Visit the ruins of Hitler's Headquarters in Wolfs Lair. Plan your trip from Warsaw and discover the place where the most famous assassination attempt was made against the Nazi leader. Combine your trip with a visit to Mamerki, and Swieta Lipka.
Hitler's Headquarters during WWII in Gierloz
Hiding in the forest and planning, Hitler spent around 800 Days at the Wolf's Lair. Built from 1940 to 1944, the top-secret high-security site, served primarily as a command center in WWII.
Located about 8 km east of the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg (now: Kętrzyn), near Lake Mamry by the village of Gierloz Do you know that: «The decision to build Bełżec was taken in Wolf's Lair?»
Finally, a large part of the operation Barbarossa was planned at the Wolf's Lair.
Hitler chose a nickname for himself, the "Wolf" and this is the reason for the name Wolfschanze, also spelled «Wolfsschanze». The high-security stronghold of the Nazi leader, hidden well in a Polish forest just outside the city of Kętrzyn by the village of Gierloz.
The Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze), is the place where the famous assassination attempt was made against Hitler and the room where Operation Valkyrie nearly blew him, can still be found.
Built from 1940 to 1944, Wolfs Lair was one of the secret headquarters in Eastern Europe. Well-camouflaged concrete bunker buildings with multiple layers of security in a secret location.
The location was a well-kept secret, ensuring that the Nazi leaders are safe to take strategic decisions about WWII. It is well known that Hitler spends around 800 days at the place.
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg made it with a suitcase bomb into the meeting with Führer, following a plan to assassinate him and put an end to his crazy plans.
Unfortunately, Hitler survived the explosion, which was just next to him with just minor injuries. However, Wolfs Lair was exposed and with the Russian forces approaching, the Nazis abandoned the place by the next year and destroyed most of it.
What is Wolf's Lair?
The Wolfschanze was built between 1940-44 in a remote well- camouflaged forest in the Masuria district in Poland. Wolf's Lair location was chosen because of the densely wooded area, ideal for camouflage, and save from aerial reconnaissance.
Also located behind a string of lakes that would hinder any ground attack from the east. A convenient rail line ran through the middle of the site but it is not used in our days.
Although Hitler had other headquarters in the east, he spent over 800 days at Wolf's Lair and it was from there that the major operations on the Russian front were controlled.
At the height of the war, over 2000 military staff, guards, and support personnel worked at the Wolf's Lair, which consisted of over 80 buildings including several heavy bunkers.
The area was subdivided into three security zones: Sperrkreis I was the inner area where Hitler and his closest staff lived and worked. Sperrkreis II was an adjacent area where support staff lived and worked, and Sperrkreis III was an outer security zone that surrounded the other two.
A minefield of some 50,000 land mines and anti-personnel mines surrounded the entire area. As the Soviet Army approached the area in late November 1944, the site was abandoned, and the buildings and bunkers were blown up by the retreating Germans on 24-25 January in 1945.
Source: with unique pictures from the Wolf's Lair: thirdreichruins.com/wolfschanze.
Good to Know
Historically, there were 3 zones, but today it is worth going to the "1st Zone", where Hitler and closed lived, and the entrance is paid, and to the “2nd Zone”, where there is no organized sightseeing.
You can visit the 2nd zone alone walking or even using armored vehicles available on the side.
- Wolf's Lair is mainly forest and is usually wet and full of mosquitos, so better buy some spray in advance and be prepared.
- Bunkers and ruins are dangerous. Be aware of the limited entrance, holes in the ground, and sharp edges.
- A flashlight might be beneficial in order to discover some dark places that worth it.
- Make enough time for your visit. Usually, a regular visit may take around 1,5 hours but can be extended up to 3 hours.
- It is highly recommended to buy a map of the place or book a tour guide.
DISCOVER: More Nazi Sites from Warsaw
Worth visiting Wolfs Lair?
Certainly, it is not an easy task to visit Wolf's Lair from Warsaw as it is located in a remote location in a forest. There are no direct trains to the place and are around 284KM from Warsaw. This doesn't mean that it is impossible, but we will refer to this later on.
First of all, it is fascinating to visit this place, only knowing what happened there. It is also a very beautiful area and some more worth seeing can be combined.
For those interested in second world war history, and also in the failed assassination attempt on Hitler that took place in Wolf's Lair on the 20th of July in 1944.
It is highly recommended to see the film Valkyrie or the documentary Operation Valkyrie before you visit Wolf's Lair.
Watch on YouTube: Valkyrie, the Plot to Kill Hitler - July 20, 1944 - Short Trailer below
Taking an English-speaking guide to the place is a must. The guides are very knowledgeable and they do an excellent job.
They explain the site, each building, and how life was during WW2. Finally, a guide will show you amazing before and after photos that will make you understand the place much better.
Wolf's Lair is the command center for Hitler from 1941 to 1944. It is an eerie place. The best idea is given by historical books of what once happened in these ruins.
The complex has consisted of 80 buildings that were built in 1941. There are also around 50 well-camouflaged bunkers. Some of them have around 6 meters thick walls. In January 1944, the place was blown up by the Germans and a few months earlier Hitler left the Wolf’s Lair, just before the Red Army arrives.
The biggest bunker's ruins (6 in total) worth seeing is Hitler's with No. 13. Goering's, Keitel's, and Bormann's bunkers, as well as the communications bunker and a general guest bunker, of similar size.
There are also a few other worths to see in the surroundings. You visit Wolf's lair can be combined with important places that are close enough.
DISCOVER: More Nazi Sites from Warsaw
Places to Combine with Wolf's Lair
The most important decisions for the Wehrmacht Army during World War II were taken in Mamerki. Also from Mamerki, the historical order to put down the Warsaw Uprising (The Battle of Warsaw) was given.
Location: Masuria, on the Masurian Canal, 8 km from Węgorzewo, 22 km from Giżycko, 25 km from Kętrzyn, 18 km from Gierłoż. Mamerki is one of the best-preserved complexes of German bunkers from World War II.
In the years 1940-1944, for the needs of 40 highest generals and field marshals, 1.500 officers, and Wehrmacht soldiers, about 250 objects were built. Including 30 reinforced concrete shelters that have survived our times.
The Germans did not manage to blow up the shelters. They were abandoned without even a fight by the Wehrmacht army in January of 1945.
The Ticket to the museum is only 17 PLN and if you are going in a car, you will also pay 5 PLN for parking.
On June 22, 1941, more than 3 million soldiers (from 148 Wehrmacht divisions), an unprecedented military force in history, attacked the Soviet Union.
Mamerki, the military command center of this huge military operation, was built in secret by the Todta organizations. The Field Commander Field Marshal Walter Brauchitsch and the Chief of General Staff Franz Halder with a group of 40 highest-ranking
Wehrmacht generals came to Mamerki when the attack began. Among them was Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, who personally developed a plan to attack the USSR with the code name Barbarossa.
Mamerki Bunkers - Wehrmacht Command
Later, it was surrounded by the Red Army and captured together with 180.000 other soldiers.
How to Visit Mamerki
Mamerki Bunkers are only 30 minutes drive from the Wolf's Lair.
In case you have a car, it is a good opportunity to extend your tour in the area. Worth to see, close enough is Mamerki, the headquarters of the German command of land forces. The car parking place is located in the center of the complex, so you can easily move around.
From the parking, first, enter the zone located on the lake Przystań - a branch of the Mamry lake. You can see there two heavy shelters with a six-meter thick ceiling.
On one of them, a wooden observation tower was built in the shelter of the chief of military intelligence. Visiting the entire lodge in Mamerki should take about two hours.
The village has a population of about 200 citizens and was part of East Prussia until the end of World War II. Known for the pilgrimage church, «Dear Lady of Święta Lipka», a masterpiece of Baroque architecture.
Since the 15th century, it is known as a place of numerous pilgrimages and is located near Kętrzyn on Lake Dejnowa. Every year, over 100,000. tourists coming to Masuria, in order to visit the Marian Shrine located there.
Because of numerous groups of pilgrims, Saint Lipka is often called «Częstochowa of the North». Traveling from Reszel to Święta Lipka, you can admire the baroque chapels of the Rosary Road, on a route about 6 km long. More about Swieta Lipka.
Swieta Lipka is a masterpiece baroque church and monastery. Inside, survived almost unchanged, sculpture ornamentation and wall paintings. The complex is picturesquely located at the bottom of the valley surrounded by forests.
According to legend, the name Heiligelinde (Holy Linden tree) Święta Lipka - Holy Tilia (lime tree) - referred to a tree with a wooden statue of Mary under which miracles took place.
A chapel at the site was first mentioned in a 1491 deed issued by Johann von Tiefen, then Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights.
At this time Heiligelinde was already a pilgrimage site, with an inn. It was destroyed about 1525 during the Protestant Reformation, during which the region became Lutherans.
The last place of interest is the Reszel for its castle. If you are going to this place with a guide, you will listen to some very interesting stories from the past.
Buy Book: «The Wolfs Lair: Inside Hitler's Germany»
Tour from Warsaw to Wolfs Lair & Mamerki or Sw. Lipka
Join an all-inclusive tour from Warsaw to Wolf's Lair and choose also between Mamerki undamaged Nazi bunkers or the famous Polish sanctuary in Sw. Lipka. This is the most convenient way in case you have not rented a car.
- Pick up and drop-off from your hotel or apartment in Warsaw's city center
- Transfer by car or a minibus (Warsaw - Wolf's Lair - [Mamerki or Sw. Lipka] - Warsaw)
- English-speaking driver.
- English-speaking guide in the Wolf's Lair.
- Entrance fee to Wolf’s Lair.
- Traditional Polish lunch of the day.
- Wi-Fi in most of the cars.
- Entrance in Mamerki (€4 per person).
- Guide at Mamerki (€70 per group).
Prices are per person.
How to visit Wolfs Lair from Warsaw
Wolf's Lair is 284 Km from the center of Warsaw
Plan your trip, See More and Save
You were probably checking all the options to visit Wolf's Lair and found that the price is too expensive for you? It might even cost more than your whole trip in some cases? Don't worry, you are going to see Wolf's Lair with the minimum you can pay.
Unfortunately, there is no way to get this tour alone at a better price. The distance is long and there are a lot of expenses for someone to make this tour private.
Hopefully, you found this article where I am going to help you plan your visit to Wolf's Lair and save money. The first step is to get to the city of Kętrzyn. The closest big city, that might also worth visiting is the beautiful city of Olsztyn.
Finally, you will need to get to the village of Gierloz, or directly at the Wolf's Lair main entrance. Having your own means of transport is definitely beneficial for the trip. Why Not? Get an offer to rent a car in Poland.
Renting a car will give you more time at the place, independence, and also the ability to visit more interesting sites close to Wolfs Lair. From Ketrzyn, off the main road (592) to Gizycko, is well signposted.
How to get to Wolf's Lair?
Using public transportation is not an easy task to get to Wolf's Lair. But it is possible. Located inside a forest between the lakes Siercze and Moj, 9 km east of Ketrzyn. Kętrzyn itself is at least a one-hour by train from Olsztyn.
Even though Wolf’s Lair sits close to a train track, there are no trains from Kętrzyn to Wolf’s Lair. The rails are disused. So, you have one of the options below to get there.
- Rent a car
- Book a direct train to Kętrzyn. Finally, from Kętrzyn take a taxi to Wolf's Lair Main Entrance (Around €10 euro). Note that you will need to find a taxi also to return back. You might need to arrange this in advance.
- Go to Olsztyn and then to Kętrzyn by train. Better and More Frequent connections.
- Get an all-inclusive tour from Warsaw and worry no more. Start at your hotel in Warsaw, see Wolf's Lair and Mamerki, and return to Warsaw. The cost is around €310 for 1 person, €340 for 2, and €372 for 3. The price per person drops when additional people enter the tour.
- Regular bus service from Ketrzyn also exists during the summer months (bus No. 1). Check also for direct buses to Wolf's Lair.
- Rent a bike. There are some bike rentals in the area, but not sure how convenient it is.
Get a Guide at the Wolf's Lair
Please send me a message in case you need a Professional Private guide in English or another language for 2 hours. The price is €50 euro per group of 1-10 people.
Please note the additional expenses below for your Wolf's Lair visit:
- The admission Fee to the main zone (Hitler's bunker location), is 15 zloty for adults and 10 zlotych for students.
- If you are going in your own vehicle, there's an additional charge for parking: 10 zlotych for a car, 5 zlotych for motorbikes, 2 zloty for bicycles
Traveling by train will take around 5 hours and 30 minutes to get to Wolf's Lair from Warsaw. You will need to start early from Warsaw, around 7:00 and you will be back in Warsaw around 21:30 - 22:00.
Cost and prices to visit Wolf's Lair
The entrance fee to enter Wolf's Lair is 15 PLN (around €3,50). For kids and adults, there are discounted tickets as well.
You buy your ticket from the booth at the checkpoint, where the carved wooden wolf statue is sitting. The ticket is for the entire zone for a full day. The day starts at 9:00 and is usually until 17:00.
Note that in the wintertime, is getting dark around 16:00, so plan your visit accordingly. It is also best to check in advance the opening and closing hours as they might change.
There are 3 long walking trails you can do. You can walk on your own or pay for a guide. Tour guides are available in English, German, Russian and Polish. Also other languages on demand.
Each one of the trails is marked with a different color and you need approximately one hour to walk across. You can find information boards along the way.
Booking a tour of the place is possible as well. It will cost between 80-120 PLN (around €25) and for Polish 50 PLN.
Tour prices might vary depending on the season, language, and group size. You can find a big map at the entrance where you can get your bearings. Also, you can find a GUIDEBOOK to Wolf's Lair - Wolfschanze.
We suggest that you buy those books from 6 PLN at the souvenir shop. The souvenir shop is located at the small entrance.
It is important to see in the Red Trail the bunker with the number 13, which was the shelter of the Nazi leader, Schron Adolfa Hitlera.
READ: Famous Poles
Stay Close or In Wolf's Lair
Why don't you stay for a night and discover the place alone? Walk the routes in the forest, read your book guide and uncover the secrets of the place. There are a few places to recommend. All the places mentioned below are located between 4 to 16 minutes drive from Wolf's Lair.
A taxi should not cost more than 10-12 euros (40 - 50 PLN) to take you to Wolf's Lair.
- Hotel Księżycowy Dworek *** (4 min Drive)
- For a group of people, it might be best to get an apartment. Apartament Parkowy (7 min Drive) and Apartment Stara Kamienica (12 min Drive)
- Hotel Koch *** (10 min Drive)
- A different category is Pensjonat Tom (which is a Guesthouse - 12 min drive)
- Lastly, for those who like traditional places. Agroturystyka Owczarnia Farm (16 min Drive)
The only habitable structure is the former headquarters used for Hitler’s security. Wilczy Szaniec is a budget guest house set next to Wolf's Lair.
You can enjoy nice food and extra service, while in the daytime you will discover the surroundings. There is also a range of breakfast options on offer every morning. You can enjoy the garden and make some hiking.
Finally, there is Wi-Fi and heating to keep you warm :)
Stay in the Beautiful Olsztyn
There is only one hotel that comes to my mind, but it's a bit expensive. I have been there a few times and it worth the investment. It is the Tiffi Boutique Hotel *****.
DISCOVER: More Nazi Sites to Visit from Warsaw
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