Everything you need to know about Wieliczka Salt Mine || Visiting Krakow, Poland

This post might contain affiliates links. This mean that if you buy anything by clicking on one of the links, I might earn small commission (for which I will be very grateful) with no extra cost to youViator

I visited Wieliczka Salt Mine as part of my trip to Krakow. I remember going there once before as a kid when I was still at school but I could not remember much about the place itself. Plus, I thought it will also be fun for Chris to discover a little bit more of my country’s history and heritage. Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most visited places in Poland, for a reason. In this post you will find out everything you need to know about Wieliczka Salt Mine to make sure your visit as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland
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How to get there

We drove to Wieliczka Salt mine from Krakow. It took us around 40 mins to get there. You can also get there very easily by public transport. If you decide to drive, there are lots of parking spaces right by the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The parking charges are per hour stay. They will charge you before you leave, so you don’t need to stress about your ticket running out during your tour. Another very popular options is organised tours from Krakow. To be sure that the tour you are booking is legit, use Viator.com

Wieliczka Salt Mine Tickets

If you are not part of an organised tour, getting tickets can be a bit challenging. We got there just after 10am and the queues to the ticket office were horrendous. There was a separate ticket office for polish speaking tourists and a different one for foreign speakers. All the tickets were sold for specific hourly slots. I will recommend that if you want to start exploring first thing in the morning you need to be there super early or book your tickets online (minimum 3 days earlier). The foreign language tours are normally less frequent than the Polish tours. English speaking tours starting every half hour, which I guess is not too bad. The ticket prices vary, depending on the season and tour language. For the English speaking tour we paid 90 PLN per person. I also had to buy a permit to take pictures or videos during the tour. It was only 10 PLN. I bought the permit as I did not want to risk not having any photos to share with you guys, but to be honest, I wish I hadn’t bothered as no-one even checked it. In fact, there was only a few of us that had one, yet everyone was taking pictures.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland || Wall made out of salt
Crystallised Salt on the walls of Wieliczka Salt Mines

Wieliczka Salt Mine tour

There are two different routes you can take. The tourist route is the standard one and also the most popular one. Thats the route we took during our visit. The are 3 other routes available: Miners route, Pilgrim route and the Secret route.

At the beginning of our tour we were given a headset with radios so we were able to listen to our tour guide. To start our exploring we had to walk down 1000’s of stairs. Ok maybe not a 1000 but 350 – to go 93 metes underground. This was only small part of the actual mines. We learnt from our tour guide that the entire Wieliczka salt mine is spread across 9 levels in totals, 327 meters underground. Our tour lasted about 2.5 hours covering around 3 km of corridors which covered only 1% of the mine. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. The average temperature in the mines is around 16 degree Celsius, so don’t forget to take a jumper.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland || The underground corridors
Underground corridors

Our tourist tour covered 20 chambers. Each one, representing different part of the Wieliczka Salt Mines history. Each Station we visited was discussed in detail by our tour guide. This is also a fun way for kids to learn history and interesting facts. The other fun thing was that you could lick the walls in every chamber.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland || Queen Kinga's chamber
Queen Kinga’s Chamber

After our guided tour was over, we had time to explore rest of the mine by ourselves. As part of our ticket, we were able to access the Ballroom, 3D cinema and Museum. The museum itself is an additional 2 hours of exploring. There was also a souvenir shop, cafe and restaurant serving traditional Polish food.

To be honest with you, our guided tour was a bit exhausting so we decided to skip the cinema and museum part. Gives us an incentive to come back again.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland || the ballroom
The Ballroom with chandelier made out of salt

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland || Interactive screensInteractive screens showing informations about different minerals

Interesting facts about Wieliczka Salt mine

Wieliczka Salt is part of a complex that includes a Hotel & SPA and Graduation Tower. Both of them are at additional cost to the Wieliczka Salt Mine ticket. You do not need to prebook tickets to the Graduation Tower. All treatments and accommodation in the health centre need to be pre-booked in advance.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines || Graduation Tower

For a fee of 6000 PLN you can get married in the Wieliczka Salt Mines. The ceremony needs to be in the evening after the mine is closed to tourists. Pretty cool way to get married if you ask me 😉 You can also rent out the ballroom for other private events such as business meetings or parties.

The chandeliers inside the Wielicza Salt mines are made out of salt. They looked absolutely incredible in real life.

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland || Chandaller made out of salt

Visiting Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland || Chandaller made out of salt

In 2017 the Wieliczka Salt Mine was visited by over 1.7 million tourists, which so far, was a record breaking year for this UNESCO landmark

You can do the Mystery of Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour which takes you off-track of the normal tourist route. The tour lasts around 4 hours and is the most difficult of all the tours on offer. You will be given a helmet, headlight and health & Safety brief like a proper miner. The tour takes you through unique, dark corridors that are not open to the rest of the public. This tour needs to be booked at least 2 weeks in advance.

In 1996 Wieliczka Salt Mines officially closed its doors, but due to the constant flooding the water needed to be removed leaving Wieliczka Salt Mines with 35 tonnes of salt per day. This might sound like a crazy amount of salt, but is not as much if you compare it with other salt mines in Europe that produce nearly 50 tonnes of salt a day!

If you want to check the opening times or book tickets, visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines Website

Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoyed this post, share it with the rest of the world 🙂

Love, Natalia

Guide on how to plan your road trip across Europe || everything you need to know before your drive

This post might contain affiliates links. This mean that if you buy anything by clicking on one of the links, I might earn small commission (for which I will be very grateful) with no extra cost to you

Viator

Chris and I very often go on a road trip. Mainly around Europe, with our most recent ones being Monaco ( you can read about it here) & South of France. We also have an upcoming trip to Poland in August.

A part from driving on the other side of the road you need to take into consideration different laws across Europe and all the essential equipment you need to buy before your journey. Below you will find my checklist we use rigorously every time we travel abroad in our car

It’s all about preparation 😉

Planning your Road trip

With todays technology this is pretty easy. All you need to do is type into Google your current location and your destination point and everything will update itself. Google maps will calculate the best route for you, including estimated journey time. All you need to do is plan for your break stops and potentially overnight stay- depending how far you travelling. Again, you can add all your stop points into your journey planner on Google maps.

My other favourite app to use is Waze. Waze give you live updates on the traffic situation and best routes to take to avoid being stuck for hours. You can also set up your arrival time and the application will calculate exactly what time you need to leave based on the current traffic situation. It will also send you a notification if you need to leave earlier than originally planned- so clever!

Remember to take into consideration any toll roads and the cost of them. Some can be very pricy. For example drive from Dover to Monaco cost us over £100.00!!! I almost had a heart attack every time I had to pay. Alternatively, plan your journey to avoid paid roads.

Book your crossing to the other side

You have only 2 options really. Eurotunnel or Ferry. We find that ferry’s are normally cheaper and more reliable when it comes to time keeping. Especially during summer. When you traveling by ferry you can spend the time shopping in duty free shops, grab something to eat or have a quick power nap. The disadvantage is that they take little longer to cross the sea. Also if you travel with your pet, you need to leave him in the car by himself which I think is very unfair as they don’t know what is going on.

Eurotunnel is definitely more convenient. Firstly, the time of the crossing is half compared to ferry. You can also stay in your car with your pet. The tickets are normally more expensive to ferry crossing, plus I don’t think I have ever been on a Eurotunnel that left on time.

Check your Road trip kit

This is probably one of the most important points. The fact you come from a different country doesn’t give you the excuse to not follow the law in the country you are in, even if you only driving through it.

Check the most common road laws of the country’s you are going to visit so you have a rough guide on what to buy such as lights deflectors, warning triangle, high-vis jackets or alcohol breathalyser. You will also need to check what is required in your first aid box. Make sure all of those are easy accessible from the driver/ front passenger seat. You don’t want to be unpacking your car on the hard shoulder in a search of warning triangle.

8 tips you need to know before you go on a road trip around Europe
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Good Samaritan law

Good Samaritan law is followed in most European countries. It means that if you see a road traffic accident you need to stop and help to best of your capabilities.Even if you don’t know the basic first aid, you could potentially saves someone’s life just by calling an ambulance. The Good Samaritan law varies from country to country so make sure you are familiar with all the details before you travel. You can read more about it here

Car checks

Before any travels you should have your car checked professionally. Make sure that everything is in working order, you have spare tyre and all liquids are topped up, such as oil and windscreen spray. When travelling with your pet ensure you have special seatbelt or cage for them, so they are secured during your journey.

Petrol stops

You are going to spend a fair bit of time on the motorways and as we all know, motorway petrol prices are rocket high. By coming off the motorway and driving an extra couple of miles you can reduce the cost drastically. The Waze app is brilliant for this. It will not only show you petrol stations near your location, but it will tell you exactly how far off your route they are and what is the cost per litre. You will be surprised how much prices can very in 20 miles radius. We normally try to combine petrol stops together with rest breaks. We found that Supermarkets are the best for this as they have best of both, cheap petrol and cheap food. The toilets are also much cleaner than the ones at the services, plus they are free.

Currency

When traveling anywhere in the world having local currency is a must. But traveling across Europe you need to remember to buy small amount of currency’s of the country’s that you are going to visit on your way. Its important to have few coins with you just in case you need to pay for the toilet

Prepare your Road trip playlist

This is a must! Can you imaging traveling for so long without listening to your fave tunes and singing along?! Of course you also have an option of listening to local radio station playing German Hip- Hop or French pop.

I love a road trip! Even if they take longer than flying, sometimes can be boring and super tiring especially when you are the driver. Road trips give you freedom of going any place you want, discover areas that you would not necessary visit or change your plans last minute without having to worry about changing your flights etc. If you want to stay somewhere for longer or you want to move on onto the next place without hanging around. Traveling by car gives you freedom!

Thanks for reading my blog. Follow my Instagram to see pictures from my travels and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss any of my posts!

Love, Natalia

Exploring Monaco on a budget || visiting Cote d’azur

This post might contain affiliates links. This mean that if you buy anything by clicking on one of the links, I might earn small commission (for which I will be very grateful) with no extra cost to you

Viator

Monaco is one of the most beautiful places I have been to. No matter which part of the city you visit, you will be surrounded by stunning scenery, amazing architecture and super friendly people. Monaco is also very safe and clean which makes discovering the city even more enjoyable.

View of Monaco

View of Monaco

Monaco

Monaco

The Principality of Monaco is classified as one of the most luxurious holiday destinations where the rich & famous spend their summer. After visiting Monaco myself in June I have a few tips on how to have a great time without going bankrupt.

Below you will find a list of all the things I did in Monaco for free or a very small fee.

The ultimate guide on how to visit Monaco on a budget
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Monaco’s Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens are located in the heart of Monaco. They are free to enter and they are absolutely stunning. The actual gardens are not very big and you could probably walk around in about half an hour, but you could easily spend an entire day there. Relaxing on the bench, watching the world go by.

Japanes Gardens in Monaco

Japanes Gardens in Monaco

Japanes gardens in Monaco

Japanes Gardens in Monaco

Japanes Gardens in Monaco

Monaco Marina

We had great time just walking around, looking at the crazy expensive boats and googling who they belong to. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot some celebrities, but they are like vampires- only coming out at night 😉

For a €2 per person you can take short boat trip from one end of Marina to the other.

Monaco Marina full of boats and yachts

Lunch with a view

Yes, you can queue forever to get to a swanky restaurant with a beautiful view just so they can sit you in a dark corner right by the toilets and charge you a fortune for the pleasure or… You can go to the local supermarket, buy your lunch and eat it on a bench in the marina. Super markets in Monaco have delicious freshly made sandwiches, cakes and freshly squeeze orange juice for a fraction of the price. You can also buy small glasses of wine- you’re on holiday after all 😉

Delicious cakes in Monack

Delicious cakes in Monaco

Delicious cakes in Monaco

Monaco Old Town

There is so much to see in the old town. From beautiful panoramic views of the City, to changing of the guards in front of the Palace. You can spend hours walking around small, narrow streets looking around local shops and cafes.

Monaco old town

Monaco Royal Palace in Old town

Monaco old town

Monaco Old town

St Nicholas Cathedral

A short walk from the palace there is the beautiful St Nicholas Cathedral. Unfortunately for us there was a First Communion happening that day, so we could not go inside, but even from outside it was spectacular!

St Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco

St Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco

The Oceanographic Museum

Another spectacular building inside the walls of Monaco is The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Yes, you do have to pay to go inside but even walking around it is amazing. The building is surrounded by stunning gardens and amazing view of the coastline.

Octopus outside of Oceanographic Museum in Monaco

Oceanographic Museum in Monaco

Gardens in Monaco old town

The Train

There is a Monaco tour train. It leaves from outside of Oceanographin Museum and it costs only €10 per adult. In my opinion it’s worth doing. The Train goas round the old town, crossing the Grand Prix start line. You will be able to see all tbe major landmarks like Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel de Paris. It also goes past the exclusive, members only Yacht Club. Each seat is suppiled with headphones, so you can listen to a guide and learn some interesting facts.

Monaco Turist train

Church in Monaco

Grand Prix start line in Monaco

Hotel De Paris in Monaco

Monte Carlo Casino

You need to have quite a substantial amount of money to go inside and of course follow the dress code. But it is absolutely free to stand outside and watch all the super cars drive past. Monte Carlo Casino is where James Bond was filmed so you definitely can’t miss it.

You’ll notice that Monaco is full of red Ferraris driving around. That because for €180 You can rent one to live the high life for half an hour

Monte Carlo Cassino in Monaco

Monte Carlo Cassiono in Monaco

Monte Carlo Cassino in Monaco

Exotic Gardens of Monaco

At the top of town there is a beautiful cactus garden- Le Jardine Exotique. The entrance wasn’t very expensive- I think it was around €12 but you will definitely spend a couple of hours there. Included in the price of the ticket, is a tour around the caves. Plus the views of Monaco from the gardens are just stunning. Definitely a must!

Exotic Cactus garden in Monaco

Exotic cactus gardens in Monaco

Exotic gardens in Monaco

Exotic gardens in Monaco

view of Monaco

Cavew in Monaco

View of Monaco

Public Transport

If you don’t fancy walking around in the heat you can easly discover the City using the public transport. Buses cost only couple of euros per journey. Public transport is very punctual and clean.

Shop till you drop

Monaco is full of designer shops such as Gucci, Chanel and Hermes. Yes, you need to be super rich to buy anything, but if you are like me, it’s fun just to walk around and look at the beautiful creative windows. You can also have fun trying on things and just pretend you have all the intention to buy something. If you’re a good at pretending and don’t look completly like a tourist, most shops will over you a complimentary glass of bubbly. #livingthehighlife

Shopping in Monaco

Gucci Shop in Monaco

Get stamped

If you visit tourist office, you can get your passport stamped absolutely free. Nice little souvenir to remaind you of your holiday

Stampped passport

Walk the Walk

Spend time walking the streets and discovering the city. Each corner hides beautiful building’s, independent cafes and shops full of unique product. When you walking around all you can hear is super cars raving their engine’s.

Caffe in Monaco

The Square in Monaco

Accommodation

Hotels in Monaco can get booked up very fast, especially during summer. Plus, the prices are rocket high. Staying in the local villages can save you little fortune. On top of that, it will give you the opportunity to discover local area and get dinner in nice restaurant for much less that you would of paid in Monaco. We stayed in beautiful village of Roquerbrune-Cap-Martin only 5 mins train ride from Monaco that we booked through Booking.com. You can read more about our accommodation here.

To see more pictures from my travels head over to my Instagram and hit that follow button 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Love, Natalia

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