advertisement

Believe it or not, a visit to an abandoned salt mine is far and away the most popular daytrip from Kraków. Of course, the Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia Soli Wieliczka), located in the suburb of Wieliczka about 16km (10 miles) from Kraków, is no ordinary salt mine. It's listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws something like a million people a year. The main attraction is not the salt itself, but rather what a number of talented miners and artisans through the ages have managed to do with it, carving out amazingly ornate chambers, cathedrals, and statues. A visit here takes about 3 hours, and you'll want to leave a good half-day for it. Many travel agencies offer Wieliczka tour packages, complete with transportation and a guide. This is a good hassle-free way to do it; alternatively, Wieliczka is an easy 20-minute drive from Kraków and also easily reachable by minibus or train. Several tour operators also offer combined Wieliczka-Auschwitz tours, presumably for people who have only one day and want to do it all. Resist the temptation to do this. It's far too physically and psychologically ambitious. If you've got only a day for the environs of Kraków, you're better off choosing one or the other.