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Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
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Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau: Tours & Tickets

See all tours & things to do in Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau

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5 historical facts about Auschwitz-Birkenau

With the world distracted by war, the Nazis brutally reshaped the demographics of Europe in the south of Poland. The harrowing truth wasn't revealed until far too late, but here are a few of the many things you'll learn on your tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Auschwitz-Birkenau is just one camp in a complex

Auschwitz-Birkenau is just one camp in a complex

Auschwitz-Birkenau – or Auschwitz II – was used as a death camp from 1942, primarily for Jews. Auschwitz I had already been holding Polish political prisoners for two years.

It wasn't all run by the state

It wasn't all run by the state

There was a third camp too. Monowitz – or Auschwitz III – was set up to provide slave labor for IG Farben. The Allies dissolved the chemical company the war.

1.1 million were killed

1.1 million were killed

90% were Jews, but thousands of Poles, Romani, Soviets, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals also died at Auschwitz. As did prisoners from other nationalities.

The world had no idea

The world had no idea

Not even most Germans knew what was happening at the camps. Arrivals were met with the slogan "Work sets you free." In hindsight it's hard to say how convincing that actually was.

The camp commander went into hiding

The camp commander went into hiding

Disguised as a farmer in Gottrupel, Rudolf Höss evaded capture for a year after the war. In spite of his expressed remorsed, he was hung outside the camp's crematorium in 1947.

Our insider tips

What are the opening times?

The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum is open daily from 8am except for January 1st, December 25th, and Easter Sunday. It closes at 3pm from December to February, 4pm in March and November, 5pm in April and October, 6pm in May and September, and 7pm from June to August. The site can be accessed for free but it is advisable to take a tour. If you decide to do so, book your tickets in advance. The best ones fill up very quickly!

How to get there from Krakow?

The easiest way is simply to book an all-in-one tour that leaves from the city. Alternatively, inexpensive buses frequently leave from the basement floor of Krakow's main bus station. You can also take a train to the nearby town of Oświęcim.

When to visit?

Krakow is a wonderful city with a great deal of attraction to please tourists. Though Auschwitz may be an essential part of your trip, it can be emotionally overwhelming. We recommend that you leave it till last.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open daily.
    Hours vary based on time of year:
    7:30 AM-2:00 PM, December
    7:30 AM-3:00 PM, January, November
    7:30 AM-4:00 PM, February
    7:30 AM-5:00 PM, March, October
    7:30 AM-6:00 PM, April, May, September
    7:30 AM-7:00 PM, June, July, August
    Holiday hours may vary
  • Is it expensive?
    Basic entrance is free, but it is highly recommended take a tour which will have a cost depending on which one you choose.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It's not required but highly recommended. Best to book in advance online!
  • How to get there
    There are direct buses from Krakow. Alternatively, take the train to Oświęcim and then hop on local bus to the site.
  • Additional information
    Not recommended for children under 14.

What people are saying about Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau

Overall rating
4.5 / 5
based on 37,760 reviews

Timing not as stated and visit was rushed

Met the coach and had another pick up, which took up 30 mins (the company had over booked and 3 people were left at the roadside with barely an apology, just told to come back another day!!!) Coach was comfortable and air conditioned. Although 'tickets' were included we had to queue at Auschwich to obtain free tickets for late in the afternoon (it's free after 3 but only with reserved places) (EACH PERSON NEEDS SOME FORM OF ID TO OBTAIN the AUSCHWITZ TICKETS) which took up another chunk of time. We then had to get back on the coach and visit Birkenau first. We had 1.30 hrs here and had to be back on the bus for 3.50 (bus driver left 2 people who weren't on time) we got to Auschwitz at 4pm and told to be back for 5.50. We didn't have enough time to look around leisurely and had to miss some exhibits to ensure we were back on time as we didn't want leaving behind! It was very poignant visiting these sites but would have been better if we had the 3 hours promised at Auschwitz

Great Excursion but poorly organised by provider

The trip was fantastic and highly recommended , however , we received an email the day before changing the time of our trip to 12:15pm which was too late as we were flying home , so we were switched to a 6:45am pick up ( original 9am) , at this point we were also told they couldn’t collect us from hotel as we had booked , and we had to find a location a few streets away . Leaving our hotel at 6:30am - missed breakfast as this started at 7am - when we reached the location there was no “bus stop 3” to wait by as had been instructed !!! it was confusing and we just by chance managed to locate our tour guide and bus when it arrived .. i luckily had texted so they rang me !! Very disappointed by all this , however from pick up to drop back the tour was very well organised and no problems at all with that .

From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour Reviewed by

Harrowing but we should never forget what they went through

Great tour, comfortable bus. security checks carried out. no bags bigger than A4 size and they are strict! Lockers available at a cost. Got split into 2 groups. Our guide was very informative at Auchwitz but at Birkenow I felt that he rushed through it and ended abruptly. He said that's the end and walked away. The 2nd group started 5 minutes before my group but we were finished about 15 minutes before them. Chilling visit but worth every penny. Hard to comprehend what they poor people went through. Finally we were told not to eat or drink on the bus but on the way back the guide and the driver sat at the front eating and drinking. Looks like rules don't apply to them!

From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Full-Day Guided Tour Reviewed by

Excellent guide & very moving experience

Our guide Magda was excellent - very knowledgeable, spoke very clearly & the tour was a good pace. The headsets at Auschwitz 1 ensured we could all hear her clearly. Such important history to learn about & never forget. Would highly recommend this tour - the minibus transport was comfortable & the guide on this also helpful. I'd recommend you bring a sandwich with you for lunch as the break is short & options limited.

From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by

Educational and Emotional (worth every minute)

Konrad was our tour guide to the sites. He was informative and friendly. Our tour guide in the sites was an amazing guide. She explained each section with explicit detail. We will never forget this day and will share with others the exceptional experience. The history will be shared and never forgotten. Auschwitz should be shared with everyone and the actions never to be repeated in the future.

From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Full-Day Guided Tour Reviewed by

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