Visiting Auschwitz

As Krakow continues to attract tourists seeking a quieter alternative to Prague, many visitors to Poland will visit the small town of Oswiecim, located in the nearby countryside. Functional and industrial, it is also the site of mankind’s darkest hour, namely the Nazi’s most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz. Over one and half million men, women and children, mostly Jews, were massacred here with ruthless efficiency. Visiting the museum is a journey some make as a pilgrimage, including Pope Benedict, who recently visited Auschwitz himself. It is a pilgrimage that symbolises understanding, empathy and victory over a brutal regime’s commitment to genocide.

Length of Trip : 3 hours

Cost : Entrance to the museum entrance is free, with a small fee for guided tours.

Best time to go : Open year-round

Wheelchair friendly : Yes

Family friendly : Not recommended for young children. As harrowing as the museum is, it is suitable, and strongly suggested, for teenagers.

Where to eat :
Oswiecim: Tawerna
Krakow: Kawaleria

Official Site :

Where to Stay :
Budget: Heynow Hostel Krakow
Mid-Level: Qubus Hotel Krakow
High-End: Sheraton Grand Krakow

Getting There : Auschwitz is located about two hours by public bus from Krakow, but many operators offer guided tours from the city.

Note from Robin : Free shuttles run between Auschwitz and Birkenau, the concentration camp that was ten times the size of Auschwitz. This is where trains entered and human beings were sorted like condemned cattle. This is not an easy item to tick off. Many visitors find themselves in a daze, unable to process the history spread out before them. Take your time. Explore the exhibits. Discuss your experience with your travel companions and family.

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