Feasible Day Trip to Auschwitz
July 25, 2007 7:43 AM   Subscribe

I have a free day in Krakow in a couple of weeks, and have to be at the airport at around 4pm. Do I have time to visit Auschwitz and still get my flight?

I am spending a weekend with friends in Krakow in a couple of weeks. They are leaving after breakfast and I don't need to be at the airport until 4pm. I'm not planning on hiring a car, (although it's not out of the question) so is it feasible / advisable to visit Auschwitz, have a reasonable amount of time there (it's not something I feel I would want to rush) and make it back to the airport given that it's an hour and half from the town. This will be a Sunday should that make a difference.

Or should I just have a lie in and try to go back again when I have more time?
posted by jontyjago to Travel & Transportation around Krakow, Poland (5 answers total)
I really recommend you just go back another time. Most of the Auschwitz tours are about 8 hours including transit time to and from Krakow.

Krakow is a marvelous so I'm sure you'll have a great time on yr weekend. The Wielicka Salt Mine is another great day trip (and in some ways a suitably light excursion to do the day after an Auschwitz visit), but it too would take too long to do on your Sunday.
posted by Marquis at 8:04 AM on July 25, 2007

If you're not hiring a car, how are you planning to go? Tours typically leave at scheduled times, so whether or not you'll make it will largely depend on their hours. If you're planning on taking a train, the situation is similar. Here's the English version of the train schedule, if you're interested.

As to your general question, Auschwitz can certainly be seen in the time you have. Oftentimes though, people want to visit both Auschwitz and Birkenau. The two together will take longer. And you're right, you probably don't want to rush it.
posted by B-squared at 8:05 AM on July 25, 2007

My gut, without access to timetables and the like, but having visited Auschwitz twice from Krakow, is no, especially if you are relying on public transport. I think you will find that even if transport is in your favour to get you there and back with time for your flight, you will probably end up with only an hour or two at the site. You do really need a whole day there to do it justice and to give yourself time to absorb it (although I suspect if you wanted to rush, skip the film and the tour, you could do just Birkenau in an hour or so). Honestly, I'd save it for another visit when you've got more time.

If you do want to spend some time exploring Jewish history in Poland, there are places and sites in Krakow that you could visit. My sister and I once spent a day tracking down locations from Schindler's List in Kazimierz and Plaszow, which was very enlightening, even though I've never seen the film.
posted by Helga-woo at 8:05 AM on July 25, 2007

I don't mean Birkenau, I mean Auschwitz I.
posted by Helga-woo at 8:07 AM on July 25, 2007

Seconding Marquis. You're heading in the wrong direction from the airport, and you will not want to be rushed. Krakow in just a weekend is almost not enough time as it is. You're better off making a note of something that you and your friends didn't get to do together (like maybe a specific tour at Wawel, or a visit to the Kazmierz district), and returning to go do that once they've left.
posted by raconteur at 8:08 AM on July 25, 2007

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