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We booked for the full day tour of Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mines tour on the strength of some of the reviews here and on Viator. The key reason was that the salt mine tour was recommended as a welcome relief to the rather sombre Auschwitz visit. The driver collected us in a mini-bus on time and we were with 4 other guests from other hotels as well. The group all got on very well indeed. The journey is about 1hr 15 minutes from the city centre to the camps. There is not much to say about the camps, other than it is not the place for raucous laughter or smiling selfies. It is as you might expect a very emotional, inspiring in an odd way and tough place to visit. It's just so hard to think of what was done here and you are very aware of the horrors that took place right where you are standing. We had about 2 hours at Auschwitz I and similar at Auschwitz II Birkenau. The driver takes you between both. Auschwitz II Birkenau is enormous, a good kilometre from the infamous entrance building to the rear tree line boundary. And maybe twice as wide. Expect lots of walking and at Auschwitz I there are stairs to navigate in the blocks. Auschwitz II Birkenau is stair free but you will be walking on pretty uneven surfaces. Expect to see some very tough things at both, including going inside a gas chamber and crematorium and seeing the standing cells as well as the sparse living conditions in wooden huts at Auschwitz II.
Basically be prepared for everything you know to be hammered home.
The tour guide was very good although he did enjoy the 'pregnant pause' method of delivery...which to say the least was very impactful.
There is not much else to say about the camps except it's something to do once only. The Salt Mines tour was a welcome relief and helped lift the mood. Lunch was delivered in the gap before leaving Auschwitz II and was ...much better than we'd expected! In fact as packed lunches go it was pretty good. The journey to the Salt mine was also about an hour from Birkenau. On reaching the Salt Mine we were taken to the entrance and given our tickets....now be warned...the walking here is even further than you'll do at the camps. You do walk down a lot of steps to about 140m below ground. It's a fascinating place and at no point did it feel claustrophobic...maybe because a lot of the tunnels were painted white by the miners. The tour guide at the mines was very knowledgeable with good english. I would recommend the guided tours as doing ti individually means you'll miss loads of interesting information. The tour last around 2.5 hours and there are 2 places to have a coffee break as you walk round.
BE WARNED the temperature in the mines is around 15 degrees celsius, so if you are wearing layers and/or thermals as we were because external temp was around zero then you should consider removing some prior to the Mine visit rather than delayering as you walk and ending up carrying the clothes around. You will walk lots, so if you have mobility issues you might want to think hard about this although they do have disabled access as well. The return to the surface is via a high speed elevator capable of taking about 25 people so don't panic about climbing back up 140m! Overall, the entire day was both long, emotional, inspiring, interesting and compelling and probably one of the best city break tours we've done. Wear good walking boots and socks, plenty of layers if visiting in winter and heed the temperature in the mines.
This tour was very well organised with a pick up at
Our hotel at 8:30am The trip to the camp took just over an hour and there was a video to watch on the way there. The tour took a good few hours and our English speaking guide was very good we then had a packed lunch enroute to the salt mines!
Excellent trip, well organised. The visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau was very moving but the tone from the guide was set just right. Wieliczka Salt Mine was spectacular, well worth the physical exercise!
Good value for money. The trip lasted all day and I felt that I learned a lot and saw a lot. I am glad that I opted to do both on the same day - neither tour seemed rushed.
What an amazing trip our guard was extremely knowledgable without being over the top. My grandson appreciated the history lesson and being able to see the camps for himself definitely brought the information home. I found the experience to be very well organised as well as moving and I just wish I could remember our guides name as she was exceptional.
You can't go to Poland and not go to Auschwitz and Birkenau its a heart breaking place but it is somewhere that I feel everyone should visit at some point of there lives. The Salt Mine was a good place to visit after Auschwitz as more light hearted however the amount of steps is not for the fainthearted but well worth the effort.
Great trip from beginning to end. Our driver was very friendly and informative. During the journey to Auschwitz we were shown a film highlighting the atrocities in preparation for what we were about to see. The whole Auschwitz experience was very moving and the guide we had was excellent. The lunch we were provided with was really nice and plentiful. The salt mines were interesting but we couldnt hear the guide through her microphone so didnt really know what we were looking at. All in all the day was a long one but well worth the money.
from start to finish,this trip was Amazing,Christopher the driver was polite and and really helpful,julietta our guide for Auschwitz and birkenau was amazing,full of information compassionate,and was happy to answer any questions you had.A very gut wrenching emotional but brilliant tour.!!! salt mines with our guide matthew was interesting and really entertaining, an amazing place.4 of us went on this tour and couldn't fault it.Glad we did it all in one day,a long day, but well worth it.Hignly recommend.
Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Though a very sad reflection on humanity it is a tour to take for many reasons and I am glad we took this tour. The history of Auschwitz Birkenau is chilling but the salt mine was a fascinating and intriguing place though we would have liked to have learned more of the current workings. Well worth walking down all those steps!
Collected on time. Great driver - spent whole day with us, DVD provided to put into context camp visits on the journey there. Informative English speaking guides Bart covered both camps and a lady covered the Salt Mine A good tasty lunch provided - chicken pasta salad, cheese salad roll, chocolate wafer and bottle water. Auschwitz camps emotional and overwhelming BUT worthwhile and learnt lots. Salt Mines good to do after the camps. Who knew you could have chandeliers in a mine! Quite a lot of walking through the day so worth wearing comfortable walking shoes! A long day but well worth it and value for money - another excellent Viator tour - thank you.
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