Shopping in Germany
In Germany, it makes sense to buy goods from local manufacturers of clothing, footwear, kitchen utensils, textiles and household items: all this is traditionally of high quality and at an affordable price. Shopaholics will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of factory outlets – there are more than a thousand of them in the country! Another local “trick” is organic products, from tomatoes to wines, produced without the use of any fertilizers and chemicals. They can be found in stores under the sign of Biolaned or Biosupermarkt. Other edible souvenirs: fragrant honey, smoked eel (in coastal areas), German marzipan. A separate line is German beer and everything connected with it: all kinds of “souvenir”, glasses and bonfires.
The best shopping in Germany is in Berlin, where (especially during sales periods) the whole of Europe comes to shop. Expensive brands are located on the boulevard, more democratic – in the Galeria Kaufthaus on Alexanderplatz, and all at once – in the Ka De We department store at Tauentzienstrasse, 21-24 – this Berlin trading house is on a par with such famous stores like GUM in Moscow, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Harrods in London.
In Germany, you can find a lot of interesting things at flea markets – vintage clothes, dishes, vinyl records, books, furniture and other antiques. They are in every city, but one of the most interesting – Hallentroedelmarkt Treptow – is also in Berlin. See other countries beginning with G.
From Monday to Friday, department stores open between 9:00 and 10:00 and close at 18:00 or 20:00. There is a so-called “long Thursday” when all major supermarkets are open until 20:00. On Saturdays, shops are open until 16:00, and during the 4 weeks before Christmas, usually until 18:00. Grocery stores can open at 7:00.
Most large stores and many medium-sized ones operate a tax-free system, which gives tourists the opportunity to return part of the VAT (up to 10% of the purchase price) when leaving the country.
Sales in Germany
Sales in Germany are traditionally held in summer (Sommerschlussverkauf) and winter (Wintersclussverkauf). Summer starts on the last Monday of July, winter – on the last Monday of January, and they last for two weeks each. At the beginning of sales, discounts are 20-30%, and by the end they reach 70%. Some stores advertise 80-90%, but in reality this is extremely rare.
Twice a year, many shops arrange sales: things of the outgoing season are offered at reduced prices. Winter sale dates: end of January – beginning of February, summer sale: end of July – beginning of August.
- When and where are Christmas markets held in Germany?
Cuisine and restaurants in Germany
The basis of German cuisine is potatoes plus meat and gravy in the company of fresh or cooked vegetables. There are a lot of variations: from roast pork with potato dumplings to schnitzel with french fries. Another popular dish is dozens of varieties of “wurst”, that is, sausages: beef and pork, grilled and boiled, giant and tiny. They are served with ketchup or mustard, in a bun like a hot dog, or all with the same potatoes. It is also worth trying the “Königsberg Klopsy” – pork meatballs in sour cream sauce with capers, garnished with rice.
Of the drinks, the championship in the country is firmly held by beer (who would doubt it). Popular varieties: Augustinerbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Levenbrau, Paulaner and Spaten. Pork roast with potato dumplings or Nuremberg fried sausages are served with beer. Also popular are the wines of the Rhine and Main valleys, moderately tart and very fragrant. Fans of low-alcohol drinks will appreciate the variety of ciders (“Apfelwein”), while in winter you can warm up well with hot mulled wine.
In Germany, as, indeed, throughout Europe, sandwiches are common – huge sandwiches with a variety of fillings, the cost of which is low, and the portions in size will pass for a good lunch. True, eating them for longer than two days in a row is a dubious joy for the stomach.
Of the drinks, the championship in the country is firmly held by beer.
Vegetarians and non-drinkers in traditional German restaurants will be bored. The most common establishments in Germany are pubs, and snacks are meat and heavy.
Bierstube, Lokale tavern, Bierkeller are all names of the same establishments in different federal states. They serve several types of beer and snacks: sausages, stewed cabbage, pork knuckle and more. Kneipe is a small pub where people go to drink, not to eat. From snacks, they will offer nuts, chips, pate with bread. Brauhaus or Bierhaus are brewery restaurants. They serve the freshest and most delicious beer and meat snacks. In the summer season, the so-called Biergarten open everywhere – beer gardens in the open air. Lunch with beer in a mid-range restaurant will cost about 15–20 EUR per person. However, keep in mind that portions in Germany are usually huge, and you can safely order one dish for two.
Prices in cafes with German and foreign cuisine are about the same (in the latter, maybe a little cheaper). But “German” portions are usually larger.
Tip – 10% of the bill. By the way, in German cafes it is not uncommon when a regular customer (and you can become one from the third time) is escorted with a free glass “on the road.”
In Bavaria, during the working day, a person has the right to drink one mug of beer.
German beer is an extremely collective concept: in order to properly try all its varieties on the spot, even the most famous ones, one tourist trip, even the longest one, is clearly not enough. Perhaps it will be possible to accomplish such a feat in two stages: to devote the first round entirely to top-fermented varieties, and the second, respectively, to bottom-fermented ones. In order not to get confused under the hops, here is an approximate “road map” for you to ferment in German beer gardens.
Top fermentation route: Altbier (“Beer in the old way”) – Berlin white – Weizenbock – Kölsch – Strong wheat.
Bottom fermentation route: Bockbier – Diet Pils (low calorie but very strong) – Doppel Bock – Maltztrunk – Märzen – Munich – Pils – Rauchbier – Special – Export.
The most popular Bavarian light varieties are Augustinerbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Levenbrau, Paulaner and Spaten.
- The most popular beer in Germany