Many people visit Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp every year. Visiting Auschwitz is a daunting and heavy experience. The process of actually reaching the Auschwitz Museum can also pose a challenge for travelers. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum is located in Oświęcim, a town around 60 km (38 miles) from Krakow. Because Oświęcim is a small city and relatively out of the way, there is no airport there and not that many hotels. From a practical point of view, there is no sense in staying in Oświęcim. Still, if you don’t stay there, and you'd like to visit Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial, where should you stay? How much time does it take to travel from Krakow to Auschwitz? What are the costs of such a trip? Does it take all day? What transfer options do you have? What are their advantages and disadvantages? M

These and many other questions are very valid, so don’t feel silly for asking them. It is not an easy trip to plan, especially as a part of a longer stay in Poland. We would hate to know that somebody decided to skip a visit to Auschwitz because it was too inconvenient or there were too many unanswered questions. This is why we decided to create this guide. We want to make it as simple for you as possible. This way, you don’t have to worry about the details, and can focus on the important part – commemorating the memory of lives lost at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

For the purpose of this guide, we will assume that your base is in Krakow. Why? Because it is the biggest city in the region. If you are planning a longer stay in Poland and want to see more than Auschwitz, Krakow delivers. If you just want to see Auschwitz, Krakow Balice Airport (KRK) is the closest airport available.

From Krakow to the former Auschwitz concentration camp

To visit the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum, you have to reach the city of Oświęcim. Auschwitz is the German word for Oświęcim, but since the opening of the concentration camp, it is only used for the historical camps, not the town. The distance between Oświęcim and Krakow is about 60 km, depending on where exactly you start your trip. 

There are three primary ways of reaching Auschwitz – by train, by bus, and by private car. Here, you will learn how to get to Auschwitz from Krakow.

Auschwitz by Train

Normally, this would be a very comfortable option for reaching Oświęcim and Auschwitz. Trains are comfy, and all you have to do is buy a ticket and leave at the right station. The thing to consider in this case is that Oświęcim Main Station, where you will have to get off, is located around 2 km from the Auschwitz Museum. This means that unless you want to take a longer walk, you will also have to board a local bus.

How much does a train ticket cost?

Train tickets cost around 30zł for a round trip. Remember to purchase them before boarding the train. Although you can buy them on the train itself, it’s usually much more expensive.

How long does it take to get to Auschwitz by train?

The ride takes around an hour and 50 minutes, so it’s the slowest option available. The frequency of trains is about one every hour or two. The Oświęcim Train Station is 25 minutes’ walk away from Auschwitz Birkenau. Taking advantage of public transport cuts it down to 10 minutes. Still, if you decide to travel to Auschwitz by train, expect it to take at least 2 hours one way.

Auschwitz by Bus

Reaching Auschwitz by bus is a popular option. The buses can be found at the Main Bus Station in Krakow, located at Bosacka Street 18. It is even possible to find some buses to Oświęcim which stop at Balice Airport. A bus from Krakow to Auschwitz can be a better option than the train as the trip takes less time and many buses drop you off near the museum entrance.

How much does the bus ticket cost?

Bus tickets from Krakow to Auschwitz generally start from around 28 zł. Sometimes, you can buy the ticket from the bus driver, but it is more reliable and safer to buy it at the station or online.

How long does it take to get to Auschwitz by bus?

A bus trip takes usually takes around 1,5 hours. There are three bus stations in Oświęcim, and all of them are relatively close to the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum. If possible, try to get a bus which stops either at Więźniów Oświęcimia or Muzeum Auschwitz.

Visit Auschwitz Museum with MrShuttle

MrShuttle offers professional door-to-door transport and the best Krakow to Auschwitz tours. What does “door-to-door” mean? It means that we take care of you from the beginning to the end. You pick a starting location, such as your hotel or any other place in Krakow, and we drive you to Auschwitz directly from there. Then, after you are done, we drive you back to any place you pick in Krakow. Most customers start and end the tour at their hotel, but some want to spend some time in the city first. Krakow Old Town and the city center are particularly popular. If you are hungry on the way back, tell us. We can show you some cool places to eat at that not many people know about.

How long does it take to get to Auschwitz with MrShuttle?

Our drivers know the road well. This helps them minimize travel time, usually keeping it to around an hour. This is generally the fastest way to reach Auschwitz. You also don’t have to walk – we drop you off directly at the entry point, and pick you up directly at the exit. Ditch the map, you won’t need it. 

What is an Auschwitz Tour?

An Auschwitz II Birkenau tour is a trip organized for you by a tour operator, such as MrShuttle. Instead of having to figure out public transport, bus schedules, entry tickets, and everything by yourself, we do it for you. You contact us and make your reservation, tell us when and where you want to go, and we make it happen! We buy tickets for you, check when the Museum is available, prepare the transport to and from Auschwitz.

I don’t speak Polish. Will I receive English-speaking assistance at MrShuttle?

Yes! Our drivers and guides speak fluent English. We are happy to help you and answer any questions you might have.

I want a guided tour. Can I get a tour with a guide speaking my language at MrShuttle?

We offer can offer a private tour –> just for you and your travel companions. Contact us and ask about your language – we will tell you if a guide speaking it is available! We understand how important it is to experience Auschwitz-Birkenau with a sensitive and skilled guide, and we try to make the tours as inclusive as possible. 

How much time should I set aside when going on a tour with MrShuttle?

Our Auschwitz tours are one-day trips. Don’t make plans other than in the morning and evening for a given day. A typical tour takes between 6 to 11 hours, from start to finish.

What if I have to cancel a tour with MrShuttle?

We understand that sometimes, things go wrong. We issue a full refund without penalty for any cancellations received at least 24h before the scheduled tour starts.

I don’t want a full guided tour. Can I get only transport from MrShuttle?

Yes, if you are only interested in transport instead of a full tour, we are happy to provide you with an option of a private transfer –> from Krakow to Oświęcim. We respect your choice. Our drivers usually wait for you for about 4 hours, which is the standard length of a tour.

I heard that Wieliczka Salt Mine is worth visiting. Can I see both Wieliczka and Auschwitz on the same day?

Best of the Best! Yes! Lucky for you, we have an offer that suits your needs exactly. Our Auschwitz and Salt Mine One Day Trip is an 11-hour-long tour that takes you to Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and then the Wieliczka Salt Mine. We are proud to say that this trip has received one of the Top 10 Day Trips in the World, TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice awards.