Krakow is a beautiful, well preserved medieval city in the south of Poland. It had a very rich history on it's own, before it became well known by being the "gateway" to the most notorious death camp of WWII, Auschwitz and Birkenau.
You can combine a visit to Krakow with Auschwitz, however, this needs to be done in several days.
Here are your options:
Cheapest – by train between Prague – Krakow - Prague:
Less comfortable – you are on your own on the train and you must conform to the train schedule.
Day 1 - Take a train to Krakow, arriving there in the evening. Our local guide will meet you at the train station and transfer you to the hotel you have chosen as well as give you pointers as to where to have dinner, how to get around town, etc.
Day 2 - Next day, your guide meets you in the hotel and takes you on your half day city tour of Krakow visiting the Wavel Castle, the famous Market Square and more. Enjoy the afternoon on your own.
Day 3. - The following day, your gide will take you by a motorised vehicle to Auschwitz and arrange for your tours there. Your train to Prague from Auschwitz departs at approximately 2:00 pm.
Moderate - by car or van, as needed, with a driver from Prague and back:
More comfortable – your driver will be with you the entire time and you don’t have to conform to any train schedules. However, he will not be a guide per say, only a driver with limited English. For the guiding there, we will hire a local guide for you.
Day 1, 2 and 3 are the same, only there is no train schedule to conform to.
Best service - by car or van, as needed with a driver and your English speaking guide from Prague and back.
Your guide takes care of everything for you, all you do is enjoy the ride and information.
Day 1, 2 and 3 are the same, only there is no train schedule to conform to and your guide takes care of everything for you.
Archeological finds prove humans have lived in the Krakow area since 200,000 BC at least, and some 50,000 years ago a hamlet with a factory churning out stone tools prospered on Krakow’s central Wawel Hill. In 965 a travelling merchant from Spanish Cordoba wrote about Krakow as the bustling trade center of Slavonic Europe, and recent excavations confirm. Its northern neighbors of the Piasts’ dynasty incorporated the Krakow province into their principality in the 990s and thus the Kingdom of Poland was born. In the year 1000 Krakow got its own bishop, and in 1038 the city became Poland’s capital. Mongols demolished Krakow in the mid 13th century, so the then ruler, Prince Boleslaw the Shy, established it anew in 1257 and endowed with both self-government and immense trade privileges. The city’s Golden Age came by the end of the 15th century when it was the thriving metropolis of a vast and prosperous kingdom stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Krakow remained Poland’s official capital till 1791 but from 1609 on successive kings after their coronation in Krakow chose to reside in Warsaw where the country’s political center moved with them (monarchs kept returning to Krakow for good: to be buried in the Wawel Cathedral). Throughout the 18th century Krakow suffered a series of sieges, foreign occupations and plunders. After Russia, Prussia and Austria invaded and divided Poland between themselves in the 1790s, the last empire took Krakow. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna created an independent, miniature Krakow Republic forcibly incorporated into the Austrian empire in 1846. After Emperor Franz Joseph I granted Krakow the municipal government in 1866 the city became Poland’s vibrant center of gravity again, which eventually led to the 1918 rebirth of the nation in the aftermath of the World War I. Krakow remained the most important city in the southwest part of the Republic of Poland till September 1939 when Hitler’s Third Reich and Stalin’s Soviet Union invaded the country and divided it between themselves. On the German-occupied territory the Nazis created a protectorate with their governor-general’s residence in Krakow. Fortunately, the historic city survived almost intact the Soviet offensive in January 1945. After the WW II Krakow retained its status as Poland’s second most important city and vied with Warsaw for the cultural supremacy.
Auschwitz's WWII history
All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by the Nazis in 1940, in the suburbs of the city of Oswiecim which, like other parts of Poland, was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. The name of the city of Oswiecim was changed to Auschwitz, which became the name of the camp as well.
Over the following years, the camp was expanded and consisted of three main parts: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz. It also had over 40 sub-camps. At first, Poles were imprisoned and died in the camp. Afterwards, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, and prisoners of other nationalities were also incarcerated there. Beginning in 1942, the camp became the site of the greatest mass murder in the history of humanity, which was committed against the European Jews as part of Hitler's plan for the complete destruction of that people. The majority of the Jewish men, women and children deported to Auschwitz were sent to their deaths in the Birkenau gas chambers immediately after arrival. At the end of the war, in an effort to remove the traces of the crimes they had committed, the SS began dismantling and razing the gas chambers, crematoria, and other buildings, as well as burning documents.
Prisoners capable of marching were evacuated into the depths of the Reich. Those who remained behind in the camp were liberated by Red Army soldiers on January 27, 1945. A July 2, 1947 act of the Polish parliament established the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the grounds of the two extant parts of the camp, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
Important - the prices below do not include accommodations for you or your driver and/or tour manager!
A single room is needed for the driver and another single for your tour manager, should you choose both. They are not family so they cannot share a room.
The local Polish, English speaking guide is also additional - EUR 100 per 4 hour day and EUR 150 per 8 hour day.
Standard: about EUR 100 per room and day including tax and breakfast (usually not in the center, 3* hotel)
Deluxe: about EUR 150-200 per room and day including tax and breakfast (in the center, 4* hotel)
Luxury: about EUR 220 plus (in the center, 5* hotel)
The prices will vary depending on season and hotel.
Prices are in EUROS
TM - Tour Manager only
TM, driver, van
Camps guide fees