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What are the differences between Wieliczka and Bochnia Salt Mines, from a tourist's perspective? I'm interested in their overall impressiveness and geological and historical significance.

It looks like Wieliczka is closer to Kraków. It's hard to tell from the articles linked whether its mines are more extensive or if it simply has a more detailed article. (If Bochnia has an underground lake, it's not mentioned.) Bochnia mine shafts may run deeper below the surface.

I would prefer to visit one or the other. What are the pros and cons?

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    Wieliczka has an underground lake as well. I've gone back periodically​ in the last 15 years and it's gotten super touristy, but I've never been to the other so I couldn't make a comparison. Commented May 4, 2017 at 3:23
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    On a purely historical basis, IIRC, Wieliczka is one of the top 10 oldest companies in the world, and one of the very original Unesco Heritage sites. All other things being equal, it was an amazing trip when I went 6 years ago.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 3:50

3 Answers 3

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I've never been to Wieliczka, but I've seen photos my parents took, and I've been to Bochnia myself.

I guess both are worth visiting, but if you have to choose, I would suggest Wieliczka - it's better known and has more interesting things to see (halls, sculptures, etc.) while Bochnia is not that much decorated

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I've not been to Bochnia, but I can certainly recommend Wieliczka. It's very easy to get to (about half an hour on the train from Kraków Główny), and they offer two tours - the 'tourist' and the 'miners' - if you have the time, do both as they are very different experiences, and you get a discount on the tickets for the second tour if you can show tickets from the first.

The 'tourist' tour is the easy tourist one (as you might expect), with all the decorations, underground lakes and churches, statues etc. At the end of it there is an optional tour of the underground museum which is included in the price - I'd recommend this, when we did it we were the only people on our tour who did, and we learnt a lot more about the mining as we effectively had our own personal guide!

The 'miners' tour is a more immersive experience, with overalls and helmets, lit only by your headlamps, giving you much more of a feel for what conditions would have been like for the miners.

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Bochnia is the only mine in the whole world where a train passes through the middle of a church. Just between the sitting rows. It's a salt transporting underground train passing through small underground chapel, but still...

The have (had when I visited it, a couple of years ago) an underground gym and basketball room, where you can even play a basketball underground.

I've never been to Wieliczka, but I doubt they have stuff like this. I personally find Wieliczka a bit overrated and Bochnia a bit underrated.

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