Booked on the Berlin, Prague, & Vienna Tour. We are going several days prior to the actual organized tour. We have aspirations of going to Krakow for a couple of days, but we want to invest some time extra pre-tour time in Berlin. Would it be better to invest more time into Berlin (and surrounding area….like Potsdam….suggestions are welcomed) or divide that time (4 days) between Krakow AND Berlin. Thanks!
You don't need 4 days in Krakow. It is smaller than Berlin, Prague or Vienna. 2 days for Krakow, 1 day for nearby Auschwitz. Logistically would suit you to fly open jaw: to Berlin and back from Krakow. There is a good train connection from Vienna to Krakow. There are several trains a day from Vienna to Warsaw and you change in Katowice to Krakow.
Kraków was our favorite city on our RS Eastern Europe tour. A must see city! Hire a RS guide from his guidebook. We did this in Rome and it was the best way to be introduced to the city. The Salt Mines in Kraków were incredible.
The most direct trains and buses between Krakow and either Berlin or Vienna take roughly 8 hours. Krakow-Berlin, there's a direct bus, operated by the railway, more convenient that trains with connections. Vienna-Krakow, there are two daytime train departures with one connection or there's an overnight. Flying could be a good alternative on either route; see www.skyscanner.com.
If you're talking about a total of 4 days between the two cities, I would say use it all in Berlin. 3 days in Berlin with a day trip to Potsdam will just give you a nice taste of the city and area. Taking 2 days away for Krakow, along with the resultant travel time between the two, is not practical in my opinion. I visited both cities this past summer and enjoyed them both but, with only 4 days total I would definitely stick with Berlin. Just my opinion.
We went on the Eastern Europe tour and fell in LOVE with KRAKOW! It was a shocking beautiful city. The jewish quarter is fascinating, the square, gorgeous churches, Castle district, John Paul History, The Nowa Huta tours (we didn't go, but some in our group did and they had a blast) and of course Auschwitz is a must do if you get close to it at all!!!!! Enjoy your time in Krakow!!
I haven't been to Berlin yet so it's hard to compare. I will say though that Krakow was a highlight of my Eastern Europe trip. WW II, Soviet era, John Paul II are all there. Wish I would have spent more time in Podgorze area where the Jewish Ghetto was located.. We had two nights in Krakow and I would have easily made use of a third night. Missed doing the Crazy Guides tour of Nowa Huta due to time. Did manage to make it to the Salt Mines in Wieliczka. The salt chapel is an amazing creation.
We did that tour about 10 years ago and loved Berlin, too! You see quite a bit of Berlin on the tour. I would add one extra day in Berlin and use the other three to visit Krakow and Auschwitz. Use your last day of the tour to make it to Krakow. In the RS Guide to Poland, he lists a couple of great travel guides who will drive you to Auschwitz for the day! That's what we did!