GOING BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO AUSCHWITZ

 

So many people ask how they can best get to visit the famous and haunting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, we've decided to give you our best advice from experience and from what our guests have told us.

 

There are various tour buses operating from central Krakow to Auschwitz, providing guided day-tours of both Auschwitz and Birkenau in English and other languages. You can book these by the internet before you leave, or hire yourself a cab driver who can take you to the sites and wait for you to bring you back. (Make a suggestion and provide a ball-park price?)

 

If you want a much, much cheaper option, let us refer you to the experience of one of our guests who took public transport and hired an English-speaking guide when he got to the site:

 

"Minibuses leave from Krakow bus station (behind the main train station).  You can also get to the bus station via the new shopping centre. Tickets are purchased on board from the driver.  The location of the departing minibus is usually shown on the main departure board.  The electronic departure board seemed to refer to Auschwitz in Polish (i.e. "Oswiecim") but the board in the front of the minibus will often have (Auschwitz Museum) in brackets.

The journey takes about 90 mins and you get dropped off at the rear of the museum site. The entrance is just a couple of hundred yards away, and is fairly obvious.

You are required to take a guide, and they are offered in multiple languages. For two of us it cost circa 80 Zloty, and for this you get a head-set which allows you to roam whilst you listen to the guides as he/she leads you around.  Ours had perfect English and thanks to the headsets we were not forced to stay as we wandered round. It allowed us to linger at certain points but still clearly hear the commentary of the guide.  The commentary is very matter of fact and not something which is specifically designed at pointing a finger of blame or intentionally pull at your heart strings.

The guided visit lasts 3 hours and is split into two parts.  Auschwitz and then Birkenau, for which you are given a free bus connection. The journey between the two sites is circa 10mins by bus.  There is a 'comfort break' between the two parts of the visit and an opportunity to grab a quick bite to eat. (The bus driver though takes a dim view of people eating on the bus!)

Please note there is no shelter in Birkenau and you are well and truly exposed to the elements in this part of visit.  It is quite a walk so wait for the regular buses to take you back to the main site.

You are not obliged to do both parts of the tour and you are able to leave the group whenever you want.

To return back to Krakow you will need to walk back to the area where the minibus driver dropped you off.  You get on and pay your single fare and you are taken back to the bus station in Central Krakow.  The minibus stops on route to pick up people and you have to put up with whatever music the driver is listening to on the radio!

We did consider taking the train, but you have to get a taxi from the main station in Oswiecim to the museum site, because it's a mile away. The train can in any case be slower than the minibus."

 

There you are. Why not try for yourself?