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Help -- Need Your Recommendation for Daytrip to Auschwitz/Birkenau and the Salt Mine

Help -- Need Your Recommendation for Daytrip to Auschwitz/Birkenau and the Salt Mine

Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 06:12 PM
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Help -- Need Your Recommendation for Daytrip to Auschwitz/Birkenau and the Salt Mine

What is a good tour company to use for a daytrip to Auschwitz-Birkenau.? We want to go in a small group, say less than 10 people and have a guide for both Auschwitz and Birkenau. Also, I've seen tours that add on the Wieliczka Salt Mine after visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. I realize these are vastly different from each other, but we are only going to be in Krakow a short while and want to make the most of our time.

Last edited by cousinmeg; Jan 22nd, 2023 at 07:08 PM.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 06:49 PM
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WHY do want to cram both in a single day?
You do realize that Auschwitz/ Birkenau is a place of martyrdom and the salt mine is where they mined salt.
Do you feel both deserve equal time?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 07:21 PM
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Respectfully, I do realize the differences between the sites. The entire reason we are going to Poland is to see Auschwitz/Birkenau. I wrote the post because I was curious why so many tour companies advertise them together. I never have gone to Poland before, and having a tight schedule, I was wondering if it was a good idea to do both in one day. Luckily just now before I responded to you I came across an old post from 2006 where someone asked the very same question. The people that responded to this person were very nice and explained that it would be a very long day to see both, and that it would likely be exhausting both mentally and physically. I appreciate their answers and have now decided to do these two tours on different days.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 07:39 PM
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We booked a small group tour to Auschwitz just a day or two in advance. This was basically a transfer service because we didn't want to deal with the train. I seem to remember that we googled to see reviews of tour/transfer companies. But we were really just looking for reliable transport in a small bus/van, which is what we got.

We had many other things we wanted to see in Krakow so never found time for Wieliczka. We did not want to schedule anything after going to such a sad place as Auschwitz-Birkenau, which for us was a good choice. I think you may want to keep the rest of the day open in case you don't feel up to anything else or just want to reflect.

Last edited by Leely2; Jan 22nd, 2023 at 08:09 PM.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 08:34 PM
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Disclaimer: I visited Auschwitz in 1968. At that time, it was much closer to the way it appeared after liberation than it does today. Current-day photos make it look much more museum-like, tidier, more "sanitized," etc. And I was just 17 years old. I knew the history and significance of the place. Two Auschwitz survivors were our next-door neighbors, although they wouldn't talk about their time there. But I was not really prepared for what I would see and my reaction. I was an emotional wreck for the rest of that day and remained upset for some time.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 07:44 AM
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Thank you for your replies. It really helps to get input from other people.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 07:56 AM
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Just something to bear in mind... I went in 2019 and found that I was useless the rest of the day. I went back to my hotel for a good cry and to pull myself together, and then sat at the wine bar near my hotel and drank wine and ate cheese the rest of the night. I just could not recover well enough to do anything else. I did go to the Salt Mine the next day. It's worth a visit, but there was no way I'd have been able to enjoy it right after Auschwitz.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 09:43 AM
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take care
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 11:42 AM
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It took me several days to recover from visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau. There is no way I would have wanted to visit the salt mine the same day, and I'm not sure I would have had the time. I went on my own using local buses and was required to take a tour for Auschwitz but not Birkenau. I checked and you can arrange to use one of their guides. See: https://www.auschwitz.org/en/visiting/ You now need a reservation.

I visited the salt mine on a different day, before Auschwitz, and quite enjoyed it. There is plenty to see/do in Krakow itself.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 08:00 PM
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We stayed in Krakow at the Amber Boutique Hotel. After we had made our reservation there, they asked if we wanted to book tours to Auschwitz which we did. Nice van with six others for an English speaking guided tour. We were the only native English speakers there. .’As far as the Salt Mines we weren’t interested in going there but after Auschwitz we wouldn’t have had the energy nor have been in the mood to do something like that. Don’t make other other plans that day.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cousinmeg View Post
Respectfully, I do realize the differences between the sites. The entire reason we are going to Poland is to see Auschwitz/Birkenau. I wrote the post because I was curious why so many tour companies advertise them together. I never have gone to Poland before, and having a tight schedule, I was wondering if it was a good idea to do both in one day. Luckily just now before I responded to you I came across an old post from 2006 where someone asked the very same question. The people that responded to this person were very nice and explained that it would be a very long day to see both, and that it would likely be exhausting both mentally and physically. I appreciate their answers and have now decided to do these two tours on different days.
Good decision, (sorry for the outburst)

As for the reason why tour companies sell both together; $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Auschwitz/Birkenau, will, or should, affect you, hard to predict when and how.
My moment was during my last visit, when, while at the gas chamber ruins, I turned and saw the crowd walking beside the railway tracks.

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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 07:54 AM
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I agree that the two places should be done on different days as they are vastly different experiences.

I don't know if you are aware, but both places can be reached very easily on your own from Krakow by train and/or bus, if that interests you.
I took the train to Auschwitz from Krakow through a lovely birch forest. The stop is Osweicim (I'm not sure the spelling is correct but it is pronounced Os-veen-cheem. From the train you can take a short bus ride or you can walk.The locals will be eager to help you on the bus or if you walk. You can take a tour right at the site. They are offered in English and other languages and go to both Auschwitz and Birkenau. It is a very sobering experience. There was a wonderful guide on my tour.
After Birkenau I took a taxi back to Auschwitz and revisited one room that had hundreds of portrait photos on the walls of prisoners. On the tour there was not enough time to study them and I really felt that I wanted to do so. I also walked around both camps on my own and reflected. That's the nice part of going on your own. A short walk from Auschwitz there was a bus back to Krakow, which I took.
Likewise, the salt mine is an easy bus ride from Krakow and you can pick up a very interesting tour right at the site.
Krakow is a beautiful city and if it is at all possible to extend your stay there, my advice would be to do so. I also took a local bus one day to Zakopane, a lovely town in the mountains, and a beautiful ride to and from.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 09:15 AM
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BTW, in case anyone is interested, I have seen this recently on FB. It's a 2 hour, online tour of the two camps, given on limited dates.

https://holocausteducation.center/pu...mozGBpB77zS9GI

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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 05:47 AM
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cousinmeg one thing you should know that I didn't see mentioned here, is that no matter what tour you take from your hotel, you have to use the guides employed by Auschwitz or the Salt Mines. So the "tour" offered is really just to get you there and get your admission ticket. The van or bus will wait for you with the guide who got you there, but they don't go into the sights with you. So it really doesn't matter which one you take as long as they get you there and get you the ticket for the right tour (based on language).
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 07:30 AM
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We got on a public bus to get to/from Auschwitz, so it was on our schedule. Went on a guided tour offered by the site itself. Not all tours offered are in English, so best to plan in advance. For both camps, it is a full day experience. We visited Wieliczka another day, late in the day, again best to plan and reserve the tour in advance. If you go late you are not taking up as much valuable daytime away from Krakow.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 06:32 PM
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This is the tour guide we used for our day trip to Auschwitz https://jewish-guide.pl/about-us. Tomasz was excellent and we were so thankful that we had a private, personal tour with him. It is a difficult, albeit important, visit and day, and he was gentle and extremely knowledgeable. He had been a guide at Auschwitz in the past and we could enter easily, without waiting in line, etc. We feel the price was fair and highly recommend him.
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