We will be driving from Berlin to Krakow in July. Looking for recommendations for small towns in Germany that are between Berlin and the Polish border. TIA
Branitz Castle outside Cottbus could be an interesting stop, but it is still close to Berlin and 5+ hours from Krakow. If you just have one day for that drive, I would cross the German section as quickly as (safely) possible and pick somewhere in Poland (cannot help with that).
In July of 2001 I took that route, the 9.5 hour train ride from Krakow to Berlin. Super interesting and captivating as to the towns encountered en route if you are aware of their historical events once you depart from Krakow central station, the first being Katowice , former capital of Upper Silesia until WW 1, then Gliwice, and so on.
I second the vote on Cottbus, cross into Poland at Küstrin-Kietz, the district of the city west of the Oder, unless you rather take route of the train.
I suggest if time is not pressing, seeing ruins of Küstrin's Altstadt, Pompei-like. Küstrin an der Oder was a Garnisonstadt, like that of Frankfurt an der Oder.