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When my boyfriend and I visited Salzburg in Austria, we decided to take a trip to see the Salt Mines. Getting there was very simple when using the Salzburg card and this also mean that the transport was free too (as the Salzburg Card cover this!). Arriving At The Salt Mines Once you arrive at the Salt Mines, which are well signposted, you need to book in at the reception. You pay here and the price was about £3 each which was very reasonable. Once you have paid, you are taken through into a warehouse type building. In here you can leave any valuables such as bags and shopping etc. You are then given some traditional mining clothes to put on. These consisted of a massive pair of baggy white trousers for the girls and dark blue trousers for the boys. You are both then given a blue jumper type thing and a leather pouch which sits over your bum - certainly not the most flattering of outfits! Starting The Journey Once everybody is kitted up, you then have to wait for the train to return from the mines. We waited around 15 minutes for this which wasn't too bad as it gave us a chance to take in the scenery. The Train Journey The train journey takes you right into the heart of the mine, which is actually still a working mine although this is not the section that tourists visit. The train is fairly long, made up of about 8 'compartments' which means that quite a few people can get on the train at once. You sit on the train in a similar style as you would do a horse, sort of straddling the middle section with your legs around the person in front of you. I was surprised at how fast the train went considering it was quite small. All passengers are reminded to keep their arms and legs tucked in and all times and you can son see why they advice that! Some of the tunnels you go through are tiny and only just big enough for the train and passengers to get through! When you first board the train, it is lined up, carriage by carriage and someone takes a photo of you on there which you can view and buy at the end if you like it. In total, the train journey probably takes around 15 minutes and you have a guide with you at all times. The train travels through tunnels which are 700 metres long and take you deep into the mine. The Shoot In order to get to the lower part of the mine, you have to ride a 42 foot 'shoot' or slide. This is basically a bit like a train track, two rails about 2.5 feet apart. The idea is, you sit on the rails, two people at a time and slide down to the lower parts of the mine. The first person on the shoot has to keep their legs in the rail, and the person sitting behind then has to keep their legs tucked around the 1st person. You can ride down the shoot two adults at a time but for families with children, they were letting them slide down as a family of four. I really enjoyed this part, it amazing how fast you actually go down the shoot. I was the first person out of myself and my boyfriend when we were riding and it was fairly difficult t try and keep my legs on the rails. I expected it to hurt as you are sliding down polished wooden railings but because of the leather pouch that you are given to wear, this doesn't happen. While you are sliding down, there is a camera already set up which takes a photo of you mid-slide. Again, you can buy this photo at the end of the tour. The Tour I found the tour of the Salt Mines very interesting. We were taken round in a group of about 30 people and we had two guides. One of the guides gave the tour in German and the other in English. There are various piece of machinery which have been developed over the years to help with the mining and there can all be seen on the tour. The tour would be great for anyone interested in history as many of the items on display date back to hundreds of years ago. The tour takes around 40 minutes not including the shoots and lake ride at the end. While on the tour, the guide explains that you can run your fingers along the wall and then lick them and taste the salt, we tried this and were amazed at just how salty they were. I loved looking at the walls during the tour as you could really make out the salt in the walls, mixed in with the limestone and it creates beautiful layers in the wall. During the tour you stop at various points and are shown pieces of machinery and certain sections where something significant happened. You also visit the St Barbara's Chapel which is deep inside the mine and contains an alter and various piece of art which have been preserved excellently due to the conditions inside the mine. The Boat Ride At the end of the tour, everyone gets onto a raft and we begin the journey across the salt lake. The salt lake looked so beautiful and it was amazing how peaceful it was. During the slow boat ride across the lake, there is a music and light show which I really enjoyed. The light show looked amazing as all the lines bounced around the walls of the salt mines, it looks very impressive. Once you reach the other side, there are filters which drain the salt from the brine lake and the guide once again old us that we could dip our fingers in the water to taste the salt. We did this and it was so salty it was unpleasant. Even my boyfriend agreed and he usually smothers his food in the stuff! The End Of The Tour At the end of the tour, you take the train back to where you started. As you get off the train, the guide hands out a small pot off salt to every passenger which I thought was a nice touch. As you make your way to the exit, there is a small gift shop which sells the usual souvenirs and there is also the photo booth. You can view the photos and decide if you like them and want to buy them. We decided we were going to buy them as we were informed during the tour that we are not allowed to take photos inside the salt mines so we thought it would be nice to buy a couple of pictures to remember the trip by. We bought both photos which came in a cardboard type sleeve and they only cost £5 which we thought was very reasonable. In Summary I would certainly recommend this trip to anyone visiting Salzburg. Although the mines are slightly out of town and not the easiest of attractions to get to for this reason, its well worth doing. It was interesting to learn about salt mining, a topic which before then I knew nothing about. I also really enjoyed the slide, train journey and boat ride which I felt made the trip more enjoyable for children who might find the history stuff a bit boring. This is a popular attraction in Salzburg so we expected it to be quite expensive but it wasn't, even the photos at the end were good value for money.
Me and a friend decided to make a visit to the Salzburg salt mine at the beginning of last September while on our way around Europe. Getting to the mine was easy as we had access to a car, you do have to pay for parking which is just across the road from the mine. The location here is beautiful, set in the stunning Austrian/Bavarian Mountains. Entry was a reasonable 9 Euro for students, upon paying you are directed to a changing room where you put on a large all-bodysuit to keep your clothes clean from some of the dirt and salt in the mine. You then 'board' -really straddle a bench on a carriage- an electric train and head of down the tunnels. Some of the tunnels themselves are very narrow being only just big enough so you don't bump your head. A welcome relief from the 32 degree Celsius heat outside was the much cooler temperatures inside the tunnel, be warned as you could end up being a bit chilly if you came down in shorts and t-shirt. After a 5-10 minute train ride you climb of and start to wonder with your guide through the tunnels. You also reach 2 slides, these a large wooden runners which you in groups of 2-4 you sit on and slide down some 140ft, it is very surprising how fast you can go. Stairs are available for those who don't wish to use the slides. The guide does a talk in German and English showing how the salt was extracted historically and how now it is extracted and pointing out some of the interesting geological features present. A cavern has numerous exhibits showing information on why we need salt. A short boat trip is taken across one of the underground brine lakes, here you can taste the salty water - brine - they use to extract the salt crystals, it is very salty!! A lift takes you back to the train which then takes you back outside. All in all takes about an hour and a half. Overall I would thoroughly recommend this trip for adults and children alike as something very different from what you would normally do in the area.
Europes oldest show mine. The treasure hidden within the Dürrnberg Salt Mountain is very old: 250 million years ago, the salt deposits were formed by the sea, and in the course of many more millions of years the formation of the Alps enclosed them in solid rock and moved them to their current position.