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How to visit Auschwitz Birkenau Camp and why it is so difficult

Auschwitz is one of the three most visited museums in Poland. In 2019, the grounds of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau were visited by 2 million 320,000 people from around the world. The number of visitors to the Auschwitz Memorial in January 2020 has been more than 10 percent higher than in the corresponding period of record-breaking attendance in 2019. It is over 113,000 visitors. The Museum expects monthly attendance well above 200,000 visitors from April to October.

So how to visit Auschwitz Birkenau Camp and why it is so difficult?

Great interest means that by arriving at a place individually and without a reserved ticket may result in standing in long queues without having guarantee that you will have opportunity to visit the camp.
Remember that thanks to the personal entry cards introduced this year, tickets have to be purchased well in advance to avoid disappointment. Entry to the museum is with valid passport or National ID card. Currently some dates are already sold out 3 months in advance.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is 75 kilometers west of Krakow. You can get to Auschwitz-Birkenau by private car, bus , train organized tour.
The closest town to Auschwitz is Oswiecim.

Travelling to Auschwitz from Warsaw individually means that you need to get to Krakow first. Easiest way to do so is by train, there are several services from Warsaw Central station. Journey takes approx. 3 hours, depending on a class of a train.
From Krakow, there are direct trains that connect Krakow to Oswiecim, the city that is located 2 km from the Auschwitz concentration camp.
It takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours to get to Oswiecim from Krakow by train. You also have to factor in travel time from the Oswiecim station to Auschwitz.
The bus is the cheapest method of transportation but it can also be time consuming.
The journey from Krakow takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. Upon arrival by train from Warsaw, there are several bus companies to choose from and they leave from the bus station next to Krakow train station.

By choosing an organized tour to the Auschwitz, you save yourself time and energy. The drive from Warsaw takes 4 hours.
You will be picked up by car and taken back to your hotel afterwards. You can walk past the queue and have an English speaking guide waiting for you at the museum. Travelling in a car, with English speaking driver and like-minded people, gives you comfort and assurance that you will get back to your hotel safely and without any hassle. And the lunch is included as well!

Visiting Auschwitz is a good opportunity to see Krakow as well – ideally short 2hours walking tour with local English speaking guide.

As an alternative to visiting Auschwitz, you can also consider two other Nazi concentration camps in Poland which are within easy from Warsaw
Majdanek, located south-west of Lublin, 4 hours drive from Warsaw or Treblinka, can be combined with visit to Lublin as well. Good option for Full day trip.

Infamous Treblinka is just 110 km from Warsaw and can be easily visited by car as a half day tour option.

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