Auschwitz-Birkenau a concentration camp is one of the places everybody should visit at least once in their lives. When travelling Poland it’s a must-see place, but it’s not a location where you will “have fun”, it’s a place where you will learn a great lesson about the history of us, humans and what we as humans are capable of.
In this post, I will share with you how to get to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Krakow, by yourself (by bus, by train) or with a tour.
Let’s check those options and some useful tips for your visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
Many people are searching how to get to Auschwitz from other cities in Poland than Krakow, however, I believe that if you’re planning to visit the concentration camp, Krakow should be on your list to visit as well.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is on Unesco World Heritage Sites list, so is Krakow’s’ Old Town and Wawel, so I hope you have enough time to spend at least a day in Krakow and half a day dedicated for Auschwitz-Birkenau.
How to Travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau Without A Tour
When planning to visit Auschwitz without a tour, you still need to consider if you want to have an educator with or want to explore the place by yourself.
If it’s your first visit, I would suggest booking an educator so you can not only learn about history, it will make all your planning easier.
It’s a pretty popular spot among tourists and as you can visit it without an educator, during busiest periods like summer it’s possible to explore the place on your own for free in the morning or evening, otherwise, you may have to wait to be able to get it.
To book a ticket and an educator in your preferred language, head to Auschwitz Memorial & Museum website, it’s best to reserve your spot 5-10 days in advance, otherwise you may find it’s fully booked.
When you will visit the link you will find a great deal of information about visiting the Concentration Camp in Auschwitz, hours of operation and also virtual tour, so check it out. The price for an educator is 50 PLN.
Once you have reserved your spot, let’s see how to get to Auschwitz from Krakow.
It will take about 3,5 hour to explore two sides of Auschwitz Concentration camp with an educator.
Bus, in my opinion, is the best option for travelling to Auschwitz from Krakow.
A bus is the cheapest way to get there (unless regional train runs a promo), it’s also the option that will take you directly to the Museum (around 10 minutes walk).
To catch a bus you will need to get to Krakow MDA, that’s a part of Krakow Glowny station, which is located a walking distance from Krakow’s Old Town.
The trip might take from 60 minutes up to 2 hours to get to Auschwitz, all depends on the traffic in and around Krakow. So make sure you get to the station early enough.
On the busy times, you can grab a bus every 20 minutes, and there are different companies that operate buses or shuttles.
Often, you can buy a ticket from a driver (Krakow MDA information booth will let you know when and from where the soonest bus departs from), but I would suggest to buy a ticket from the ticket station, cause especially in shuttles, there are approximately 20 spots, so when trying to buy a ticket from the driver you may find out that it’s all booked.
My trip by shuttle took 90 minutes and we had to go round way due to the accident on the way. I took a shuttle 11:50 am for my Auschwitz booking at 1:30, I was just on time and because it’s important to arrive 30 minutes ahead from booked time, they moved my visiting time to 1:45 trip. It was in Polish.
However, I believe if you’re running late for a foreign language tour, do not stress too much, I believe they will get you a spot in next available time.
Here is a bus schedule from Krakow to Auschwitz for you to check.
Let’s quickly summarize:
Bus travel time to Auschwitz from Krakow: 60-120 minutes
From: Krakow MDA
Schedule: every 20 minutes
Price: 10-14 PLN, depends on which company will operate the bus/shuttle.
Suggestion: for an educator booked for 1:30 pm, be on the bus stop around 11 am to make sure you’re on time for a booked time.
It’s the cheapest but also the best choice in my opinion for getting to Auschwitz from Krakow.
When going back to Krakow from Auschwitz, you will catch a bus right in front of the museum.
If you prefer travelling by train to Auschwitz from Krakow, you can grab one from Krakow Main Station which is located next to Krakow MDA.
It’s the most reliable option cause even if there is huge traffic on the roads, it doesn’t affect the train.
It’s also more expensive than catching a bus, and the train station is Auschwitz (Oswiecim), is not located very close to the Museum.
It will take 30 minutes walking distance to get to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp from the train station.
Schedule: depends on time, around 1 train every 1-2 hours.
The price: 15.6 PLN for regional train – around 22 PLN for Intercity
Sometimes Regional Trains offer a promo like it’s now and you can travel for 9,6 PLN to Oswiecim from Krakow, which is a very good price.
Time: Regional train will take around 100 minutes to get to Auschwitz (Oswiecim), while Intercity can take you there in around 70 minutes.
It’s a good option if you need for more comfort than the one that shuttles provide or you travel in a group and want to seat next to each other.
Here is the website to find the cheapest train tickets to Auschwitz from Krakow.
Book a Tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Krakow
Booking a tour can be a great option to consider. Of course, it’s more expensive than organizing the trip by yourself, but it offers the best comfort. You will experience the smoothest, worry-less service so you can focus on your vacation and not on organizing and planning how to get to Auschwitz.
Tours will offer a guide in English and other languages as well (check each tour and its dates, there you will see what in what language you can book a tour for that day), with transportation to and from Auschwitz to Krakow.
Auschwitz Tour from Krakow with Get Your Guide
*In the spirit of full disclosure, these are affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to purchase a product or service. There is no extra cost to you and it helps me to support this blog.
There are 3 tours available through Get Your Guide website, 2 of them with transportation from Krakow and one where you can buy tickets and a book a guide.
However, if you want to just to book a guide and tickets and arrive by yourself, it’s cheaper to book from the Auschwitz Museum site.
The tours with transportation from and back to Krakow cost around 130-160 PLN, depends if they run a promotion. Also available in different languages, including English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
DiscoverCracow offers many great tours, they are highly rated on TripAdvisor and you certainly consider them when looking for Auschwitz tour or any sightseeing in and around Krakow, check what they have in offer.
Some Extra Tips When Travelling to the Museum
- It’s good to have a bottle of water and something to eat with you, especially water might be needed in the summer. You can buy those in Auschwitz, however, the prices they charge are outrageous. A small bottle of water costa 8 PLN, that’s the price you would pay for 4 big bottles of water in a normal store. Food price is also very high.
- Choose bus if you’re looking for the cheapest trip and book your own ticket on Auschwitz Museum website. Trains sometimes might be cheaper if they run a promo. Check train tickets here for that. Auschwitz is called Oswiecim in Polish, that’s what you want to put in your Arrival field.
- If you want to have a worry-less trip, book a tour from Krakow, so you don’t have to worry about buying separate tickets.
- Wear clothes that do match the place, it’s very sad destination so expect to feel sad.
- It’s not recommended to visit the site for kids under 14 years of age. However, you are a parent so you know your child best. I saw many kids around the age of 10 visiting Auschwitz, so it’s your personal decision to make.