My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Poland and Germany that ran from late April to mid-May. Here was our itinerary:
Gdansk (3 nights)--Admiral Hotel (great business class hotel listed in Rick’s book, best breakfasts we had during this trip).
Krakow (2 nights)--Hotel Batory (nice quiet location, ten or fifteen minute walk from the main square).
Goerlitz (2 nights)--Hotel am Goldenen Strauss (across the street from the art deco former department store that served as the location for the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. They gave a nice room upgrade).
Dresden (2 nights)—Cityherberge (great location at a combination hostel/hotel. We stayed on the hotel side. A good budget option in a city than can be expensive for hotels).
Berlin (4 nights)--Hampton by Hilton Berlin City West (stayed on points, Charlottenburg is a great choice for a location).
As anticipated history (especially 20th Century history) hangs heavy in the air in the places we visited, despite the fact that a lot of the buildings were destroyed during World War II. This was our seventeenth Europe trip together on vacation, but other than a business trip that I had made to Berlin years ago, all of these places were new to us. This was a very worthwhile itinerary for us, filled with great stops. It's hard to name a favorite, because all of these places were worthwhile in their own way. We did not run into many American tourists at all.
We found the people to be very friendly throughout. Very good customer service orientation from those in the tourist industry. English was widely spoken, no surprise in Germany but somewhat of a surprise in Poland. Of course we were going places where tourists go, so our view of the world may have been skewed.
Poland turned out to be an unexpectedly good country for food. Some combination of the local cuisine being good and they know how to cater to tourists. (For example, I had a couple of very good Greek salads). The standard of hotels throughout the itinerary was very high, extremely clean and with good to great breakfasts. The kind of breakfasts that will keep you going past noon. We paid $80-120 for a hotel and $40-50 for dinner. Berlin used to have a reputation for being inexpensive but that’s somewhat outdated. I would call it more in the moderate category. We probably would have paid about $150 per night for a hotel if not staying on points.
We traveled with Rick's Gdansk/Warsaw/Poland and Germany books, even though the latter was a lot to carry for just the Berlin and Dresden sections. We supplemented this with electronic versions of Lonely Planet Poland and Germany. We booked all of our hotels through booking.com.
The best/most worthwhile sights among those that we visited:
1) Solidarity Museum in Gdansk. The presentation of this museum is stunning, and the audio guide was excellent.
2) Malbork Castle. I list this reluctantly because when we were there it was crazy overrun with locals and our visit was impeded by this (holiday). But as a castle fancier, it was a good one.
3) Auschwitz (day trip on a tour from Krakow); the sight, not the way we saw it which was on a bus tour.
4) Dresden museums: Historical Green Vault, New Green Vault, Armory and the Old Masters Gallery.
5) Reichstag guided tour and dome visit, Berlin. The guided tour was definitely worthwhile.
6) Pergamon Museum, Berlin. Book a timed entry, a lot of it is closed and they were letting in fifteen people every ten minutes. We spent three hours here and if had all been open, it could have been a full day.
7) Gemaldegalerie, Berlin. Surprising amount of Botticelli and Raphael. Brueghal the Elder, Bosch and Vermeer. Just a really word-class art museum, totally uncrowded when we visited.
8) Walking the city in any and all of our stops. Kazimierz and main square in Krakow, Royal Way and the waterfront in Gdansk, the whole town of Goerlitz.
Too much travel goodness, already planning the next one.