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Fitting Krakow/Auschwitz into an itinerary for a trip to Germany?

So, I'm looking to visit Germany within the next month but before I book my tickets I'm trying to see if I could squeeze in Krakow/Auschwitz. I know Auschwitz is not a place people often say they want to visit but it seems so important to visit and to pay your respects. I feel compelled to visit, as both a person who studies and respects history and as a human being. It just seems so important to go. I have 11 nights for this trip and was hoping to see Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg and Rothenberg in Germany. If I add in Krakow I will remove Munich. I just want to get some feedback from people who are familiar with the region. Is it realistic to add Krakow/Auschwitz? I know I could visit Dachau, Buchenwald, or another camp in Germany. But it seems so important to visit Auschwitz. If it will make my trip to Germany less hectic and better I'm willing to postpone going to Krakow for another trip in the future. Just want some feedback.

Posted by
12383 posts

Check Google Flights. pick nonstop and Krakow to Germany (then reverse it and make it Round Trip when you find a flight). I did a quick look and the 1 hour flight from Berlin or Frankfurt will cost you under $150. Beats the heck out of all night on a train(s).

Posted by
308 posts

If you are really interested in going to Auschwitz then you should definitely make time to go. I went to Auschwitz as a day trip from Krakow and it was a day I'll never forget.

Try to make time for Krakow since you'll be there anyway. It is a lovely city and you'll need to chill after a visit to Auschwitz.

Posted by
2122 posts

I don't think you have time for Auschwitz. As it is, you only have 11 nights for Germany. Krakow is a fabulous city, and you will want at least two days (in addition to a day for Auschwitz) to fully enjoy it. More would be better. Save it for another trip when you have more time.

If you want to see a concentration camp, pick one in Germany that will not force you to spend so much of your limited time on transportation. Auschwitz is a special place but you can pay your respects to the victims of Nazi Germany at another camp. (Full disclosure: I am saying this as someone who has only been to Auschwitz.)

Posted by
31 posts

Carroll. What if I spent 2 days in Krakow plus one day for Auschwitz. Then took a night train to Germany after my 3rd day?

Posted by
89 posts

What is your exact itinerary?
Like the others say, Kraków area needs several days to properly explore. There is Kraków, that needs at least two or even better three days. One day dedicated for a daily trip to see Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I have visited several concentration camps sites and visitor's experience in both Auschwitz camps cannot be replaced by seeing other ones, with all the respect to victims of all of them. Yet, there is a famous salt mine in Wieliczka, also a short train ride from Kraków but you need at least half of a day for it. That cuts your time in Germany, so the question is what's your idea for connection from Kraków to/from any German city you want to visit? You need to assume it is going to be time consuming.

Posted by
18897 posts

Check the routing details on the Deutsche Bahn website. You may have to change trains once or twice, which would make it even more difficult than usual to get some sleep.

In case you get creative with your routing, I'll mention that the German town of Gorlitz right on the Polish border is known for it stunning architecture and is worth a stop.

Posted by
6717 posts

I don't know if it's too late to get a good fare, but try pricing out a flight from Krakow to Berlin (or vice versa) via Air Berlin. It will save you a lot of time...it's a very short flight. On the other hand, if you want the cheapest way possible to get between the two, then try Polski Bus.

Posted by
6337 posts

If you definitely want to add Krakow you need to plan 3 nights there so you have a whole day for Auschwitz and a whole day for Krakow. Travel to and from Krakow will take quite a bit of time - either an all day or night bus/train ride each way or flights, but be aware that even though the flight from Berlin-Krakow is only a bit over an hour, the whole flight process (getting to and from airports and wait times) will probably be a bit over 5 hours so that's pretty much at least a good 1/2 day. You'll probably have to scratch Munich and possibly Rothenberg and just concentrate on Berlin and Nuremberg in Germany. Personally, I'd visit Dachau from Munich or Sachsenhausen from Berlin and leave Auschwitz for another trip.

Posted by
12383 posts

I don't know his dates, but I looked up some prices in March and it was dirt cheap to fly.

Pre Flight and time to airport 2 hours
Flight time 1 hour
Airport to hotel 1 hour

Total time by plane 4 hours

Pre Train and time to train station 45 minutes
Train time 8 hours
Time from train to hotel 30 minutes

Total Time by train 9.25 hours

Train cost I am going to guess is at least $90 round trip for a seat
Flight cost is under $150 round trip.

The other cost for flying will be transfer to and from both airports. I would guess no more than $100 or $50 per person if there are two of you.

Posted by
6337 posts

James, I believe the OP is going in December, may be too late for deep discount flights but worth checking into.

Posted by
12383 posts

Thanks Nancy. Missed that. I just checked a few random dates in December and Air Berlin is still available for $168 and up RT. Google Flights is just so easy to use.

Posted by
16860 posts

I've been to five camp memorials (including Auschwitz) and am sure that you can have a powerful experience at Buchenwald (I did) or Sachsenhausen (I haven't been but it's well described in Rick's book), or even Dachau (probably third choice, but easy to reach). By not "wasting" time on travel, you'll see more at your destinations, which may include other relevant war memorials and museums in Berlin.

An overnight train route from Krakow to Berlin requires a morning connection (arrive 6:40 at Poznan) and runs 6 days/week through Dec. 9. In the opposite direction, it's an evening connection. Schedules past that date are not yet published and may be hard to confirm much before the date of travel.

Posted by
12383 posts

I'm going to make a different suggestion. Going to a camp is fine. But I think you would get a lot out of visiting the living. Find a synagogue. I have yet to find one that would not welcome you to a service. Spend some time talking to survivors and the descendants of survivors and the Holocaust will make even less sense to you. Notice the armed guards outside the synagogues and you may want to know how much has really changed. http://global100.adl.org/

Posted by
11613 posts

I have visited seven different camp memorials, and each one is different.

If you want to see Auschwitz, do it. It sounds more like a pilgrimage for you as a human being, rather than a day on your travel itinerary. You can also visit the synagogue/museum in Kraków.

Posted by
2122 posts

Sorry for not responding to your question sooner, Dylan; I just now saw it.

For me, I would not want to spend the time traveling to Krakow from Germany. But ignoring that, I think two days in Krakow and a day at Auschwitz would be worthwhile. It's your trip, so you have to decide what is best for you. It's a question of what you have to give up in Germany to go to Auschwitz. And is it worth the extra travel time? I would say no, but for you it might be the right decision.

Posted by
8 posts

Well, I think you should devote at least two days to staying in Krakow - one of them could be when you'd take a trip to Auschwitz alone or a combined one (with Wieliczka Salt Mine). Many tour operators offer such tours (e.g. discoverCracow) which makes the trip less time consuming (particularly with regard to travel time - Auschwitz is located 60 kilometres from Krakow, those agencies usually offer hotel pick-ups and drop-offs).
Auschwitz is the largest concentration camp that has ever operated in Europe. This is why picking it as the concentration camp to visit is understandable. If you're interested in getting a substitute of a first-person impression of Auschwitz, check this 360° video
A Walk through Auschwitz(yes, you can manipulate with the camera angle there). Even if it is still not the same as visiting the camp personally, it gives you an insight into what the camp looks like.