Auschwitz and Its Surroundings: Exploring the Closest Cities

Oswiecim is located between the bustling Silesian region and the cultural hub of Krakow. It offers easy access to many of must-see tourist spots. So why confine yourself to the Oswiecim city when there are countless other captivating sights and experiences just a stone’s throw away from this place. The surrounding area of Oswiecim offers a wealth of opportunities for exploration and adventure, so don’t miss out on the chance to make the most of your visit. Here are the most interesting ones.


Oświęcim is situated only 30 km from a place that must be included on every traveler’s itinerary and those captivated by the life of the renowned Pope John Paul II – Wadowice. This is the town where Karol Wojtyla spent his early years and childhood. At 7 Koscielna Street is the residence where the Wojtyla family, with their son, lived and where Karol was born. Following the election of Karol Wojtyla as Pope, his former home was changed into a museum. The exhibit contains various artifacts and mementos connected to the Holy Father.

When you visit Wadowice you can sense the papal town’s essence by exploring the 15th-century Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary or by sampling the renowned papal cream cake in the Wadowice marketplace.

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Miniature Park in Inwald

By visiting the Miniature Park in the Inwald you can take a tour around the world in a single day. By walking the park’s pathways, you can view renowned buildings from around the globe. Altogether, there are around 50 replicas of famous structures, including the Acropolis, the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Statue of Liberty, the Chinese Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Big Ben, the Sphinx, and the White House.

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The city of Krakow is well connected by public transport with other parts of Poland, making it easy to get to. Also from Oswiecim. Although Krakow is a royal city, it fully deserves its name as a cultural and scientific center. Until the 17th century, the capital of Poland was located here. Today, Krakow is one of the most visited cities by Polish and foreign tourists. That is why You shouldn’t miss Europe’s largest market square with the Cloth Hall – where you can buy regional souvenirs and sample local delicacies. There is also St. Mary’s Church with its famous altar by Veit Stoss from which the bugle call sounds every hour. This is another must-see in Krakow.

By the way, you may also be interested in reading my other article in which I feature Krakow as one of the cities that are great for visiting for their nighlife potential.

Wawel Royal Castle

Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Krakow include Wawel Castle, the royal residence within its grounds that is one of the most important national shrines and coronation and burial sites of kings.

Also don’t forget the nearby underground salt mines of Wieliczka and Bochnia – these medieval salt mines are not only a tourist attraction, with labyrinths of salt chambers connected by shafts and adits, but also places that serve as a health resort. Interesting thing is that there is the only underground chappel in the country.

How far is it from Krakow to Auschwitz?

The distance from Krakow to Oswiecim is 66 kilometers by road, including 32 kilometers on highways. The road takes about 48 minutes and passes through Chrzanów, Libiąż, Stare Miasto, Balice, Aleksandrowice and Krzemionki.

The bus stop in Oswiecim is conveniently located near the Museum, a 10-minute walk away. Buses to Auschwitz/Auschwitz depart from MDA (Malopolska Bus Station) on Bosacka Street, just behind the main railway station. In summary:

  • Departure point: MDA bus station (18 Bosacka Street)
  • Ticket cost: 16-20zl for a one-way ticket
  • Travel time: 60-120 minutes
  • Distance from bus stop to Memorial: 10 minutes on foot
  • Helpful link: timetable

You can purchase tickets at the ticket office at the MDA station on the day of departure or from the bus driver on some carriers. The cost ranges from 16 to 20 zlotys.

There are several private carriers that operate on this route including G.T. Trans, Lajkonik, Marek Lewanski and JS Przewóz Osób, which run at short intervals of 20-40 minutes. Additionally, PKS buses are also available, but they run at a lower frequency compared to the private buses.

If you prefer a more direct route, you can also buy a ticket for a bus that will take you directly to the entrance of Auschwitz. You can book a one-way trip to Oświecim or a return trip to Krakow.

After a journey that takes approximately 90-120 minutes, you’ll arrive at one of the three bus stops near Auschwitz: the Auschwitz Museum (closest to the Memorial), Auschwitz Prisoners (a short walk from the entrance) or Auschwitz Ice Rink (located about 5 kilometers away from the camp). Be aware that only the Lajkonik Bus arrives at the Auschwitz Museum.

Train from Krakow to Auschwitz

If you prefer the convenience of train travel, it takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get from Krakow’s main train station to the Auschwitz train station. Train connections run about every 1-2 hours.

  • Departure point: Krakow Central Station
  • Ticket cost: PLN 12.50 (one-way normal ticket)
  • Travel time: approximately 100 minutes
  • Distance from train station to Memorial: 20-30 minutes on foot (or 5-10 minutes by bus)

You can purchase a one-way normal ticket at a ticket office or online, it cost 12.50 PLN.

The final destination station – Auschwitz – is located about 2km from the Memorial. You can either walk this distance, which will take around 25 minutes, or take public transportation in Auschwitz. If you choose the latter option, look for the bus line that stops at the Museum stop on the timetable. The cost for a regular ticket is about 3 PLN.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find Oswiecim to be the perfect jumping off point for adventures in Zakopane, the mountain capital of Poland. The city boasts an abundance of recreational activities in both the warm and cold seasons. Hikers can explore the Koscieliska or Chocholowska valleys, or take a trek to the popular Morskie Oko.

Skiers can test their skills on the slopes of Kasprowy Wierch. Beyond the recreational offerings, Zakopane entices visitors with its unique architecture, fascinating museums, and the breathtaking beauty of the Tatra Mountains.

While you are in Zakopane, take a stroll down Krupowki which is the main street. It is a must. Here, you can savor a cup of coffee or indulge in a regional dish at one of the many restaurants. For those looking to unwind, the thermal pools in Bukowina Tatrzanska and Bialka Tatrzanska are a must-visit. The geothermal, mineral-rich water, sourced from 3,000 meters below ground, boasts therapeutic properties that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. The pools offer hydromassage, caves, water grottos, Jacuzzis and saunas.