Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Auschwitz-Birkenau is comprised of Auschwitz I—the site of a visitor center, museum exhibitions, artifacts, and multimedia displays—and Birkenau (or Auschwitz II), left almost exactly as it was when the Nazis abandoned it at the end of the war, complete with gas chamber ruins. Group and private tours with round-trip transportation from Krakow Old Town typically cover both sites and are available in several languages. A visit to Auschwitz can also be combined with the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Plan to spend roughly 90 minutes at each of the sites, Auschwitz and Birkenau.
An official visitor’s center can be found at the entrance to Auschwitz I.
Although you can arrive independently, guided Auschwitz tours can allow for better understanding, plus insight from a tour guide.
Cell phones are not allowed in the permanent exhibition buildings and photos are not permitted in Room 5 of Block 4 or the cellars of Block 11.
The museum discourages visits from children under the age of 14.
While wheelchairs are available at the visitor center, strollers are only permitted outside of the blocks and other structures in Auschwitz I.
How to Get There
Auschwitz-Birkenau is in Oswiecim, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Krakow, from where most tours with round-trip transportation depart. A few tours are offered from Warsaw 196 miles (315 kilometers) away, although the trip takes roughly four hours. Both memorial sites have paid parking lots, and shuttles run between the two.
When to Get There
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is open year-round from 8am until between 2pm and 7pm, depending on the month. The memorial is closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day (December 25). Arrive early for a quieter experience or visit midweek, outside of school holidays.
Historical Attractions in Krakow
After a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, you can learn more about Polish history at the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. Headquartered at the Krzysztofory Palace, there are actually 14 outposts of this museum across Krakow, including the Oskar Schindler Factory, the Old Synagogue in Ulica Szeroka, and own of Nowa Huta. Guided walking or bike tours often combine stops at some or all of the above.
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- Lipowiec Castle (Zamek Lipowiec)
- Family Home of John Paul II
- Kalwaria Zebrzydowska
- Tyniec Benedictine Abbey
- Wolski Forest (Las Wolski)
- Pieskowa Skala Castle (Zamek Pieskowa Skala)
- Ojców National Park (Ojcowski Park Narodowy)
- Kosciuszko Mound (Kopiec Kosciuszki)
- Henryk Reyman Municipal Stadium
- National Museum
- Museum of Photography in Krakow (Muzeum Fotografii w Krakowie)
- Stained Glass Workshop and Museum (Pracownia i Muzeum Witrazu)
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