A Day Trip from Krakow 

We booked a day trip from Kraków to the Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration camps and the famous Wieliczka Salt Mines. It wasn’t a trip I was looking forward to, but it was something we both felt we had to see while in Poland.

The concentration camp sites are now memorials, some buildings have been converted to museums, others have been left in their original state. Many were destroyed during the war. It’s a sobering site and I think seeing it in person drives home the magnitude of the horrors that took place. As the famous quote in the museum states, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. It’s much harder to forget the horrors of the past when you can see the evidence of it and walk inside the gas chambers where so many were murdered. We took a guided tour, which is required for most of the year and was worth doing.

After a lunch break, we visited the salt mines. The mines are a UNESCO world heritage site for the incredible carvings and salt sculpture inside, and it’s well deserved. We just took the tourist route, but for the more adventurous or those with more time, you can do the miners route and travel more off the beaten path.

 You start off by taking over 300 steps downward into the mine (don’t worry if you’re afraid of heights, they are completely enclosed!) and then wander through caves and passages through the rock salt. The sculptures the miners made in the salt are incredible-there’s an entire cathedral down there complete with chandeliers made of glass. Most of the structural elements are made of timber since steel would corrode too quickly with the salt. It’s really an amazing feat of engineering.

Combining the two locations seems to be a popular day trip, but it’s a long and exhausting one. Worth it though if it’s the only chance you’ll get to see both.

Untold Morsels

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Tanja says:

    all made of salt?fascinating! #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s crazy what they were able to carve out of the rock salt! Unfortunately the dim lighting makes for poor pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow pretty cool! I’ve never heard of this place before! I’ll be looking more into this! #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The salt mines were really unique, definitely a hidden gem worth visiting.


  3. Ruth says:

    I visited these two sites last year. The concentration camp was terrible. I found every excuse not to visit but decided to give it a try anyway. It was hard but worth a visit. #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was terrible, and I don’t think I’ll go to another one but I agree that it’s worth a visit.


  4. I really want to visit the concentration camps because it’s something I think I need to see. I cried watching videos and learning about the Holocaust in school, and even though it will be difficult, I think it’s important to see. The salt sculpture – wow! I can’t believe they carved that out of salt!


    1. It’s much more poignant to see in person than to read about in school. The salt mines were incredible, I couldn’t believe how artistic the miners were!


  5. Clare Thomson says:

    I agree with you and Ruth, Amanda – visiting the concentration camps is not something I want to do, but feel it’s important. Thanks for sharing this on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is important, especially in these turbulent times when the US government seems to be trending toward intolerance.


  6. Heavy sigh. I think that it is still important to visit these places even though I think I would be overwhelmed with emotion. Thank you for sharing your experience, Amanda. Glad to have you contributing to #FarawayFiles, Erin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was emotional, and it takes a bit for everything they show you to sink in. Not a visit I’ll soon forget.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. fifi + hop says:

    Wow – the salt mines look incredible. As for the concentration camps, I completely agree with you and though difficult to get through, important to visit. History should not be forgotten…that’s how I felt too when I visited in Germany. #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, it’s not always easy to see what’s happened in the past but that’s the best way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The salt mines were mind blowing!


  8. Ali May says:

    WOw – I am stunned that there are all of these beautiful halls and sculptures underground in those salt mines. It must have been really amazing and harrowing to be in the concentration camps and think about the atrocities that went on there. This tour is one that I would love to do! #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The salt mines are incredible! And it is a difficult experience being in the concentration camps, its hard to understand how something so terrible could have happened in the not so distant past.


  9. Cool! I’ll have to go visit it because I live in Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! It’s a great city!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Athena Alice says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I came to Krakow last month but I lost a chance to visit Auschwitz and salt mine. I and my friend was actually booking a tour. We missed the trip bus due to our silly problem. I hope to come back Krakow to visit these gorgeous creatures on Earth. There is just only one thing I don’t like in Krakow, tourists. It’s so crowded with tourists that lost their beauty into making money.


    1. That’s too bad, I hope you get a chance to go back. We went in December so it wasn’t too crowded…just cold!


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