Shopping in Germany. What to bring as a souvenir?Russ Bily
Germany is one of the most popular countries for shopping in the world. It is conquering its niche in this area with a high quality of products, low prices even in the period of sales, a huge number of shopping centers, and a guaranteed return of 14.5% of Tax-Free with a purchase from 25 Euros.
Shopping in Germany took on the features of its citizens, a measured bourgeois with an established traditional way of life, and it is combined with modern European trends in an interesting way.
In all German cities, shops, shopping centers, markets, and boutiques are normally gathered on one huge street or in the whole district. All these streets are usually similar, and there can be found such department stores as Galerie Kaufhof, Karstadt, MediaMarkt, C & A, H & M, Deichmahn, and others. Large multifunctional shopping complexes are usually located on the outskirts of large cities. So, what to buy in Germany? Here you can buy almost everything – from food to household appliances and the variety of german souvenirs.
Almost all the shops work six days a week Monday-Saturday from 10.00 to 19.00-22.00. Therefore, it is better to plan shopping in Germany on weekdays.
The seasons of discounts are in summer from the end of June or the middle of July to the end of August, and in winter from December to January. They normally start at the same time in all stores and end at different times, so you need to check it in advance in the websites of your favorite brands. Do not forget about the network of Outlet shops, where low-priced branded items are sold. In Germany, there is whole villages Outlet, located not far from major cities. Planning, for example, shopping in Hamburg, it’s good to include Outlet center in your trip schedule.
Big markets also deserve attention. Here you can find anything you like at any quality and a rather low price. Do not consider them as simple flea markets with low-quality products! On the contrary, in German markets, you can find really valuable antiques, interesting ethnic clothes, and different equipment and technique, even bicycles and cars.
In my previous articles “9 Interesting Things to Do in Munich” and “Top 5 Sightseeing in Berlin” I wrote about the most attractive places to visit in the capital of Germany and in Munich, the capital of Oktoberfest. In this article, I’m going to recommend you the best places for shopping as well as the most popular products and souvenirs from Germany.
Shopping in Berlin
Shopping in Berlin is the richest and most diverse in Germany because there are a lot of shops and trademarks. There you can buy clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, souvenirs, and porcelain.
The most popular places for shopping in Berlin are the famous department stores KaDeWe and Europa-Center, shopping centers Galeria Kaufhof, Galeries Lafayette, and Alexa Shopping Center, where you can buy designer clothes and shoes, cosmetics, decorations, dishes, children’s goods, Philips, Apple, Sony and other brands.
Doing shopping in Berlin, we recommend you to visit the Berlin Designer Outlet not far from the city. There are about 80 boutiques with goods from such brands as Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Adidas, Stefanel, Desigual, and discounts reach 30-70%.
Having a shopping in Berlin, tourists often buy famous beer Berliner Weisse at quite democratic prices. A perfect gift idea is a selection of German beers. Especially people who do not live in Germany but love Berlin will be very pleased to receive a collection of different kinds of beer, which are not for sale in their home country. Of course, you have to include brands like Berliner Kindl and Berliner Pilsner, but people also love the special beers from Bavaria and other parts of Germany. You can buy beer in every supermarket or Spätkauf in Berlin or in supermarkets like Kaiser’s, Edeka or Real.
The fans of strong beverages are advised to bring the German liquor Jägermeister, which is created on the basis of Alpine herbs and it includes 56 components. This liquor is one of the most popular strong beverages brought from Germany. The price fluctuates around 16-20 Euros per bottle.
If you have been living in Berlin for a while, you probably tried liquor Berliner Luft at least once. This drink is very popular because it tastes quite good and is not very strong. Berliner Luft is also very cheap: you can buy a bottle for about 6 Euros and it is actually a great souvenir for everybody who has a connection to Berlin.
Interesting, but it turns out that mustard refers to the most popular souvenirs from Germany. Different varieties of mustard from sweet Nandlmaier’s Sußer Senf to Scharf Senf Thomy, and even mayonnaise with the taste of mustard Thomy is a perfect addition to the numerous sausages.
Something that people of all age groups can’t deny is chocolate. German chocolate, such as Ritter Sport and Stollwerck is a popular present from Berlin. Chocolates of over 200 types can be found in the famous Rausch Schokoladenaus (meaning Rausch Chocolate House) in different shapes and sizes. The fun part about them is that they make chocolates as miniature representations of their monuments like they have chocolates in the shape of the Brandenburg gate or the Berlin TV tower, etc.
A gourmet box from KaDeWe has a luxury, high class, fragrant ingredients in it, which makes it super classy and excellent souvenir of the extravagant city of Berlin. The gourmet box will not only make the receiver happy, it will also leave you with an unforgettable shopping experience. Get ready to spend some money, though.
The gummi bears are a form of jelly-like chocolates that are found in every supermarket, rather in every store in Berlin. They’re an ideal choice if you’re looking for cheap souvenirs. Ampelmann shop offers a lot of variety of these gummi bears, for example, jellies, marshmallows, etc.
A miniature version of Berlin can be taken home. There are miniature figures of famous monuments like the TV tower, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, the Berlin wall, etc. These can be found in different materials like ceramic, marble, graphite, glass, wood, etc.
Shopping in Hamburg
No less interesting is shopping in Hamburg, which is considered the German capital of sales and purchases. Hamburg has long been a point of intersection of trade routes, a city of shipyards, and sailors. This city is famous for slightly straightforward sense of humor of local residents. Therefore, gifts from Hamburg should match the cheerful disposition of this place.
Hamburg is a port city, therefore 90% of the goods one way or another is connected with the sea. In the souvenir departments and on the streets, miniature lighthouses and all kinds of figurines and trinkets in the form of life buoys are sold, as well as the statues of sea creatures, ship ropes, gulls, etc.
By the way, sailboats in the bottle, which you will come across at every step, is a traditional Hamburg souvenir, which so often can be seen in old films. In Hamburg, it’s easy to turn into a sea wolf, even in the absence of special skills: it is enough to wear a characteristic black cap with a dark blue strip.
You can bring home various accessories for the bathroom in the form of fish, and do not forget to buy cans with a title “Voice of the Gull” – an ironic souvenir with the effect of surprise in a typical Hamburg style.
More functional are tea sets in the marine blue and white colors. As a gift for close relatives and good friends, nothing can be better. More compact sets of cups and saucers is an excellent office option, which you can no doubt offer to both the colleague and the boss.
Hamburg is also famous for its food markets. For example, various fish attracts citizens and tourists for 300 years. There are also cheap food stores. Oddly enough at first glance, but quite good souvenirs can be found in the Fish Market. The fact is that it is not only a food market but also a popular and very busy place. Citizens often go there just for a breakfast. Souvenirs, respectively, are also related to the marine theme: sailor figures and all kinds of braided ropes, imitating sea ropes. There you can find an incredible selection of souvenirs and gifts, even the most unusual ones.
In Hamburg, there is a large number of elite brands, such as Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace, Hermes, Louis Vuitton. The most popular mall in the city is Europa Passage. It houses more than 100 prestigious brands. Clothes of Tom Tailor, produced in Hamburg, is popular among tourists who like exclusive things.
There is the world’s largest department store Brinkman in Hamburg. Many tourists like passages, in which both elite design brands and products at low prices are presented. Such centers are Gansemarkt-Passage and Gerhof-Passage. There you can also buy German natural cosmetics of such famous brands as Dr. Haushka, Logona, and Weleda.
Shopping in Cologne
Shopping in Cologne is distinguished by higher prices compared to other cities in Germany. Exclusive luxury items are sold in women’s boutiques Boutique Marc and Claudia Carpendale, Label Princesse tam tam, in the Italian shoe store Donna Laura, and in the men’s clothing market Don’s. Beautiful, inexpensive, and diverse women’s clothing is sold at the Orsay store. Stores of such brands as H & M, Esprit, New Yorker, GAP are presented there. There is an incredible number of markets where affordable, prestigious, youthful European and German brands are represented. Shopping in Cologne allows you to buy everything: clothes, shoes, accessories, children’s things, cosmetics, electronics, dishes, souvenirs, books, etc.
If you need a traditional souvenir to commemorate your stay in Cologne, go to the Old Town. In the heart of the city of Cologne, just a short walk from the cathedral, the most famous in Cologne shopping streets Hohe Strasse and Shildergasse are located, where you can buy everything you want. Fashionable clothes and shoes can be bought on Ehrenstrasse.
Jewelry, made on an individual design, can be found on Friesenstrasse. If you want to buy German jewelry, I advise you to pay attention to the chains of stores Christ, as well as small local shops, scattered around the central streets of German cities. There you can buy different items of famous brands Swarovski, Guess, Pandora.
On the street near the cathedral, there are many souvenir shops and counters. On one of the busiest streets, the length of which is 680 meters, the best shops in Germany are located. If you are thinking about some interesting gifts to your friends and relatives, first of all, buy the famous Cologne water. Any girl or woman will be also pleased to receive natural German cosmetics, well-known all around the world. Pay attention to such German brands as Nivea, Schwarzkopf, Essence. What concerns bio cosmetics, Weleda, Dr.Hauschka, Sante, Lavera, Logona, Alverde, Müller, Rossmann are the best in Germany.
Secondly, you can bring porcelain from Meissen for your relatives or the closest people. You can buy porcelain in Germany at much cheaper prices than in any other country. The starting cost of such products is 30-35 Euros. In Cologne, you can also buy knives of famous brands Solingen and Wuesthof. These knives are famous for their quality for several centuries.
Shopping in Munich
Munich will not disappoint the lovers of beautiful and inexpensive clothes. Along with expensive brands and designer collections, located in boutiques and department stores along the Maximillianstrasse, there are medium-priced items in stores on Kaufingerstrasse and very cheap outlets such as Schustermann & Borenstein and Ingolstadt Village, located 80 km from Munich.
Democratic prices will please the visitors of shopping centers Karstadt, Kaufhof and Olympia Einkaufszentrum, where clothes, footwear, perfumes, accessories, and other products are sold. There are tea and coffee shops, perfumery and cosmetic boutiques, household and furniture markets. There is a huge selection of sportswear, good cashmere, knitted things, etc.
What souvenirs can you buy in Munich, the capital of Oktoberfest? Of course, there are a lot of attributes of this well-known all over the world German festival, which you can buy for your friends, relatives, or for yourself as a memory from Oktoberfest.
Besides standard German beer, which you can buy everywhere, try to be more original and buy Eiswein (“ice wine”) for a present. It is made from grapes, which was frozen naturally on the vine, and an important condition is that when it is made, the temperature should not fall below -7 degrees.
In Munich, you should pay attention to beer mugs (steins) with a tin lid and traditional painting, a part of the Bavarian tradition. The price for this souvenir is from 5 Euros. If you want a stein that Bavarians use, buy a normal beer glass, like the Halbe (half a liter glass) or the Maßkrug (one-liter glass). If you want to go deeper in tradition, look for a beer mug called “Keferloher.”
To distinguish yourself by originality, buy German pants with Lederhosen suspenders or Dirdl—male and female national costumes. It is hardly possible to come up with a more original souvenir than this traditional Bavarian clothes. Inexpensive and bright souvenir from Germany will be the Tyrolean hat, which is decorated with various ornaments and feathers.
Other Oktoberfest brand names include a Bavarian flag scarf, a Bavarian necklace or bracelet, teddy bears in national clothes. All these attributes of the famous beer festival are sold all year round in Germany.
Shopping in Nuremberg
You will also like shopping in Nuremberg. In addition to clothing, shoes, accessories and other products, there you can buy wonderful handmade souvenirs, household items, and jewelry. This is due to the fact that there is a handicraft town in Nuremberg, partly retaining the old traditions.
So having shopping in Nuremberg, search out cuckoo clocks, wooden angels from Thuringia, and Christmas toys from Rottenburg on der Tauber as the typical souvenirs from this medieval city. In almost all souvenir shops you can also buy a popular German souvenir, the Nutcracker, which is sold in different interpretations.
However, not everyone knows that the most authentic souvenir from Nuremberg is actually the humble pencil. Nuremberg is the “Pencil Capital of the World.” On the famous “King’s Way” (Koenigstrasse) in Nuremberg, the Staedtler company has a store selling their wares. You can buy anything from a single pencil for €0.30 to elaborate color pencil sets for over €100. But the classic souvenir is a build-your-own pencil set. It contains a graphite rod, a set of wooden pencil casings, glue, string and an authentic seal. With this kit, you can write with your authentic wooden pencil. During the famous Nuremberg Christmas Market called Christkindlesmarkt, they also have live pencil making demonstrations of these exact pencils.
Finally, Nuremberg is famous for its gingerbread called Lebkuchen in Germany. The gingerbread heritage goes back to the days when Nuremberg was an important stop along the ancient spice trading route. It began when some innovative Franconian monks baked Honigkuchen (honey cake) and Pfefferkuchen (pepper cake), the precursors to this famous treat. No trip to Nuremberg is complete without it, and it makes a wonderful souvenir. You can even buy gingerbread houses with lights as a great gift for Christmas.
Shopping in Other German Cities
Shopping in Dresden and Dusseldorf is distinguished by warming the soul and wallet prices. In Dusseldorf, I recommend you to visit the street Altstadt, where the shops of famous world brands of clothes are located. Be sure to check out the multi-brand boutique A Personal Affair. On Nordstraße, go to the Mohren-Kleidung store, where you will find clothes in a strict business style. On the street Shadovstraße, there are shops of such brands as H & M, New Yorker, ORSAY, GERRY WEBER, and in Deichmann, you will find yourself an excellent pair of shoes. Here you can buy everything for life for a reasonable price and good quality. The shops of the most famous and expensive European clothing and footwear brands are waiting for you on Konigs street.
German shopping offers a lot of options, and it is also a great opportunity to get acquainted with the famous Gothic architecture of Germany and plunge into the atmosphere, combining pedantry and modern currents.
For memory and as a gift from Germany, you can bring a lot of nice souvenirs, clothes, useful things for the home, as well as drinks, food, and cosmetics.
Shopping tours to German cities are often organized, and they have a lot of advantages, for example, thoughtful and tested route, possibly individually compiled, and availability of an interpreter.
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