You may not think of a salt mine as an exciting place to visit, but I’ll swear otherwise. Here’ ‘s a roundup of four salt mines I feel are worth your time and way more than a grain of that mineral.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland, earned one of the 12 prestigious spots on the very first UNESCO World Heritage list. Its operations date back to the 13th century, making it one of the most historic and famous salt mines in the world. Operations continued until 2007, more than 750 years. During World War II, the Germans used the mine as an underground facility for war-related manufacturing. Today, it’s primarily a tourist attraction.
Given an afternoon tasting of traditional Polish food in Krakow, Poland, I expected spicy kielbasa, hearty whole grain bread and potato filled pierogies. Instead, I lavished in delicacies made from the hand of a passionate chef. Jan Baran, owner of Restaurant Pod Baranem, uses the finest natural ingredients seasoned with aromatic herbs. But, the sensational taste of his dishes comes through his attention to detail. I could truly taste his devotion and love of food, cooking and life in every bite.
I arrived at the multi-room restaurant sitting near Wawel Castle and across the Planty (former moat, now garden surrounding the Old Town). I found herbs hanging from wooden beams and crystal and silver adorning small tables covered in white damask. Antique furniture and two fireplaces created an upscale atmosphere that felt comfortable and welcoming.