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How to Get From Krakow to Auschwitz

Updated: November 29, 2023

If you’re interested in touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, this post explains how to get there from Krakow.

Our tour guides are always being asked about the best way to see historic and important landmarks, and they often have a lot of helpful suggestions, including some we'll cover in this post.

We'll also include detailed instructions on going by bus, train, car, taxi, and with an organized tour.

If you have any unanswered questions, we suggest checking our section covering tips from locals and travelers who have been to Auschwitz themselves.

A visit to Auschwitz can be very emotional and disturbing.

But the memorial exists so that people can bear witness to the crimes against humanity committed here. 

Admission and Hours

When in Krakow, many people visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the extermination and concentration camps that have an enormous place in the history of the Holocaust and World War II.

As part of the Nazi regime’s ‘Final Solution’ to rid the world of Jews, Gypsies, and other persecuted groups, over 1.3 million people were killed in this one camp in Poland alone.

Admission to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is free, though you will have to pay for whatever way you choose to travel here.

You must reserve your free entry card in advance from the official Auschwitz website.

Auschwitz entrance hours are as follows:

  • December: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • January & November: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • February: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • March, October: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • April, May & September: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • June, July & August: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • It is closed on New Year’s Day, Christmas, and Easter Sunday

Be sure to read the Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau website for important information on what to expect from your visit and what rules are in place.

How to Get from Krakow to Auschwitz?

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is on the outskirts of the city of Oswiecim, located 66 km (45 miles) west of Krakow.

The easiest way to get there is by car, provided you have one.

Since you have to pay for petrol it is not the cheapest way there, but it still costs less than some other options.

The cheapest way to get to Auschwitz is by bus. For under €10 round-trip you can take either a direct shuttle bus or local bus.

By train, you can take a train to Oświęcim, and then walk 2 km or take a taxi the remainder of the way.

If you want all the details of your visit taken care of then the best option is to take an organized tour

These tours include round-trip transportation, tickets to the landmark, optional lunch, and a professional guide.

No matter what means of transport you use, we highly recommend that you go as early as possible in the day as there can be lines to enter.

Also, be sure to book your tickets in advance when possible as they can sell out, especially in peak summer months.

How to Take the Shuttle Bus From Krakow to Auschwitz

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get from Krakow to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is by shuttle bus.

Step 1 - Choose a Departure Time

Buses depart Krakow at 6:20 am, 8:40 am, 9:40 am, 11:10 am, 12:30 pm, 3:45 pm, 3:50 pm, 4:55 pm, and 7:05 pm.

Unless you plan to stay overnight and visit the camp the following day, you will certainly want a bus that departs Krakow no later than 12:30 p.m., at most. 

Step 2 - Head to the Bus Station

These privately operated buses depart from Krakow Dworzec MDA Bus Station and drop you off at the entrance to Auschwitz.

There are several departures every day and the trip takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes without traffic.

You'll find this bus station at Bosacka 18, 31-505 Krakow, Poland.

Being that it is a public transport station, you'll find that a lot of bus and tram lines will take you there for a relatively low price of 4 - 8 złotys (€1 - €2).

Step 3 - Purchase Tickets

Tickets cost just 20 złotys (around €5) each way including fees.

You can purchase admission either at one of their ticket offices, machines, or online.

Purchase Auschwitz-Birkenau Shuttle Bus tickets here.

NOTE: This ticket does not include your free entry card. You must reserve your free entry card in advance from the official Auschwitz Museum website.

Step 4 - Consider When to Return

Buses back to Krakow from Auschwitz begin at 5:45 a.m. and end at 7:15 p.m. 

You will likely take a midday or early evening bus back.

The following bus times may be good for you: 1:45 pm, 2:45 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:10 pm, 5:10 pm, 6:15 pm, or 7:15 pm.

How to Take the Train From Krakow to Auschwitz

No train goes all the way to the Auschwitz entrance.

You can take a 70-minute train ride to Oświęcim which is 2 km from Auschwitz. 

You can walk for about 20-25 minutes the remainder of the way or take a 5-minute taxi ride if there are taxis at the train station when you arrive. 

Step 1 - Choose a Departure Time

There are two-morning trains at 6:44 am and 9:41 am that will give you enough time at the site.

Step 2 - Go to the Train Station

Trains depart Kraków Glówny train station five times a day.

You'll find this station at Pawia, 31-154 Kraków, Poland.

Step 3 - Purchase Tickets

Tickets cost under €5 one-way.

See the Polish Trains official website for schedules and to purchase your tickets in advance.

Alternatively, you can of course purchase tickets from a machine or ticket counter at the train station.

Step 4 - Consider When to Return

Return trains back to Krakow depart four times a day with early evening departures at 6:03 p.m., and 7:25 p.m.

These will likely be the best times to consider returning.

How to Take a Local Bus From Krakow to Auschwitz

You can also take a local bus from Kraków MDA main bus station.

Step 1 - Choose a Departure Time

Buses depart every 20-50 minutes, depending on the time of day, and take approximately 90 minutes each way.

The first bus departs at 7:25 a.m. and the last bus at 7:55 p.m. 

To check the bus schedule use the MDA bus planner website:

  • Choose MDA IN CRACOW on the homepage
  • Then make sure FROM CRACOW is selected on the next screen. 
  • The website only works with the Polish spelling of the destination, so only type in O and scroll until OŚWIĘCIM appears and select it.
  • Choose the date and time, and hit "Search". 
  • You’ll get departure and arrival times, duration of journey, price, and current availability. 
  • Click on "Details" to ensure the train stops at Oświęcim Muzeum / Parking ul. Więźniów Oświęcimia”. This stop is in the car park of the Auschwitz Museum and Memorial.

Step 2 - Head to the Bus Station

This is the same bus station that services the shuttle buses, and you'll find it at Bosacka 18, 31-505 Krakow, Poland.

The nice thing about this location providing multiple services to Auschwitz is that you'll likely never run into an issue getting a ticket, so you probably won't need to buy tickets in advance!

Step 3 - Purchase Tickets

You can purchase admission in person here. They also sell tickets on the official MDA website.

Tickets cost 19 zlotys (€4.75) each way.

Step 4 - Consider When to Return

Essentially, you can simply repeat these steps to take the bus back to Krakow.

The MDA website will also allow you to plan your trip from Auschwitz to Krakow, and they offer bus service back to the city at 17:10 (5:10 pm) and 18:45 (6:45 pm).

How to Go by Car or Taxi From Krakow to Auschwitz

By car or taxi, it will take about 75 minutes each way if traffic conditions are normal. If there is traffic, it could take as much as 2 hours.

Of course, with a car or taxi, you have far more control over when to depart and when to leave, as you don't need to get tickets and you aren't confined to a bus or train schedule.

All you need to do is take a look at the opening times for Auschwitz and plan out your trip.

By Car

Use this Google Map link for exact directions.

You will travel on the A4 which is a toll road that you need to pay for in advance. The toll is €3.36. Find out more about pre-paying the toll here.

There are paid car parks at both areas of Auschwitz: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. 

By Taxi

While not the cheapest of ways to get from Kraków to Auschwitz-Birkenau, taking a taxi offers those without a car flexibility schedule-wise.

A taxi will cost you between €35-40 each way. Be aware that prices may be higher before 6 a.m. 

You will want to arrange your taxi to Auschwitz in advance.

Ask your hotel to help you make arrangements as they will know reputable taxi services.

If you do not arrange a round-trip taxi, then you can take one of the taxis waiting outside of the museum entrance. To save money, always try to book in advance.

Organized Tours From Krakow to Auschwitz

If you want to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp with all aspects of your day trip taken care of, then an organized guided tour of Auschwitz is the best option for you.

The below tours include round-trip transportation on an air-conditioned vehicle, a live guide, and an entry ticket.

There are options for lunch and hotel pick-up/drop-off.

With your guide, you will visit all areas of the museum and memorial including Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

Visitors can see the original train arrival platforms, prisoner barracks, gas chambers, personal artifacts, and more. 

Auschwitz Guided Tour with Transportation 

  • Entry Ticket 
  • Round-trip transportation from Krakow Old Town
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Departures between 6:45 am and 2:15 pm
  • Duration: 7 hours

Ticket Prices

  • Adult (age 18+) € 38.12
  • Children(Age 2-17) € 25.29
  • Student with ID (age 18 - 25) € 30.74
  • Infants 1 and under free

Auschwitz Tour with Pickup & Optional Lunch

  • Skip the line entry ticket
  • Round-trip transportation
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Departures between 6:00 am and 1:30 pm
  • Choose one of 6 pick-up points in Krakow Old Town or the Jewish Quarter.
  • Duration: 7-7.5 hours

Ticket Prices

  • Adult (age 18+) € 38.22
  • Children (age 5-17) € 34.38
  • Student with ID (age 18-26) €34.38
  • Infants (age 4 and under) € 26.29
  • Optional lunch €8.99

Auschwitz Tour Hotel Pickup & Lunch Options

  • Skip the line entry ticket
  • Round-trip transportation from the hotel
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Departures between 6:00 am and 1:30 pm
  • Duration: 7-7.5 hours

Ticket Prices

  • Adult (age 18+) €47.26
  • Children (age 5-17) €45.28
  • Student with ID (age 18-26) €45.28
  • Infants (age 4 and under) €19.77
  • Optional lunch €8.99

If you planned on visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mines or the Oskar Schindler Factory, you can take a full-day tour that combines a trip to Auschwitz with one of these other sites.

Tips From Locals and Travelers

If you still have questions about visiting Auschwitz from Krakow, we recommend checking one of the many Facebook Groups covering travel in and around the city.

Here are a few suggestions from the Krakow Travel Guide.

If you're wondering whether or not the organized tours from Krakow offer a tour separate from the one offered by the museum, Andrea notes this usually isn't the case.

Most of these companies are simply offering transportation to and from Auschwitz, while others provide additional services such as lunch of hotel pick-up and drop-off.

For those who are wondering whether or not it's a good idea to bring their children, Phil notes that the Auschwitz museum does not recommend it for kids under the age of 14.

Even so, some previous guests disagree with this assessment.

As Anna notes, locals tend to visit this historic site in the eighth grade (or thereabouts). This indicates that it could be perfectly fine for children as young as 12.

Ultimately, this decision will depend on the maturity level of your children. If you think they are prepared to learn about the history of Auschwitz, then there's no reason to avoid it.

Sometimes visitors will ask if they really need a guide for the experience, and while you can technically see this site on your own, most guests recommend taking the official tour offered by the museum.

Most tourists we've seen on these travel tips groups recommend taking the tour if it's your first time, but also indicate that second time visitors can feel free to explore at their own pace.

Whatever you choose to do, we recommend checking the Krakow Travel Guide and other Facebook Groups to learn more about visiting Auschwitz from those who have been there.

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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: November 29th, 2023
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