Welcome to Oświęcim
Oświęcim (osh-fyen-cheem) is a quiet, medium-sized industrial city on the border between Silesia and Małopolska, about 30km southeast of Katowice and about 40km west of Kraków. The Polish place name may be unfamiliar to most foreigners, but the German version, Auschwitz, is not. This was the scene of the largest attempt at genocide in human history. Though visiting it is a grim experience, it’s an essential element... Read More
Top experiences in Oświęcim
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial Guided Tour from Krakow
Meet your host at your Krakow hotel or in central Krakow, and then travel by coach to the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, a small Polish town roughly an hour away. During the journey, you will be shown a documentary on the history of Auschwitz and the Holocaust. When you arrive at your destination, you will be met by your professional guide and enter the site at Auschwitz I, walking through the gate to the camp that bears the inscription Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free).The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was established in 1940, originally to hold Polish political prisoners, and operated for five years before the remaining prisoners were liberated in 1945. During its operation, more than 1.5 million Jewish, Polish, Italian and French prisoners were brought here as part of one of the world's largest attempts at genocide.The museum and memorial were founded in 1947, combining the area of KL Auschwitz (Auschwitz I) in Oświęcim and the Birkenau camp (Auschwitz II) in Brzezinka. The camp comprises approximately 150 buildings and you can see the original roads, fences, watchtowers and railway ramps that have all been preserved.Visit some of the barracks on the Auschwitz I complex, which now house a collection of original exhibitions and documents, as well as articles confiscated from prisoners upon their arrival at the camp. After exploring the Auschwitz I complex, your host will meet you to take you by coach for the short journey to nearby Birkenau (Auschwitz II) where your tour will continue. Here you will see the original fences and crematoriums as well as the remains of the colossal gas chambers.Your tour then concludes with a drop-off at your original start point.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Private Transfers
Start your experience with a pickup from your hotel at your preferred departure time. Then, settle into your private car with your driver and travel direct to Auschwitz-Birkenau, outside the town of Oświęcim, without any stops to pick up other passengers.After roughly 1.5 hours, arrive at the visitor center. Here, take your leave of your private driver and set off on a guided group tour of the UNESCO-listed site.Enter the gates of the compound under the chilling inscription of ‘Arbeit macht frei’ or ‘work sets one free,’ and learn how the Nazi concentration camp was founded in 1940 as a detention camp for Polish prisoners before becoming an extermination center for the Jews of Europe and other ‘anti-social’ groups.Discover how this change saw Auschwitz extended to include neighboring Birkenau, creating a camp that was to claim the lives of an estimated 1.1 million people. Explore the key buildings — some still intact and some in ruins — and see the exhibitions that chart the fates of many of those imprisoned here.View the crematoriums and gas chambers, and gaze at Birkenau’s watchtowers and barracks as you hear how the camp was run and guarded. While the facts of what happened here are distressing, your guide will explain everything in a sensitive and considered way.Break from your explorations to visit the memorial to the camp’s victims, and spend a few moments in memory of those who were detained here not so long ago.During your tour, there will be a brief break for lunch. There are no eating facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau, so please bring your own refreshments on the day.Afterward, leave your group and meet back up with your driver and car. Then, travel directly back to your Krakow hotel, where your tour concludes.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour from Krakow
Your English-speaking driver will pick you up from your Krakow accommodation between 7:30am and 11:00am — depending on whether you've opted for the shared (transportation) tour, private (transportation) tour, or round-trip transport (sightseeing without guide)— for the 1-hour drive to Auschwitz. Auschwitz, a byword for evil, and Birkenau (Auschwitz II) formed a network of German Nazi concentration camps located in Oswiecim. The camps have been preserved as museums since 1947. More than 1.1 million European Jews, LGBT people, gypsies, Polish citizens, and others lost their lives here during the Holocaust. If you've selected the shared or private tour, you'll have a guided visit with group in Auschwitz I, then you'll transfer to Auschwitz II-Birkenau for a 1.5-hour tour of the extermination camp. If you chose the round-trip transport option, you'll explore both sites independently. After your visit, your day trip concludes with a drop-off at your Krakow accommodation between 3 and 4pm.
Full-Day Tour with Guided Visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow
The tour departs at 9am and includes a guided visit of both sites with an English-speaking guide. See the infamous Nazi extermination camp located in Oświęcim (Auschwitz), about 70 km away from Krakow and the renowned UNESCO's cultural and natural heritage site, the salt mine in Wieliczka. For your comfort, prior arrangements for entrance and guided visits at both Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mine will be made so you are guaranteed to skip long waiting lines. Your trip itself lasts approximately 11 hours and will include a ticket for the general English guided tour of the Auschwitz Historical Museum (around 2 hours), Birkenau, the second part of the Museum (around 1 hour) and the guided tour in the Salt Mine (around 3 hours). Before sightseeing the Salt Mine you will have a lunch break for about 1 hour. The tour includes all permanent exhibitions and buildings at Auschwitz I (main camp) and the most significant original buildings at Auschwitz II Birkenau: the prisoner barracks, the unloading platform (ramp), the ruins of gas chamber, crematoria II - III and the Wieliczka Museum after your lunch break. You will return to Krakow after the tour at around 8 pm.
Krakow Combo: Full-Day Tour of Salt Mine and Auschwitz Museum
Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour (4 hours):Be picked up directly from your Krakow hotel and journey to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Upon arriving, make the descent 440 feet (135 meters) below ground, passing through tunnels and chambers on three levels. Travel through each unique chamber with your guide, learning the history behind the 700-year-old salt mine. Explore the ornate Chapel of the Blessed Kinga, with altarpieces and chandeliers made from natural salt deposits and then visit to the mine is the souvenir shop and snack bar. From here, shoot back up to the surface in a high-speed lift and enjoy two hours of free time before your next tour. Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour (7 hours):Begin your trip with pickup in central Krakow and travel to the town of Oswiecim while a documentary on WWII and the Nazi Holocaust is shown onboard. After roughly 1.5 hours, arrive at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enter the gates bearing the inscription Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) and then head inside to learn about how the complex quickly turned from a detention camp to a center for mass murder. Visit the crematoriums and gas chambers, as well as the watchtowers and fences at Birkenau where the Nazi officers stood guard. After examining the exhibitions inside the old prison blocks, pay your respects at the camp's memorial. Your trip will conclude with drop-off back at your Krakow hotel.
7-Hour Day Tour to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum Tour from Krakow
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is located in the suburbs of Oświęcim, about 60 km to the west of Kracow. This historic landmark is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.The concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau (1941-1945) is known across the whole world as a symbol of Nazi genocide and terror. During the Second World War, it was the biggest Nazi concentration camp in which over one million people died, mostly Jews. After the war, Polish authorities converted the camp into a museum dedicated to the memory of the Nazi victims.Guests can be collected from a hotel between 8:50 and 9:10am (details by e-mail) or from a central meeting point at 9am and will return to central Krakow at around 3:30-4pm. The museum is closed on the following dates: 1st of January, first day of Easter, 16th of April and 25th of December.