My wife, 13 year old son and I want to spend a few nights in Poland, taking the train from Berlin, around June 29th. We didn't want to take a LONG train ride so we were wondering if Szczecin or Poznan would be worth while. Or are there any other towns or villages in that area that we could enjoy for a short stay? We do not know any Polish but I do speak German. Any help is greatly appreciated.
You might consider Wroclaw. It might take a bit longer to get there than to Poznan, but it's a beautiful little city. Its town square is almost as impressive as Krakow's and, since it is a university town, it has a lively, youthful feel.
I'm not sure about Szczecin or Poznan, but in Wroclaw German seems to be the main second language, especially with middle-aged and older people. I think that holds true for most of the western part of Poland.
Have a great trip!
I would second Penny's suggestion of Wroclaw. Poznan has a pleasant central square, but there is less to see and do there than in Wroclaw, which has many more beautiful, easily accessible neighborhoods to explore. From Berlin, Poznan is a straight shot. You could get off there, spend a few hours or overnight, and then go on to Wroclaw from there.
On the way, you might also consider a short stay in Dresden. We spent two nights there and could have used a third.
Thank you both. Wroclaw sounds like a better option. I really would like to get to Dresden too. On a side note if you could only pick one, which one would you pick between Krakow and Gdansk?
To choose between Gdansk (Danzig) and Krakow...that's a hard call. I spent days visiting both, Krakow in 2001 and two summers later in 2003 Gdansk. Krakow was hardly damaged by the horrors of WW II. Gdansk (Danzig) was capital of the former West Prussia. Both places are lovely, fascinating, and eye-opening. If you want to see a Polish cultural centre, choose Krakow.