How to tour Auschwitz from Krakow with or without a guide?


Are you planning to tour Auschwitz in Poland? It is possible to visit the camp with or without a guide, the easiest being to go to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp from Krakow.

In this article you will find out how to book tickets, how much it costs, how to get there with a guide or by public transport. I hope that this information will provide you with answers so that you can go without the “logistical” stress of the experience itself, which is already painful as you can imagine.

Why visit Auschwitz Birkenau today?

During the Second World War, the Nazis established several camps in Europe, where millions of prisoners were deported. Because they were Jews, homosexuals, disabled, members of a nation or ethnic group that Nazi Germany rejected, they were sent to these places of barbarism.

Some were concentration camps, where prisoners deemed fit for work were assigned to gruelling tasks, surviving in deplorable hygienic conditions, suffering abuse and multiple deprivations. Too often they ended up dying.

Others were extermination camps, where the Nazis’ aim was clearly to systematically eliminate the prisoners sent there.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was both a concentration camp and an extermination camp. More than 1.1 million people – 90% of them Jews – lost their lives there, making it, along with Treblinka, the largest death camp in Europe. Paying tribute to these victims and remembering them are often the main reasons for visiting Auschwitz.

It is a gigantic place, which once covered three main camps (Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II Birkenau and Monowitz), with a multitude of smaller annex camps. Today, it is possible to visit Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau, which are about 3 kilometres apart from each other. A shuttle bus will take you between the two sites.

Barbed wire and ruins of a block - Auschwitz-Birkenau

Where is Auschwitz located?

The camps are located in the small town of Oswiecim (pronounced “Aush-vi-ey-tchim” in Polish), a municipality of 40,000 inhabitants in the south of the country, about an hour and 15 minutes drive from Krakow on the A4 motorway and four hours from Warsaw on the S7.

The town was simply renamed during the war, in 1940, with a German name, as were most of the places that the Nazis took control of during history. It was the Polish pronunciation “Aush-vi-ey-tchim” that was changed to “Auschwitz”. Fortunately, the town has now reverted to its real name.

Here is where it is on a map:

How to visit Auschwitz with an English-speaking guide?

The easiest way to visit Auschwitz is to take an English-speaking guide. The guide will explain everything you need to know about the concentration camp and you won’t have to deal with the logistics of transport from Krakow or any other city in Poland.

Which guided tour should I choose?

Many agencies offer tours to Auschwitz from Krakow and other regions. You can choose between a tour dedicated to the camp, or a tour combining several places of interest.

Good to know: the guides who accompany you are all accredited, i.e. approved and controlled by Auschwitz. Therefore, whether you book “directly” on the official website or via a local agency, you will have the same quality of visit

and the same guides. The agency only allows you to be taken care of on the travel side in addition to the tour itself.

To make the right choice, I recommend the GetYourGuide website, which acts as an intermediary with many local agencies and allows you to read travellers’ opinions on the quality of the tours.

Here are the tours in English from Krakow that are the best rated at the time of writing this article:

If you are staying elsewhere in the country, the choice is more limited:

Some agencies offer combined tours to Auschwitz and the Wieliczka salt mines.

It is up to you to decide whether this type of experience is suitable for you: some people will enjoy “clearing their heads” with beautiful images of the salt mines after having experienced the horror of the camps, while others will prefer not to combine the activities.

If you are only going for a weekend and want to see as much as possible, here are two agencies that offer Auschwitz + Wieliczka salt mines, with an English-speaking guide:

Auschwitz I entrance and kitchen building
Auschwitz I entrance and kitchen building

How long does a guided tour of Auschwitz last?

A guided tour of Auschwitz lasts about 3.5 hours. You will see the main blocks of Auschwitz I, explaining the organisation of the camp and the genocide of the prisoners, the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, the barracks of Birkenau (with latrines, beds), the ramp where the selections were made and the ruins of some of the crematoria (where the gas chambers were also located).

Beforehand, a driver will pick you up at your accommodation (or nearby) and drive you to the camp. There you will meet your guide in the language you have chosen (the driver may not speak Enlish but the visit will be in the “right” language). At the end of the 3.5 hours, you will be taken back to your starting point.

Throughout the tour, you will be provided with headphones so that you can hear the explanations clearly even if you are at the back of the group. This will also allow you to move away a little if you want to spend a couple of extra minutes somewhere.

Note that this is not an “audioguide” in the sense that you would be autonomous with a commented tour, it is the voice of your guide that you hear in audio.

The railway track leading to the KII and KIII gas chambers in the background, behind the trees
The railway track leading to the KII and KIII gas chambers in the background, behind the trees

Can you buy just a guided tour without transportation?

If you want to tour Auschwitz with a guide but to get there on your own, you can buy a ticket on the official website.

Choose “Visit for individuals”.

Book a ticket to Auschwitz

Select the day of your choice in the calendar: if it is greyed out, it means that you are either booking too early (the ticket office usually opens 3 months in advance, not more), or that there is no more availability (in this case, book through GetYourGuide).

Choose a date for your visit

Then choose “General tour 3,5 h” in the language you are interested in (“English”). If you don’t see it, it’s probably because there is no availability on that day. In this case, either you choose another language if you’re lucky enough to speak one, or you try to go through an agency (read my advice here) as they often have dedicated “quotas” already booked.

If there is availability on the site, go ahead. “Reg guided service for individuals for guided tours +GTS” is the standard rate, while “Red guided service for individuals for guided tours+GTS” is the reduced rate (students, seniors over 75, disabled people).

The entrance fee is about 85 PLN (less than 20 euros), with payment online or by bank transfer. You will receive confirmation by e-mail.

Then you can read my advice on how to get to Auschwitz.

Can you tour Auschwitz without a guide?

It is perfectly possible to visit Auschwitz without a guide. This allows you to go at your own pace, to stay in the camp when it is less crowded (up to 1.5 hours after closing time) and to pay less, as the visit without a guide is free.

Good to know: you absolutely must get a ticket even if you are going to visit Auschwitz alone!

Many tourists are unfortunately fooled into thinking that because it is a place of remembrance, they can enter freely. This is not the case, as the aim is to ensure that everyone has the best possible conditions for visiting the site. It is not the kind of place where you want to be pushed around or to queue up. For many people, Auschwitz is an encounter with a painful past, sometimes that of their own family.

As a result, attendance is limited… which means you have to buy a ticket.

Should you visit Auschwitz alone or with a guide?

You may be one of those people who are hesitating. The following 2 questions may help you decide.

If you have read a lot about the camps and are familiar with the workings of Auschwitz, it will be easier to visit Auschwitz on your own than for someone who only knows its history in broad outline. An “expert” on the subject can be invaluable in answering all your questions. Furthermore, the guides at Auschwitz are trained and accredited by the camp, so not just anyone can be a guide, which guarantees the quality of the explanations given.
If you are planning a trip to Auschwitz because the camp is linked to your family history, if it is a subject that is very close to your heart, if you are interested in the Second World War, it can be frustrating not to be able to visit at your own pace… or on the contrary, it can be comforting to be with other people. It is a very intimate feeling.
Auschwitz I
Auschwitz I

How to visit Auschwitz without a guide?

Simply book your ticket online on the official website, making sure you know when you are coming, and then organise your journey from Krakow or elsewhere, by car or public transport.

Reservations usually open three months in advance.

I strongly advise you to book as early as possible, it is rare to find a ticket at the last moment.

Reservations take place on the official Auschwitz website by selecting “Visits for Individuals”, a type of ticket for individual visitors (as opposed to groups).

Book a ticket to Auschwitz

You then have to choose a day. If some of them are greyed out, this usually means that they are not yet open for sale or that they are fully booked.

Choose a date for your visit

If you want to visit Auschwitz without a guide, you should choose “Tour for individuals without an educator”

Tour Auschwitz without a guide
Tour Auschwitz without a guide

If you don’t see the option “Tour for individuals without an educator”, it means that all spots have been sold out for the day in question. In this case I refer you to my advice if it is sold out

.

If the option is available, you will be offered two types of tickets:

  • Visitors over the age of 26 – For people over 26 years old.
  • Visitors below the age of 26 – For people under the age of 26. The museum reminds visitors that children under the age of 14 should not visit.
Tickets according to the age of the visitor
Tickets according to the age of the visitor

As with the guided tours, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your entry ticket in PDF format. You will need to print it out or collect it on site (in which case you should arrive early!)

How much does it cost to visit Auschwitz alone?

Visiting Auschwitz without a guide is free, which often surprises visitors! The camp only asks for payment when you use the services of a guide. If you visit without a guide you can enter freely, but please note that a reservation is still necessary.

Also, to make you aware of the financial reality of the camp, a large part of their operating budget comes from the price of admission. Auschwitz was closed for several months because of the coronavirus, so they are in great need of donations to continue their work of preserving the site and the archives.

If you can afford it, I strongly advise you tomake a donation online.

Miradors in Birkenau
Miradors

What are the times for visiting Auschwitz on your own?

At present, there are special times for self-guided tours, while other times are reserved for guided tours. It is therefore no longer possible to stay for very long hours as I did in the past, arriving in the morning and leaving in the evening

You can stay on site 1h30 after the closing of the access to the public.

This gives…

Month Dedicated time slot for visitors without a guide Closing time of the camp Mandatory check-out time
January After 1pm 15h00 16h30
February After 14:00 16h00 17h30
March After 15:00 17h00 18h30
April & May After 16:00 18h00 19h30
June, July & August After 4pm 19h00 20h30
September After 4pm 18h00 19h30
October After 15:00 17h00 18h30
November After 1pm 15h00 16h30
December Afternoon 14h00 15h30

Alone in the middle of the Birkenau camp during my visit to Auschwitz without a guide

What if there is no availability?

As I mentioned, many people do not know that access requires a ticket. As places are limited, people are often confronted with the reality that it is sold out. Some people find out on the spot that they unfortunately can’t get in. Others find out a few days before.

In this case, the best option is to go through a travel agency. Agencies often have “quotas” of reserved places… so if the Auschwitz site tells you that it is full, you can check to see if there are any places left on any of the tours below. Whichever tour provider you choose, you will be given an “official Auschwitz guide” so don’t worry about that:

It is also possible to combine a visit to Auschwitz with a visit to the beautiful salt mines of Wieliczka via Legendary Krakow or Cracow Local Tours.

If you don’t want to go through an agency, the other option is to book a private guide. You need to plan at least a month in advance, but this can allow you to visit “in small group” and according to your priorities.

Are there other ways to visit Auschwitz?

There are other ways of visiting Auschwitz.

Taking a private guide

This is another option if, for example, you want to experience the camp in the privacy of your family or if you want to be more flexible than in a “large group”. Reservations can be made directly with Auschwitz by sending an e-mail.

Please note that you must book at least one month before the visit.

Their team was kind enough to send me some additional information on this subject for you:

“Every English-speaking person can book a guide in English for a private tour on request. Visitors are not obliged to follow a group organised by the Museum. Even one or two people can request a private guide for 3.5 hours, 6 hours or 8 hours. There is also a possibility to split an 8-hour in-depth visit into two days.

You can download the price list here. If you have any questions about the prices, I advise you to contact the local teams directly, they will be able to give you the best information according to your situation and your project.

Once you have booked your places, you will have to organise your travel. You can read my advice on the subject here.

The entrance to block 21 - Auschwitz I
The entrance to block 21

In-depth study tours

If you would like to explore the site in more depth with a guide, there are 6-hour tours. They start in the morning between 9am and 9.30am and are available in a number of languages (including English, Polish and German). They allow you to see the main exhibition, some additional exhibitions, to visit the “Sauna” of Birkenau and to see the ruins of crematoria IV and V.

Reservations can be made online at the official ticket office. Select “Visit for individuals”.

Book a ticket to Auschwitz

Choose the desired day in the calendar. A greyed-out day means that it is not available (ticketing not yet open if you book more than 3 months in advance… or already full).

Choose a date for your visit

You will then see a list of all the packages available for the day in question. You will then have to opt for the One-day study tour 6h in the language of your choice.

Click on “Next” next to the time you wish to visit and indicate the number of tickets you wish to book, either at full price (“Reg Guided service for Guided Tours for individuals 6h+GTS”) or at reduced price (“Red Guided service for Guided Tours for individuals 6h+GTS”). The reduced price applies to students under 26 years of age, people over 75 years of age and disabled people.

The cost of this 6-hour study tour is approximately 125 zlotys (less than €30). After payment, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your PDF tickets attached. You will need to print it out and show it at the reception desk.

Here are some additional tips on how to get there on your own.

The Arbeit macht frei portal in Auschwitz I
The Arbeit macht frei portal

How to get to Auschwitz from Krakow or elsewhere in Poland?

Now let’s talk about transportation. You have 3 options to get to Auschwitz:

Going to Auschwitz by car

Arriving at the time specified on your tickets is imperative, you may be refused entry if you are late. So I advise you to plan ahead.

You can use a GPS or an application like Waze or Google Maps to plan your route. Large car parks are available: I recommend parking at Auschwitz I, and then using the free shuttle bus between the camps to continue the tour.

The distance from Krakow is about 65 km (40.4 miles), so it often takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Please note that the car park at Auschwitz I has been temporarily closed since July 2022 due to construction work.

Getting to Auschwitz by public transport

Krakow-Auschwitz buses and trains

There is only one place to go to: the E-Podroznik website. It gives you all the possible routes: just enter your point of departure (“Krakow” for Krakow, for example, “Krakow Glowny” for the train station) and “Oswiecim” as your arrival, and define the desired day.

Plan a journey on E-Podroznik
Plan a journey on E-Podroznik

Once you have the route options, you should know that :

  • There are several bus stops at your destination, not all of them are near the concentration camp. If you want to get to the front of the entrance, you have to get off at the stop “Oświęcim (Muzeum) ul.Leszczyńsk” (it can also be noted “Stanisławy Leszczyńskiej” on the sites).
  • The railway station is a 20-minute walk from the camp entrance. Train journeys are often longer, there is little choice in timetables so often the bus will be your best option.

Getting to Auschwitz from Warsaw

If you are staying in Warsaw, you can also use the E-Podroznik site I mentioned earlier to find the timetable for a Warsaw-Auschwitz train journey.

The journeys are long, often around 3h50 with a change in Katowice and over 4h with a change in Krakow.

Buying a bus ticket from Krakow

If you choose a Krakow-Auschwitz bus, you can buy a ticket on the day at the bus station or from the driver. You can also buy it in advance on the web.

I chose the Lajkonik (Moj Bus) company because it allows you tobuy a ticket online in advance and serves the station closest to the camp entrance.

To buy a bus ticket, you enter your travel date, origin and destination:

Book a bus to Auschwitz

You then have a list of available buses, with fares, departures, and you can buy tickets online. I had booked the outward journey but not the return in order to have the choice of the return time, I found a ticket without any problem but not knowing how much the line is used every day of the year, I do not know if it is always the case!

Buy a bus ticket to Auschwitz
Buy a bus ticket to Auschwitz

I found the Polish buses VERY punctual if not a bit too much (not uncommon for the driver to leave a few minutes before the scheduled time so don’t hesitate to anticipate). It takes about 1h30 to get there.

How is the bus journey?

The Krakow bus station is small and easy to find: the next buses are displayed on a lighted panel (you can see below a bus for Oswieçim at 7.00 am and another one at 7.10 am). On the right side of the panel, there is the place where the bus leaves from: if it starts with a G, it means that the bus leaves from the upper level of the bus station (this is the case of the two buses in my example below). If it starts with a D, you have to get off at the lower level of the bus station.

Krakow Bus Station

In the evening, to get home, the bus stop is roughly opposite the driveway leading to the entrance. The timetable is available directly at the stop.

The bus stop to Krakow from Auschwitz
The bus stop to Krakow from Auschwitz

In total, the round trip cost me only 28 PLN (less than 7 euros).

Book a Krakow-Auschwitz transfer

There are transfers with a driver, with pick-up at a meeting point near your accommodation. They do not include entrance to the camps and the prices are relatively reasonable.

For example, GR8 WAY offers a Krakow-Auschwitz transfer (one way or return).

Are there any hotels on site?

If you plan to go to Auschwitz during your trip to Poland, it is best to choose a hotel in Krakow:

  • There is a lot of choice and good accommodation.
  • Airline tickets are available at affordable rates if you plan ahead, you can use a website like Omio to find a flight at the best price.
  • You can visit other important places in Krakow: Plaszow, the ghetto pharmacy, Oskar Schindler’s factory…
  • It will also allow you to change your mind. As you can imagine, the visit of the camps is quite unbearable and it’s good to also plan “lighter” activities during the rest of your stay.

However, if you have no choice but to stay in Oswiecim because your time slot is very early in the morning, for example, you can look at the Imperiale hotel, which is just a few minutes walk from the entrance of the camp.

You can also look at Booking.com for hotels that are well rated by travellers.

Hotel near Auschwitz - Imperiale Hotel
Hotel near Auschwitz | Official picture © Imperiale Hotel

How much does it cost to visit Auschwitz?

You can find the prices for all types of tours here.

In summary:

  • Visiting Auschwitz alone is free.
  • The cost of the 3.5 hour guided tour is about 85 zlotys per person (18.5 euros).
  • The long tour costs about 125 zlotys (27.2 euros).

To this price you will have to add the cost of the journey and any expenses you may have on site for food or books.

If you take an all-inclusive tour through an agency, including travel from Krakow and entry to the camps, you will usually pay a fee of 30-40 euros per person

What are the opening hours?

Auschwitz Birkenau is open daily from Monday to Sunday, except on 1 January, Easter Sunday and 25 December. The opening times depend on the season, here is a summary table, bearing in mind that you can stay in the camp for 90 minutes after closing time.

Month Opening time Closing time
January 8h00 15h00
February 8h00 16h00
March 8h00 17h00
April & May 8h00 18h00
June, July & August 8h00 19h00
September 8h00 18h00
October 8h00 17h00
November 8h00 15h00
December 8h00 14h00
A cattle car in the Auschwitz II Birkenau camp
A cattle car in the Auschwitz II Birkenau camp

Frequently asked questions about the visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Tour of the Auschwitz camp

For security reasons, you cannot enter with “big bags”(the maximum size of luggage allowed is 30x20x10cm). There is a security check with a gate at the entrance.

If you have larger luggage, there is a luggage storage facility for a fee. You can choose between 3 sizes of lockers: 90x50x30cm, 60x50x30cm and 90x65x50cm. The luggage must not weigh more than 30 kg.

You can take pictures almost everywhere, there are big signs with a crossed out camera when it is forbidden. Well, that’s not always the case: I took pictures in the basement of block 11 because I didn’t see any sign and I read afterwards in the booklet that it was forbidden.

These bans are quite recent, I think they are linked to the increase in the number of visitors: the premises are very cramped in the basement, so it is possible that photographers “block” the traffic…

Photos must be taken without a tripod and without a flash, drones are forbidden. Photos for commercial use require prior agreement.

At the entrance to Auschwitz I, there is a restaurant and a small snack bar where you can buy sweet and savoury treats and lunch. You can also bring your own lunch.

Of course, it is forbidden to eat in the camp itself, it is also forbidden to smoke (including cigarettes and electronic cigarettes)

There are toilets at the entrance of Auschwitz I (keep in mind that in Poland most toilets are paid for, 1-2 zlotys, so bring some change). There are also toilets in the camp itself (at block 18), which are free and extremely clean.

Birkenau also has toilets and a very small shop at the entrance to the camp.

If you wish to bring flowers or candles to pay your respects to the victims, you should know that it is possible… and that there is a shop at the entrance of the camp if you wish to buy these on the spot.

As for the candles, they can be placed in very specific places to avoid any risk of fire: in Auschwitz I, between blocks 10 and 11, where many prisoners were shot. In Birkenau, at the foot of the monument to the victims…

In Auschwitz I, most people put flowers between blocks 10 and 11 or at the foot of the crematorium. In Birkenau, people follow their feelings: I saw flowers near some barracks, near the crematoria and gas chambers, near the monument to the victims, near the railway.

The Wall of Death between block 10 and block 11 in Auschwitz
The Wall of Death between block 10 and block 11
At the entrance to Auschwitz I there is a small bookshop. It only displays well-known books (available in several languages) but if you have already read them all, there is a much wider choice on the website.

I know that some people want to bring back a trace of their trip (difficult to talk about “souvenirs of Auschwitz”…). The bookshop sells brochures to guide your visit, as well as postcards.

There is a post office inside the camp.

Some people choose to carry the Israeli flag on their shoulders during the visit. While this is tolerated, please note that it is not permitted to bring a flag mounted on a pole or to bring posters or banners.
I have already been asked the question of what to wear.

Just come with decent clothes, as you might dress for a cemetery, because Auschwitz is a place of memory above all. There is no dress code, but it is essential to dress in a way that respects the history of the camp. I would therefore advise you to avoid flip-flops, miniskirts, shorts and other ‘too casual’ clothes.

The weather in southern Poland is rarely sweltering in the summer, it can snow in the winter… but it rarely gets very hot or very cold.

You can check the local weather here.

The irony of a Lebensgefahr (danger of death) sign
The irony of a Lebensgefahr (danger of death) sign

Families, disabled people, relatives of deportees: what to know?

I regularly get this question: how old do you have to be to visit Auschwitz? The museum does not recommend a visit with children under 14 years old.

Firstly, because a certain maturity is required to understand the history of what happened there. Secondly, because it is a place of memory where more than a million people died… and it is complicated for a little one to stay silent (and relatively still) for hours.

Besides, prams are forbidden in the buildings themselves and I didn’t see any special area for changing a baby for example.

Then, each parent knows their children and makes their choices accordingly… but keep in mind that it can be a traumatic visit.

If you choose to go with children, try to explain the context to them according to their age, using books for example. Also arrange to go with two adults (if you are a single parent, go with friends!): this will allow one of the parents to visit the block alone to decide if the child is able to see it or not.

Access is still very difficult for wheelchairs… and the current aim of the Auschwitz Foundation is to preserve the integrity of the site, to the detriment of accessibility.

In other words, they do not want to consider building anything that would change the architecture of the buildings, such as lifts or permanent ramps to the blocks.

In Auschwitz I, there are stairs at the entrance to each block, the floor is made of gravel or earth (quickly muddy when it rains), the rooms are often cramped and therefore offer little space for manoeuvring a wheelchair, especially when there are so many people.

Depending on the nature of the disability, some people with reduced mobility manage to access the “first level” of each block in Auschwitz I (when you can take a few steps, have someone carry a manual wheelchair up the few steps leading to the blocks), others not at all.

The entrance to block 21 - Auschwitz I
The entrance to block 21 – Auschwitz I

Outside, there are no steps to get to the crematorium of Auschwitz I, to the courtyard where the roll call took place, to the courtyard where some prisoners were shot or to the “Arbeit macht frei” gate, so if you feel a deep need to go there, you can still feel the very special atmosphere of the place.

In Birkenau it is generally flatter but again with difficult ground, stony, muddy or both depending on the weather. The help of someone is invaluable in order not to get too tired, especially with a manual wheelchair.

As I am not a person with reduced mobility myself, I advise you to contact the local teams directly to ask them your questions about accessibility, depending on your own disability.

You can contact the Bureau for Former Prisoners which manages all the camp archives.

They will be able to welcome you at block 24, in the morning, from Monday to Friday. I advise you to contact them well in advance to make sure that they can receive you on the day.

Specific questions about the guided tour of Auschwitz

In the past, it was possible to enter Birkenau without a ticket – and therefore to return freely after a guided tour – but since the coronavirus pandemic, the museum has confirmed that tickets have become mandatory in both parts of the camp.
I often get this question from people who want to visit without a guide and have not booked in time: leaving the guide along the way is not allowed.
In any case, there are visitor quotas to avoid crowds. However, you should be aware that the summer period is busier than the low season.

Frequently asked questions about touring Auschwitz without a guide

Since the coronavirus pandemic, a valid ticket is required to enter both parts of the camp (previously it was possible to enter Birkenau freely without a ticket). The ticket is valid in Auschwitz 1 and 2.
You can spend the night next to the camp, the Imperiale hotel is the most convenient as it is a 17-minute walk away. This way you can plan a safe return to your accommodation the next day.
If the date is more than 3 months away, reservations are probably not yet open. If the date is less than 3 months away, it probably means that the time slot is already full. It is often necessary to book several weeks in advance, especially in high season. Here are some solutions if it’s sold-out.
Bookings usually open 3 months before the date. Perhaps you’re simply too early, so please come back 3 months before the date you want to visit. If the date is still greyed out in the calendar, it may be a day when the camp is closed or when everything is already full. Here again, I refer you to my advice if there are no more tickets.
You can, for example, combine a guided tour with a self-guided tour on the same day. At the beginning of the day you visit Auschwitz and Birkenau for 3.5 hours, and at the end of the day you return alone for another 3.5 hours. You will be able to explore the blocks that the guide leaves out, or return to those you wish to spend more time on. You will of course need to make 2 reservations. Alternatively, you can book a private guide for a long tailor-made tour.
Unfortunately, this is not possible. If you wish to re-enter after a guided tour, you will need to book a ticket for a visit without a guide.
Most of the time not. There is a limited number of tickets per day and per language. Advance booking is therefore essential.

Please note that the museum may issue “last minute” tickets, without prior reservation, for people who show up without a reservation. The principle is simple: you will be allocated a place in the first available slot of the day, which may mean waiting for several hours. It’s up to you to see if you can take the risk.

Final tips before your trip

I hope that this article will provide many answers to your questions. I will update it regularly so that it remains as accurate as possible, so don’t hesitate to point out any errors or gaps.

You can supplement this information by buying a Krakow travel guide, which usually contains information about the camps.

On site, I advise you to buy the excellent guide to the Memorial in the bookshop or on the official website. It is very well designed and includes a map. It is available in English.

If you want to get an idea of what you see and feel there, I made this report. You can also take a virtual tour on the web and the camp provides this online guide in French to prepare your visit.

In any case, it is a place that leaves a lasting impression on you, with an admirable job done by the teams to welcome visitors in good conditions and explain the inexplicable.

If you still have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article if you think it can help people around you!

Where is Auschwitz located?
In southern Poland, 65 km (40.4 miles) from Krakow, in a town called Oswiecim.

How long do you need to visit Auschwitz?
A standard guided tour lasts 3.5 hours, and 6 hours for an in-depth tour. You can stay longer if also you opt for a self-guided tour.

How much is it to visit Auschwitz?
The self-guided tour is free of charge, the guided tour costs around 18 euros and an organised tour from Krakow including transport costs around 35 euros.

Can you visit Auschwitz from Krakow?
Not only you can, but it is also the best place to fly to in Poland to visit Auschwitz.

How to get to Auschwitz from Krakow?
You can travel to Auschwitz by car, order a private transfer or take public transport from Krakow.

Do I need a ticket to visit Auschwitz?
A ticket is required to enter the museum, even if you choose to visit it without a guide.

What does Auschwitz mean?
It is simply a “germanisation” of the town’s real name by the Nazis.

What is Auschwitz?
It is a concentration and extermination camp created by the Nazis in Poland during the Second World War, where more than 1.1 million people, the majority of whom were Jews, were murdered in atrocious conditions. The site now houses a museum.

Can you visit Auschwitz without a guide?
Yes you can, but you still need to book a ticket. Read the article to learn more about how to book.

Is it safe to visit Auschwitz?
It is very safe. Poland is a welcoming country, the camp itself is toured by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and the teams are very committed to making the experience as smooth as possible for everyone.

Can I visit Auschwitz without a reservation?
It used to be possible to visit the Birkenau camp without a reservation but since the Covid pandemic, a ticket is required to access any part of the camp.

Do German tourists visit Auschwitz?
Yes they do, and it is actually very touching to see young generations bring flowers and tributes to the victims.

Is there an age limit to visit Auschwitz?
The museum recommends being at least 14 years old to tour Auschwitz.

Can you visit Auschwitz in December or January?
Yes you can. The camp is open all year long, 7 days a week, except on January 1, on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.


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