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Getting to Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow

Getting to Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow

Old Jun 13th, 2009, 08:23 PM
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Getting to Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow

We will be in Krakow in Oct. and want to go to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. We prefer to not pay $50-$60 or more per person with a tour group, but to get to the location and then buy the tickets for the tour. However, I am reading that the public bus doesn't stop very close to the mine and you have no way of knowing where the stop is. (We are touring Eastern Europe by train so a car isn't an option.) Any suggestions on getting to the mine inexpensively?
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 09:32 PM
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Our hotel organised for a private driver to take myself and my husband there. I can't recall how much it cost now but certainly was a lot less than $50-60 per person, may be $50 for both of us. When we got there he showed us where to get the tickets and we just then joined the normal guided tour. He was waiting when we came out and we thought it was money well spent. It takes a while to get there and back and, in our instance, we very much enjoyed conversing with our driver on a one to one basis. He told us a lot of things about Polish life that we didn't know. Of course, the fact that his English was very good helped. He was in fact a law student who did this for some extra cash.

Actually, when you add the price of the driver plus the normal entrance fee obviously it would have added up to more. As I said I can't recall the prices now, but we didn't have money to throw away so I am quite sure I would have worked out that this was good value for money. Anyway, it can't hurt to ask where you are staying.
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 01:21 AM
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I also did this two years ago with a private driver, the only thing we found(I was with a friend)was that we had been to Auschwitz in the morning and went on to the salt mines in the afternoon, we ended up paying for our driver's lunch. This was the first time either of us had used a private driver so we were novices at this, on the good side he took us to a lovely little restaurant just opposite the entrance to the salt mines.
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 02:21 AM
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Just to clarify my last post. When I said at the end that adding up the cost of the driver plus the actual tour cost would have cost more, I meant more than the $50 I originally mentioned, not more than the cost of doing a tour there and back - so still less than $50-60 per person.
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 04:22 AM
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I used a minibus to get to the salt mines; they ran on a schedule from particular points, kind of a semi-public transportation option. (Your hotel will be able to help with times/numbers/places to get on, I'm sure.) The price was quite reasonable and you got dropped at the entrance.

Krakow is lovely; have a great trip!
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Funny story - while in Krakow we arranged through the hotel for a private driver to take us to the Salt Mines. He picked us up early in the morning, drove us there, bought the tickets for us and told us he would be waiting for us in he parking lot.

We finished sightseeing and walked the short distance to the parking lot which by this time had gotten filled up. We forgot what kind of car we were taken in and couldn't locate the driver. We thought he would be looking for us. In any event, we walked up and down each row looking for him but to no avail. We wound up having to get someone to call the hotel for us so that they could contact him to tell him we were waiting for him. One hour later he shows up - says he was in the car all along (fat chance - we looked in every car). He finally took us back to the hotel but screwed himself out of a tip.

Lesson to be learned: if you get your own driver, make sure you have his cell phone # and full name and make a note of the make/color of his car. Also, make absolutely certain as to when and where you meet afterwards.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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you can get to wieliczka by a train from the main station http://rozklad-pkp.pl/. 20 min ride.

2nd - mini-buses. the stop is somewhere at pawia st. there's also a local bus 304 which leaves from the stop called: "dworzec glowny zachod (galeria)".

all 3 options are $1-2 per ride.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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pawia st and 304 stop is somewhere around the main station. ask at the desk for directions
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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We took the train, a short putz from the mines' entrance. A really weird experience - an actual hard-hatted miner led us around - that was several years ago however and perhaps more professional tour guides do it - the miner spoke little English but walked us thru.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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I took the local bus going to the Salt Mines and got dropped off right in front of the entrance. It was very easy. On the way back I took one of the minibuses that were waiting right at the exit.
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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We, too, took the local bus from the station just outside of old town Krakow and were dropped off in front of the mines. It was easy & inexpensive. Seems to me it was a 15 - 20 minute ride. Ask someone at your hotel where you can pick up the local bus.

You will love Krakow!!!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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From my 2008 Trip report:

"We walked over to the bus to take us to the Wielicza Salt Mine. The preliminary reports I had read online made the salt mines out to be a very touristy thing to do, but on this blazing, hot day, we were happy to go under the earth’s surface for a few hours. Plus, damnit, we are tourists!

Obviously, chivalry was dead on this day, because as I started to get in the bus, I turned around to see my two companions trailing me by almost 100 yards and the bus getting ready to leave. I looked like a mixed up football referee waving my hands and arms around in a disjointed manner that neither Mary nor Tracy could quite comprehend.

Fortunately, the bus waited and, as Tracy got on board, I heard the phrase that all husbands worldwide can relate to, “What the hell were you doing?”

“I was waving you both to hurry up,” I replied.

“Did you not see we were stuck at a red light? Did you want us to get run over by a bus? Don’t you know the damned bus to the salt mines runs every ten minutes,” Tracy said?

Looking at her not-so-happy countenance, I decided not to give the flip answer flittering precariously at the end of my tongue. Mary just watched, now missing her husband more than ever.

Tracy was a little hot under her collar, but soon Mary and I joined her, because on this scorching day the bus was a makeshift sauna. By the time our 25-minute bus ride had concluded, the sardines inside were fully cooked and ready to be served. I only weighed 90 pounds by this time (okay, I made that up).

The English tour cost 65 zloty, and we had a blast. First, we walked down 800 or so steps, with our tour guide making sure none in the group croaked before we reached the bottom. Although an English speaking tour, most of the group were not Americans. There were Swedes, Germans, Dutch, Aussies and Brits, but I only counted seven Americans.

Our tour guide was terrific, and her banter with all of us was entertaining. The temperature in the salt mine was a constant 57 degrees, which made it incredibly comfortable, even though I was in shorts.

I had paid the ten extra zloty for photo privileges (I don’t think they enforce that rule, but I never have a problem shelling out money to help these places stay preserved).

I took pictures of chandeliers made of salt, a salt Last Supper and a salt Pope John Paul II. I couldn’t figure out why, but suddenly I had a desire for a margarita.

Fortunately, we did not have to walk 800 steps up to leave. That was taken care of by an elevator that swiftly (and I mean swiftly) transports you back to the surface.

Somehow, Mary, Tracy and I got in a grouping with a bunch of Polish school children. These second and third grade kids all spoke English, and they were a bit on the precocious side.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the boys offer Mary a piece of gum. Another kid warned her that it would give her an electric jolt.

Always the kind traveling partner, Mary whispered to the kid that I would be happy to take a piece of gum, and then she surreptiously asked me to be a “volunteer” as the “unsuspecting” foil.

The boy reached over and asked me if I wanted a piece of gum. Playing dumb (one of my easier roles), I took hold of the “stick of gum” and, sure enough, I was presented with a very good shock.

In an act that Curly of The Three Stooges would have been proud of, I went though my fake gyrations much to all the kids’ amusement. It was only a moment later that I thought, “Geez, I really have no feelings in my fingers.” I don’t know the voltage of the gum, but that kid has a future in a Correctional Center somewhere.

We got in the elevator with about ten of the kids, and when it started its ascent to the top, the kids screamed at the top of their lungs. Their teachers tried to look angry with them, but even they could only laugh at their funny antics.

We were glad we chose this Unesco site. It was fun, it was educational and, thankfully, it was cool."

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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 08:40 AM
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We were in Krakow in April, and here is how we got to the Mines:

We opted for the cheapest option, taking bus #304 from Filarmonia in city center; it does not stop right by the entrance to the mine complex, but rather a good half-kilometer from it – you need to ask your fellow passengers to alert you to the right stop.

But it only cost us about 10 PLZ each way; adding 177 PLZ for the family visit ticket, we spent about half what it would cost for the four of us to go on an organized trip (which would be 380 PLZ if we hired the tour suggested to us by the B&B).

Very easy! Go for it!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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hi sueks,

we did a variation of what Matroskin says - bus there, from the stop before the filharmonia [near a theatre] and train back.

you get off where the bus driver tells you, and walk along the road a bit til you see the road down to the town. there are signs to the mines all around anyway. follow the signs and you'll find the mines on the other side of town, across the reailway track - it's about a 20 minute walk, mostly downhill.

when you come out, if you want a meal, walk UP the hill away from town - we walked down and there was nothing that resembled anywhere selling food except the stall by the train station. we ended up having 2 pitta breads filled with kebab and two drinks and it was about £2, while we were waiting for the train.

to avoid the walk back up to the road to get the bus back, just get the train. it's a dedicated line for the mines - it just shuttles back and forth.

i strongly advise buying transport passes for the duration of your stay - they are valid for every type of vehicle and are will stop you getting sore feet. would that we had followed this advice!

regards, ann
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Thanks so much for all the great help and comments. Love reading the responses and it's making me very anxious to be there. Maitaitom, you are so funny. I am going to look up your trip report.
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