Are you traveling to Auschwitz (in the Polish language Oswiecim) and your plan is to stay overnight? Are you wondering what to do in Auschwitz?
Oswiecim is not a big city. In addition, due to historical reasons, the city is not famous for many activities and tourist attractions except worldwide known Museum Auschwitz. Usually, tourists pop-up here just for a one-day trip from Cracow (Krakow). However, it does not mean that there is completely nothing to do in Auschwitz, but the things you can see are more… indigenous.
Here is our suggestion of the 5 Things To Do In Auschwitz:
Auschwitz- Birkenau Museum
No matter what is your country of origin but I am sure that you have heard about concentration camp either in Auschwitz or Birkenau. It is the place of mass-murder of more than 1 million people, from more than 20 different countries which were the mainly Jewish origin.
Because of the role that Auschwitz had played in the implementation of Nazi extermination plans, it became a symbol of Hitler’s genocide, in particular, the extermination of Jews, which was known throughout the world.
The museum is open almost every day throughout the year, but opening time is varied depends on the season. More information about the Museum and the difference between Auschwitz and Birkenau in the article What You Should Know About Museum Auschwitz Birkenau.
The most importantly, it is the place No 1 to visit, not only in Oswiecim but also in Poland.
More information about the Museum Auschwitz- Birkenau: Website
Are you looking for a private and recommended guide? Contact us to arrange your tour and receive a 5% discount for his service and 10% discount for souvenirs in the bookstore.
Auschwitz Jewish Centre (Museum and Synagogue)
Learn about the 400-year Jewish history of Oswiecim. Visit the only surviving synagogue in Oswiecim and the Jewish Museum and part of the 5 Things to do in Auschwitz list.
Why is the place so important? Jewish are the inevitable part of the city’s history and getting to know their history can be introduction chapter to what you can see in Museum Auschwitz- Birkenau or even summary of the trip to Oswiecim.
Entry fee is somewhere in between 6-15 PLN (1.50 – 4 Euro) depends on how old are you. There are well-educated and helpful guides available on the place so you can be sure to receive as many information as you wish. There is also a Café available that you can take knowledge or delve into reading at a table with a cup of aromatic tea.
More information on the English version of the website.
Castle was built up in the Middle Ages on the top of the hill, on the right bank of the Sola River in Oswiecim.
On the castle’s hill are the remains of defensive walls, bastards. There are two tunnels under the castle: the older one (built before 1914) and the other one drilled by the Germans (1940-1944). The tunnel served as an air-raid shelter.
A significant part of the fortifications was taken by the river that changed its course for centuries. However, the castle has been restored and is available to visit by a tourist in the symbolic price of about 10 PLN (3 Euro). Unfortunately, the website and descriptions inside the museum are mainly in the Polish language, but the place still kept a smell of history which is worth to experience. Want to learn more? Visit the website and use Google Translator to automatically translate you the content.
Main Square in Oswiecim
The Main Square in Oswiecim was set up during the medieval location of the city, as a central trading point initially surrounded by wooden buildings. At the market square was the seat of the city authorities and the most-important bourgeois houses. Currently, the market is surrounded by brick tenement houses in the majority of the 19th century which are occupied by business owners of commercial shops and restaurants.
In May 2014, the market was modernized, as a result of which the pre-war appearance was restored. (translated from https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rynek_w_O%C5%9Bwi%C4%99cimiu)
Main Square in Oswiecim is also surrounded by pubs like “B-azyl” (great place to have an evening drink) or Portobello Restaurant (stunning, Italian style resstaurant). From the Main Square, you have easy access to the sidewalk along the “Sola” river and 200 meters to Auschwitz Jewish Centre. Definitely, the place where we recommend you to be, that’s why we placed it on 4th position of the 5 Things to Do In Auschwitz list.
Besides that when you are on the Main Square in Oswiecim necessarily remember to visit Kolaczek Bakery and try traditional Polish cake Kremówka (a cake composed of two slices of puff pastry, spread with whipped cream, cream, custard or meringue, usually sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Life Festival or Ice Rink
You do not have to be a big fan of music to recognize singers or bands like Matisyahu, James Blunt, Sting, Eric Clapton, Queen, Elton John or Scorpions- all of them were one of the stars during the previous editions of the festival in Oswiecim which take place usually at the end of June each year. So if you are not sure which time to visit Poland, consider June and participate in this big event which brings to 40-thousand people city people from all around Poland. More information about Life Festival/
Optionally, if you visit Poland during the winter time consider giving a visit to the Ice Rink. It is a place where their matches play hockey club Unia Oswiecim (one of the most titles clubs in the history of this sport). The season starts late in late autumn and ends in spring. In addition, you can enjoy your ice-skating experience. Check out more on the website
We suggest you stay 2-3 days in Oswiecim. It is long enough to experience and have time to explore the city. In return, you will feel the specific aura of the city where history left its lasting mark.
Decided to go?