Dressing Up, Sliding Down, and Going Deep in the Salt Mines of Hallein!

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Salzwelten…so tasty, you can lick the walls!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?

 

36 Comments

    1. Rachel, The entire tour was entertaining and informative. I’m pretty sure everyone regardless of age had a great time. If you ever get a chance to do it, do!

  1. I played at a Celtic festival in Hallein the year Diana died … I remember it because everywhere we went, driving across the UK and then Europe, there were radio tributes and pictures of her.
    We never visited the Salt mine and I wish now that we had … it looks like great fun from your photos Corinne… But we went to the Celtic Village excavation … interesting part of the world.

    1. Anna, It was a completely different cave experience than I’d ever had before. It wasn’t about stalagmites or such, but more about the salt. The slides were a blast!

    1. Jan, We only live once, right? But, really, the tour is a blast for kids of all ages! You know that look people have coming out of a good movie, that’s what they looked like coming off of this tour!

  2. It looks like a great fun day out. It looks incredibly clean for a mine. It is always interesting to visit these places with a lot of history. I wonder if there were any stories of using the tunnels as border cross over any time in history? I don’t get the last picture. Are you being lowered down or are you sliding down?

    Mines always fascinate me. They can be source of employment and misery at the same time. It was tragic to hear the coal mine incident in western Turkey recently. God bless their soul.

  3. I have been to the salt mines in Austria twice, the first time was 1984, the second time last year. I never licked the walls. Now I guess I have to go back one more time.

  4. Not been to a salt mine yet. Lick the walls? Hm… I know my 12-year-old would, she’s practically addicted to the stuff. And I love waking across borders, but underground, how fab would that be… So adding this to the ‘cool things to do in the very near future’-list.

  5. Cool tour! I think crossing an international border underground is definitely a good bucket list item. Those slides look incredibly steep – would love to give them a try.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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!

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

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