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Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

#1 in Best Things To Do in Krakow

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum picture in Krakow
George Pachantouris / Getty Images

Key Info

Details

  • Monuments and Memorials, Museums Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.9
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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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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#1 Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum 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 ... Read more » George Pachantouris / Getty Images

#2 Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny) 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 ... Read more » neirfy / Getty Images

#3 St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciol Mariacki) Sitting on the eastern corner of the Main Market Square, St. Mary's Basilica is a Gothic-style church that was originally built in the 13th century. It was destroyed by ... Read more » TomasSereda / Getty Images

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#5 Oskar Schindler's Factory If you've seen the movie "Schindler's List," then you'll recognize Oskar Schindler's Factory. This former enamel factory, which fell into the hands of former Nazi sympathizer ... Read more » Jennifer Boyer / Flickr

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#7 Polish Aviation Museum Located less than 3 miles northeast of the city center, the Polish Aviation Museum appeals to aviation enthusiasts. Spread across the Rakowice-Czyzny airfield, one of Europe's oldest landing strips ... Read more » tupungato / Getty Images

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum picture in Krakow
Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny) picture in Krakow
St. Mary's Basilica picture in Krakow
Wawel Cathedral picture in Krakow
Oskar Schindler's Factory picture in Krakow
Polish Aviation Museum picture in Krakow
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum picture in Krakow
Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny) picture in Krakow
St. Mary's Basilica picture in Krakow
Wawel Cathedral picture in Krakow
Oskar Schindler's Factory picture in Krakow
Polish Aviation Museum picture in Krakow

You'll leave the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum feeling a wide array of emotions, but this attraction is worth trekking 42 miles outside Kraków to see. George Pachantouris / Getty Images

Foodies, architecture aficionados, shopaholics and more will love wandering around central Kraków's Main Market Square. neirfy / Getty Images

Easily recognized by its two uneven towers, St. Mary's Basilica sits on the edge of the Main Market Square. TomasSereda / Getty Images

Wawel Cathedral contains the burial chambers and tombs of some of Poland's most famous figures. RolfSt / Getty Images

Film enthusiasts and history buffs won't want to miss touring Oskar Schindler's Factory. Jennifer Boyer / Flickr

The "Wieliczka" Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. Pavliha / Getty Images

Check out historic planes, helicopters and more at the Polish Aviation Museum. tupungato / Getty Images

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