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Auschwitz Tour and self tour

Adelaide
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Auschwitz Tour and self tour

We are going to Krakow in July and are planning a day trip to Auschwitz.

We know that after 10am we have to join in on a guided tour but my other half is very interested in WW2 history and will want to stay longer then the allocated 3 hours. Is there a way we could extend our time? I understand also that if we get there before 10am we are free to roam but the only way I can find a way to get there is via the train (but need to walk the 30minutes from the train station). Obviously the train is slow also stopping frequently.

Can we freely depart from the tour group in Auschwitz to look around ourselves, and if so, will we miss out on our Birkenau tour or can we rejoin in on another tour later on?

Thanks to all that reply

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Craigavon, United...
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1. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

As far as i know you only need to take the guided tour between the hours of 10.00-15.00, you might think of taking a guided tour then going back in to the main camp after 3pm to walk around again and see anything you wish to view again and at more length, you can use public transport, either train or bus to travel to and from Auschwitz, Opening hours and tour times can be found in the link below. Hope this helps..

http://en.auschwitz.org/z/

G&L

Edited: 29 January 2013, 16:40
Portland, OR
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2. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

Take the bus (to Oświęcim) from Krakow, not the train - the bus drops you directly by the camp. You can certainly get an early bus in July that will get you to the camp well before 10am. I did so in September. I recommend buying your bus ticket the day before and arriving at the Krakow bus station early enough so you get a seat on the bus (could be a "mini-bus"). Otherwise, you may be standing for the 90 minute ride to Oświęcim.

I personally prefer trains to buses, but it's true the bus is more practical in this case.

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

You can look around yourselves after the guided tour, that's what I did, you'll need to if you want to see everything, as the guided tour misses a lot of the exhibits such as country specific exhibits, the gypsy exhibits and others, which are worth seeing, and it's open till 7pm in July. Although it seems in the summer you'll have to wait till 3pm to re-enter on your own. I would suggest doing the solo bit after the guided tour rather than before then you'll know what the guided tour hasn't covered, or anything you want to see again.

Best way to get there from Krakow is by bus, main bus station and look for the bus/coach to Oswiecim Museum. I went there the day before to enquire about times, the first one was at 825am which got there about 10am, but there may be earlier ones in the summer.

The buses back run into the evening, and there are snack bars and resturants on site and just across the road.

Portland, OR
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4. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

There were definitely earlier bus departures than 8:25 last September; I seem to think I got on the 7:50am bus and that wasn't the first bus out to Oświęcim, there was an even earlier one at about 7:10am. Of course, the times may change year to year.

Adelaide
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5. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

Thanks everyone!

So on the auschwitz website, it says the guided tour takes 4 hours. Is this a correct estimate? Thinking maybe get there for about 10am, then allow 4 hours for a tour brings us until about 2pm, aim to have a bite to eat somewhere, which bring us close to 3pm and then go back for a self tour...

Will we have to pay again to re-enter auschwitz 1 again?

Regarding the buses, do you buy a ticket at the station, then wait at the correct bus, or do you wait at the bus and pay the driver..?

Krakow, Poland
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6. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

You only pay for the guided tour, it is free to get in otherwise.

It is very rare a guided tour lasts 4 hours, they allow 3 1/2 for each tour and that includes travel time between the 2 camps, which can sometimes involve a fair amount of waiting time (In winter because there aren't very many free buses, and in summer because it's so crowded not everyone can get on the first bus)

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

Sounds like a good plan,pretty much what I did, except I went in the winter so could go back in earlier, which I had to as it shuts earlier in winter. The guided tour is about 3.5-4 hours, as I remember it started 1030 finished about 215, there wasn't much waiting around for the bus to Birkenau, maybe 5-10 mins or so, you'll need the break anyway! Don't know what it's like in the summer, but you'll have plenty of time so it shouldn't be a problem.

For the bus from Krakow you can buy the ticket from the driver or from the station, choice is yours. Most people seem to buy from the driver.

Axbridge, United...
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8. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

Whoaa ! What's all this about having to take a guided tour ? On Monday of this week, we took the bus from the main Krakow bus station and got off in the carpark at Auschwitz (28 zl per person return). We went straight into the cinema to watch the film, and then wandered around by ourselves. No entry fee at all. There are so many explanatory information boards that we certainly did not feel any need for a tour guide. We overheard some bits of some of the guides, but really did not want to be constrained by their timing and route. The shuttle to and from Birkenau is also free. At this time of year, beware that Birkenau was a lot colder than Auschwitz as it's so much more exposed.

Krakow, Poland
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9. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

BeeJayEff you can't do that during the main season unless you arrive before 10:00am or after 15:00, That is when you have to take a guided tour.

Axbridge, United...
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10. Re: Auschwitz Tour and self tour

Ah, OK - I'll wind my neck in ;-))