The Turda Salt Mine, Romania.

A few days ago I woke up with feet so itchy I just couldn’t stand still. A Romanian road trip, a voyage of discovery, was on my mind and I knew just the place. The amusement park in a salt mine that I’d seen pictures of online, an amazing James-Bondesque underground cavern turned tourist attraction, the Turda Salt Mine in Transylvania. The kids had to love going down a salt mine, particularly one with a fairground at the bottom and a subterranean lake worthy of Gollum, so we quickly booked a hotel in Turda on Agoda( we even use Agoda for Romania, it’s our favourite), threw some underwear in a bag, stuffed the rabbit cages with food and just left. I love that freedom!

As a side note, have a look at the Hunter Prince Castle and Dracula Hotel, it’s right in the middle of Turda, which is quite a cute little town, and looks INCREDIBLE! It was full when we visited or we would have booked. The Pensiune we used wasn’t so good.

The Turda Salt Mine

going down the Turda salt mine Romania

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Some 4 or 5 hours later we arrived in Turda. Signs to Salina Turda showed us the way. The Romanian word for salt is sare, so salina seemed a bit odd, but it couldn’t mean anything else.

We drove to the top of luridly grassy hill to see a small car park, wooden stalls, the sort you will find at every Christmas Market, and a large silver UFO. The modern entrance to an ancient salt mine.

The Turda Salt Mine

The entrance is so modern and so small, to such an amazing and historic place.

A Bit of Salt Mine History

The mine was opened to tourists in 1992 and since then over 2 million visitors have climbed down its space-aged tunnel into the depths of history. The Salina Turda is officially ranked as one of the most beautiful and spectacular tourist attractions in the world, yet so many don’t know about it!

Salt has been produced in this area since antiquity, but the mines we visited dated from the 1600s to 1922. Each landing on the stairway bears a date, descending you move forward in time as the miners dug deeper.

Turda Salt Mine 1

In the access tunnel, salt lies thick on every surface.

The site consists of various chambers, the first, the Iosif mine, is 112m deep, next to it is the deeper, and older, Terezia mine. The Terezia is reached by further stairs or lift and this is where you’ll find the lake and boat rides, along with some more weird UFO resembling structures.

The Good and The Bad of Visiting the Turda Salt Mine With Kids

The Turda Salt Mine

Looking up from the Terezia mine to the Iosif mine, the scale is immense, the tower on the right is the 100m + space-age lift .

Get there early!

We arrived at 4pm, we didn’t have a clue what the opening hours were but they let us in. The salt mine closes at 5pm.

By the time we got down to the bottom of the mines everything was shut, no boat ride, no mini golf, nothing. We had very disappointed kids. Other than that slight hiccup they loved the experience of going down the mine, even the 20 flights of stairs we climbed down, and back up again. There is a lift but it’s small and the queue was interminable. Having just got back from Everest we were cool with the stairs. It is a little vertigo inducing at the top but it’s not too cold, nor is it slippery. You can taste and feel the salt in the air and every surface is encrusted. Yes, the kids did find it necessary to lick the walls.

The Turda Salt Mine

 

Pictures of The Turda Salt Mine

Some pictures of the salt mine, just because it was so visually impressive. The mine also has a halotherapy area, salt treatment for various ailments. The salt air just made me cough a little, the view made me stand and wonder.

 

The Turda Salt Mine

The light sabre style illuminations echo the ceiling stalactites.

 

The Turda Salt Mine

The deeper you go, the younger the mine. The stairs pass 1873.

 

The Turda Salt Mine

Ceilings and walls are marbled with salt. Above the 112m Iosif mine.

 

Turda Salt Mine boat rides

Giant marbling on the walls of Gollum’s subterranean lake.

 

road turda

Looking down onto the ferris wheel and various play equipment from the stairs, unfortunately, all shut.

The only question I want to ask you right now is, did you know about this place?  I still haven’t figured out why Romania is such a well kept secret.

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Comments

  1. We visited Salina Turda in the Spring of 2016, and we were generally underwhelmed with the whole thing. The setting is definitely cool, and for 5 minutes our 5 and 7 year old daughters found it interesting. The elevators were out of service when we went, and our 5 year old is afraid of heights to the point of actually freezing in terror when she finds stairs too steep, so she had to be carried to the level with the lifts. We never went further, because my husband wasn’t thrilled with the idea of carrying 35 lbs down and back up all those stairs. Especially since said stairs are salt encrusted and damp, and look slippery and generally terrifying. Oh well, maybe we’ll try again in a few years when the kids are older.

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  1. […] world, ( worldschooling)  we’ve had a good month for field trips with Romanian Orthodox Easter, a trip down a salt mine, Roman remains, WW1 European history and local spring festivals based on the agricultural calendar. […]

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