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Auschwitz-Birkenau (Konzentrationslager Auschwitz) was the largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps. Its remains are located in Poland approximately 50 kilometers west of Kraków. The camp took its name from the nearby town of Oświęcim. The name of Birkenau (Brzezinka) refers to the many birch trees surrounding the complex. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Oświęcim was annexed by Nazi Germany and renamed Auschwitz. In 1947, in remembrance of the victims, a museum was founded at the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp. By 1994, some 22 million visitors (about 700,000 annually) had passed through the iron gate crowned with the motto "Arbeit macht frei".
Day 1 Arrival in Krakow
x Arrival in Krakow at x, flight number y or train z. Meeting with the tour leader from Ernesto Travel and transfer by coach or private car to the hotel in Krakow. Arrival and check-in a the hotel. Dinner at a restaurant or the hotel or at a restaurant in the centre of Krakow (depending on the arrival time).
Day 2 Krakow - the heart of Poland and Wieliczka - the salt mine
x Breakfast at the hotel. 9:00 Guided tour of Krakow. Wawel Hill with the castle (optional sightseeing inside) and its beautiful courtyard and Cathedral (sightseeing inside). Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture of the Old Town (Stare Miasto), the biggest market square in Europe (Rynek Glowny), the Town Hall, Collegium Maius – an ancient building belonging to the Jagiellonian University, the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), Saint Mary’s Church (Kosciol Mariacki – sightseeing inside) with the famous altar by Veit Stoss A walk to the antique walls of the Old Town through Florianska Gate and to the Barbican. The Czartoryski Museum with the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting “Lady with an Ermine”. During the sightseeing: multimedia presentation about the story of amber called "Polish Gold". In 1978, Krakow was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 13:00 Lunch at a restaurant of Krakow. 14:30 Visiting the former Jewish district – Kazimierz. This part of Krakow was the centre of the Jewish community's religious and social life until the deportations during the Nazi occupation (sightseeing in 1 or 2 synagogues). Short stop in front of Schindler's Factory on the way to the Salt Mine in Wieliczka. 16:00 Transfer to Wieliczka. 16:30 Guided tour in the Wieliczka Salt Mine – one of the oldest salt mines in the world. Many famous people have visited this place, such as Mikolaj Kopernik, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Dmitrij Mendeleev, Boleslaw Prus, Ignacy Paderewski, Karol Wojtyla, etc. In 1978, the Wieliczka Salt Mine was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 20:00 Dinner at a typical Jewish restaurant in Kazimierz. During dinner: a concert of Jewish music called klezmer. 22:00 Return to the hotel.
Day 3 Krakow – Oswiecim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) – Czestochowa – Krakow
x Breakfast at the hotel. 8:30 Departure for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. 10:00 Guided tour of the area of the former concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The camp was built by Nazis during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Today this place is a World Heritage Site of the UNESCO. 13:00 Lunch at a restaurant. 14:00 Departure for Czestochowa. 16:00 Guided tour of the most important pilgrimage place in Poland – the monastery in Czestochowa: Jasna Gora with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary – the Black Madonna. 19:00 Dinner at a rural restaurant in Czestochowa. 21:00 Departure for Krakow.
Day 4 Krakow – Zakopane or Dunajec – Wadowice – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Krakow
x Breakfast at the hotel. 8:00 Departure for Zakopane, the Polish mountain capital. 11:00 Visit of Zakopane: Jaszczurowka, Peksowy Brzyzek, Villa Atma, Krzeptowki – the Marian Sanctuary, Krupowki. [it is also possible to go to Dunajer River for the trip on small boats on the river, to see it click at www.flisacy.com.pl] 14:00 Lunch in the restaurant in Zakopane. 15:00 Transfer to Wadowice, where Pope John Paul II was born in 1920. 17:00 Visiting the Pope's home and the church where he was baptised. Transfer to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. 18:30 Visiting the Bernardine Monastery complex in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, one of the most famous sanctuaries in Poland. The whole Mannerist complex (including the sanctuary and a park) is also listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. 19:30 Departure for Krakow. 21:00 Dinner with typical Polish food at a restaurant in Krakow.
Day 5 Departure from Krakow and from Poland
x Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out. y Transfer to Balice airport in Krakow. Departure from Krakow and from Poland.