okay, so a lot of folks who visit Krakow will want to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau while in town. we spent a lot of time looking at tours to this venue and of course there are plenty of companies only happy to oblige. the problem -- it's expensive and it takes all the enjoyment out of travelling (okay, maybe that's not a statement that will ring true for everyone, but we like to things the way locals do). the fare to Auschwitz from Krakow is only 14 zlotys (as of this writing) one way. That's about $3.50 USB. For a 90 minute bus ride, we think that is a bargain. the smart thing to do is purchase the bus ticket from the office at least a day before you go. the problem with purchasing the ticket from the driver is that you could run into a situation where all the other passengers have purchased their tickets already and be unable to get on the bus that you need. they leave for Auschwitz about every hour and since your Auschwitz tour is scheduled for a particular time, you may end up missing the start time. the return bus ticket from Auschwitz back to Krakow can be purchased directly on the bus. no issue there since most of the passengers are in the same boat (you probably won't know what time you are returning to Krakow, so it's best to not purchase these tickets until you get on the bus). since you will be new in town, the best thing to do is perform some recon to locate the bus station. sure, it's easy to see on the map, but as we found out, there is plenty of construction going on and the direct route won't be happening. you have to go through the Galleria Krakowska to reach both the train and bus stations. bottom line: do the recon at least a day before and purchase those tickets at that time so that when the day comes for your trip to Auschwitz there won't be any stress and you will know how to get there without hassle. the galleria is about a 10 minute walk from the Main Square. note: don't show up for the bus 5 minutes before it's scheduled to depart as all of the other passengers will be there (most likely) and you may have a hard time getting a seat. we showed up 25 minutes early and were about 20th in line.