I don’t use superlatives all that much, especially in the title of an article, but some things built by men make me feel lucky to have seen them. One of these places is the underground salt mine in Turda. And I’m not the only one praising this place, as I recall seeing Salina Turda mentioned in several articles about top tourist destinations you have to see. Romania usually doesn’t make an appearance in these charts, but when it does I think it’s a wonderful experience.
We got to see the Turda salt mine in our Cluj County getaway, which we’ve talked about a few times here and there on Travelue. It’s pretty easy to get there from Cluj-Napoca city, by following the E60 European road until you get to Turda City. The road is beautiful, taking you through the hills in the area and if you love driving I’m sure you’ll enjoy the short trip. Road signs are surprisingly present in this area, something you’ll come to appreciate after spending some time on romanian roads.
Mind you there are two entrances in the Turda salt mine so if you miss one don’t worry, you still have a chance of getting there. If you don’t need to park your car exactly near the entrance you can find plenty of spots in the housing area surrounding the salt mine. The parking lot near the main entrances are too small for the king of visitor stream the salt mine attracts.
We got there on a Friday, after a national holiday, so I suspect normally during the week there’s more room to breathe. For those of you worrying that inside the Turda salt mine you’ll feel claustrophobic I say this will be a non-issue as the place is well ventilated and there’s plenty of space. How much? Well, let’s just say around 900 meters of corridor inside the salt mountain until you get to the old mining rooms. At least that was the case for the salt mine old entrance, from the Salinelor road, which we’ve also used when departing.
You’ll find the occasional bottlenecks at the two elevators that take you to the lower levels, but if you’re smart enough you’ll use the stairs. I know it sounds awful, but there are about 13-14 levels from top to the main area, plus about half if you want to get to the lowest level, where you can rent paddle boats to enjoy the salt lake found there. Plus you’ll avoid the 45 minutes to one hour of waiting time at the elevator. I hate physical activity, but I don’t regret taking the stairs on our way up and down the Turda salt mine.
Why go there?
Anyway, let’s talk a little bit about the activities you can do there, besides staring at the beautiful lighting arrangement that makes Salina Turda look like a place from outer space. You can rent boats, as I mentioned before, play tennis, mini-golf, bowling, entertain folks in an auditorium (I’m guessing you have to be pretty good at it to justify the premium you have to pay). There’s even a big wheel, if you’re into it.
There are quite a few “rooms” to explore such as Franz Joseph gallery, Iosif Mine-Echoes room, The Crivac Room, The Extraction Shaft Room, The Appeal Room and the Rudolf, Teresia and Anton mines. These are all underground, by the way, and are complemented by the outdoor Durgau Strand treatment and recreation spa (which we didn’t get to visit).
And one other reason to visit Salina Turda is for the health benefits you get from the salty air, especially when it comes to respiratory illnesses. I felt much better from breathing that air for a couple of days, so I’m pretty sure that regular visits to salt mines in general could boost your immune system a little bit.
More info about the Turda salt mine can be found on the Official site, which features also an English version.
There’s plenty more to do and see than we did the few hours we’ve been there. You can even justify renting a room for a few nights and spend a couple of days at Salina Turda with your family or friends.
Now, before you navigate away take a look at this amazing place by browsing through the picture gallery. Sometimes images do a better job at describing things that I could ever do…
Tip: “Salina” means “salt mine”.