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Auschwitz Day Trips from Krakow

If you are ready to journey into the darkest past of Europe's recent history, in Auschwitz you will learn all about this fateful episode.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

Auschwitz Day Trips from Krakow

The entrance to Auschwitz | ©Fadjar Djulizar

Unfortunately, a place like this needs no introduction. What decades ago was a torture camp today is a historical museum that seeks to explain to new generations the errors of the past, preventing the memory of the victims from being lost.

When people talk about Auschwitz they refer to not one but three different camps: an administrative center (Auschwitz I), an extermination camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau), and a labor camp (Auschwitz III). They are 1 hour 15 minutes from Krakow and there are different options to visit them. I have analyzed them all for you to make choosing yours easier.

My favorite
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum from Krakow

All inclusive at the best price

This is the most complete option you will find if you want to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps accompanied by an expert guide. It also includes round-trip transportation from Krakow, at the best price I have found on the internet

Duration: 7 hours
From $ 41 at Hellotickets

The three concentration camps of Auschwitz Birkenau are part of a very large complex, full of historical details worth stopping at. Visiting Auschwitz is something that you will probably do only once in your life and having an expert guide for me is essential: they will let you know the most relevant details of this hard moment in history, but also, they will help you understand how life was in the concentration camps, how the hard-working days were developed there and above all, you will listen to everything with the maximum respect.

With this option, transportation to and from Krakow is also included, so that you don't have to worry about anything when organizing your day visiting Auschwitz and the guide will give you the tour in English, which is essential to understand all the details. Early risers can choose to do the tour at 6:30 am and then have more time during the day to explore Krakow. There is also the option of doing it at 9 am.

Why I like this option: of all the ways to visit Auschwitz, this is the most complete and the most comfortable, having the lowest price and an English-speaking guide.

Recommended if... you want to visit Auschwitz with a specialized guide to get the most out of the experience.

Free tour
Auschwitz Birkenau Self-Guided & Guided Tour from Krakow

Visit Auschwitz at your own pace with a printed guide

If you don't like guided tours, you can always tour the Auschwitz concentration camps at your own pace, following a printed guide or an audio guide. This option includes transportation from Krakow and entrance to the camp, but you will not have a specialized guide

Duration: 6 to 7 hours
From $ 25 at Hellotickets

There are two ways to visit the Auschwitz camps: individually or with a guided tour. Visiting Auschwitz on your own with a transfer from Krakow allows you to go at your own pace without the need to follow a guided group. This option costs $ 25 and includes transfer to the camps and a printed guidebook to help you find your way around.

When you make your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email with the meeting point to board the bus that will take you to Auschwitz. Once you arrive at the camps, you will have plenty of time to visit them at your own pace (about three and a half hours), and then the driver will take you back to Krakow. Here's a tip! When choosing a date, if you can, best to avoid weekends and holidays to make your visit without crowds.

Why I like this option: this option allows you to forget about the organization of your visit to Auschwitz, as it includes transportation from Krakow and the entrance to the camp, but gives you the freedom to visit it at your own pace, visiting the parts you find most interesting. It is also a good option for the more sensitive because you will avoid hearing the most painful details that are narrated in the guided tours.

Recommended if... you don't like guided tours but want to visit the Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camps at your own pace, deciding where and how much to stop.

The savings pack
Private Tour to Auschwitz Birkenau & Salt Mine in One Day

The two best tours of Krakow, in one day and at the best price

Save by booking the two best tours of Krakow|description=Perfect if you plan to do the two most popular tours of Krakow and want to save by booking both experiences together

Duration: 9 to 11 hours
From $ 131 at Hellotickets

If you want to make the most of your time, this is the best option as it combines the Auschwitz concentration camps tour with an excursion to the Wieliczka salt mines, the two most popular and relevant visits you can do during your trip to Krakow.

You will spend a full day on both excursions. At all times you will be accompanied by an expert guide in English and the price includes the services of the guide, entrance fees to both monuments, and transfers to and from your hotel in Krakow and between the different points of interest. Food and drinks are not included so you can carry a picnic in your backpack or buy some food in between the two excursions.

The first stop will be Auschwitz where the guided tour will last about three hours. Then during the afternoon you will visit the famous salt mines of Wieliczka, which is ideal to relax a bit after the concentration camp experience.

Why I like this option: If you are planning a trip to Krakow, you will have read that the guided tour of Auschwitz and the visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines are the two most requested experiences by travelers. With this combination you have the opportunity to do both visits in one day, saving time and money and freeing up the rest of your trip to tour the city at your leisure.

Recommended if... you are thinking of doing both tours and want to save by booking both guided tours.

In summary, we compare the three options

How much does it cost to visit Auschwitz: admission fees and guided tours

If you are asking how much does it cost to visit Auschwitz, you should know that prices can vary depending on which option you choose: a standard ticket without a guide and audio guide costs $ 12 at the box office per adult, while if you join an organized tour with guide and transportation from Krakow in English you will pay $ 30 at Hellotickets.

For me, this is the most convenient option, since for the small difference in price you will be able to get to the very gate of the concentration camp by private bus and after the tour, you will be dropped off back in the center of Krakow, without worrying about waiting times and most importantly, accompanied by an expert guide.

Buy a combined ticket or excursion to Auschwitz and the salt mines

The excursions to the Salt Mines from Krakow are, together with the visit to Auschwitz, the most popular attractions in the country. If you are sure that you do not want to leave Krakow without visiting both, there is a very convenient option, which is to buy together the excursion to Auschwitz and Salt Mines.

With this option, you will save money and time, as you will not have to queue at either site and you will be accompanied by a guide who will explain everything you see, both in the concentration camp and in the salt mines.

How to get to Auschwitz

It is most convenient to get to Auschwitz concentration camp on a guided tour from Krakow, so you don't have to worry about finding a method of transportation on your own. The tours usually use a private bus or minivan to take you to and from Auschwitz-Birkenau from the center of Krakow.

But if you prefer, you can also go by train, by bus or even by car, if you have decided to rent a car during your trip. I leave you all the details about each option here: how to get to Auschwitz from Krakow.

Auschwitz timetable

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is open every day of the week, every day of the year (except Christmas, New Year's Day, and Easter Sunday).

In general, the Auschwitz opening hours vary depending on the season from winter to summer, but are usually open between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM in winter and until 5:00 or 6:00 PM in summer.

Duration of tours and visits to Auschwitz

Depending on the option you choose (whether you take a guided tour or tour it on your own) you will need more or less time, but estimate that you will need between half a day and a full day to organize the round trip from Krakow and the tour inside the complex.

For example, the excursion to Auschwitz from Krakow offered by Hellotickets in English takes about 7 hours and you can choose to do it early in the morning or leave later, the latter option being at noon. About 6 or 7 hours later you will be back at your hotel.

If you opt for the combined visit to Auschtwitz and the Salt Mines, the excursion time will inevitably be longer, but it will allow you to do both visits in one day. Calculate the total duration to be between 11 and 12 hours.

See my article on the Auschwitz tour duration and tours to better organize your day.

What you will see in Auschwitz

The barbed wire fences surround the entire camp | ©Tomas Forgac
The barbed wire fences surround the entire camp | ©Tomas Forgac

During your visit to Auschwitz, you will see its two main camps: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II. The visit starts with the first one, built in 1940 by the Nazi regime to house between 15000 and 20000 prisoners. Later Auschwitz II Birkenau was built, increasing the number of prisoners to 90000. The latter is where the gas chambers were located, which were destroyed at the end of the war by Nazi officials in an attempt to hide their crimes.

The first thing you will see upon arrival is a 15-minute documentary in the visitor center that will orient you contextually through the history associated with the site. Between the scenes, you will see the moments when, in 1945, the camp was liberated by the Soviet army.

Next, you will pass through the Auschwitz Iron Gate on which you can read in German the macabre phrase "Work will set you free". From this point on, the tour continues through the various prisoner barracks, which have been converted into a museum. You will also see the shooting wall, the watchtowers of Auschwitz Birkenau, the main building leading to the gas chambers, the chimneys, or the barbed wire. If you want to know more details about what to expect from your visit, here is my article on what to see in Auschwitz.

Practical tips for your visit to Auschwitz

Luggage taken from prisoners | ©Fred Romero
Luggage taken from prisoners | ©Fred Romero

In any other excursion, the recommendations that can be given before leaving are usually more practical: what to carry in the backpack, what kind of footwear is necessary, where to eat, where to take the best pictures... In this case, however, I think that the first recommendation should be emotional. I leave you here a forward, but you can consult this article with 10 tips to visit Auschwitz from Krakow.

The emotional part

Many question the visit to the Auschwitz camps as morbid. However, if it is done with due respect it is a very valuable history lesson to preserve the memory and remembrance of the victims.

By this I want you to keep in mind that Auschwitz is not an amusement park or a place to take pictures; always try to conduct yourself with the utmost respect. Also, the tour of Auschwitz may be difficult for the most sensitive visitors and is not recommended for children.

Printed guidebook

The printed guidebook that you can buy at the entrance in different languages for less than 3 dollars is essential to orient yourself during your visit. As for how to get there, if you don't have a private transfer, you can take a train from Krakow's main station which takes about two and a half hours.