The Wieliczka Salt Mine is the oldest salt company in Poland, the origins of which date back to the Middle Ages, when it was proudly called Magnum Sal – Wielka Sól. The oldest document shedding light on the history of the mine is Kazimierz I’s charter of 1044, calling Wieliczka "magnum sal alias Wieliczka". For centuries, it has been the source of the country's wealth and the material foundation of culture, today it is the most visited Polish tourist destination. Several hundred years of exploitation of the rock salt deposit shaped the present spatial arrangement of mining works. Hidden beneath the city, situated on nine levels, they reach a depth of 327 m.
The underground Wieliczka is nearly 300 km of pavement and about 3,000 chambers. The part open to visitors covers a 3.5-kilometre section, located at a depth of 64 m to 135 m. Tourists can visit, among others, two routes in the mine: tourist and mining. The tourist route starts in the Daniłowicz shaft and is 3.5 km long. More than 20 mining workings carved in salt, located at a depth of 64 to 135 m (including the most beautiful chapel of St. Kinga) are visited. Magnificent chapels, charming underground lakes, original devices and equipment, preserved traces of mining works give an idea of the struggle of people with the elements, their work, passions and beliefs. The miners from Wieliczka left behind dozens of sculptures and salt reliefs. After sightseeing, tourists rest in the complex of chambers 125 m underground, where there are souvenir shops, a post office, and a mining inn. There are about 1000 steps on the route, 380 of which will start. The tour is always under the supervision of a guide and in a group of up to 40 people. The temperature in the mine varies between 14° and 16°C.
In the underground Krakow Salt works Museum, you can see antique mining machines, tools and clothing. The average time spent on the Tourist Route, including visiting the Krakow Salt works Museum, is about 3.5 hours.
The tour of the Miners' Route starts in the Regis Shaft and takes about 3 hours. Tourists receive a protective suit and mining equipment: a lamp, an absorber, and a helmet. The guide assigns them a number of tasks thanks to which they can learn about the specifics of a miner's work, e.g. measuring the level of methane, methods of obtaining and transporting salt. The mining route is an unforgettable adventure, a fascinating meeting with mining traditions and rituals, and an idea for spending time actively. The elevator takes you to the Miners' Route to Level I (57 m). It leaves the lower level II (101 m). The total length of the Miners' Route is 2 km. The mining route is available for people over 10 years of age.
In the Wieliczka Salt Mine, there is a health resort that treats diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract in the unique microclimate of the underground salt chambers. The spa complex consists of three chambers located 135 metres underground. In the underground of the Wieliczka mine, conferences, banquets, weddings, New Year's Eve balls, concerts and sports events are organised.