Die Wolfsschanze… or the Wolf’s Lair. The WWII military headquarters of Hitler and other leaders of the Third Reich. It is the place where the heart of the Third Reich beat between 1941 and 1944, and where many of the cruellest and most gruesome decisions were made.
A gloomy place, yet fascinating in its own way; today it is one of the highlights of Northern Poland. And definitely worth a visit. If you decide to visit, make sure you download our fantastic audioguide. . If you don’t like guided tours, this may be your best choice – I haven’t found any other audioguide to Wolf’s Lair on the market, nor are there any audioguides available when on site.
Getting there requires some effort, so I would like to give you some hints on how to do it.
Where is the Wolf’s Lair?
Die Wolfsschanze is located in Gierłoż – a small settlement in the North of Poland, 10 kilometres from the town of Kętrzyn. Use this link to see it on Google Maps.
Unless you stay in the Mazury region, you will need at least half a day to get there. If you travel from the South or West of Poland, you’ll need even longer. Indicative travel times to Kętrzyn from the major tourist hubs, by train and car, are shown below:
Warsaw: by car 4 hrs; by train 6 hrs, with one or two transfers.
Gdańsk: by car 3 hrs; by train 3 hrs, with direct trains available.
Kraków: by car 7–8 hours (with some major road construction sites on your way); by train 7–8 hours, with at least one transfer, possibly even three.
Wrocław: by car 6–8 hours; by train… well, you won’t make it in any less than 7–8 hours.
As you can see, it is not really a day trip destination, especially if you’re coming from the South.
How much time do I need to explore it?
Two to three hours if you wish to see just the main part of the ruins in Zone 1. Add extra time for a visit to the local cinema or for a trip to Zone 2 . But… there are more fascinating places related to WWII in the area, so it makes sense to plan a night or two there.
So.. how do I get to Wolfsschanze ?
Your main challenge will be getting to Kętrzyn. From there it is approx. 9–10 kilometres to the site – and there are at least three methods of getting there.
This is the easiest way of getting there. Apart from the obvious flexibility and independence compared to public transportation, it gives you a chance to visit other fascinating places nearby, like the Mamerki bunkers or the Masurian canal near Węgorzewo.
Google Maps works very well in the area, so you can safely use it for your planning. Use this
link to set the destination.
By train or bus
The nearest railway station and bus terminal are located in Kętrzyn. As Kętrzyn is situated on the major railway line linking Białystok with most of the railway hubs in the North of Poland, including Gdańsk, Olsztyn, and Szczecin, it offers you a decent choice of train connections to the rest of the country.
If you have no direct train connection (e.g. when traveling from Kraków or Warsaw), you will have to change in Olsztyn or Białystok.
Use the official railway planner to plan your trip, or ask our virtual assistant on www.audiotourista.com for help.
Getting from Kętrzyn to Wolf’s Lair is relatively easy.
1. You can take a taxi.
If you plan it well, it is the easiest, fastest and generally most reliable way. The taxi rank is located right in front of the rail station and there are a number of taxi companies in Kętrzyn, so you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Book a return trip with your driver. It will save you the hassle of organising it on your way back as the taxis may not be available in Wolf’s Lair.
2. You can walk.
Seriously. You can get there on foot. It is not a nice walk, as you will be walking on the side of a narrow (and sometimes busy) road. But it is an option to consider if you enjoy long walks and the weather is ok. As another option, you could follow the railway track. There are (almost) no trains there, and even if you do meet one, it will not be going fast because the track is badly damaged, overgrown with plants and obsolete.
3. You can rent a bike.
I haven’t found any specific bike rental in the area, but some local hotels offer bikes for rent. You might like to google them (“bike rental” or “wypożyczalnia rowerów”) – they are easy to find.
4. You could take a bus…
… but it’s not easy to get there this way – especially if you want to take the round trip, as catching a return bus may be a challenge. Wolfsschanze is located next to a tiny settlement called Gierłoż, connected by a side road from Kętrzyn to the villages around. The bus links exist, but they are infrequent and they fit the needs of workers and students rather than the tourists (the latest return bus departs at around 2pm).
There is no municipal transport in Kętrzyn to help you get there.