Die Wolfsschanze… Or the Wolf’s Lair. The WWII military headquarters of Hitler and other leaders of the 3rd Reich. It is the place where the heart of the 3rd Reich beat between 1941 and 1944. It is there where many of the cruelest and gruesome decisions were made. A gloomy place, fascinating in its own way, today it is one of the highlights of Northern Poland. And definitely worth a visit. If you decide to go there, make sure you download our fantastic audioguide. If you don’t like guided tours – this may be your best choice (I did not find any other audioguide to Wolf’s Lair on the market, neither there are no audioguides available on site).
As getting there requires some effort, 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 kilometers from a 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. You will need even more time if you travel from the South or West of Poland. 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 – direct trains available
Kraków, by car 7-8 hours (some major road construction sites on your way), by train 7 to 8 hours, at least one transfer, possibly even three.
Wrocław by car 6-8 hours by car, by train … well you won’t make it faster than in 7-8 hours.
As you can see it, it is rather not a day trip destination, especially if you’re going there 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 the 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 you will have some 9 to 10 kilometers to the site – and at least three methods of getting there.
It is the easiest way of getting there. Apart from the obvious flexibility and independence from public transportation, it gives you a chance to visit other fascinating places nearby, like the Mamerki bunkers, or the Masurian canal near Węgorzewo.
Google works very well in the area, you may 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 pretty reliable way. The taxi rank is located right in front of the rail station, and there are a number of taxi companies in Kętrzyn – you should be fine.
Book a return trip with your driver. It may save you the hassle of booking 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 an option, you might like to follow the railway track. There are (almost) no trains there, and even if you meet one, it will not go fast because the track is badly damaged, overgrown with plants and obsolete.
3. You can rent a bike
I did not find any typical bike rental in the area. But some hotels in the area 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. Especially catching a return bus may be a challenge. Wolfsschanze is located next to a tiny settlement of Gierłoż, by a side road from Kętrzyn to villages around. The bus links exist, but they are infrequent and they fit rather the needs of workers and students, not the tourists (the latest return bus departs around 2 pm).
There is no municipal transport in Kętrzyn to help you get there.