I have done a lot of research on this already, wondering about your thoughts on this itinerary (for travel in April or May 2018):
Krakow (4 nights)
What I like about this plan: easy connections by train, somewhat off the beaten path (compared to London/Paris/Rome), not the same places my wife and I have already been on over a dozen Europe trips. Countries/areas formerly behind the iron curtain hold a certain fascination. Good value traveling in this area, from what I can tell. The pace of this itinerary is very manageable. I have my heart set on Goerlitz and visiting Saxon Switzerland as a day trip out of Dresden. Wife and I like museums quite a lot and Berlin is a great museum city.
Unsure of: skewed toward big cities. A lot of these places are totally rebuilt after WWII. It might be superficial, but part of the reason we travel is seeing really old stuff (architecture, among other things). This plan excludes Gdansk, not sure about that. It's another rebuilt city, but looks great and Rick says it's his #2 in Poland after Krakow. Adding that city would rush the itinerary quite a bit. This itinerary may not have as much sizzle or pizzazz as others we have done.
We like history, art, architecture, and just being in places different than back home. Discovering different sensibilities about the way things would be presented in the U.S, from store windows to anything you might encounter out and about on the streets of a foreign city. Not into transcendent dining experiences, but like healthy-ish eating. We did fine with food in Hungary, Czech Republic, and previously in Germany so we are not too picky.
I thought about different places on the front end, instead of Germany on the back end--Helsinki/Tallinn, even St. Petersburg. But NE Germany seems to fit better with this itinerary, and Russia is an advanced topic. We're not too keen on flights within Europe during an itinerary.
The only place either one of us has visited before was Berlin--I was there on business for five nights in the late 2000s and had a day and a half free time. This was in the late fall, so the city was cold and rather bleak. It was moderately appealing even then, I think it would be much better in May. We are a 50s/early 60s couple and have seen most of the "wow" sights in Europe, in some cases multiple times. Now we tend to optimize around a measured pace and just enjoying being there, vs. knocking ourselves out to see the iconic sights. (Don't get me wrong though, I will return to Rome, Paris, etc.)
So, what do you think of this itinerary?