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Dressing Up and Going Deep in the Hallein Salt Mines!

It’s raining in Bavaria. Where can you take the kids? How about a salt mine where you can ride the slides down, down, down…

What do you do when the weather is so bad that you don’t want to go outside?  How about taking a ride through the salt mines of Hallein, in Austria or Berchtesgaden, in Germany; two companies, two chances, the same tour and activity.  We did the Austrian tour, but since Berchtesgaden is a mere 12 kilometers away, we drove there for a delicious lunch.

Tasting the salt off of the walls.

Salzwelten…so tasty, you can lick the walls!

Salzbergwerk Hallein.

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After arriving in Salzwelten in Hallein and  purchasing your tickets, you are given a time for your tour.  The tour begins with everyone dressing in overalls to keep your clothes safe from the weeping walls of the cave.

Dressed in our salt uniform.

When dressed, everyone troops downstairs to climb aboard the cave train, a unique transportation where you straddle a metal beam and hold on to the rail or the person in front of you as you are plummeted into the darkness of the cave.

Riding the salt train to the mine.

When we disembark, we are shown the first part of a movie that will continue in bits and pieces at each station we visit.  The introduction tells us how important salt was in the the 16 and 1700s as a commodity dating back as far as the Celts. 

This salt mine was owned by the Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, and it made him very rich, but also caused him a lot of problems as it was disputed who owned the property of the mines, Germany or Austria.

A stone carving of Archbishop Wold Dietrick Von Raitenau.

Both tours take you across the actual border separating Germany and Austria.  You walk across underground!  How about that for a bucket list item?!

The border between Austria and Germany.

As you follow the tour guide, you not only ride on a train, but you ride a boat on an underground lake, careen down a couple of slides, and walk through passages that can get a little tight at times.  It is both an informative and humorous tour, an activity for kids (age 4 and up) and adults.

Riding down the slides in the mine.

The website for the Hallein (and other Austrian mines) is here: Salzwelten Salzburg.  It has up to date pricing, group rates, hours, everything you need.

Have you been to a salt mine?  Did you lick the walls?

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.


Monday 13th of February 2017

We did the mine at Hallstatt in 2001. I loved the little train and the tour, but the slide nearly scared me to death.

Corinne Vail

Monday 13th of February 2017

Ginny, We loved the slide, but it was pretty steep!


Thursday 7th of April 2016

This looks so much fun! :) I wonder how many tourists have tried to lick the walls!

Corinne Vail

Thursday 7th of April 2016

Well, we just tasted our fingers, but on our tour people were definitely licking wall...yuck!


Sunday 13th of July 2014

Those slides make it look like a fun tour, not sure I'd lick that wall though. I'm surprised when I hear about religious people making money. Wonder how that an archbishop got to own the mine.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 15th of July 2014

Marcia, As it turns out, it didn't work out for him in the long run, but I don't want to ruin the story! Everyone should go and experience it for themselves!

Adelina // Pack Me To

Tuesday 1st of July 2014

Holy smokes! What a great adventure! Riding that train doesn't look too safe, especially when all you're holding onto is each other! That slide does look fun though. Very different from any other experience I've heard of salt mines.

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

Adelina, It was a lot of fun, and they are not too long, so they are pretty safe. The mines were very interesting.

Corinne Vail

Monday 30th of June 2014

Dave, I think so, too. It was an added bonus to a very cool tour.