Getting to Wolf’s Lair

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.

The site is located in a secluded forest near Kętrzyn in northern Poland. Originally a top-secret military headquarters, it’s now one of the top tourist destinations in Poland. Getting to Wolf’s Lair requires some effort, so I would like to give you some hints on how to do it.

Before you set off, don’t forget to download our original audio guide – available on Google Play and Apple App Store.

Where is 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, getting to Wolf’s Lair requires some time and effort. It is definitely not 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. And rent a car.

So.. how do I get to Wolf’s Lair?

Your main task will be getting to Kętrzyn. Once there, it’s approximately 9 to 10 kilometres to the site. As of 2024, Kętrzyn can be accessed only by car or bus.

By car

This is the easiest way. 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.

Parking is available on-site; you can leave your car there and visit zones 1 and 2.

By train

As of January 2024, the railway line from Korsze (and thus from Olsztyn) to Kętrzyn and Giżycko is under reconstruction and will remain closed until the 2nd half of 2026 minimum. It is therefore not possible to get there by train, neither from Olsztyn nor Białystok. A limited replacement bus service is available from Olsztyn.

The closest major railway station in operation is located in Olsztyn. For those seeking adventure, you can continue your journey from Olsztyn by taking a local train to Korsze. From Korsze, a limited train replacement bus service is available to take you to Kętrzyn. Remember to use the official railway planner to check the schedules for these trains and buses.

By Bus

You can easily get to Kętrzyn by bus from Olsztyn. Connections are operated by several companies, among them ExpressBus.

Once in Kętrzyn, getting to Wolf’s Lair is 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 old (and closed) railway track.
  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 2 pm and there is no municipal transport in Kętrzyn to help you get there.

Cookies Policy

Our website uses cookies. You can change the rules for their use or block cookies in the settings of your browser. More information can be found in the Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the website, you agree to the use of cookies.
Accept Cookies