Only 100 km from Bucharest, you will encounter one of the most acknowledged destinations for balneal and touristic activities. Since 1953, Slanic Prahova, with its astounding salt mine is a pearl of national interest and a much beloved destination for tourists coming from all around the world.
What can you expect to see at this majestic and salty site? Starting with the data, the site will offer about 2.9 million cubic meters of excavated salt, which has led to the creation of gigantic and multifaceted caves. The caves make up a total of 14 trapezoidal rooms with an extensive surface of 80 thousand square meters. You heard that right! 80 thousand square meters of salt wonderland.
The rooms have 10 meters tall openings, whilst the salt mine itself reaches a depth of 208 meters. The enormous dimensions ensured it the title of largest salt mine in Europe. But what can one do in a salt mine really? And why would one bother to visit one? Is it worth the ride? Here are a few hints about the main highlights at the Slanic Prahova salt mine.
How does a day trip look like?
Visitors can access the mine in small groups via the specifically tailored mini buses. This gives all visitors a chance to admire the elements of the internal structure of the salt mass.
The salt shines with various coloured bands of grey and white tones and emanates a peculiar and shiny light. So much so that many tourists have reported experiencing a spiritual almost mystical connection with the earth and with themselves during the act of admiring the hidden beauty of the caves.
And whilst some may see in it a zen sanctuary or hideout, to others the cave represents a chance to chase their quest for historical wisdom. In fact, it is possible for tourists to explore the more ancient places where the salt excavation phases have taken place over the centuries as the mini buses reach into the more remote meanders of the mine.
In spite of the size of the site, the entire tour can be taken in only about 2 hours and comes with the added benefit of the enjoyment of some saline air. Do not be surprised though, if in spite of the peculiarly clean air, you will find the experience breath-taking. Especially when you visit the salt mine for the first time you will be invaded by a feeling of awe.
The “salt palaces”, as the 14 rooms are called, have a constant temperature of 13 degrees Celsius throughout the year and a humidity of 60%, which grants for saline aerosols therapeutic effects on health. So much so that that the mine has started to be used for the treatment of respiratory diseases.
This turns Slanic Prahova into a curative vacation destination for those of you who may be affected by respiratory problems. Several have been the cases of reported benefits following a curative journey at the mine. And after all, what best way to take care of one’s health than in the natural beauty of a centuries old salt mine?
The pure air has also been found to be almost completely lacking radiation and pollution. This has been tested by the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Energy, which frequently researches the mine and, as rumors suggest, may be planning the installation of a cosmic research center in it.
Time to Heal
But the pure air is not the only benefit inside the mine. A sanatorium with 50 places equipped with beds, chairs and tables offers further comfort to visitors. Especially those with respiratory problems can spend a few hours just relaxing and breathing in. Two-week treatments have been made available for people with lung problems throughout the year.
Time to Have Fun
For those who are not motivated by health reasons and instead wish to have some fun, all sorts of activities are available such as playgrounds with slides and swings, volleyball courts, tennis courts, handball courts, mini-football and carting, billiard, and buffets.
These more modern solutions have been entertaining tourists in the recent years. Moreover, the Union Mine, the largest of them all, also hosts competitions, exhibitions and concerts. Particularly beloved among locals and visitors alike are the national and international aero modelling competitions.
Finally, the most spectacular of all rooms is the Genesis Hall, which contains the busts of Trajan, Decebal and Burebista, historical figures that have played a major cultural role in ancient Romania. And even if these may not tell you much (in case you are not familiar with Romanian history), they are accompanied by many other sculptures all of which are entirely made of salt and can be admired in the spacious and cool hall.
To sum it all up, at the mine you will find a breath-taking view, a unique combination of history and art, entertainment and fun, and several plus points for your lung health. So how are you going to get there?
Here are some instructions to be able to reach Slanic Prahova from Bucharest. Truth being told, there are several ways to get from Bucharest to Slanic by train, bus, taxi, or car.
The train will be as cheap as between 3 € and 6 € and offers a direct connection option with departure from Bucureşti Nord Gr.A and arrival directly at Slănic. Services depart once daily and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 2h 36m and is operated by Transferoviar Calatori. The bus offers a comparable alternative with journeys between 2h 45m and 3h 10 at a cost of approximately between 6 € and 7 €.
The bus starts from Bucuresti – Autogara 13 Septembrie and is operated by Ridm Impex. A taxi will take you to the mine in just about one and a half hour but at the cost of about between 60 € and 75 €. Finally, you could drive there with your own (or rented) car in 1h 34m.