SCHOOL TRIPS TO KRAKOW AND AUSCHWITZ
The Holocaust is rightly a central component in the study of the twentieth century, and a school trip to Auschwitz is an obvious way to consolidate classroom learning on the topic in both History and Religious Studies. Nearby Krakow is full of reminders of this dark chapter in human history, particularly in the mediæval district of Kazimierz, which includes the former Jewish Ghetto.
Of course, Krakow has its own rich and varied history beyond the twentieth century, and following its inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978, it is easy to see why the city is growing in popularity as a destination for school trips in its own right. The home of Europe’s largest market square, not to mention numerous palaces, churches, and the remnants of 14th century fortifications, Krakow’s grandeur serves to remind pupils of its former rôle as capital of Poland. Meanwhile, away from the city, a visit to Wieliczka Salt Mines cannot fail to impress with their fantastically intricate carvings.
Whatever the focus of your school trip to Krakow, you can be sure that your pupils will have a memorable experience. Why not contact us today to find out more?
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for Poland, including information on security and local laws in addition to passport and visa requirements, please click here.
SCHOOL GROUP EXCURSIONS
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
Probably the most infamous of all the Nazi concentration camps, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. Established in 1940, it was the site of more than 1.1 million deaths caused by starvation, disease, abuse and execution; most of the victims were Jewish. Today the camp is a UNESCO World Heritage site and visitors can walk through the gates which read ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ and enter the barbed-wire encampment. School groups are given a three and a half hour guided tour of camps I and II, which includes entry to many of the prison blocks where there are exhibits including personal artefacts belonging to the prisoners. Please note, Auschwitz is a place of mourning and remembrance and can be an emotionally distressing visit, especially for pupils. We therefore advise that only groups of older children (15 years and over) visit this excursion, which is highly recommended for History tours and Religious Education tours.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
A visit to the world-famous 700-year-old salt mine in Wieliczka is a must for all school trips to Krakow. During a three-hour visit, an English-speaking guide will teach your party all about the mine’s history and secrets, while guiding you through 3km of underground saline corridors. The tour route will take you past some astonishing sights, including underground lakes, mining tools and machinery, not to mention the dozens of chambers and unique structures chiselled by hand out of rock salt. Not to be missed are the magnificent chandeliers, the statue of Pope John Paul II, Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ and probably most breathtaking of all, the Chapel of St. Kinga, who, according to legend, is responsible for Poland’s wealth of salt. Whatever the aim of your school trip to Krakow, a visit to the salt mine promises to be an unforgettable experience and is a good respite visit.
Since its opening in 2010, Oskar Schindler’s Factory has become one of the most visited attractions in Krakow. The ideal excursion for History tours and Religious Education tours, the former enamel factory is now a well-designed contemporary interactive museum, “The Factory with a Memory”, which helps school groups to learn about the fate of its Jewish workforce, and also about the wartime experiences in Krakow under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. The museum contains many period artefacts including photographs and documents and is designed to allow visitors to immerse themselves in wartime Krakow life – you can wander through parts of the city including cobbled streets, shops, a Jewish apartment, the Jewish Ghetto, and also visit Schindler’s office, to see the desk where he sat. A self-guided visit will generally last about 90 minutes; English-speaking guides can be booked upon request.
Guided tour on foot
With an abundance of beautiful architecture, we highly recommend a half-day walking tour of Krakow to help your party familiarise itself with the city’s history and culture. This is the perfect addition to any school trip to Krakow and we can offer a number of different tour options, with the benefit of an English-speaking guide. The sightseeing tour of Krakow will cover some of the city’s main points of interest including the medieval old town, the market square, the Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Basilica, the Royal Castle, Wawel Hill, Wawel Cathedral and Sigismund’s Bell to name but a few. Alternatively, we can arrange for your party to have a two-hour sightseeing tour of Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, with an English-speaking guide, which includes many of the sites relevant to the Holocaust, such as the Synagogues, Schindler’s Factory, the market square, and the Jewish cemetery.
Of course, the above excursions are only a sample, and we will tailor-make your tour to engage with your exact learning requirements. Why not contact us now to request more information?
SCHOOL GROUP ACCOMMODATION
We work with a wide range of good standard hotels in Krakow; all of which are suitable for school trips and comply with all of our stringent Health and Safety requirements.
This modern and comfortable three-star hotel is ideally situated in central Krakow and is a stone’s throw from the city’s main sights. Students are accommodated in private rooms sleeping two or three children, and teachers are accommodated in twin and single rooms. There are also rooms for those with restricted mobility. All bedrooms have en-suite facilities and there is a bar and restaurant on-site, where groups take their evening meals. There is also the option to book a room for evening use, and a gift shop where your students can buy souvenirs.