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Bochnia is a small town near Krakow, well known as being the location of the oldest production workings in Europe with a salt mine opening around the year 1248. It might not be as impressive as the one in Wieliczka, but it is still worth a visit, even if just for the spa centre located inside the mines. Besides the salt mine, Bochnia has a number of attractions above ground as well, one of them being the historic Old Town, exuding a quaint charm of its own.


The salt mine in Bochnia is Poland’s oldest, having been in constant operation for 750 years. A couple of years ago the mine was opened to the public, enabling everyone to explore the 300-meter-long network of corridors and fascinating, underground chambers.

Unlike in Wieliczka, visitors to the salt mine in Bochnia often get a chance to meet working miners. Another attraction not to be missed is Wazyn, which at 50 m long and 10-12 m wide is the mine’s largest chamber. Its impressive size allows it to be used for organising different events, including New Year’s Eve celebrations. This remarkable chamber has been equipped with beds, sleeping bags and pillows to accommodate visitors overnight.

A normal visit to the salt mine will take no more than about 3 hours, but you may stay longer if you wish to take advantage of the unique microclimate of the salt mines, long recognised for its beneficial effect on certain ailments, including allergies.

Still, the other attractions that Bochnia offers its visitors include the particularly worthy Gothic building of the St. Nicholas Basilica and the Stanislaw Fischer Museum, which exhibits Polish paintings from the first half of the 20th century.


Bochnia lies in the central part of Lesser Poland, on the Raba River, which makes it a great starting point to explore various places of interest in the Beskidy Mountains. There is a great deal of varied landscape near the town, including the endless plains that are home to the Niepolomicka Forest, the Wieliczka Foothills with the Wisnicko-Lipnicki Landscape Park as well as the Beskid Wyspowy Mountains.

Owing to its convenient location near the E4 international highway, Bochnia can be easily reached from just about anywhere. The town is situated 30 km from Krakow (45 km from Krakow Balice Airport), 25 km from Wieliczka and 100 km from Oswiecim (Auchwitz).

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Among the oldest towns of Lesser Poland, Bochnia was first described in 1198 in a letter by Aymar the Monk, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, where he acknowledged a donation from local magnate Mikora Grufit to the monastery of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Miechow. At the time Bochnia was a settlement of miners that, owing to its location next to important merchant routes, was enjoying thriving trade relations.

Following the discovery in 1248 of a thick vein of rock salt at the s... ( more >>)

coat of arms
Population: 30187 #103
Province: Lesser Poland
Telephone: +48 14
Museums: 1
Districts: 8
Theatres: 0
Mayor: Stefan Kolawiński
Higher Education: 0