Wieliczka Salt Mine
A shining gem in the UNESCO World Heritage list, this eerie yet fascinating salt mine is located 14 kilometres from the city of Krakow and its rich deposits are well known for their preservative properties and their multiple health benefits. Everything here has been carved by hand by virtue of salt blocks and is of immense material and spiritual value in the country. The length of the many tunnels inside the mine amount to some 300 kilometres and there are as many as 22 chambers. Then there are salt chapels, statues, monuments and even underground lakes for that matter. Heck, even the chandeliers are made of pure salt. There’s also a reception room for private weddings. Yes! There’s the Eram Baracz Chamber with an elaborate salt lake, the Stanislaw Staszic Chamber with a panoramic lift and the beautiful Chapel of St. Kinga. There’s also the Krakow Saltworks Museum to be seen during the 2 hour tour during which you are expected to walk around 2 kilometres and be entirely covered in salt towards the end. Tickets for the mine come for 49PLN inclusive of everything and English language tours depart every 30 minutes between 8:30am to 6pm during July and August. During the rest of the year, there are six to eight daily English tours.It is advisable to buy your tickets online (and a lot in advance) from their official website: http://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/ Minibuses to the salt mine originate from the Krakow Glowny train station between 6am till 8pm and a single ride costs around 3PLN. You could even take the suburban public bus but the ride is longer. You could however take this bus 304 on your way back to Krakow.
Strbske Pleso Lake
Hanging in the ropeway on our way up was more fun that climbing on big rocks, committed to reach to the top which seemed to close, even from great distance. It took us 2 hour to hike up to the summit of Predne Solisko. We were quite fast as we knew we had last funicular to catch on our way down to Strba where we were staying. As it took us long time gasping at the rocky peeks hidden in clouds, we missed the last fernicular. Not quite happy, as we also had last train to catch back to the hotel, we asked a local man how long would it takes us to go down by feet. Despite his not exactly cheerful reply: 1 hour if ‘you can fly' we decided to fight the odds and get to the train station on time. With fear in our feet, we literally ran down the rocky hill (not recommended) all the way via ski paths, through the woods around the lake and to the station just in time to catch our last funicular (all in 40 minutes).
On the last day we were on Crimea we first went to Bakhchysaray and visited Khan's Palace. In the 15th century a Khanate, an autonomous region ruled by a Khan, was founded on the peninsula today known as Crimea. The Khan who ruled over Crimea had his palace in Bakhchysaray, where the Khan's palace still stands. Visiting the palace was very nice. They have furnished several of the rooms with furniture and carpets in the style that the Khan would have had it.
For those adventurous enthusiasts, Romania has the Fagaras Mountains. Hiking them is a multiple-day expedition, but for trekking enthusiasts, it is one of the most rewarding and refreshing climbs in Eastern Europe. Here, you get a chance to trek to the three highest peaks of Romania – Moldoveanu, Negoiu and Vista Mare.