Krakow: A tourist attraction worth its salt

Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow interior

As the second largest city in Poland, there is much to do and see in Krakow. From remnants of medieval city walls, a bustling town market, various museums, attractions and many more. A fascinating sight possibly unbeknownst to some is the stunning Wieliczka Salt Mine which has a spa unlike any other. Read on to discover everything there is to know about this Neolithic spa before you head on over.

A spa with a difference

The core of this mesmerizing spa dates back to the early Miocene era over 13.6 million years ago when the first salt deposits appeared in Wieliczka. Over the following generations, the salt deposits turned into large mines and salt-works took Poland by storm and also made it the oldest salt mine in operation. The salt mines have been in function for several generations and are at the core of Poland's economic and cultural history. Situated just outside Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a symbol of Poland's prosperity through the generations and was formerly recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Spas are ten a penny in the world of hotels and holiday resorts, but in Krakow, you can visit a spa with a difference.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow

Health benefits

The healing properties within salt were discovered in 1839 by Dr Felix Boczkowski, which led to the establishment of a bath house, offering baths in brine, salt mud and sulfuric waters. The health effects are so profound that people quickly flocked to the spa, including famous patients included the composer, Frederic Chopin and Robert Baden-Powell. However, the Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn't offer massages and sweet smelling facials – the main draw here is subterraneotherapy treatment that uses the beneficial effects of salt. This signature treatment takes place 135 meters underground, right next to the salt deposits that aim to improve patients' respiratory health by making use of the unique micro-climate in the mine.

Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow

Underground Salt Cathedral

It’s not just the health benefits that draw thousands of visitors a year to the salt mines of Wieliczka. Known as the ‘Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland’, it’s easy to see why people head to this breathtaking place for worship. It reaches a depth of 1073 feet with its own micro-climate. Walk past walls of polished salt, grey in appearance, like granite, and marvel at the statues, carved from salt by the miners. There are even chandeliers – each crystal made from salt. If that wasn't elaborate enough, the miners have carved a depiction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s 'Last Supper' into its walls.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow - Last Supper sculpture

© Adam Kumiszcza

Visit Krakow

The ever growing city of Krakow is bustling city with culture, tradition and modern development. There’s a wealth of other tourist attractions here, too, which will divert even the most seasoned traveler – and millions of visitors flood through the city every year. Head to the Market Square in town to enjoy shopping in Krakow, explore the old Jewish Quarter to step back into history, or any of these 5 historical sites in the city. For accommodation near the city center, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow serves as a luxurious and convenient base for all of Krakow’s charms, including the stunning town square, and Planty Park, one of the largest city parks in Krakow, and the Medieval city walls that still stand today. Make sure you dine in at the Milk & Co restaurant on-site for some delicious Polish specialties, which are prepared using fresh ingredients from the city's food markets.

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