I know it is hard to go on vacation and then do something like visit Auschwitz. I totally get it. But I think everyone who visits Krakow should take the time to take a trip to Auschwitz. It is a powerful experience that we have to remember happened, so we don't do it again.
So, how do I get to Auschwitz from Krakow? It is pretty simple to do it yourself but you can also choose to take a group tour.
Where is the Auschwitz Concentration camp?
First off, Auschwitz is located in Oświęcim which is 66 kilometers west of Krakow or around 2 hours from Krakow.
What is Auschwitz?
Auschwitz is a German name of the city and also a component of the name of the infamous concentration camp that was established outside of then-obliging town boundaries in the 1940’s. Nowadays, the famous “Arbeit macht frei” entry gate is located about 2,5 kilometres from the city centre of Oswiecim.
When is Auschwitz closed?
The exhibitions of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp are open to visitors daily.
Auschwitz is closed on the following days:
- January the 1st
- First day of Easter
- 25th of December
- certain days or hours when official diplomatic delegations are to be hosted there (you may check these special dates when Auschwitz isn’t open)
What are Auschwitz Hours?
Auschwitz is open year round (except for above dates) at 8 a.m.
Auschwitz closing times are as follows:
- 2 p.m. (December)
- 3 p.m. (January, November)
- 4 p.m. (February)
- 5 p.m. (March, October)
- 6 p.m. (April, May, September)
- 7 p.m. (June, July, August)
The closing hours mentioned above are when the last groups of visitors are admitted inside. If you enter near closing you have one and a half an hour to complete your visits.
How to get to Auschwitz on your own
Getting to Auschwitz by Train
Price: Train - 15,60 PLN for Adult one-way ticket. Bus (optional) - PLN 2,7.
Travel time: 1.5-2 hours
Distance to Museum after stop: 20-30 mins by foot, 5-10 mins with bus
Not the most direct way, but possible and still relatively easy, you can take a train to the town of Oswiecim. There are direct trains every hour to the city of Oswiecim that leave from Krakow. The train ride is around 1 hour and 40 minutes. There is no need to buy tickets ahead of time which is a definite pro. Once you get off, you will find yourself at the railway station of Oswiecim, about 1.9 kilometres away from the concentration camp of Auschwitz.
To walk the rest of the way takes around 25 minutes and is nice on a clear day. There is also a local bus line which stops near the railway station and includes the “Muzeum” stop. The price for a single ticket is PLN 2,7.
Getting to Auschwitz by Bus
Price: 10-12 PLN for one way ticket
Travel time: 1.5-2 hours
Distance to Museum after stop: 10 mins by foot
This is how I got to Auschwitz and I found it very easy. The main bus station is easy to navigate and is a popular mode of transport to Auschwitz. You can purchase your ticket there the day of and buses leave fairly frequently. About every 20-30 minutes if I remember correctly.
Depending on which bus you take you will get off at one of three stops:
- Muzeum Auschwitz (closest)
- Wiezniow Oswiecimia (about 3 minute walk away)
- Oswiecim Lodowisko bus stop (5 minute walk away)
Don't be too worried about missing your stop. Pretty much everyone on your bus will be going to Auschwitz, follow the crowd.
Getting to Auschwitz by Tour Group
Price: 150 PLN with ticket included
Travel time: 1-1.5 hours
Distance to Museum after stop: Pickup at hotel and direct drop off
Obviously, the most convenient and most expensive option. A tour group gives you little flexibility on when to leave and how long to stay but makes everything easy. You can book a tour from one of the many tour shops in Krakow. Don't worry too much about shopping around for prices. They are all generally the same price. Tours include door to door service. English speaking tour leader will help you throughout the whole trip assisting you and answering all the necessary questions.