Visiting a Salt Mine in Poland

Most people make it a point to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp when they arrive to Kraków, and so it makes sense that it's most famous day trip from Kraków, Poland. However, I've been to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp when I was visiting Berlin last winter, and didn't want to have the same gripping experience (although I must say, if you've never been to any concentration camp tours, you should go for the Auschwitz tour when you're in Krakow! The reviews are GREAT!), so I decided against visiting the Auschwitz camp. Still, I was intending on going for another day trip as I had quite a fair bit of time in Kraków. The other great day-trip option recommended by the hostel I was staying at was the Salt Mine Tour, so I decided to give it a shot.

The Wielickzka Salt Mine Tour costed approximately 21-ish euros, inclusive of transport. Although one could go without a guide, I was really glad I went with one.

image of the wooden stairs down Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland
Chamber sign in Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

It was a blazing hot day in Kraków that day, as expected from the past few days I was there, but since the salt mine was located about several hundred metres below ground, it was a cool 15 degrees!

The tour started off with a long climb down a probably a hundred steps (maybe more - it was just never ending) and then straight into a few dark alleys. Since it was so dark down in the mines, it was quite annoying to take have to adjust the lighting and camera settings for pictures. BUT what you see is so unlike anything ever!

Walking through the barracks of Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland
Structures, displays and lake in Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

Our guide took us through the mine, and explained how people used to mine salt, the use of animals like horses. We found out that some horses were down in the mine for 20 years! Can you believe it?! Because it's difficult to transport them down and up, stables were built IN the mine for the horses to live 300 over metres below ground.

There were so many different structures and figurines made out of salts. Although they look opaque and stone-like, when the guide shined a light on the structures, you could tell that it is made of salt because it was clear.

I've never been to a salt mine, or any kind of mine, so I was really impressed. The floors in the mine was made out of salt, the walls were made of salt, the ceilings were also made of salt, almost everything was made of sodium chloride.
Literally. Salt. The salt you can eat.

Salt structure in the  Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland
Salt Details in Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland
Ceiling made of salt in  Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

Our guide also told us how the different types of salts were formed. There were the ones they call cauliflower which is a less valuable variety - something like common salt i'd assume, and other salt crystals which are stronger, and colourless, those are more precious ones.

Speaking of the salt mine being made out of salt you can eat, our guide told us, "You can taste the walls if you want, to see if its made of salt." Everyone just laughed thinking it was a joke, but then someone asked if it was dirty, and turns out, the salt surface is one of the cleanest surfaces because it has very few bacterial matter on it.

Anyway, all that explanation is to say that I TASTED THE WALL. I know some people would find it gross, but I'm pretty daredevil when it comes to tasting and trying weird stuff, so.... Yeah. The walls were salty. Very Salty.

Story of the salt mines in salt carving in the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland
Colorful lights on the salt structures in Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland
Salt structures in Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

In some parts of the mines, there were beautiful structures of dragons, dwarfs and other characters that children can relate to, those were apparently part of a kids education programme. However, most of the original sculptures were carved out and designed by the miners who worked in the mines during their free time.

The most impressive part was the underground church.
The chandeliers were made of salt crystals, the sculptures, the whole room practically, was designed and decorated by a few miners DURING THEIR FREE TIME.
I cannot comprehend how insanely talented and amazing these miners were. They did it not out of an order, but just out of the willingness of their heart, and they created something so beautiful.

Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland cathedral and chandeliers underground
Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland cathedral chandeliers detail
Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland salt crystal chandelier
The last supper salt carving in Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

The most well-known decorative piece was the carving above of the last supper. Although it looks like its super 3 dimensional and thick, it was only about 12mm in thickness. I'd never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. The illusion created by the miners is so clever!

Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland Mother Mary Salt Statue structure
Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland collage

Apart from having daily tours of the place, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is also used as a place for functions and weddings. I think it's so interesting how people choose to have their wedding ceremonies and parties in spaces like these. According to our guide it costs about 200 000 euros to hold wedding reception in the Salt Mines!

Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland Reception and function area
Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland Souvenirs and Jewellery
UNESCO World Heritage Site Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland

To be honest, I've never heard about the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Kraków, if not for my hostel, i'd probably never get to experience a place like this.

Initially, I considered just staying in the main city centre of Kraków and not venturing out. But the hostel staff and other people I met whilst staying there convinced me that it was a place worth visiting, and I absolutely agree.

Most people have never heard of the salt mines near Kraków, so they don't plan enough time to visit it whilst they're there. Remember to do so if you ever do visit  Kraków!
P.S. You usually get a cheaper deal if you book to visit both Auschwitz and the Salt Mines!

Visiting a Salt Mine in Kraków Poland

6 July 2015 Wieliczka Salt Mine, Daniłowicza 10, 32-020 Wieliczka, Poland

Krakow's Wawel Castle, jewish quarter and polish food in Kraków, Poland

The heat in Kraków was so intense, that coming from London, I completely did NOT expect it. Half the time I was decked out in shorts and still perspiring profusely - is this TMI for a start of a blog post? Anyway, apart from hanging out in the Main Square of Kraków, I explored other areas of Kraków during my time there.

Kraków is relatively small, and the hostel I stayed at was rather central and located super near to the train station. This made walking around the city incredibly easy, so I managed to see most of Kraków in the few days I was there.

Landscape panorama of Kraków, Poland from Wawel Castle
River of Kraków, Poland from the wawel castle
Accommodation Info | Greg and Tom Hostel
+ Very near the train station
+ People in the hostel are SUPER friendly - Nice home-y environment
+ You could chill at the lounge and they'd give you free beer and POPCORN <3
- Communal Showers (some people might dislike but I thought it was totally fine, showers were clean, and decent. That's all that mattered to me)
- No lift!
Although the hostel was lovely, there weren't any curtains (or maybe there were just that no one bothered to draw them), this meant that every morning at about 4 or 5 the sun would have risen, they skies bright and blue, and my natural body clock would go off as I kept thinking it was already 7 or 8. This repeated itself almost every day.

In the name of embracing it, I was usually out of the door around 8 or 9 in the morning.
One morning, I was once again unable to go back to sleep. So I got out of bed, got ready and headed towards the Wawel Castle with the hope of avoiding the crowds.

Outfit Shot at the Wawel Castle in Kraków, Poland
Picture of The Wawel Castle Courtyard in Kraków, Poland
Image of the architecture and facade of the wawel castle in krakow

Sadly, upon arriving at the castle, I saw HEAPS of tour groups, from older asians, to teenagers and even little kids sitting around waiting to get their tickets.
I walked one full round around the castle, into the lovely courtyard (free to enter but so crowded!), and decided not the queue to go into a castle. I mean, a castle is a castle is a castle... right? Thats what I told myself to ease my FOMO.

Instead, I hung around the garden just in front of the castle for a bit, looking at the lovely flowers and taking several pictures, before heading off to look for the Fire Breathing Dragon of an attraction - the Wawel Dragon. Sadly, I had to wait around for the dragon to breathe fire out of its mouth. It happens every 5 minutes, for just a couple of seconds, you totally have to be on standby for a photo!

Wawel dragon breathing fire out in Kraków, Poland
Summer outfit in Kraków, Poland featuring river island top and sheinside shorts and shoes

After spending a couple of hours in the area of the Wawel castle and dragon, I headed off towards the Jewish Quarter to find some lunch and explore that region.
Kraków's Jewish Quarter is known to be pretty wild and happening at night, with pubs and bars popping out. However, it is surprisingly a lot less crowded in the day. The area seemed rather quiet when I was there although the shops and cafés were all opened.

Kraków, Poland's jewish quarter streets
Painted graffiti windows in the jewish quarter Kraków, Poland
The jewish quarter of Kraków, Poland
Shop front and restaurants in Kraków, Poland
OOTD featuring sheinside, gap and river island in Kraków, Poland
What I Wore
Top: River Island
Shorts: Sheinside
Bag: Gap
Shoes: Sheinside
Sunglasses: Accesorize
Graffiti in the jewish quarter and shop designs in Kraków, Poland
Shop interior decorations in the jewish quarter of Kraków, Poland

What I liked most about the region is the eclectic shops. I love how they have graffiti on the shop front, over grown weeds as their entrance decoration, and all sorts of colourful walls.
I'm not much of a party-all-night, drink till you drop kind of person, so going on a pub crawl when I'm traveling alone is a NO - mostly because then I lose half a day of precious traveling time the next day!
To be honest i'd prefer going to the jewish quarter in the day, walk around the area, pop into a few cafés, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the place.

Decorations of the old synagogue in Kraków, Poland
The old synagogue in Kraków, Poland Jewish Quarter picture

Whilst I was at the Jewish Quarter, I realised that I might have been a little underdressed - literally. Everyone was wearing jeans/long pants and 3/4 sleeved shirts, with the exception of other clueless tourists like me. I couldn't imagine wearing anything more covered than what I was without getting  heat stroke, but I felt a little embarrassed for not covering up more skin.

Anyway, I was thankful that the Old Synagogue had no dress code, as it has been turned into a museum.

The old synagogue in Kraków, Poland
artefacts and displays in the old synagogue of Kraków, Poland

The synagogue was surprisingly so much cooler than the outside! The synagogue had such a lovely interior especially with those chandeliers. I never had the opportunity to learn about the jewish faith, I don't think I have met anyone who is a Jew, and so visiting the synagogue was a nice way to be introduced to the religion and its practices. They had so many displays, artefacts from the 18th and 19th century, it was a such nice way to spend the afternoon learning.

Getting polish food zapiekarki in Kraków, Poland jewish quarter

Eventually, I left the synagogue when my stomach started growling, and went to a nearby market to get myself a Zapiekarki! I wanted to try pierogi, but there were so many little polish kids outside this shop, I figured, it must be good! And it was! Except, it was HUGE. No wonder the kids were feeding the pigeons after taking every 2 bites of their zapiekarki!

Outfit Diary: Exploring Kraków - Castle, Jewish Quarter & Polish Food!

2 July 2015 Kraków, Poland

Outfit and things to do in Kraków, Poland on a sunny day

After making some rather silly mistakes in Warsaw, my next stop the historically rich Kraków. I had the luxury of spending more time in Kraków compared to Warsaw.
Kraków is a relatively small city, so it was incredibly easy to walk from one attraction to another, exploring the city on foot.
During my stay in Kraków, the weather was amazing. It was sunny every day, and at times the heat made me feel as though I was back in Singapore.
I’ve always thought summer in Europe was just: A sunny day with temperatures of 20 and cooling wind. That proved to be wrong in Kraków because the temperature went up to 32degrees on one of the days!

Shein outfit summer in Kraków, Poland
colourful buildings in the main square of  Kraków, Poland
fountain and architecture in Kraków, Poland's main square
ootd against Kraków, Poland lovely architecture

The great summer weather meant that the city was teeming with people, tourist and locals, out and about enjoying the benefits of natural vitamin E. My favourite place to hang around for a meal/beer in Kraków was around its Main Square.

When you get to the main square, you’ll see people chilling by the fountains with beers in their hands, horses riding by with tourists on carriages, teengaers running around, pigeons and children playing in water puddles, and everyone just seems to enjoying themselves.
Within the Main Square, there are several places to visit including the Krakow Chruch with its amazing façade, and the Cloth Hall. I initally thought the Cloth Hall was a place that sold cloth, but it wasn’t. Turns out it was a long hallway lined with shops selling lovely jewellery, leather good, and other tourist souvenirs.

horse riding carriages in Kraków, Poland main square
sunset over the clock tower in  Kraków, Poland
The clock tower in the main square of Kraków, Poland
Cloth Hall and tourist in  Kraków, Poland

The architecture in Krakow is also brilliant – yes I know, I always commend on the architecture of every city, I just like that its all different and unique! Walking around the side lanes from the Main Square, you pass by many cafes, more horses riding and an occasional girl playing the violin (I spotted 2!) It’s such a great atmosphere on a warm summer day.

Girl playing the violin and a male worker Kraków, Poland
horse drawn carriages in the side streets of Kraków, Poland
Sheinside summer outfit featuring stripes and colours
Shein outfit diary featuring stripes and blues
What I Wore
Top: Sheinside
Shorts: Sheinside
Shoes: Sheinside
Sunglasses: Accessorize
Necklace: Primark
Watch: Nakedglory.com
Church architecture in Kraków, Poland

When the heat gets too overwhelming, you can always pop into a café along the street. I did that several times just to get a drink or ice cream.
Every café I went into had its own unique design, lovely music, and great atmosphere. My favourite was this underground café with stone walls leading downwards to a warmly lit area with nice dark wooden tables and the most comfortable sofa; which I collapsed into and started sipping my orange juice.

Icecream along the side streets of the main square in Kraków, Poland
The underground cool interior of a cafe in Kraków, Poland

The great thing about Kraków is that it's extremely affordable. I got a scoop of blueberry icecream for less than 50p, and it wasn’t one of those artificial tasting sort. I was so pleased. The fact that it was way more affordable than London meant that every time I got a beer, or compote – that was my favourite drink - It did not feel as though I was over spending unnecessarily.

Sunset in the main square in Kraków, Poland

Warm summer days in Krakow are the best. Well, warm summer days any where in Europe, frankly, will be awesome! Oh, but first they have to have affordable drinks!

Outfit Diary: Melting in Kraków's Summer

29 June 2015 Kraków, Poland

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