Salzwelten…so tasty, you can lick the walls!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Both tours take you across the actual border separating Germany and Austria. You walk across underground! How about that for a bucket list item?!
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.
The website for the Hallein (and other Austrian mines) is here: Salzwelten. It has up to date pricing, group rates, hours, everything you need.
Have you been to a salt mine? Did you lick the walls?