Romania

Salina Turda, Romania – an Underground Playground

Last Updated on 23/06/2024 by kami

Of all the best places to visit in Romania, Salina Turda surprised me the most. This historical salt mine isn’t what you can expect from a site of that kind.

Instead of the guided tour focusing on the background of the place and how it was used, you enter the underground amusement park located in stunning scenery. Even if you don’t plan to use all the attractions that you can find in the salt mine, it’s still well worth visiting Salina Turda. I was enchanted by the place and super impressed with the new function it serves now!

salina turda romania

If you travel to Romania, especially near Cluj Napoca, don’t miss Salina Turda. It’s such a quirky and unusual place to visit that I bet it will stay in your mind for a long time afterward. I put together this Salina Turda guide so you can plan your trip there and enjoy the place to the fullest.

salina turda romania

Where is Salina Turda, Romania

The salt mine Salina Turda is located in the Transylvania region of Romania, near the town of Turda in the northwest part of the country. The nearest larger cities are Cluj Napoca (35 km), Oradea (200 km) and Sibiu (150 km). Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is 430 km away from Salina Turda.

How to get to Salina Turda

The best way to reach Salina Turda is by car. There’s a large parking space in front of the entrance, but if it’s full (which happened to us), you can park your car along the road leading to the salt mine and walk a bit.

You can also take the bus from Cluj Napoca to the center of Turda and then either catch bus no. 17 to the salt mine (it doesn’t run very frequently) or take the taxi that will take you all the way to the entrance.

Another option is to take a tour from Cluj Napoca. Here are the recommended options:

salina turda romania

A brief history of Salina Turda

Salina Turda is one of the oldest salt mines in Europe, dating back to the second half of the 11th century (however, salt was mined in the area already in Roman times). For years, the place mainly catered to the local markets; however, starting at the end of the 17th century, Salina Turda was expanded to the shape you can see still today.

Since the equipment used in Salina Turda was getting outdated and new mines were being opened in the area, the importance of the place gradually declined. Eventually, in 1932, the mine was closed for operations. During World War 2, the place was used as a hideout.

After significant renovations to adapt the place for tourism purposes, Salina Turda reopened in 2010 and is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Romania.

salina turda romania

Salina Turda today

Salina Turda is the most unique salt mine I’ve ever seen, unlike any other place of that kind I’ve visited. Before arriving, I expected a more traditional place, kind of like Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, but it was nothing like that. While there are parts of the mine where you can learn about the history and how the salt has been excavated here, that’s not the main purpose of visiting Salina Turda.

salina turda romania

Once you go underground, the highlight of the place is two mines: Rudolf (42 meters deep) and Terezia (90 meters deep). What used to be a place to excavate salt today serves as the entertainment center, with attractions like boat rides, pool tables, bowling, mini golf, a basketball court, and a Ferris wheel. This was not what I expected to find in the salt mine at all, but at the same time, all these attractions make Salina Turda unique and worth visiting.

salina turda romania

Visiting Salina Turda

First of all, you don’t need to worry about sold-out tickets. I visited Salina Turda on a busy Sunday afternoon and got tickets at the site without problems. It seems everyone who wants to get it will get it. But after all, the place is really large underground, and there are only a few spots (like elevators) where you might need to wait in line.

There are no guided tours; everyone is free to explore the place at their own pace and according to their interests. There is also no time limit for spending underground, so you can stay there as long as you want to. You can find the current opening hours and fees here.

salina turda romania

Once you have a ticket, you can start your underground adventure. First, you need to walk down the beautiful staircase through the salt rock. You will reach the long corridor with stunning salt formations on the walls. There is no need to walk all the way to the end as the corridor is almost a kilometer long and connects two entrances to Salina Turda.

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

Just follow other visitors, and you will easily find all the highlights of the place. Be curious and explore – if you see any doors or corridors leading right or left – go and see them.

That’s where you will find tools and equipment used in the salt mine all the years ago. The most valuable one is a so-called “crivac” – a machinery that was used to lift salt rocks on the surface. This is the only machine of this kind in Europe, dating to 1881 and remaining in its place since being installed.

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

When you learn more about the history and how salt has been excavated in Salina Turda, it’s time for the fun part of your visit. Follow the signs to one of the corridors that will lead you to the elevator and the staircase that will take you to the main attraction of Salina Turda – the Rudolf mine.

I recommend taking the stairs, at least down – not only will it save you time as the lines to the elevator are really long (like half an hour waiting time), but from this perspective, you can fully admire the enormity and vastness of the place. Rudolf mine is 42 meters deep, 50 meters wide, and 80 meters long and was the last part of the mine that was in use. No words can describe how huge this place is; I was walking around speechless, literally with my jaw dropped.

To get to the staircase, you need to go through the gallery that is literally glued to the salt wall, high above the surface. If you are afraid of open spaces, I would not recommend this walk as you might get dizzy. The 172 stairs will take you 13 floors down – you might notice a year written on each floor; that’s when the level was opened.

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

Once you reach the bottom, you can enjoy, for a fee, all the activities available here: the Ferris wheel, pool, mini golf, tennis table, or a sports field. There are also plenty of benches where you can simply sit down and look at all the grandness around.

From Rudolf mine, you can also look even lower, to Terezia mine with its salt lake. It looks really impressive from here, with small boats on the water’s surface and UFO-shaped constructions serving as the deck.

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

To get to the Terezia mine, you need to use the elevator or take the stairs again. These are very narrow, so they only go one way, and the mine staff regulates the flow of people. If you don’t have time to wait in the line or simply don’t want to go down there, it’s enough to look at this part of Salina Turda from above as the view is pretty cool anyway.

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

The last important place to see in Salina Turda is the so-called “appeal hall,” where the miners gathered before starting the shift underground. The place also served religious purposes, where the miners prayed for their safety and where masses took place.

What you notice right away here is “the staircase of the rich,” covered in salt, which creates a stunning masterpiece. The legend says that Emperor Franz Joseph took this staircase when he visited Salina Turda. Since then, regular miners were not allowed to take it as this way was reserved only for people of noble origin.

salina turda romania

salina turda romania

Visiting Salina Turda is also good for health, as the air underground is very clean and helps with breathing issues. Even when I was climbing all those stairs up, I didn’t get tired or short of breath, and that rarely happens.

salina turda romania

Final thoughts on visiting Salina Turda

Salina Turda took me by surprise. This is such a unique attraction, a regular place turned into a one-of-a-kind entertainment center. Even if the place was rather busy when I was there (hence, you should try to avoid it over weekends), I still enjoyed it so much and was so impressed with the grandness and beauty of the place.

Salina Turda is a perfect combination of fun and history, and I’m sure everyone will find it as impressive as I did. Even if you need to make a little detour in your Romania itinerary to visit Salina Turda, do it, and you will not be disappointed.

salina turda romania

Further reading

I published many articles about Romania that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask your questions there.


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salina turda romania


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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Anca
    02/07/2024 at 12:21

    I haven’t been to Turda because, although I was born in Romania, it was quite far from where I lived and went on holidays mainly in that area, near the Black Sea.
    The salina looks amazing, I love the pictures.

    • Reply
      kami
      03/07/2024 at 18:00

      Thanks! I was so impressed with Salina Turda, such a crazy place!

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