Salina Turda is a must visit salt mine in Romania with a twist – the Salina Turda amusement park. Yes, you read that right, there is a theme part in this salt mine in Romania. A truly magical day out for you and your family.
If activities are your main drive, then Rudolf Mine has a range of fun activities for kids and adults including an amphitheatre, sports pitch, bowling, mini-golf, table tennis etc. and a panoramic wheel/ Ferris wheel located 120m underground.
Continue in the Theresa Mine, where you can even rent a boat on the salty lake and see the mine from a different perspective. Interested to find out more about Salina Turda? Then read more below.
Salina Turda is located in northwest Romania. It is a salt mine in Transylvania, around 35km from Cluj-Napoca and one of the most exquisite places we have visited.
Turda Salt Mine is a spectacular underground formation shaped by people. The mines are up to 120m deep with a constant temperature of around 10°C-12°C all year round.
When you visit the Turda salt mine, you will see constructions that are strange in appearance, often compared with science fiction architecture, with the tube lighting adding to that effect. This was definitely something that attracted us to this place, it looked so strange and so alien.
The salt mine opening hours are Monday – Sunday from 9am till 7pm as advertised on the official website. You can buy your Salina Turda ticket online or you can purchase this on the spot.
Back in the days, Salina Turda was one of the most important salt mines in Transylvania and the main source of salt supply in the region.
In addition to being a salt mine, it also served as an air raid shelter during World War II. Later on, Turda salt mine was used as a cheese warehouse before opening up to tourists in 1992.
How to get to Salina Turda and Where to Stay
We were in Bucharest for the Christmas holidays and found some really cheap flights from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca, so we decided to do a city break in Cluj and see the Christmas Markets.
We flew to Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport (CLJ). If you are looking for suitable flight options, make sure to check out this article with top tips on how to find cheap flights.
From Cluj Napoca, we got a bus to Turda salt mine, which took us less than 1 hour. It was very convenient as the bus stopped in front of the entrance of the salt mine.
A word of advice, be sure to check the departures board for the mini-bus so you know how to time your visit as taxis can be very expensive.
If you have a car or if you decide to rent a car, you can drive to Salina Turda from Cluj or other parts of Romania. On-site parking is available at the salt mine.
There are alternative options, if you prefer an organised trip to Salina Turda:
- You can book a guided tour to Salina Turda from Cluj here.
- If you want to explore Salina Turda but also visit nearby areas, then this Day Trip From Cluj – Turda Salt Mine,Turda Gorge and Rimetea Village may be more suitable.
In terms of accommodation, we stood at Pensiune Junior in Cluj Napoca. The name “Pensiune” in Romania refers to a Guest House.
It was comfortable and affordable but nothing too special. There are accommodation options closer to Salina Turda, should you wish to spend your night in the local area.
We would recommend booking your travel through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates.
What to do at Salina Turda
There are two entrances to the mine. We entered from the old entrance, following a several hundred meter long corridor that leads to the main part of the mine.
To visit the different parts of the mine, you can go down the stairs (be careful, it might be slippery) or take the elevator.
The lower part of the mine is designed as an entertainment area where you can go boating, play pool or table tennis, ride a ferris wheel, play mini golf etc. More information on what to visit and what to do below.
Franz Josef Gallery
Our first encounter was Franz Josef Gallery. It was built to make the salt transport to the surface much easier and cheaper. Part of this mine was also used as a cheese warehouse after WWII.
You can see my smile on the photo but little did I know that I needed to walk more than 900m to reach the end.
Joseph Mine – Echo Chamber
This mine is a conical chamber 115 metres deep and 67 metres wide at the base. In this mine there is a powerful echo (sounds are repeated up to 20 times), due to its shape and lack of communication with the other major mining points.
This is also known as the Echo Chamber or Echo Hall. You should definitely try it. Paul and I had lots of fun with this, thankfully there weren’t many people in the same mine with us.
The “Crivac” Chamber
In this room you will find a very old and basic piece of machinery called “crivac” or “gepel”, hence the name of the room. The machine was operated by horses and served for the vertical transport of the salt exploited from Rudolf Mine.
The “crivac” is one of the main points of interest in the salt mine. The extraction machine dates back to 1881. It is believed that this is the only machine of its kind in all salt mines in Romania, that remains in its original location.
It was nice to see and learn what was used in the past to lift those heavy rocks of salt. Due to the poor lighting (only torches) and the circular motions that horses did, those horses would become blind in just 2 weeks after leaving the mine.
Wow, what a place this is! We couldn’t believe how it looks from above whilst getting ready to go deeper down to explore everything this mine has to offer.
This is the last place where salt was exploited in Turda salt mine. On one side, you can even see where stalactites of salt have been formed over the years.
There are 13 floors before you go down this mine. You can take the stairs (172 to be precise) or you can take the panoramic elevator (this is what we did) offering a nice overview of the whole mine.
Now, we find ourselves 120 meters underground. We couldn’t believe when I saw so many activities underground – amphitheatre, mini golf, table tennis, pool as well as a playground for the kids.
Do keep in mind that for each of these activities you need to pay extra, so it’s good to have some cash on you and budget for some extra payments in addition to the entry fee.
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Out of all the things, we didn’t expect to see was the ferris wheel. That’s pretty unique, right?
It is 20 meters high and probably the only underground panoramic wheel in the world. It can’t be compared to the London Eye in London but it’s pretty unique for what it is.
This amusement park is nothing like the Prater in Vienna or Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, so don’t put your expectations too high. It is, however, a fun and relaxation park offering healthy space for the whole family.
A little lower from Rudolf Mine is Theresa Mine. From above, this looks like an alien structure and definitely worth a photo. This is the oldest part of the whole mine with salt being exploited between 1690 and 1880.
Here you can find and underground lake, stalactites and salt efflorescence. They say that in this area, the air is the cleanest, with the lowest total concentration of microorganisms in the underground air. So we decided to spend a bit more time in here.
You will notice that the underground lake dominates the landscape. The whole place was done very smartly and you can even rent a paddle boat from here. This is what we did.
Although renting a boat was the most expensive activity, it was still very affordable and certainly worth doing. Being on a boat on the lake so many meters underground was a very nice and unusual experience.
In a way, we could compare this to swimming in a a cenote, which we did during our trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Gisela Stationary Mine
This is a balneary salt mine known for its curative properties and is an important treatment destination.
Salt therapy is recommended as a very effective solution in the treatment of respiratory diseases, but also for stimulating immunity, detox, improving digestion and reducing the effects of fatigue and stress.
People doing salt therapy sessions spend time in this stationary treatment area – Gisela Mine and a period in the underground area – Rudolf Mine, which we mentioned earlier.
The Registry Chamber
This room was ideal for keeping track of the people entering and leaving Rudolf Mine, hence the name Registry Chamber. This place is dominated by a staircase, known as the Staircase of the Rich, which served as access to the Theresa and Rudolf mines.
What we found impressive in this chamber is the Altar, carved in one of the walls. This is where the priest of the Salt Mine would hold a service every morning in order for all workers to be protected.
Extraction Shaft Chamber
During your visit, don’t forget to visit the Extraction Shaft Chamber to learn more about how salt mined in Rudolf Mine was transported vertically, up to the Franz Joseph Gallery.
On the way out, we used the other tunnel to exit the mine. This is known as the “New Entrance”. This one was a bit more impressive than the tunnel we entered the mine, and also had a lot of steps, so do be prepared.
After spending half a day underground, it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the day light outside.
Having said that, we felt our airways were clearer, so the salt inhalation must have helped. We felt the same after visiting the Himalaya Sauna in Therme Bucharest.
Clothing – dress-up as the temperature in the mine is around 10°C-12°C. Also make sure you have comfortable shoes on as there is lots of walking involved.
Food and drinks – eat before your visit as you are not allowed to eat inside the salt mine. When we went there, there was no place to buy food or snacks from, so it’s best to bring water with you.
Money – take some extra cash for activities in the amusement park. You need to pay separately for these attractions.
Overall, we had a great time at the salt mine and would highly recommend it. Definitely worth visiting and a must do for the next time you are in Romania. It’s a great day out for families, friends and solo travellers and really unique.
Visiting Salina Turda (Turda Salt Mine) really puts in perspective the monumental effort it took people a few centuries ago to extract salt and process it. Something to think about next time you season your steak or salad.
Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:
- Flights – we use flight aggregators such as Skyscanner and Google flights to find the best options. You can find more information about finding cheap flights here.
- Flight compensation – Compensair or AirHelp for flight delays and cancellations.
- Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.
- Transport – consider Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.
- Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.
- Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.
- Internet abroad – with Airalo you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.
- Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.
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