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Tour of Auschwitz Birkenau--Private guide worth it?

My husband and I will be visiting Krakow in May this year and will go to the Auschwitz Birkenau camps one of the days we are there. We are planning on having a company transport us there (versus bus/train). I am wondering if it is worth paying more to have a private guide in the camp or do you feel like the guides that you pay for at the camp itself are just as good? Do you have adequate enough time to see and absorb everything if you are part of a tour group through the camp?

Has anyone use a private tour guide/company to tour Auschwitz Birkenau that you thought was excellent and would recommend? Thank you for your input!

Posted by
2147 posts

I booked my tour there last May through Viator and felt it was a good choice, I recall the cost was around $55. They picked me up from my hotel at 7 am and we were a group of 8, there was a movie played for us on the way and once we arrived at Auschwitz we met our tour guide who did a great job of explaining everything we were seeing. Due to the large number of groups--even at 9 am--we all wore headphones so we could hear her commentary. We went inside most of the buildings but not all. After the provided lunch we were shuttled over to Birkenau for the last part, about 1.5 hours, then back to Krakow by around 4. Birkenau is pretty much all outdoors, save for a few remaining single-level barracks. If you choose a guided tour like this I do recommend the small group option, much more attention that way.

I believe you have to have a guide at Auschwitz, people aren't allowed to wander freely so if you don't arrive with an official tour group you must get a guide once there. The website explains it quite well.

I felt I had enough time to see plenty, and I'll never forget what I saw. The entire place was oddly serene, and I hadn't expected that feeling.

Posted by
2106 posts

We used a company called Discover Cracow to go to Auschwitz (and also the salt mine). We were picked up at our hotel in a mini bus and visited both Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was really easy, and we were really happy with them. The driver and guides we had were excellent. It was pretty inexpensive (as is everything in Poland). I highly recommend them.

Posted by
6243 posts

The other poster is correct, from 10:00am to 3:00pm you can only enter on a guided tour, you can't wander around on your own unless you get there early or later in the afternoon. I don't remember the company I used from Krakow but it included the transportation and a guided tour, the guide was good as I'm sure are all the guides for the group tours. I didn't feel that I missed anything and wasn't sorry that I didn't hire a private guide. There was plenty of time to visit both Auschwitz I and II-Birkenau.

Posted by
5650 posts

just make sure that you do visit Birkenau to get the full breadth of what happened. I understand some tours don't include it since it is a couple of miles away from the main camp. I could be wrong.

Posted by
6243 posts

All the tours I looked at included Birkenau and included bus transportation from one to the other. I'm sure there are some that only include Auschwitz I and then let you get to and explore Birkenau on your own. Read carefully what's included before you choose a tour.

By the way, this is the tour I took - - good rating on TA and recommended to my by the desk clerk at my apartment.

Posted by
11613 posts

I did the on-site tour at Auschwitz I, then took the shuttle to Birkenau. The guides on-site are very good.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all so much for your input! So helpful in making our decision. :)

Posted by
4 posts

We used two months ago. We decided to use them becasue they organize for us English guided tour in Auschwitz also in the Salt Mine. When i checked museum website tickets are already booked so we can`t book any tickets. We took a shared option but was ok four more people traveling with comfortable minivan. The price also was good not to expensive.

Posted by
10 posts


You have such options:

  1. Your own transport + ticket with guide or without (I don't recommend going there without an educator)
  2. Choosing Tour operator that will provide you hotel pickup, transport and ticket with a guide in group
  3. Choosing Tour operator with transport and ticket for a private guide

All guides are from Auschiwtz. The problem is that guides have their schedule and it doesn't metter if there is large group or few ppl. But for sure, private guide will be more focued on your questions, pase and you will have a bit more space. If you want to go through this history alone, choose private.

So whats the difference between tour operators?

  1. Prices
  2. Transport (pickup from a hotel or not)
  3. Car quality (how many passangers, air conditioning, new or old cars)
  4. Pilots (if they can tell you something about the tour, city history etc)

I can for sure recommend

We hired a driver and had them pick us up at our hotel in Krakow early in the morning and take us out to Auschwitz. We arrived shortly after 8am and wandered around on our own. It was great because only a couple other people were there so we were able to get some great pictures and it was a more personal experience being able to walk around without the large crowds. We were able to spend as much time as we anted at Auschwitz and when we were done our driver took us over to Birkenau. So for us hiring a private driver was a great option.

Posted by
10 posts

Ye, morning hours are usually not that crowded. First entry starts at 8:45, usually 9:00 or 9:15 with larger groups. How was it without en educator? Didn't u miss some details history?