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AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

by tracyskf Online Now Mar 7, 2013 at 6:32 AM

Hi - I am planning a trip to Krakow in May. I would like to find out more specific about these 2 attractions:

1) Auschwitz
What is the best way to get there (there are 4 of us, but we would like to DIY using public transport instead of joining a tour / drive)? Is one day trip enough for this? What to expect and any other tips appreciated. We are staying in the city centre and hope to get specific directions on how to get there.

2) Wieliczka Salt Mine
What is the best way to get there? How long is the journey and is this doable within half a day? If yes, any suggestion what to incorporate? (Planned for walking tour of old town and jewish town on another day).

THANK YOU!

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24 Answers
  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 7, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    It's been quite a few years since we visited Auschwitz or the salt mines but they were both very simple to visit on your own. We took a bus to Auschwitz and then self toured, I believe in the busy season that they now require that you go with part of a group

    We took a mini bus to the salt mines, they have guided tours in English, make sure you check the website for times.

    On our more recent trip to Krakow we took a "free" walking tour of the Jewish part of town that was really good, they also do one of central Krakow. They work for tips so obviously it's only free if you decide not to tip them

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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by pieter_jan_v Online Now Mar 7, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    The trip to the saltmines was done by many of our members during the VT-Euromeet in 2010.

    I made a couple of Travelogues of that trip that starts at "EuroMeet2010; May 30, 2010 - Saltmine visit part 1" - Wieliczka Travelogue by pieter_jan_v

    Be aware you have to take the stairs down and walk some 2.5 km in the mines.

    The journey by taxi was about 15 minutes if I recall well.

    PJ

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 7, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    From the salt mines website, here are instructions on how to get there, we opted for the mini van

    wieliczka-saltmine.com/visit...

    This is the website for the free walking tour, we did the one of the Jewish quarter that was very good and caught the tail end of the Old Town tour

    http://freewalkingtour.com/

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  • haysnoe's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by haysnoe Online Now Mar 7, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    One piece of advice I have for you regarding the salt mine is get there as early as possible and try to be on one of the first tours. We arrived around 8 AM, and got a spot on the 8:30 tour. The tour is incredible!!!! When we came back up, there was a line that was easily 100 meters, probably a lot longer really, to buy tickets and be placed in language-appropriate tours. If early is a problem, suggest having breakfast afterwards and just get there early. Check their website to see when first tour is and arrive 15 minutes early.
    Also, a cab sounds like a good way for multiple people to get there on their DIY schedule. It's only about seven miles from Wawel Castle, for instance.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Mar 7, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    1. One day will be enough for Auschwitz and, as noted above, getting there independently is very easy. Minibuses leave regularly from the bus station next to Krakow Glowny railway station. It is also possible to take the train.

    The Auschwitz website will give you an idea of what to expect, and includes information about getting there independently:

    http://en.auschwitz.org/m/

    I think you should make allowances for how you may feel after the visit, and plan accordingly.

    2. I think you might struggle to fit the saltmine into a 'proper' half a day (rather than a slightly longer one), with getting to/from and waiting for a tour group. It's quite a lengthy tour and, as noted, just getting down into the mine takes some time. It's certainly a good idea to be there as early as possible.

    The saltmine website has an English version and will give you lots of useful information:

    http://www.kopalnia.pl/

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  • 68maciek's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by 68maciek Online Now Mar 8, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    1.Oswiecim/ KL Auschiwtz. by bus from the central bus station is the most convenient (probably). Mind you that Oswiecim is not only about the lager. You can also visit a castle and museum in the centre.
    You can combine your trip with other places like Kalwaria Zebrzydowska or open air folk museum in Wygiezlow.
    Wieliczka salt mine. Many good options: If you stay centrally by train maybe the easiets ~~20 min, cheap, empty. Commuters travel also by bus (301, 304 if remember right, and minibuses).
    Mind you there is a new tour avaialble or a combo ticket. Beside of it you can visit a castle and a Saint Sebastian's wooden church (photos on the Internet) on the hill (if open) with a nice view on the city and even Krakow.
    You can book your visit in advance.
    You can enjoy a day and do something else and spend an evening underground. It shouldn't be a crowd on the late tours.
    It isn't necessary to go with a foreign langugae (I mean not polish;-) tour if you prepare yourself a bit - just read and print some information from the internet. You can be more flexible, and you can save some quids and on top of it see Poles not from tourism industry ;-),

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  • 68maciek's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by 68maciek Online Now Mar 8, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    I think it can be interesting for you:

    Open air folk museum (wepage in polish) in Wygielzow (I can guarantee you almost no foreign tourist there, which means more fun ;-)
    mnpe.pl/index.php?option=com...
    Many buses to Oswiecim stops there (buses stop also in Babice).
    Kalwaria Zebrzydowska:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalwar...
    No direct public transport from/ to Oswiecim, but I can try to search for stop over trip if you wish.
    Direct and frequent public transport from/to Krakow.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Mar 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Maciek, is it possible to get to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska from Krakow by public transport? I'm asking for myself (I can't find anything on the website).

    And which bus would I need to get to Wygiezlow from Krakow?

    Thanks ever so....

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  • 68maciek's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by 68maciek Online Now Mar 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    It will be a quick response at the moment. If my Interenet searching is right many buses to Oswiecim are going through Babice/Wygielzow.
    Most of of buses to Bielsko-Biala Cieszyn stop in Kalwaria, and also there is a train service there.
    If you know deatials I can check once again.

    you can also try it yourself if you enter central bus station Krakow page www.rda.krakow.pl

    then enter (with polish characters!!!!) from and to destination.

    The webpage is in english.
    If I'm not right let me know, but I did it myself on Friday.
    I can help you with it anyway. Unfortunately I travel by long distance rather by car (not like in my youth hahaha).

    If you visit this open air folk museum you will spoil my idea that this is free form foreign tourists place hahaha.

    Let's meet in Krakow finally!.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Mar 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Thank you Maciek, much appreciated! :-) Will let you know my dates....

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  • 68maciek's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by 68maciek Online Now Mar 9, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    If you are searching for Kalwaria Zebrzydowska rather write full name as there are many Kalwaria in Poland.

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  • tracyskf's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by tracyskf Online Now Apr 13, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Hi - I have a follow question on Auschwitz - I read that to visit in June, I must get a guide. Do I simply just order 1 from the official website ahead? Or can someone advise how can I get a good guide? Just planning for the general visit (3.5 hours).

    Thanks!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Apr 13, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    It's not a matter of getting a 'good' guide. When guided groups are required you simply go with the next group which is being guided in your preferred language.

    The official website gives prices for joining a guided group (compulsory at the time you are visiting):

    en.auschwitz.org/z/index.php...

    It is possible to reserve a guide in advance for individual visits. Details on this page, including a Word download of prices:

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

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  • tracyskf's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by tracyskf Online Now Apr 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I have finalized my accommodation to be near the Krakow Central Station. What is the recommended transport to Auschwitz and Wieliczka?

    I gather from above responses that for Auschwitz it makes more sense to take the bus (nearer to the entrance) - is the bus station in Krakow easy to find and do we have to pre-purchase ticket?

    How about to Wieliczka - is the recommended transport by bus or train? Thanks!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Apr 22, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    No 'recommended' transport as such. It's up to your preference.

    You can take an organised tour to both or either. Or you can go by public transport: bus or train. More details here:

    en.auschwitz.org/z/index.php...

    wieliczka-saltmine.com/visit... (scroll down)

    Krakow bus station is to the rear of the railway station. The easiest way to access it is probably to go through the entrance to the large shopping centre...Galeria Krakowska...on the huge, empty square outside Krakow Glowny railway station. Go down one level and you'll see bus and railway stations signed from there.

    The bus station has a departure board and ticket offices, so you'll find it easy enough to get tickets & info. As far as I know you do need to buy the ticket before you get on the bus.

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  • tracyskf's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by tracyskf Online Now Apr 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Thanks J. In specific I am staying at Tom & Greg hostel, is it easy to get to the bus station?

    All, do I have to buy the bus ticket 1 day ahead or is it easy to get ticket on the spot given that I understand it will be busy season in end May?

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Apr 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    There are plenty of buses so just buy it from the bus station on the day. It's not like a long-distance coach...it's just an ordinary bus.

    The railway and bus stations are about 10 minutes straightforward walk from your hostel (ot you can take a tram). Put the hostel name into googlemaps and you'll see.

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  • tracyskf's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by tracyskf Online Now Apr 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    By the way, J have you gone to the open air folk museum in Wygielzow yet? Need some reviews from you =)

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Apr 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    No, I'm afraid not. It was on the list but my last trip to Krakow went completely wrong because my companion was very ill.

    So I'll just have to visit again, won't I? :-)

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  • tracyskf's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by tracyskf Online Now Apr 27, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    Yes J you have to visit again.

    I couldn't find the bus schedules from Krakow to Auschwitz. Can someone advise? I am trying to determine the time to book time with an English guide.

    I read that minibus stops adjacent to the Museum. Once I get there is that just at the entrance for Auschwitz I? Is there anything to see on our own if we get there earlier or everything is with the guide?

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Apr 27, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    I hope this search result link for bus departure times works:

    e-podroznik.pl/public/search...

    If not, go to http://www.e-podroznik.pl and type K (choose Krakow) and O (choose Oswiecim). Then click the grey tab to the right of the search boxes which says 'Wiecej opcji'. You'll get a dropdown. Tick the second box by 'Cala dob' then click the orange 'szukaj' (search button). You'll see all the bus times for the route on the date you've chosen.

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  • tracyskf's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by tracyskf Online Now Apr 27, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    Thanks! The link does work and I did my own search as well.

    I need a little help though:
    Kraków Bieżanów Drożdżow --> is this stop same as Krakow Glowny?

    Looking for the most direct bus in the morning to try to be at Auschwitz tour by 10 AM if possible and I find that the bus links are a bit confusing as some are with connections.

    This is for 29 May. Hope you can advise. =)

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by leics Online Now Apr 27, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    Glad the link worked!

    I have no Polish but I'm 99.9% sure Kraków Bieżanów Drożdżow is not the same as Krakow Glowny (which is the railway station). If I put it into googlemaps it comes up as a spot in Podgorze, to the south of Krakow and Kazimierz.

    The site shows Krakow bus station as Krakow RDA. That's where you should be looking for buses. It's on Ulica Bosacka, behind the railway station.

    I'd take the 0825 bus on 29th, straight to the museum, arr 1014. Or, if that's too early, the 1005 arr 1154.

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  • 68maciek's Profile Photo

    Re: AUSCHWITZ & WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by 68maciek Online Now May 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    About buses first come to my mind checking the main bus station:

    http://www.rda.krakow.pl/pl/index.php

    How did you find Krakow Drozdzownia, which is from a yeast plant not far from my home. This is the name of one train stop on the way to Wieliczka.

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