Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

#1 in Best Things To Do in Krakow
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum picture
George Pachantouris/Getty Images

Key Info

Wiezniów Oswiecimia 20

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

A 42-mile trip west of Kraków, the brutal, crushing concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau are located in the city of Oswiecim. More than 1.1 million people died in these camps' barracks, hospitals, gas chambers and labor fields.

Travelers say the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is one of Europe's best preserved concentration camps. These camps, many add, are an important piece of history, although you'll feel emotional during your tour. As such, this locale is not ideal for younger children. Plan on bringing water and wearing comfortable walking shoes since you'll cover a lot of ground here. Also, reserve your timed entry passes and guided tours on the property's booking page well in advance.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is free to visit every day between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., but most months offer extended hours. (Note: Visitors will not be admitted up to 90 minutes before close.) Guided tours in English or any other language, however, will cost extra. General tours, the shortest option, last three-and-a-half hours and are 330 Polish zloty ($89) per person. These tours include permanent exhibits and the property's most important sights. For access to national exhibits, the Central Sauna and additional gas chamber and crematoria ruins, opt for the six-hour study tour; each ticket will set you back 510 Polish zloty ($138).

Restrooms, gift shops and cafes are available at both camps, and parking is provided for a fee. If you do not have a car, plan on joining an organized tour from local companies like Escape2Poland and KrakowTrip.com. (Tour prices, which start at $34 per person, include guide fees at the camps, plus transfers to and from Kraków.) More information about the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is available on the property's website.

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Type
Time to Spend
#2 Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny)

The Main Market Square (or Rynek Glówny, as it's known locally) is the world's largest medieval market square and the highlight of any trip to Kraków. It is the geographic center of the Old Town, the symbolic center of the city and, more than likely, the center of most of your trip plans.

The square is mostly about atmosphere – it is alive and bustling with locals and travelers alike, coming and going. You'll also notice the unsymmetrical towers of St. Mary's Basilica nearby, which are a great escape from the square's activity. If you'd rather buy some souvenirs, peruse the stalls at Cloth Hall.

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