Shopping in Berlin is a very rewarding experience, because differently than in many other European capitals, the commercial area is not segmented or limited to certain streets or areas. There are 69 shopping centres in Berlin. Shopping streets are distributed throughout the city, and in different areas you can find a wide selection of shops and local brands, classic luxury brands, and markets. In Berlin, mainly small clothing shops and boutiques predominate. The franchises and large firms are found mostly in the department stores.
The prices in Germany in general are definitely affordable compared to other Western countries, and there is a wide range of choices and options of products in Berlin.
The opening hours of the stores are from 9:30 am until 7 pm, although the shopping centres can be open until 8 pm and some supermarkets remain open until 10 pm or midnight.
What to Buy in Berlin
1. Gummy Bears in crazy shapes
Germans deeply love their gummy bears. They were, in fact, invented by a German – Hans Riegel in 1922 – creator of the iconic Haribo bear. Gummy bears and other jellies are extremely popular. They are so popular, that you will get them as a snack in Germain parliament and airlines or as a decoration on a cocktail – instead of fruit. They come in variety of shapes. The most original souvenir is a bear, sorry – beer mug filled with yellow and white gummy bears imitating a beer – like on the photo above ;)
2. A Piece of Berlin Wall
Probably the weirdest souvenir from Berlin is a piece of the Berlin Wall. Supposedly, the sold pieces are original – with Certificate of Authenticity, although a crumble of concrete is not exactly difficult to reproduce ;) The Wall was 155 km long, so there was surely plenty of crashed concrete to pick after its demolition. A remainder of the wall symbolizing the “Iron Curtain” that once divided the West and the East is quite a unique souvenir – a true piece of history. You can buy a piece with some graffiti on it, or a magnet with a piece.
Ampelmann – “traffic light man” was a characteristic traffic signal in communist East Berlin. After 1989 it was substituted by another traffic signal, but started a new life as a brand of souvenirs from Berlin. You will find Ampelmann on coffee mugs, mouse pads, smartphone covers and many other items.
4. Berlin Buddy Bear
The symbol of Berlin is a bear, because the first syllable of the name of the city sounds the same as the German word for this animal – “Bär”. You can see the symbol on the flags of the city. In 2001, the artistic project of taking art to the streets led to the creation of the Buddy Bears in Berlin. The project gained so much popularity that it developed into the United Buddy Bears – international art exhibition of hundred of fiberglass bears painted in all kind of ways, travelling around the world as a fundraising event. 5% of the profit from sales of small statutes of Berlin Buddy Bears are given to charity. You can buy them in KaDeWe department store (described below).
5. Beer Stein
Beer stein is a typical German type of a heavy mug. It may be made of ceramics, porcelain, glass and metal – usually pewter, and often comes with a metal lid. Traditional German beer mugs are maybe the best looking mugs in the world – they have their own, highly recognizable style.
6. German Weiss Beer
Talking about beers, remember that you are in the country world-famous for its Oktoberfest. Beer is more popular here than water, so try some local brands while you are here. Famous German beers worth trying are in particular Weiss (meaing: white) – typical German-style wheat beers. The best brands are: Franziskaner, Erdinger, Paulaner, Kapuziner, Augustiner, Schneider Weisse and Berliner Kindl – a classic summer drink in Berlin.
7. Blutwurst and Currywurst
It’s a well-known fact that Germans go crazy for sausages. It is one of the main dishes of German cuisine, so be sure to find them in more types you’ve ever heard of. Two classic ones include:
- Blutwurst (blood sausage) is sold as a sausage or a sausage spread in a jar. It’s a Berliner classic. The most renowned producer is Blutwurstmanufaktur.
- Currywurst, the most popular street food in Berlin. It is sold also in jars, so you can take it home. It’s pork sausage served in characteristic ketchup mixed with curry powder.
Shopping Districts in Berlin
In the exclusive district of Mitte, you will find the most luxury and prestigious brands. Friedrichstraße is a great place for upscale fashion brands and jewellery. There are international designer clothing shops and luxury home decor stores along the street.
Around Alexanderplatz, you can find several department stores and boutiques, and a huge shopping mall Alexa. Alexa offers under one roof 180 stores of international brands for every budget.
In Hackescher Markt you will discover unknown local labels of young fashion and accessories designers from Berlin.
Charlottenburg district offers both luxury and more affordable options. On the one hand, you can find there high fashion and jewellery brands like Versace, Cartier, Bulgari etc. However, you will also find there popular international companies or franchises such as Mango or Zara. It’s a pleasant area, where you can enjoy the charming historical buildings and stop in some cafe.
Go to Kurfürstendamm, the most elegant boulevard in the city, with over one hundred attractive shops and cafes. Don’t miss KaDeWe – an over a century old shopping centre with as many as six floors of shops.
Whisky lovers can’t miss Wein and Whisky store located in Schöneberg district, where you can find all the most prestigious whisky brands from all around the world, including Scottish as well as Irish, American, Japanese etc., as well as liquors and wines, among others.
3. Potsdamer Platz
In Potsdamer Platz, you will find a huge shopping centre Mall of Berlin with as much as 270 stores. There are plenty of German and international brands that will fit every wallet’s size.
The Kreuzberg district is one of the most dynamic and versatile places of the capital where you can find almost everything because it is where most of the markets and street markets, mainly Turkish, are concentrated.
It is also worth noting the numerous second-hand shops in Kreuzberg – the price of the products is determined per kilo.
The Tiergarten district is mostly the official monuments area, so it’s not the busiest at the store level, but if you are there for visiting, you will find there franchises of typical international brands such as Mango, Esprite, H&M etc. Apart from them, there are small local shops and a multitude of restaurants and street food stalls to spend time pleasantly while shopping.
Markets in Berlin
Flea Market in Mauerpark
For many the best market in the city is the flea market in Mauerpark. It’s a curious mix of flea market, food stalls and live concerts. Lots of people gather there not that much for shopping as for entertainment. You can buy there second-hand clothes, old books and cameras, and plenty of typically Berliner vintage items.
Address: Bernauer Straße 63, 10435 Berlin
Opening hours: Every Sunday between 9 am – 6 pm
Arkonaplatz Flea Market
If you stay in Berlin for weekend, you can visit Arkonaplatz Market. It’s a very popular big flea market with vintage items, collectors’ pieces and bric-a-brac.
Address:Arkonaplatz, 10435 Berlin
Opening hours: Every Sunday between 10 am – 4 pm
More on Shopping in Berlin
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