Visiting Auschwitz is a daunting and morbid challenge. The emotional weight carried by the death camp is heavy and crushing. The process of actually reaching the Museum is also not as simple as it could be. Because Oświęcim is a small city and relatively out of the way, there is no Airport there and not that many hotels and other accommodations. From a practical point of view, there is no sense in staying at Oświęcim. Still, if you don’t stay there, where do you stay then? From which city it is best to visit Auschwitz? How much time does it take? What are the costs of such a trip? Does it take all day? What transfer options do you have? What are their advantages and downsides? Where is Auschwitz located? Where can you reach Auschwitz from?
These and many other questions are very valid, so don’t feel dumb for asking them. It is not an easy trip to plan, especially as a part of a longer stay in Poland. We would hate to know that somebody decided to skip experiencing Auschwitz because it was too inconvenient or there were too many unanswered questions. This is why we decided to create this guide. We want to make it as simplest for you as possible. This way, you don’t have to worry about the details, and can focus on the important part – commemorating the memory of lives lost at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
For purposes of this guide, we will assume that your base of operation is in Krakow. Why? Because it is the biggest city in the region. It is also very close to Auschwitz, just a short ride away. If you are planning to stay in Poland longer and see more than Auschwitz, Krakow delivers. If you just want to see Auschwitz and get out, Krakow Balice Airport is the closest airport available. Either way, Krakow is just the best choice available.
Is Auschwitz open during COVID-19?
Before proceeding further, let’s answer the most obvious and pressing question. Is Auschwitz even open? This is not a weird thing to ask, considering the COVID-19 pandemic. And the answer is yes, Auschwitz is open. It was temporarily closed but was reopened on July 1st, 2020. There are many people worried and concerned that Auschwitz during the epidemy might be a dangerous or limited experience. Don’t worry. There are countless safety measures and procedures designed to keep you safe. You will be able to see everything that you would be able to see normally before COVID-19 started. You are not missing anything by visiting now. Here, you can learn everything you need about visiting Auschwitz during COVID 19 pandemic.
From Krakow to Auschwitz
To visit Auschwitz Birkenau, you have to reach the city of Oświęcim. Auschwitz is the German word for Oświęcim, but since the death camp, it is only used for the historical camps, not the town. The distance between Auschwitz and Krakow is about 50-60km, depending on where exactly you start your trip.
There are three primary ways of reaching Auschwitz – by train, by bus, and by private car transport. Here, you will learn how to get to Auschwitz from Krakow.
Auschwitz by Train
Normally, this would be a very comfortable option for reaching Oświęcim and Auschwitz. Trains are comfy, and all you have to do is buy a ticket and left at the right station. You board the train at Krakow Main Station and leave it at Oświęcim Main Station.
How much does a train ticket cost?
Tickets cost around 30zł for a two-way trip. Remember to purchase them before boarding the train. While you can buy them on the train itself, it’s much more expensive!
How long does it take to get to Auschwitz by train?
The ride takes around an hour and 40 minutes, so its the slowest option available. The frequency of trains is about one every hour-two. The Oświęcim Train Station is 25 minutes’ walk away from Auschwitz Birkenau. Taking advantage of public transport cuts it down to 10 minutes. Still, for safety reasons, it is recommended to avoid public transport.
Is traveling by train safe?
This sounds good, but we cannot recommend trains with a clear conscience. Why?
Trains are very dangerous during the pandemic. It is easy to get infected when riding a train. There are many people cramped together. With all honesty – it is not a risk worth taking.
Auschwitz by Bus
Reaching Auschwitz by bus is a popular option. Many people think that there is a direct bus connection between Auschwitz and Balice Airport. This is actually not true. There is no direct bus connection. You will have to reach the bus station first, and go from there. This often ends up problematic and frustrating.
All of the bus options can be found at The Coach Station in Krakow, located at Bosacka Street 18.
How much does the bus ticket cost?
Tickets to and back from Auschwitz cost a total of around 28zł. Sometimes, you can buy the ticket from the bus driver, but it is more reliable and safer to buy it at The Coach Station.
How long does it take to get to Auschwitz by bus?
A bus trip takes between 1,5 hour and 2 hours. There are three bus stations in Oświęcim. They all are relatively close to the Auschwitz Museum, so expect a 10 or 15 minutes walk.
Is traveling by bus safe?
You are breathing air in a closed space with many strangers, and you are going to touch spaces touched by others, especially when entering or leaving the bus. In the end, it is still a significant risk.
Auschwitz with MrShuttle
MrShuttle offers professional door-to-door transport and best Krakow to Auschwitz tours. What does “door-to-door” mean? It means that we take care of you from the beginning to the end. You pick a starting location, such as your hotel or any other place in Krakow, and we drive you to Auschwitz directly from there. Then, after you are done, we drive you back to any place you pick in Krakow. Most clients start and end at their hotel, but some want to spend some time in the city first. Old Town and City Center are particularly popular! If you are hungry on the way back, tell us. We will show you some cool places to eat at that not many people know about!
How long does it take to get to Auschwitz with MrShuttle?
Our drivers know the road well. This helps them minimize travel time, usually keeping it around an hour. This is generally the fastest way to reach Auschwitz. You also don’t have to walk – we drop you directly at the entry point, and pick you up directly at the exit. Ditch a map, you won’t need it.
Is traveling with MrShuttle safe?
Yes! MrShuttle spares no effort to make the trips safe both for the clients and the drivers. We understand the importance of trust and respect the safety and hygienic measures. We wash and disinfect the cars between each ride, wear masks, and use gloves. Risks are minimized and as close to 0% as possible. Some think we worry too much and are overzealous, but we would rather be extra careful than to put your health in danger. Out of the available options, you won’t find anything safer.
What is a tour? What is an Auschwitz Tour?
A tour is a trip organized for you by a firm, such as MrShuttle. Instead of having to figure out transport, tickets, and everything by yourself, we do it for you. You contact us and make your reservation, tell us when and where you want to go, and we make it happen! We buy tickets for you, check when the Museum is available, prepare the transport to and from Auschwitz. Interested? You might want to check out how much is an Auschwitz tour!
I don’t speak Polish. Will I receive English speaking assistance at MrShuttle?
Yes! Our drivers and guides speak fluent English. We are happy to help you and answer any questions you might have. If you are hungry, we know some great places to get your lunch when coming back from your trip!
I want a tour with a guide. Can I get a tour with a guide speaking my language at MrShuttle?
We offer private tours with private guides. Contact us and ask about your language – we will tell you if a guide speaking it is available! We understand how important it is to experience Auschwitz-Birkenau with a sensitive and skilled guide, and we try to make the tours as inclusive as possible.
How much time should I set aside when going on a tour with MrShuttle?
Auschwitz Trips are one-day trips. Don’t make plans other than in the morning and evening for a given day. A typical tour takes between 6 to11 hours, from start to end.
What if I have to cancel a tour with MrShuttle?
We understand that sometimes, things go wrong. Any cancellations up to 24h before the tour are returned 100% guaranteed, with no extra fees.
I don’t want a full tour. Can I get transport only from MrShuttle?
Yes, if you are only interested in transport instead of a full tour, we are happy to provide with an option of a transport-only private transfer. We respect your choice. Our drivers usually wait for you for about 4 hours, which is the standard length of a tour.
I heard that Wieliczka Salt Mine is worth visiting. Can I see both Wieliczka and Auschwitz on the same day?
Yes! Lucky for you, we have an offer that suits your needs exactly! Our Auschwitz and Salt Mine One Day Trip is an 11-hour long tour that manages to show you everything there is to see at Auschwitz-Birkenau and then takes you to Wieliczka Salt Mine. We are proud to say that this trip has received one of the Top 10 Day Trips in the World, TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice awards.