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 the new generations the mistakes of the past, preventing the memory of the victims from being lost.
When we talk about Auschwitz we 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 about an hour and a quarter from Krakow and there are different excursions to visit them 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.
Visiting Auschwitz is something you will probably do only once in your life and having an expert guide is essential: he will let you know the most relevant details of this hard moment in history, but, in addition, he 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 utmost respect.
With this option of excursion to Auschwitz from Krakow, in addition, is included round trip transportation so you do not have to worry about anything and the guide will make the visit, which is essential to understand all the details. Early risers can choose to take 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 9:00 a.m.
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 having an expert guide in history.
Recommended if... you want to visit Auschwitz with a specialized guide to get the most out of the experience.
The two best one-day tours of Krakow at the best price
Save by booking the two best tours in Krakow|description=Perfecto si tienes pensado hacer las dos visitas más demandadas de Cracovia y quieres ahorrar al contratar ambas experiencias juntas.
If you want to make the most of your time, this is the best option as it combines the tour of the Auschwitz concentration camps with an excursion to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, the two most popular and relevant visits you can make during your trip to Krakow.
You will spend a full day for both excursions. You will be accompanied by an expert guide at all times and the price includes the services of the guide, entrance fees to both monuments and round-trip transfers. The first stop will be Auschwitz where the guided tour will last approximately three hours. Then, during the afternoon, you will visit the famous Wieliczka Salt Mines.
Why I like this option: They are the two most demanded experiences by travelers and with this combination you have the opportunity to do both visits in one day, saving time and money.
Recommended if... you are thinking of doing both excursions and want to save by hiring both guided tours.
In summary, we compare the two options
All inclusive at the best price
The best price on the market if you want to visit Auschwitz with a specialized guide to get the most out of the experience.
Save by booking the two best tours from Cracow
Perfect if you plan to do the two most popular tours in Krakow and want to save by booking both experiences together.
How much does it cost to visit Auschwitz: ticket prices and guided tours
If you are wondering how much it costs to visit Auschwitz, you should know that prices may vary depending on which option you choose: a standard ticket without guide or audio guide costs 10€ at the box office per adult, while if you join an organized tour with guide and transport from Krakow you will pay 25€ at Hellotickets.
For me, this is the most convenient option, since for the little difference in price you can get to the gate of the concentration camp by private bus and after the visit you will be dropped off back in the center of Krakow, without worrying about waiting times and most importantly, accompanied by an expert guide. Here is an article with all the information about tickets to Auschwitz.
Buy the combined ticket or tour 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 know that you do not want to leave Krakow without visiting both, there is a very convenient option, which is to buy the Auschwitz and Salt Mines excursion together.
With this option you will save money and time, since you will not have to queue at either of the two sites and you will be accompanied at all times by a guide who will explain everything you see, both in the concentration camp and in the 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 opening hours
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).
Duration of tours and visits to Auschwitz
Depending on the option you choose (if you do a guided tour or if you do it on your own) you will need more or less time, but calculate 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 takes about 7 hours and you can choose to do it early in the morning or leave later, being the last option 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 is inevitably longer, but it will allow you to do both visits in one day. Please estimate the total duration to be between 11 and 12 hours.
See my article on Auschwitz tour duration and Auschwitz tours to better organize your day.
What to see in Auschwitz
During your visit to Auschwitz you will see:
- Iron Gate of Auschwitz I: On this gate you can read in German the macabre phrase "Work will set you free".
- Auschwitz I: The visit begins at this concentration camp built in 1940 by the Nazi regime to house between 15,000 and 20,000 prisoners.
- Auschwitz II: Auschwitz II Birkenause was built later, increasing the number of prisoners to 90,000. 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.
- Auschwitz Birkenauwatchtowers.
- Documentary: With a duration of 15 minutes, it is projected in the visitor center and will orient you contextually through the history associated with the site.
- Firing Wall.
- Main building leading to the gas chambers.
- Barbed wire fences.
If you want to know more details about what to expect from your visit, here is my article about what to see in Auschwitz.
Practical tips for your visit to Auschwitz
In any other excursion, the recommendations that can be given before leaving are usually more practical: what to take in the backpack, what kind of shoes is necessary, where to eat, where to take the best pictures... In this case however I think that the first recommendation should be of an emotional nature. I leave you here a forward, but you can consult this article with 10 tips to visit Auschwitz from Krakow.
The most emotional part
There are many who question the visit to the Auschwitz camps because they consider it morbid. However, if done with due respect, it is a 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 Auschwitz tour may be hard for the more sensitive and is not recommended for children.
The printed guidebook that you can buy at the entrance in different languages for less than 3 euros is essential to orient yourself during your visit. As for how to get there, if you do not have a private transfer, you can take a train from Krakow's main station which takes about two and a half hours.