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Turda Salt Mine, Romania. Review and Tips

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 (Salina Turda) 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, threw some underwear in a bag, stuffed the rabbit cages with food and just left. I love that freedom!

We are travel bloggers living in Romania. Romania travel is our speciality, so on with Turda.

The Turda Salt Mine

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 a 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.

Entrance to the Turda Salt Mine, Transylvania
The entrance to the Turda Salt Mine looks like a crashed UFO, quite surprising, but things are about to get even weirder.

What is a Salt Mine? 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.

Descending into the Salina Turda in Transylvania
Descending into the Salina Turda.

Salt mining has been going on 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.

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.

If you’re into salt mines generally, the largest publicly open salt mine in Europe is also in Romania and close to Bucharest.

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

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.

Salt encrusted walls inside the mine.
Every ancient surface is encrusted with salt.

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 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.

Inside the Turda Salt mine Romania
These bizarre structures seem to simply be places to enjoy your coffee or icecream in the deepest part of the mine.
Main chamber Turda Salt Mine
From the top, looking over the fairground set up, the ferris wheel and mini golf to the right.
What's inside the Salina Turda in Transylvania
From the bottom of the deepest chamber, looking up into the main chamber. It’s impossible to comprehend the scale.
History of the Salina Turda
At each turn of the staircase you’ll find a date. You go forward in time as you descend, following the path of the miners as they dug deeper, here we reach 1873.
Fairground at the bottom f the salt mine, romania
Your first real view of the mine is from the top, here. You then descent into the two main chambers by lift or stairs.
Lake in the Turda Salt Mine, Romania
Boat rides on Gollum’s subterranean lake with massive marbled walls of salt behind.

 

Where to stay when visiting the Turda Salt Mine?

Take 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 with an ancient, scenic central plaza This hotel looks INCREDIBLE! It was full when we visited or we would have booked. The Pensiune we used wasn’t so good so I won’t recommend it.

It’s well worth visiting Turda and staying overnight, we found a bar/ restaurant serving typical Romanian street food and soups, along with good beer. Alternatively, you can visit Turda from Cluj Napoca.

 Hunter Prince Castle and Dracula Hotel Turda

   check rates and availability here for this hotel in Turda on Hotels Combined.

Alternatively try it here on Booking.com

Back to our Romania Travel Advice , Index and Blog Page for more things to do and places to see in Romania. We lived and travelled in Romania, on and off, for 3 years to make this resource for you, we hope you make it to Turda and the Salt Mine – Salina Turda.

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Alin

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Hi! Turda's mayor Stefanie visited Wielicka salt mine in Poland. He realized what a tourist attraction can be Turda Salt mine so he has employee a team of architects and with money from European Union he made it in the way the salt mine looks today. This really is a success story

Alyson for World Travel Family

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Interesting! thanks

Luminita

Friday 28th of April 2017

I wouldn't say that Turda salt mine is such a big secret, but it became more popular just over the last years, after all the renovation work was done and they added some attractions like the boat rides. Probably this is why not many people have heard of it.

Ros Hotel for World Travel Family

Saturday 29th of April 2017

Outside of Romania I bet you'd find almost nobody has heard of it. I certainly hadn't when we first came to Romania and I'm far more of a traveller than most.

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Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.