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Poland and Vienna over Christmas week

Hello everyone.
We are flying into and out of Prague, Been there. Before and loved it and want to spend a few days there. From there we will be driving to Krakow, Zakopane, Bratislava, and Vienna. We want to visit Auschwitz. The original plan was:
Prague-Brno-Cieszyn-Auschitz-Krakow-Zakopane-Bratislava-Vienna-Pielsen-Prague. However, the day that we were going to go to Auschwitz is December 25 and it's closed. So now I think we will go Prague-Brno-Cieszyn-Auschwitz-Zakopane-Krakow, etc. What do you think? We have a total of 11 days. We've done this before. We will be driving, because like to stop as needed and see other little places on the way. My only concern is whether it is worth making a trip to Zakopane. We dont ski, so it is mostly to visit the place in the winter, some sightseeing, shopping, stuff like that. Also, where would you suggest to stay for the night near Auschwitz? Cieszyn or Zakopane or? Thanks in advance!

Posted by
141 posts

I've always stayed in Krakow when visiting Auschwitz. It's an easy bus ride. I don't know that there's really anything in Oswiecim, which is the town; Auschwitz is the camp system. I think you'd be more comfortable in Krakow. I can't speak to Zakopane; I regret not visiting while I was in Poland. My concern would be driving in winter weather - really, my concern for the whole trip. Although, in looking at timeanddate.com, it appears that in the past few years there haven't been many days of snow in Krakow or Zakopane for the week you'll be there, and in 2015 it even got up to 57F - so what do I know! I think the trip is a bit fast-paced for me. It's essentially one night in every place, and sunset on Dec. 25 in Krakow is projected to be at 3:42pm. It seems like a long trip/drive to just stay in Vienna for an afternoon/evening/morning, which is essentially how long you'll get. It's your trip, and you know best how you like to travel. But I would consider cutting a place or two so you don't have to get up and move each and every day.

Posted by
50 posts

I agree with Allison about trying to stay more than 1 nite in all the places. We are going in December as well (Into Germany, doing Christmas markets), Prague on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then on to Krakow via BUS, as recommended---apparently the train takes an additional hour. My husband is doing Auschwitz from Krakow. Taking the train wherever possible can reduce stress, although it is relatively stress-free driving in Germany and Austria, I don't have personal experience with driving in Poland. Having done plenty of driving and plenty of train trips in Europe, I do prefer the train because then my husband can actually listen to me talking, and enjoy scenery, instead of concentrating on his driving! Sounds like a little thing, but having a nice coffee or beer on the train and reading up on your upcoming destination in Rick Steves book is an added bonus!