It is advised to take warm clothes and comfortable shoes. Although you can go inside the mine in a mining elevator, you should keep in mind that the mine includes walking down 700 steps.
- The nature route – this route leads along the raw interiors of the salt mine in Bochnia and allows visitors to get familiar with the geological history of the local salt deopsists. Tourists will have a chance to see rocks and minerals that create the deposits, as well as the local tufted insert, which is the remainings of ancient volcanic activity.
You can purchase a ticket for the nature route at the price of 58 PLN for a normal ticket or 52 PLN for a reduced ticket.
Sightseeing on this route last approx. 3 hours. It is only available for people without motor disability. Remember to take some warm clothes and comfortable shoes. Visiting this route is only possible with a guide.
The Bochnia salt mine also offers overnight stays, during which you can spend some unforgettable time in a unique microclimate and enjoy the silence and mysterious atmosphere. You can also enjoy attractions, such as riding down in a genuine mining elevator, a ride on an underground railway and even a miniature playground for children and a sport field.