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Visiting Auschwitz Camp

Hi All,
I will be visiting Auschwitz Camp on a Thursday in August. I have a few questions in terms of transportation getting there and visiting the camp.
1. What is the earliest public bus/train going to Auschwitz? How frequent does bus go there?
2. I searched online and found out that touring the camp without a guide is only from 07:30 - 08:40, and from 17:00 to 18:40. So, basically, if I'd like to visit the place at a "good" hours of the day, I would have to join a guided tour. Am I correct?

Thanks in advance

Posted by
5848 posts

The guides work for the Auschwitz Memorial and ours was excellent. I would not want to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau without one of these sensitive and well informed guides. You would arrange for a English speaking guide. Our hotel in Krakow made all the arrangements for us, transportation, guide.

Posted by
90 posts

I visited Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau about four weeks ago. I researched extensively the best way to visit from Krakow and how to get back after an emotionally draining day. I chose to go with a paid escorted tour. It was a good choice as all the logistics were handled and our group of approximately 15 had an excellent guide to take us around both Auschwitz and the Birkenau camps. If you are prepared to use either the train or bus to get there and back I would still recommend using a guide.

Posted by
4695 posts

I did it some years ago without a guide - I was OK with that. I did arrive very early (this was in September 2012, and back then you could enter the camp without a guide before 10am; maybe it has changed now or they are more strict for August?).

It may be difficult to get there by 8:40 by public transportation. You can google for the bus schedules - that's how I would find them now. Not too hard to find. You'll want a bus to Oświęcim (Polish name for Auschwitz). The bus station in Krakow (assuming you are starting there like most people) is next to the train station. I think it takes about an hour. I bought my ticket to Oświęcim directly at the bus station and confirmed that it stopped at the camp not just the town. (They know tourists use this bus so it's a common question.) In my case, I had to walk about 1/3 of a mile from the road where the bus stopped to the camp parking lot. Some buses or mini-buses will stop directly in the camp parking lot. I wasn't the only tourist on the bus - it was pretty obvious where to get off, because several of us were.

To get back to Krakow, I tried to follow the posted bus schedule at the camp but the bus I was expecting never showed up. A few of us were waiting for it. Eventually we just returned to the road where I had been dropped off in the morning, and we got on the next mini-bus that came by that was headed to Krakow. Not really a big deal. There should be other tourists doing the same thing.

There is train service from Krakow to the town of Oświęcim, too, but you'd need to walk quite a ways from the train station to the camp, as I recall; the bus gets you really close. You can probably estimate how long the walk would take with Google Maps - that's how I would do it.

It may not cost much just to pay for a guided excursion from Krakow to the camp for the day including a tour - might be a lot easier. I'm savvy with public transportation and don't mind a little challenge, so I didn't mind. Depends on your personal preference.