ADMISSION: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial is free of charge if you go on your own. Groups are required to hire a tour guide, with prices starting at about $10, depending on the length of the tour. Extensive study tours cost more and fill two full days. Guides that speak English, German and Italian are in good supply.

WHERE: Auschwitz-Birkenau is in Oswiecim, Poland, which has several small hotels that offer tourist-class rooms for $65-$80 per night. Most visitors make day trips to the memorial from Krakow, where tourist hotel rooms cost $90 and up.

GUIDED TOURS: Bus tours make the 45-mile trip between Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau with tickets costing about $40 — slightly more if tickets are purchased at hotels. Buses pick up passengers at selected hotels or at designated meeting points around Krakow between 9-9:30 a.m. daily. Tickets and tour options can be booked directly at The bus tours from Krakow take about six hours and do not include time or provisions for any meals, so packing a lunch or snack is advisable. More adventurous travelers can catch a local train between Krakow and Oswiecim for less than $10 round trip.

HOURS: The museum and grounds open at 8 a.m. with closing times ranging from 3 p.m. December-February to as late as 7 p.m. June-August. The memorial is closed New Year's Day, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

NEED TO KNOW: Photography is not allowed inside buildings, which is unfortunate because most of the detailed exhibits are indoors. Frustrated visitors stealthfully snap pictures when guides are not looking.

ON THE WEB: The memorial's official Web site is For a virtual tour, visit