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

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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?
    8:00 AM - 3:00 PM December through February
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM March, November
    8:00 AM - 5:00 PM April, October
    8:00 AM - 6:00 PM May, September
    8:00 AM - 7:00 PM June, July, August
  • 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

A worthwhile and necessary tour for all.

Had an educational day on the horrors of World War 2! A sombre and informative tour. A must for all. Salt Mines well worth a visit - be prepared to delve 135 metres below the surface and for quite a bit of walking! A full day out.

A gripping day made amazing by our fantastic guide

Auswitch-Birkenau was a gripping experience and it was made very informative and respectful by our excellent guide. The sound system provided by the museum could have been better. Our group on the minibus was a good size, the group was to big when it was joined with the second group. The salt mine was very exciting ant the guide there was very funny and told the stories of the mine in a very entertaining way. Again the provided sound system wasn’t the best. The restaurant that we were booked in to for lunch had good food, but would have preferred to have a table in the main restaurant not in the back. But all in all a super day

Conrad was an absolutely fantastic tour guide.

Our guide Conrad could not have been any better. He was informative, interesting and very fluid in his delivery and looked after all the participants in his group.

Well planned trip, from minibus pick up to drop off. (Super Crakow)

Very interesting trip... our tour gave us 1.5 hours in Auschwitz, and 1 hour in Auschwitz-Birkinau. We felt that the tour was a bit rushed, and would have preferred to have some additional time within Birkinau for some personal reflection, to walk around without the guide, say an additional 45 mins? Our minibus got us back to Krakow at about 4.45. Otherwise, very informative, English speaking guide was very knowledgeable.

Excellent tour. Guidr was very knowledgeable.

The pick up location was easy to find and the journey took about an hour and a half. The guide at Auschwitz/birkenau was very informative.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Full-Day Guided Tour from Krakow Reviewed by Rebecca, 12/01/2018

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