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

Overall rating
4.6 / 5
basierend auf 28.694 Bewertungen

Helpful and informative while not too overwhelming

The tour is very informative. Driver was very helpful in all occasion from waiting for us earlier than the promised time, helping secure our belonging, leading us to the tour guide and preparing the food for us. The journey to Auschwitz didn’t feel long at all with the documentary shown. Anna, our tour guide for Auschwitz and Birkenau was very knowledgable and passionate on educating us about the lesson learnt from the holocaust. The tour guide for Wieliczka Salt Mine was charming and funny, lightening up our mood and putting the perfect ending to the tour.

Great last minute tour, very informative!

I booked the tour last minute for the next day! The tour guide was very informative and passionate and gave a lot of information about Auschwitz. The two guides on the transport bus were also helpful and did a great job!

Wonderful, comprehensive, but very sobering tour...

Everything was very well organized and administered -- Simon was our courteous, helpful, and efficient driver, and Mark (our guide) was very knowledgeable, professional, and passionate. He added greatly to the overall experience -- we came away with a much deeper appreciaion of the immense tragedy which occurred at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Highly endorse Comfort Tours Cracow and Get Your Guide!!

Informative & Made You Feel Like You Were There

The tour of Auschwitz was unbelievable! The guide spoke with such pain, love, emotion that at moments made me tear up. The way she looked at you as if you were the only person she was taking on the tour was hypnotizing and hew emotions in her voice sounded as if she were about to break into tears as well - made me want to hug her. Highly recommend this tour! Wish I caught the tour guide's name to compliment her directly (Short, dark curly hair - if that helps?). The tour of the Salt Mine was absolutely mind blowing! To think what we explored was only 1% of the full mine is crazy! The tour guide was very friendly and informative as well as patient for a lot of us in the group taking photos. This was a great tour to do! The driver that collected me and my friend form our hotel for this day trip was great. Spoke professionally in the van, was VERY helpful with lending a charging point in his van for me and my friend as our phones batteries were not keeping up with the photo taking.

Friendly, courteous and efficient guides.

Derek our driver was punctual, courteous and looked after us during out day. The guide we had for Auschwitz/Birkenau was exceptionally good. He was an excellent, clear and articulate speaker who handled a difficult topic well.

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