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Visit Auschwitz from Prague - 2 day itinerary

Hello,
Will be travelling for a weeklong trip to Prague in early March, at the end of which I plan to visit Auschwitz in Poland and then fly back home. I will use public transportation and walk while in Prague, then I’ll rent a car to drive to Poland, with the goal of visiting one or two of towns on the way up North (I already booked a 3.5hr English tour in Auschwitz starting at 10:30 AM, I’m not a tour person, but I’ve read great reports of people doing it and being worthwhile). This is what I’ve thought of:

Day 1: Leave Prague on way to Krakow (or Oswiecim), drive to Kutná Hora; visit another town on way or do an activity in Krakow. Sleep in Krakow.
Day 2: Start Auschwitz visit at 10:00 until about 3 PM. Drive back around this time to Terezin (or Prague). Sleep in Terezin (or Prague)
Day 3: Visit Terezin Memorial in the morning, head back to Prague airport by noon time at the latest.

I’m thinking leaving Prague early in the AM the second to last night and drive to either Krakow (or perhaps another nearby town Auschwitz) and stopping in a couple of places on the way, so for example I could drive to Kutná Hora (make a quick visit to the bone church opens at 9 AM), and then continue to Krakow, and in Krakow visit the Old Town or even make a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. (I understand Krakow deserves a few days to visit, but my goal is to visit Auschwitz, not Krakow).

After visiting Auschwitz I need to get back to Prague to catch my 14:25 flight on the following day, so I need to be back in the airport by noon time at the latest to return the car (I take an intra European flight back first, then I connect in LHR back to the US).
I’m thinking of spending my last night in Terezin, so I would need to drive back from Auschwitz to Terezin starting at about 3 PM, the drive is approximately 5-6 hours, part of the drive will be done during night hours. Once in Terezin I would visit the Terezin memorial during the morning hours before heading out to the airport, dropping the car and flying back.

Any thoughts on this itinerary? I’ve read I can use train or even a private tour from Prague, I just don’t want to commute 10 hours back and forth to Auschwitz in one day. Also, taking the train wouldn’t allow me to visit the nearby region of Kutná Hora (or another town) and it would just take too long (8-9 hours one way). I like to drive, I like the freedom the car offers me.

Any thoughts and feedback are greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
Alex

Posted by
12943 posts

I think you may be underestimating the real-world driving/navigating/parking time (which is nearly always noticeably longer than what a website tells you)--but I'm not sure, because I've never rented a car in Europe, much less driven between Prague and Krakow/Auschwitz.

ViaMichelin estimates about 6-1/2 hours to get to Auschwitz by way of Kutna Hora. If you would settle for Olomouc instead, you'd shave about an hour off the drive. But it would take more time to "see" Olomouc than to visit the bone church in KH, so that might not actually make the trip to Krakow/Auschwitz any faster. The straight shot to Krakow, not stopping in Auschwitz, is given as a bit over 5 hours. The trip from Auschwitz to Terezin is estimated at about 6 hours without any traffic issues, and visitors typically spend quite a lot of time at the memorial site. All of those driving-time estimates exclude stops, etc.

I think fitting in the salt mine on the day you drive to Poland will be challenging. I'm not sure whether you'll need to buy a timed ticket ahead of time. But one advantage of the salt mine is that (I presume) there will not be parking problems. A quick trip to see part of old-town Krakow might dwindle to not a lot of actual sightseeing time by the time you find a place to park and walk to where you want to be.

You probably already know this, but tickets for Auschwitz often sell out quite far in advance, so you'll need to take care of that online, probably before you get to Prague.

Posted by
1026 posts

I've driven this way before, I guess if you are willing to drive 5-6 hours at a pop it's doable. I like road trips too, but that doesn't sound fun to me.

I wouldn't spend a week in Prague, either, that sounds horrible to me. I went to Prague in 95 and had fond memories, went back in 2011 and found out it had turned into Venice or Florence. Extremely sad what mass tourism does to a place, I'm sure it's even worse now. I lasted 1.5 days and two nights, then ditched out on my (paid) room and left early for Olomouc, which is a nice little town. So that would be my advice, drastically cut short your time in Prague and and do a proper road trip.

Posted by
12943 posts

I was in Prague for about a week in August. There are definitely areas packed with tourists (the Charles Bridge being gridlocked with pedestrians until late afternoon), but there's a lot to do in the city, not all of it in the most-crowded areas, so you don't necessarily have to spend all your time surrounded by throngs of your fellow man. I will be happy to return to see more of the lovely architecture, but I agree that the environment in much of the tourist zone is not the most pleasant; it feels a bit like a port town when a large cruise ship has just unloaded. If you are at all bothered by crowds in big cities, you may have a hard time lasting a week.

Posted by
90 posts

Hello acraven and Kaeleku,

Thanks for your responses!

I need to be more specific, my plan is to actually stay 4 nights in Prague and 2 nights “tentatively” (that’s the reason for my question) in Krakow/Terezin. I have no plans to travel to Poland in the foreseeable future, so given that this is a solo trip I’ll be making I can stretch myself a bit “thin” and reach out to Auschwitz. I already bought the ticket for the guided tour in Auschwitz.

But it’s been pointed out that driving these long distances might be overkill, I think that perhaps adding an additional day in Krakow (and taking a day off of Prague) might be more beneficial to me.

I don’t like huge crowds, we actually visited Venice a year ago in Christmas/New Year and it was an amazing experience, we found ways to avoid the crowds just by walking a few blocks away; we still enjoyed the charm of the city and the magic of the place. I don’t see why it would be any different with Prague.

Thanks!

Posted by
90 posts

I was able to extend my trip for an additional day so that allows me more time in Krakow.

Thanks for all your suggestions!
Alex