Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Auschwitz-Birkenau tours take visitors through some of the 13 surviving prison blocks that now feature museum exhibitions, many dedicated to victims and displaying documentary photographs and historical artifacts. In addition the main camp, a much larger camp called Birkenau (or Auschwitz II) sits about 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) to the west. This site has been left almost exactly as it was when the Nazis abandoned it at the end of the war, complete with gas chamber ruins, and is also considered a part of the UNESCO-listed Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. An official visitor’s center can be found at the entrance to Auschwitz I.
The two sites are often visited together on group or private tours from Krakow Old Town, available in a number of languages and generally including transport between the memorial areas, plus hotel pickup and drop-off or airport transfers. It's recommended that travelers allot about 90 minutes for each of the sites. A visit is also sometimes combined with a trip to the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Recent reviews from experiences in Krakow
Things to Know Before You Go
Cell phones are not allowed in the permanent exhibition buildings.
The ability to take photos varies by area, although it is not allowed in Room 5 of Block 4 or in the cellars of Block 11. Flash units and tripods are not allowed.
The maximum size of any baggage carried in is 11.8x8x4 inches (30x20x10 cm).
The museum discourages visits from children under the age of 14.
While wheelchairs are available for use at the visitor's center, strollers may only be used outside of the blocks and other structures in Auschwitz I.
The memorial is closed on January 1, Easter Sunday, and Christmas.
How to Get There
Auschwitz-Birkenau is in Oswiecim, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Krakow, from where most tours depart. A few tours are offered from Warsaw 196 miles (315 kilometers) away, although transport takes four hours. Both memorial sites have paid parking lots, and shuttles run between the two. Zakopane is located 80 miles (130 kilometers) south.
This is a somber place to visit (to say the least), and appropriate solemnity and respect are required on museum grounds. Although you can arrive independently, guided Auschwitz tours can allow for better education and understanding, plus insight from a tour guide.
- Things to do in Wroclaw
- Things to do in Warsaw
- Things to do in Budapest
- Things to do in Lviv
- Things to do in Bratislava
- Things to do in Schwechat
- Things to do in Vienna
- Things to do in Poznan
- Things to do in Prague
- Things to do in Cesky Krumlov
- Things to do in Linz
- Things to do in Berlin
- Things to do in Lower Austria
- Things to do in Western Romania
- Things to do in Upper Austria