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Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

Edinburgh, United...
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Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

Hi

I'm visiting Krakow this weekend/next week, and am considering visiting Auschwitz. I understand that the 'individual without an educator' tickets are free, but is there the option to get an audio guide? Or do you wander around with no guidance? We speak English, but there aren't any English languade guided tours available, and we want to be able to understand what we're looking at.

Or is it advisable to book on a private tour instead? Thanks!

7 replies to this topic
Buckingham, United...
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1. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

I will always recommend a tour, only because you need to go to Birkenhau and see the remains of this huge camp. If you visit first when, you then go to Auschwitz it all falls into perspective. Auschwitz can be done alone as plenty of information boards.

I highly recommend the guy in link below, he offers a great tour, is friendly, very knowledgeable and helpful. He will pick you up at 8am and get you back late afternoon.

http://www.krakowtours.co.uk/

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2. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

We are just flying back from Krakow today. We did Auschwitz and Birkenau without a guide, and it was fine. Auschwitz is very well signposted, in English, so you really don't need one, and you can buy a guide book when you are there. We got caught up in many of the tours whilst looking round, and my impression was that while they are told things, they aren't getting much time to digest and take in what they are seeing.For myself I needed to stop in front of some of the exhibits (eg: the hair) and really take it in, and understand what I was feeling. We spoke to a couple there who had done the tour, one of whom was a tour guide herself in real life, and she said that it was exactly like that, no time to stop and think. We did Auschwitz first, then caught the free bus to Birkenau. Birkenau we found to be a bit different. It's not well signposted, and not always easy to understand where you are and what you are seeing..We felt a guide would have been advantageous there. If you do Birkenau first (and its a very large space) please remember that Auschwitz closes to admissions at 3:30 pm this time of year, and everyone has to be out by 4:30pm, so leave yourself enough time, as there is "more to see" in Auschwitz itself.

Pennsylvania
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3. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

I did use a guided tour on one day and then went back on a free, unguided ticket so that I could take in things at my own pace. I don't know about audio guides, but the camps are all well-signed in English and there is a huge amount to them that tours don't cover. I did buy a map-type book from the camp bookstore for about 17 z and it did help a few times when I was trying to fix my position & determine what I was seeing. However, the guided tour I took (from an outside provider) made it easy for me when I later went that day on my own. BTW, unless you drive yourself, I don't think you can do Birkenau 'first' unless you arrive after 10 AM when the shuttle bus starts running between the camps. Auschwitz 2/Birkenau may not seem as 'well signposted' but that just be a function of scale. The place is huge. When I went on my own I went directly to the right after entering walking along what would have been the outer or first row of barracks. Then at the fence turned left and followed that back to the crematoria (you reach #5). then I worked along the back side to see all the other crematoria, the memorial, etc as you eventually reach the RR tracks that split the camp down the center. Most of the time I was alone without another visitor in sight! Many signs and lots to see. Hope this helps.

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4. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

I think what I meant when I referred to the not as good signposting in Birkenau is that Auschwitz 1 has a defined route, with clearly displayed arrows, that takes you past everything, so you can follow that easily and independently. We didn't see a route like that at Birkenau, and for us it would have been helpful, as the sheer scale of the place left us unsure where to start, and we did manage to miss one or two things because we tackled it in not the best way (our fault entirely).

Blackpool, United...
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5. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

One thing about Birkenau is to climb the tower in the entrance building, you need to go with a guided group as only a guide can open the electronic turnstile for access. From the top it gives you a vista of the whole camp with a railway track disappearing into the distance.

There are only a few reconstructed buildings open at Birkenau. Other than those near the entrance, all you need to do is to walk the one km along the track to the memorial, ruins of crematoria and one building called Canada where the prisoners' possessions were sorted. Walking through the woods is poignant, as you pass the lakes where cremated ashes were dumped.

Swindon, United...
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6. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

We never book excursions if we think we can do it ourselves, but decided Auschwitz was too complex, so booked a tour that picked us up from our Krakow hotel - and were really glad we did. On the face of it it's just a minibus ride that you could easily do on a bus or train, but it is confusing, especially with Auschwitz being two sites, so we were glad to be led for once. As visiting Auschwitz is physically and emotionally hard-going, we were really glad to get to the minibus 'home' and not have to do or think about anything else. I should add that Auschwitz is an absolute must for anybody visiting Krakow.

Australia
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7. Re: Visiting Auschwitz - confused about the tickets

HI, who did you book with & would you recommend? All the tours seem about the same to us, but been reading all the reviews online so keen for your point of view. We are in our late 20’s if that helps!

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