Slanic Salt Mine: A Visit 208 Metres Underground

This destination guide covers a day trip from Bucharest to the Slanic Salt Mine (Salina Slănic).

A Slanic day trip

Some 100 kilometres north of Bucharest lies the small resort town of Slanic.

Located in Prahova County, Slanic is famous for its salt mine and its therapeutic salt lakes.

Especially during the summer months, the fresh mountain air, lush scenery, and cool temperatures inside the Slanic Salt Mine provide a perfect opportunity to escape the stifling heat of Bucharest.

A visit to Slanic therefore makes for a great day trip from Bucharest as the town can be easily accessed by train – I’ve included the exact transportation details at the bottom of the article.

bucharest slanic train day trip
The train from Bucharest has just arrived at the station of Slanic. ©Paliparan
slanic station
The railway tracks at the station of Slanic. ©Paliparan

Visiting the Slanic Salt Mine

The entrance to the Slanic Salt Mine, known as Salina Slănic in Romanian, is just a short 10-minute walk away from the train station.

On your way you will pass by a statue of Mihai Cantacuzino, a wealthy landowner who was the first to open a salt mine in Slanic.

You are driven into the salt mine by minibuses departing from the ticket office.

The full price for a ticket to the Slanic Salt Mine is 45 lei (€9), with slight discounts available for children, pensioners and groups.

Do note that the Slanic Salt Mine is usually closed on Monday and Tuesday.

The first bus into the Slanic Salt Mine departs at 8am on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays.

The last bus into the Slanic Salt Mine departs at 2:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and at 3:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Make sure to arrive at the ticket office before these times to catch the last bus into the mine.

Mihai Cantacuzino statue
Walking past a statue of Mihai Cantacuzino on the way to the salt mine. ©Paliparan
slanic river
Crossing the small Slanic River. ©Paliparan
slanic salt mine ticket office
The ticket office and minibus departure point of the Slanic Salt Mine. ©Paliparan

Into the mine

Minibuses typically depart from the ticket office once they are full.

The ride will first take you along some of the old mine buildings on the complex, after which you will enter a spiral tunnel and descend underground.

minibus
Inside the minibus. ©Paliparan
slanic salt mine
Driving along some of the old mine buildings. ©Paliparan
minibus tunnel
The minibus descends into the Slanic Salt Mine through a tunnel. ©Paliparan

Unirea Mine

Although the Slanic Salt Mine exists out of multiple mines, only one is open for tourists.

The mine that you will visit is the Unirea Mine (Unification Mine), which is located at a depth of 208 meters below the surface.

The minibus will drop you off at the end of the underground road, from where you continue your visit on foot.

You’ll definitely appreciate the refreshing cool temperature inside the mine and the 10% lower humidity compared to the outside, especially when visiting during the summer.

Due to the natural air-conditioning, the temperature inside the Unirea Mine remains a constant 12 degrees Celsius throughout the year, so it’s advisable to bring a sweater when you visit.

unirea salt mine slanic day trip
Inside the Unirea Mine. ©Paliparan
slanic salt mine salina day trip
Slanic Salt Mine. ©Paliparan

Exploring the mine

You can explore the Unirea Mine at your own leisure.

The Unirea Mine, located directly below the older Carol and Mihai mines, consists of multiple chambers.

Salt extraction in the Unirea Mine commenced in 1943 and ceased in 1970 when it was relocated to the newly opened Victoria Mine.

A total of 2.9 million square metres of salt deposits have been extracted from the Unirea Mine.

The 14 trapezoidal chambers of the Unirea Mine are 54 meters high and appear absolutely massive when viewed from below.

slanic salt mine
Walking through the trapezoid mine chambers. ©Paliparan
excavation levels
Different levels of excavation. ©Paliparan
trapezoid mine chamber
Trapezoid mine chamber. ©Paliparan

Salt extraction

Salt has been extracted from the natural deposits in the hills around Slanic for over three centuries.

The underground mines were created by drilling and blasting to extract salt deposits.

Once the salt crystals are extracted from the mine, they were crushed into finer pieces before being transported outside using conveyor belts for further processing.

Inside the mine, you can explore exhibits showcasing mining equipment and various types of salt crystals.

mined salt
Mined salt. ©Paliparan
salt crystals
Salt crystals. ©Paliparan
mining carts
Mining carts. ©Paliparan

Stalactites

At a water reservoir inside the mine you can some beautifully illuminated stalactites.

These stalactites have formed through the process of mineral precipitation from saline water that drips down from the ceiling or walls of the mine.

water reservoir
Water reservoir inside the mine. ©Paliparan
water reservoir
Unirea Mine water reservoir. ©Paliparan
bridge mine
Bridge over the pond to the stalactite formation. ©Paliparan
slanic salt mine stalactites day trip
Stalactites in the Unirea salt mine. ©Paliparan
mine water pond
The water pond inside one of the mine chambers. ©Paliparan

Other sights

There are a few other notable sights worth observing during your visit to the Slanic Salt Mine.

The old wooden elevator shaft is certainly impressive to see, although it is no longer in use following an accident in 2014.

In the mine, you can also admire several salt sculptures, including busts of the Roman emperor Traian and the Dacian king Decebalus.

One of the mine chambers also features a communist hammer and sickle symbol on the ceiling.

elevator shaft mine
The old elevator shaft. ©Paliparan
traian salt bust slanic mine
Salt bust of Roman emperor Traian. ©Paliparan
decebal bust
Decebalus bust. ©Paliparan
illuminated cross slanic salt mine
Illuminated cross at the far end of one of the mine chambers. ©Paliparan
salt mine communist
Communist hammer and sickle symbol on one of the chamber ceilings. ©Paliparan

Facilities

The Slanic Salt Mine offers a wide range of facilities and activities that can be enjoyed by young and old.

Children can enjoy the kids’ play area with a bouncy castle and obstacle course, while activities such as miniature golf or football are enjoyable for kids of all ages.

A large wooden kiosk located in the heart of the mine offers a basic assortment of drinks and snacks.

The Slanic Salt Mine also features treatment rooms with beds and chairs specifically designed for visitors with respiratory problems, as the unique microclimate, salt particles and absence of allergens in the air are believed to have potential benefits for improving breathing.

wooden kiosk mine
In the middle of the mine you can find a wooden kiosk. ©Paliparan
mine kiosk
Kiosk selling drinks, snacks and souvenirs. ©Paliparan
children's play area
Children’s play area inside the mine. ©Paliparan
underground football pitch mine
Underground football pitch. ©Paliparan
miniature golf
Miniature golf course. ©Paliparan

A walk through Slanic

Having visited the Slanic Salt Mine, I took a minibus back to the surface.

Once outside the mine, I decided to have a walk through the town centre of Slanic.

Located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, the town of Slanic has historically been a well-known tourist resort in the wider region.

Visitors flocked to the town for its therapeutic salt waters and picturesque landscape.

Although the area directly around the train station with its communist-era blocks of flats isn’t the most attractive, there are many beautiful old houses in the immediate vicinity.

apartment blocks
Apartment blocks around the train station. ©Paliparan
slanic town sign emblem
Slanic town sign and emblem. ©Paliparan
world war I monument
World War I monument. ©Paliparan
abandoned building
Abandoned building. ©Paliparan
slanic houses
Houses in Slanic. ©Paliparan
slanic street
Walk through the streets of Slanic. ©Paliparan
old house slanic prahova
Old house in Slanic. ©Paliparan

Lunch

I ended up at the shaded patio of a restaurant called Casa Cristian for lunch.

Here, I enjoyed some tasty tochitură (traditional meat stew served with polenta and grated white cheese).

casa cristian slanic restaurant
Al fresco dining at Casa Cristian. ©Paliparan
restaurant cat
Restaurant cat matching the tile pattern. ©Paliparan
lunch romanian food slanic
Lunch at Casa Cristian. ©Paliparan

Climbing the hills

As I still had plenty of time left before my train back to Bucharest, I decided to go on a hike up one of the hills located on the eastern side of Slanic.

At a certain point, I hesitated whether to continue my hike as there was an angry-looking dog barking and blocking the path.

Fortunately, the dog allowed me to pass safely.

As I made my way along the hiking trail, I was rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the town of Slanic nestled in the valley below, as well as the lush forested foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

town path
Walking on a random path into the hills. ©Paliparan
dog hills
Encounter with one of the local dogs. ©Paliparan
slanic prahova hills
Hills around the town of Slanic. ©Paliparan
house hills
House in the hills. ©Paliparan
hike slanic day trip
The hills around Slanic make for an enjoyable hike. ©Paliparan
lush hills prahova
The lush Carpathian foothills. ©Paliparan
wooden fence
Wooden fence. ©Paliparan
tree slanic prahova romania
Relaxing in the grass under a tree. ©Paliparan
view slanic prahova
View over the town of Slanic. ©Paliparan

Hiking back

Despite my desire to continue my hike further uphill, I decided to turn back and descend towards the town of Slanic as I didn’t want to risk missing my train.

Besides, this way I could still indulge in a refreshing beer or two after the hike.

downhill hike
Hiking downhill. ©Paliparan
green hills landscape
Wonderful green landscape. ©Paliparan
slanic walk hike
Heading back to the town of Slanic. ©Paliparan
hike hills prahova
I certainly enjoyed my little hike on the hills. ©Paliparan

Baia Verde

As I made my way downhill, I came across Baia Verde, one of the saline swimming pools that Slanic is famous for.

The complex comprises three distinct salt lakes that were formed due to the collapse of old excavation pits.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my swimming shorts with me, so I couldn’t take a dip in the water.

However, I did certainly enjoy my cold beer from the bar overlooking the pools.

baia verde slanic salt pools
Baia Verde. ©Paliparan
bergenbier romania
Enjoying a refreshing beer after the hike. ©Paliparan

Baia Baciului

Baia Baciului, located on the west side of the town of Slanic, is another well-known salt lake where visitors can enjoy swimming.

At Baia Baciului, there are also salt rocks to explore, although I didn’t have enough time to visit them.

Instead, I enjoyed one last beer before the departure of my train at a terrace opposite the railway station.

slanic town walk
Walking towards Baia Baciului. ©Paliparan
Baia Baciului salt lake slanic
The Baia Baciului salt lake. ©Paliparan
ursus beer
Enjoying one last beer in town before the departure of my train back to Bucharest. ©Paliparan

Conclusion

The Slanic Salt Mine is a truly remarkable destination that offers visitors a captivating experience 208 meters below the surface.

With its massive chambers, stunning salt formations, and unique microclimate, one cannot help but be awed by the sheer scale of the mine.

However, Slanic is much more than just the salt mine alone.

Slanic boasts several therapeutic salt lakes where visitors can enjoy swimming and the surrounding hills offer excellent hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Given that Slanic can be easily reached by train, it makes for the perfect day trip from Bucharest.

Planning your trip

Trains to Slanic are operated by Transferoviar Călători and not by national operator CFR.

During the summer season there are direct trains that connect Bucharest with Slanic in 2.5 hours.

However, outside of summer it may be necessary to change trains in Ploiești.

One-way tickets for the train from Bucharest to Slanic cost around €4 to €5, depending on the specific train you take.

At the following link, you can read my full report of a ride on the scenic Bucharest to Slanic train.

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Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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