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flight Brussels - Kraków in economy class, airport transfers Kraków, breakfast, entrance fees, breakfast, transfers, guided tour Kraków, transfer to Auschwitz, entrance fees Auschwitz, guided tour Auschwitz, breakfast
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This weekend trip will take you to the most horrific war site: Auschwitz. You will spend one full day with an official private guide to discover Auschwitz I (the original camp) and Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp). On the first day of this weekend trip you will also visit the beautiful Polish city Krákow, see the Oskar Schindler Factory and the site of the Plaszów concentration camp (from Schindler’s List), and learn more about the Jewish district Kazimierz. On the last day you will see the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
OUR PROGRAM We depart on Friday morning from Brussels Airport with a direct flight to Krákow by Brussels Airlines. Upon arrival we check-in to our hotels and visit the beautiful city Kraków with a professionally guided tour. After some free time we take our bus to the Oskar Schindler Factory, where our guide will tell more about the life and work of this famous Nazi who saved the lives of about 1.200 jews. We also drive to and walk through a public park on the outskirts of town where the Plaszów concentration camp used to be (also known from the movie). Our guide Chris will tell us how and where the camp exactly was and what happened there.
Our guide Chirs (middle, blue shirt) walks with the group through Kraków
In the evening we have dinner in the Jewish district Kazimierz. On Saturday we spend the whole day at Auschwitz-Birkenau with an official guide. Regular tours are much shorter, so we will have the chance to see much more than other visitors. Lunch is provided. On Sunday we visit the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine and enjoy again a long private guided tour. We have lunch underground before we return to the airport. We arrive around 16h00 on Sunday afternoon.
Friday 19 October
09h50 – Meeting at Brussels Airport
11h40 – Departure to Krakow (direct Brussels Airlines)
13h30 – Arrival Krakow
14h15 – Check-in hotel
15h00 – Guided city tour
20h45 – Optional dinner in Kazimierz
Saturday 20 October
08h00 – Departure to Oswiecim
09h00 – Start full day guided tour
18h00 – Departure to Krakow
20h00 – Optional dinner in hotel
Sunday 21 October
08h15 – Checkout
08h30 – Departure to Wieliczka (optional)
09h00 – Guided tour Wieliczka Salt Mine, Museum and lunch
12h45 – Departure to Krakow Airport
14h10 – Departure to Brussels (direct Brussels Airlines)
16h00 – Arrival in Brussels
THE CITY OF KRAKÓW
Kraków is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Poland. With over 750.000 inhabitants it is also the country’s 2nd largest city after Warsaw. Its history goes back to the middle of the 1st millennium and its still one of the leading cultural, academic and artistic centres of the country. It has much to offer, including beautiful churches, baroque-style buildings and Europe’s largest medieval market square. We will discover this city during a 1,5-hours professionally guided tour.
The city’s theater
The Wawel Cathedral
Enjoy the beautiful city center of Kraków
THE OSKAR SCHINDLER FACTORY & PLASZOW CONCENTRATION CAMP
The movie Schindler’s List was not only a cinematographic masterpiece by Steven Spielberg (as well as his final project for his undergraduate degree…), it also had a major impact on people around the world and their knowledge and understanding of the holocaust and nazism. A combined weekend visit to Krakow and Auschwitz would therefore not be complete without seeing the three most important places from the movie: the Schindler factory, the Plaszow concentration camp, and the Jewish district Kazimierz. Our guide Chris will show them by bus and by foot. Please note that we decided not to enter the museum. Although the exhibition is well-made and engaging, it is also much less about Schindler than one would expect. The factory itself doesn’t exist anymore, so it’s really only the office building one can see.
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU MEMORIAL & MUSEUM Contrary what many people think, Auschwitz was not one single concentration camp. It consisted of three larger separate camps (Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp), Auschwitz II-Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), and Auschwitz III-Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), as well as 45 smaller camps in the vicinity. It was originally built to imprison Polish political prisoners, but from 1942 it was used as an extermination camp. Over 1.1 million died in the camps, 90% of them were jews. If you would like to learn more about Auschwitz, especially if you join our trip, you can/should read more on the official website here, or we can recommend the 6-part documentary Auschwitz: the Nazis and the Final Solution on Netflix, as well as many other documentaries and movies. For our trip in June, please read this blog article.
Our guide Marta on Saturday 9 June during the visit to the “Stammlager”, i.e. the original camp Auschwitz I. Her knowledge and exceptional ability to tell the story of this place in the clearest and most engaging way was acknowledged by all participants.
During this day we will have an 8-hours private tour with an official tour guide from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum. Our guide will show us all the most important parts of this complex, much more than with a usual visit. A regular tour namely takes just 3,5 hours, so we will have the unique opportunity to learn and see much more than most regular visitors and take time to digest our thoughts and feelings. Also, we will be travelling with an educated group of people, which means we can go deeper into history and the details of the camps.
The infamous entrance to Auschwitz I with the cynical words “Arbeit macht frei” (work sets you free).
The pre-war Polish barracks of Auschwitz I with the electrified fences
All personal belongings had to be left behind upon arrival
IS THIS TRIP RIGHT FOR YOU?
Seeing Auschwitz with your own eyes is an emotional experience for everyone. One cannot compare it to anything else. Just the sheer size of the Birkenau complex is mind boggling. One also cannot prepare enough for it by reading books and seeing documentaries or films. You have to see it for yourself to fully understand with your mind, heart and soul what awful things happened here. For some a visit to Auschwitz is extra difficult due to the loss of family during the holocaust. Our program provides everyone a lot of time to see both main camps (much more than regular groups) under the guidance of an expert guide who is qualified to conduct the 8-hours tour (instead of guides that can only do the regular shorter tour). This also means there will be much more time to rest, reflect and mourn. Possibly equally important, you will be with a group of like-minded educated international people, who are virtually all involved one way or the other in the world of international relations, and who take this visit very seriously. Still, if you feel like being on your own for some time, or even the rest of the excursion, that is fully understandable and acceptable. Based on the experience from the first Expat Club trip, if you really want to see this place in enough details, then the 8-hours tour is the best possible way to do so.
WIELICZKA SALT MINE Upon the recommendation of many local expats and “Kraków expats” living in Brussels we will also visit the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine on Sunday morning. You may never have heard of it, or you may think visiting a salt mine is not interesting at all, but we guarantee that this will impress you. The mine is a national historic monument and has been producing table salt on a continuous basis from the 13th century until 2007.
It is made up of an intricate network of corridors and halls, and contains four chapels and numerous statues. It is truly an amazing place to visit, all 31 of us loved it when we were there on Sunday 10 June, and so we arrange again a private guide for our group to show us around during a 2 hours tour, followed by an underground lunch (optional, very cheap, very good). The visit is already included in the trip fee, but in case you really do not want to join (e.g. because you don’t like being underground), please let us know.
The main mine shaft from where we will start our journey
The underground altar
The magnificent internal structures shows how big the mines are
INCLUDED IN THE TRIP FEE
✈︎ airfare & taxes Brussels – Krakow by Brussels Airlines, including 23kg of checked-in luggage
✈︎ airport transfers in Krakow
✈︎ 2-nights accommodation in a 2* or 4* hotel, based on 2 people sharing a room
✈︎ 2x breakfast (in your hotel)
✈︎ 5-hours guided tour in Kraków by foot and bus (Old Town, Schindler’s factory, Plaszów concentration camp and Kazimierz jewish district)
✈︎ transfer to Auschwitz and local transportation ✈︎ entrance fees and 8-hours guided Auschwitz tour
✈︎ transfer to Wieliczka
✈︎ entrance fees and guided tour Wieliczka Salt Mine
OUR TRANSPORTATION We will depart from Brussels Airport on Friday 19 October at 11h40 by Brussels Airlines and come back around 16h00 on Sunday afternoon. Meeting time at the airport is 10h00. Your flight ticket is already included in the trip and you can check-in 1 suitcase of maximum 23kg (both ways). There will surely be people in our group who travel with a checked bag, so don’t worry about making your suitcase too heavy for hand luggage. During checkout you can indicate your seat preference and we will do our best to get you your preferred seat.
For this hotel we arranged two hotels right next to each other. One is a typical basic budget hotel, whereas the other one is a nice 4* hotel. This way we hope to also meet the budget of those that don’t want to spend too much on accommodation. Note that for both hotels breakfast is already included.
Ibis Budget Krakow West Bronowice
This budget hotel meets the basic requirement for a clean and comfortable room. You can book a single room, a double room (1 large bed) or a twin room (2 single beds for 2 friends sharing, or for 2 single travellers who don’t want to pay the single surcharge). Note that we only have limited twin rooms available.
Novotel Kraków City West Most people are probably staying in the 4* Novotel Kraków City West, right next to the Ibis Budget. This hotel is newly renovated and is situated in a suburb of Krakow at 10 minutes by bus/taxi from the inner city center. It has spacious, clean and comfortable rooms with an ensuite bathroom. There is a large breakfast selection and a nice bar. The hotel has a swimming pool and a sauna. You can choose between various rooms: one large bed for single travellers (for a surcharge), one large bed for couples (no surcharge), or two single beds for two friends sharing. Note that there is a general surcharge for this hotel as well.
ROOM SHARING FOR SOLO TRAVELLER
Many people come on their own to our events. You can of course opt for a single room to have maximum privacy. But at Expat Club we also offer you the possibility to share a room with another lady or gentleman to avoid the single-surcharge. This is only available in the Ibis hotel, not in the Novotel We only offer male or female rooms, but may only offer this for male rooms during the first few weeks! During checkout simply select the twin-room sharing option. We will then introduce you to other participants in the same situation, either during a pre-meeting in Brussels or at the airport upon departure, so you won’t have to worry about finding one or paying the single surcharge. All our participants are normally adult and decent people and normally between the age of 30 and 70.
We offer special prices for families and single parents (children from 14 to 18 years). Please contact us first by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that the Memorial & Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau advises a minimum age of 14 years. If you would like to come with a child that is younger, please inform us first about his/her/their age(s) at email@example.com
COMMENTS & SPECIAL TERMS
This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know and we may find a solution.
You are personally responsible for getting a good cancellation and/or travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip.
You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the airplane, coach, strikes, weather etc.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the guided tours. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself.
If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, you will have to pay the single room supplement or share a room with another person (if available).
The cancellation with a refund, as described in the terms & conditions, is 6 weeks. Within this period you cannot cancel the trip and get a refund in line with the terms and conditions. You can find a friend or colleague who will join instead of you up until 2 weeks in advance.