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Tours of Bochnia Salt Mine start from the Campi Shaft. In the past, there were 16 shafts in the city. Today, only three exist. Extraction of rock salt was discontinued in 1990, yet tourist and spa activities continue to flourish.
© Adam Brzoza

Tourist Route in Bochnia Salt Mine

The tourist route in the Bochnia Salt Mine, opened in 1990 with a multimedia aspect in 2013, presents the mine in all of its beautiful and austere authenticity. The route spans two kilometres and takes three hours—or four hours with a boat crossing.

The tourist route begins in the Campi Shaft building, which was dug in the middle of the 16th century and reaches to the 10th level of the mine. Before descending into the mine, your guide shows you a unique engineering monument—an operating steam engine from 1909 that lifted 100 carts of salt in one shift and was used until 1996. Then, you learn about the minerals, rocks and forms of salt that are encountered in the Bochnia Salt Mine.

After hearing the classic greeting of miners, "Szczęść Boże" (God Bless), you descend in the mine elevator to the depth of 220 metres, then you take a mine train that quickly covers 1 km of the first level of the mine. You start your journey at the "Sutoris" pit bottom, the oldest shaft in Bochnia, dating back to the 13th century.

The underground tour begins with an exciting train ride. – © Frank Biasi
The underground tour begins with an exciting train ride. – © Frank Biasi

Along the route, you'll see galleries and chambers with unique shapes and geological structures, various types of supports, sculptures made of salt, and historical mining tools and equipment. You'll be enchanted by the texture of the walls and vaults—overgrown thin layers of salt and anhydrite, salty drip-stones and efflorescence create magnificent natural ornaments. Tourists are particularly fond of Christian Chambers—narrow and slender, and carved high up.

The Christian complex of chambers is a unique creation of man and nature. Their walls bear traces of pickaxe work and soot from the old oil lamps. – © Janina Wrzak
The Christian complex of chambers is a unique creation of man and nature. Their walls bear traces of pickaxe work and soot from the old oil lamps. – © Janina Wrzak

The immense power of the Carpathian Mountains is evident in the mine—and the fact that the mountains are still moving over this area, compresses the galleries and destroys the support framework. Shattered and bent wooden supports, tools, wicker and ropes devoured by the earth, with only parts sticking out of the salt walls. But not to worry—the engineers are constantly monitoring and securing the pits, ensuring the safety of workers and tourists.

Along the tour, you'll hear Polish kings, Genoa merchants, and the ghost of a Cistercian monk. Audio dramas, animations, and interactive presentations show the stages of development of mining methods and challenges of mining through the ages. At the end, you descend 307 stairs or a wooden slide (36 metres long) to the largest chamber in the mine, the Ważyn Chamber. Its surface area is 2,500 square metres and is divided into five sections including a large sports pitch, an underground restaurant called Ważynek, a cinema, a conference section, and a spa where you can spend the night.

The Ważyn Chamber is the heart of the Bochnia Salt Mine. It is 255 metres long and seven metres high. It is interesting to note that it lies exactly on the level of the Baltic Sea. – © Janina Wrzak
The Ważyn Chamber is the heart of the Bochnia Salt Mine. It is 255 metres long and seven metres high. It is interesting to note that it lies exactly on the level of the Baltic Sea. – © Janina Wrzak

After seeing the Ważyn Chamber, you can enjoy a unique experience in the Bochnia Salt Mine: the underground boat passage in Chamber 81 on the third level of the mine. You can also walk along narrow galleries known as "Końska Droga" ("Horse's Path") which was used to lead horses to work in the past. You can see a layer of volcanic ash in the wall, from 13.6 million years ago, which was used to determine the age of the salt deposit.

Start of the underground crossing of the salty lake in the Bochnia Salt Mine, one of the unique attractions of this mine. – © Adam Brzoza
Start of the underground crossing of the salty lake in the Bochnia Salt Mine, one of the unique attractions of this mine. – © Adam Brzoza

At the end of the tourist route, sitting in the railway carriage, you'll stop at the most valuable location of the Salt Mine: the Chapel of St. Kinga, which dates back from 1747. It features a beautiful altar with a painting presenting the legend of St. Kinga and the discovery of rock salt.

Visit

Tourist Route in Bochnia Salt Mine

Hours

*Individual tourists: *
Monday - Friday: 9:30, 12:00, 13:00, 15:00
Saturday - Sunday: 13:00, 15:00

Groups:
Monday - Friday: 8:00 - 18:00
Saturday - Sunday: 9:00 - 16:00
Advanced booking is required.