Germany Shopping Tips by Trekki Top 5 Page for this destination
Germany Shopping: 69 reviews and 91 photos
Bionade - yummm and refreshing ! (from their site)
If you are thirsty on your travels through Germany and you like a special drink, try and find Bionade. It is usually available at train stations or airports, and of course in selected supermarkets (for example tegut, Globus, REWE).
I had my first sampling in 2007 but liked it on the spot, as it is not sweet, only very slightly sparkling and very much refreshing. And it is available in tastes such as elderberry (something I knew only from Austria), ginger, herbs and lychee. It tastes so refreshing and I also found that it gives me back energy when I need it.
Then I read about their story on the web (see link below) and was even more fascinated. They started off only recently (in 1995, well, recently compared to other companies) and have increased their sales volume tenfold from 2004 to 2006, which speaks for the quality and the fact that Germans seem to be a bit tired of Coca Cola (sorry) and were looking for something better. Interesting also that Bionade refused an offer of takeover by CC.
Read the story yourself (it is available in English and also in French), then you might know why I am recommending this. The brewer master has found a method to ferment sugar not into alcohol but into gluconic acid (obviously similar to the honeymaking process by bees). The production process is described (but haha, sweet plagiating south-eastern country starting with C, not in the detail that it could be stolen such as other western quality products).
Bionade contains 200 mg/l calcium and 400 mg/l magnesium and is gluten-free.
Update, August 2012:
In the meantime, things have changed with Bionade Company. They are no longer "free" but belong to Dr. Oetker Group now (via Rademacher). This huge giant obviously has applied the thumbscrews upon Bionade and what once was an eco company with values had to give in and withdraw from engagement in the Anti-GMO campaigns.
[FYI: I am a fierce supporter of Anti-GMO, because the Monsanto & Co companies who sweep the world with their poisonous crap are criminals to me]
=> Decide yourself if you want to drink this lemonade - you never know if there might be GMOs somewhere in the production line....
What to pay: Prices might vary, but usually 0,33 l is around 0,50 - 0,60 € (if bought in the crate; for single bottles I will find out).
Theme: Food and Drink
In its early years Tchibo was a trading merchant who sold only coffee and tea. Over the years they have offered goods related to coffee such as cups, tin boxes and containers. In the Sixties (of last century) they started to sell their coffee and goods not only in Tchibo shops but also through bakeries and confectioneries. And since some years they have expanded their goods selection and have “theme weeks” now with very reasonable products of good quality. Since 2006 the company philosophy changed, they joined the Social Accountability International (SAI) and now they have an external auditor controlling their products and workers’ conditions. Since then there seem to have been no more reports in the CCC (Clean Clothes Campaign). They also work together with GTZ (German Society for Technical Cooperation) to make sure that also their raw material suppliers don’t allow child labour. Well, what I want to say is that I don’t believe that they are 100% open but they are among the discounters certainly one of the best and reliable. I am a regular customer since some time and can confirm that the quality is good. Not perfect of course but the price-performance is good.
The themes are always seasonal related. Often it is sports (clothes, bags, backpacks, hiking poles etc), often kids, men or women specials, jewellery, dishes etc. Now in pre-Christmas time it is holiday decoration. The theme week begins Tuesdays and is shown on their website. Although it is in German only, it is easy to understand because each item is described with several photos.
When I was in Bavaria in October 2011, I forgot to pack warm things since the weather was sunny and warm when I left home (haha, yes talking about experienced travelling...). Luckily I found a Tchibo shop in one of the towns and luckily they had sports week so that I could buy a warm fleece.
What I want to say is that in case you forgot something when travelling through Germany, check if Tchibo might have a theme week where you might get the item.
Bigger cities have separate Tchibo stores, often more than one. Big grocery chains have a Tchibo corner (I know that Tegut and Toom Markt have one) and several bakeries and confectioneries have also a small corner. The biggest selection is in the separate Tchibo shops though. In smaller towns it is very likely that the local store has one, even in my small suburb this is the case. Just look for the sign: a yellow-golden bean on blue ground.
Opening hours vary, depending on the shop type. The Tchibo shops are open usually Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the bigger cities. Shopes and stores with only a Tchibo corner might open earlier and close earlier. Some bigger grocery store chains such as Tegut and Toom Markt are open nowadays until 10 p.m.
© Ingrid D., November 2011 (just in case, RickS or others come along and think they can steal texts).
This is of course not a tip for travellers who visit Germany by plane, but for travellers who live in the vicinity of Germany and also for my German compatriots (as I found that not many people know of this shop). When I lived in Mannheim, I came across Möbelum when I was looking for some nice and plain and simple furniture made of wood (and not laminated chipboard). I was thrilled to see their products, which are indeed made of plain wood (pine, fir and beech mostly), from sustainable forestry. What I even liked more was that you can get the furniture either “raw” (not painted, stained or treated with oil) but can paint or stain it to your likings. As I have developed a love for the reddish colour of cherry wood stain, this was and still is my shop. Those who have stayed at Hotel Ingrid know what I mean, as my whole appartment is almost entirely outfitted with Möbelum things.
They are located in 21 cities Germanwide:
Leipzig, Augsburg, Frankfurt, Mainz, Heidelberg, München, Nürnberg, Regensburg, Stuttgart, Würzburg, Freiburg and in the north at RS-Möbel in Aachen, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bremen, Hamburg, Köln-Ehrenfeld, Magdeburg, Münster, Osnabrück and Rostock.
What to buy: In addition to furniture they also have the typical accessoires like cloth, tableware, candles, lamps, bits and bites, and all in line with their philosopy of offering fair trade, natural and ecologically “clean” products. Paint and stain is also available, but only waterbased one.
When I was there just recently (Sept 2008) to buy a bed, I was even thrilled to see that they don’t bother you with tons of packaging: you get the pieces you buy and no carton or paper wrapped around.
What to pay:
The prices are very reasonable, given that they sell natural wood products. A typical shelf (196x79x28 cm) in raw pine is only 105 Euro.
Theme: Home Furnishing
Rizzi stamps - so cute
In 2008 (and hopefully for quite a time), our post offices have very cute special stamps available, designed by famous James Rizzi, the famous New York Pop artist :-).
They come in a set of 20, with four different motifs and greetings for all occasions ("Danke thank you, Herzlichen Glückwunsch happy birthday, Herzliche Grüße warmest greetings, Alles Gute all my best regards). The screenshots I've added might not show them in their full beauty, but it is sun and moon, fish, flower and bird and a bunch of cats.
What to pay: Even if they are a special edition, they come with the regular price os stamps, each 0,55 €. So 11 € for the set of 20. Available at all post offices in Germany.
As the URL is too long for our box below, I put the link here - but it is n German only:
Farmers' Market - Mannheim
Some bigger German cities have wonderful weekly farmers’ markets, usually held Wednesdays and Saturdays, usually at or around the city's market place.
These are perfect places to buy your supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and bread, flowers and regional specialities.
The prices you'll pay are maybe slightly higher than in supermarkets – but well, you can be sure that you get fresh things and no plastic food.
Often, you can also visit special markets, like flower markets, flea markets, handicraft markets.
And of course, our famous Christmas markets are definitely worth a visit, if you are here during December. Charming atmosphere, nice special gifts and mulled wine are guaranteed to surprise and please you :-)
Department store Karstadt
When you come to Germany, forget about anything you are used to at home in terms of opening hours. In Germany, most of the shops close latest (= latest) at 8 p.m. It still depends on a city’s specific regulation; some cities close their shops at even 7 or 6 p.m.
There is no hope that this will change and our country learns from other countries.
A colleague recently reminded me to write about the different big department stores, so that’s what I am doing now (thanks Karin J ).
If you are in bigger cities (> 100.000 inhabitants), you will most probably find one of the Germanwide chain department stores:
Karstadt and/or Kaufhof. They are usually located in the city centres, usually in or close by pedestrian zones.
They have several departments; for men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, stationery, jewelry, music, photo and computer stuff, kids’ corners and toys, travel bags, bath & beauty.
Kaufhof has a food market (US style) in the basement, Karstadt does not always have this.
The goods are of reliable quality, they mostly have their own brands. Of course they have more reasonable prices than specialized shops with worldwide brand products, but it’s your choice.
What to buy: If you are looking for perfumeries or beauty shops, watch out for Douglas, which is also a chain store. Offering perfumes and all other beauty requisites. In terms of price they are average, but often do have promotions and discounts.
What to pay: (see above)
Theme: Department Store
example - farmyard sale
When you are travelling around in Germany and like to buy some fruit or vegetables - no necessity to go to a supermarket, if you have the possibility to buy directly from the farmer.
During summertime, you even can buy directly at small food stalls on streets.
You can be sure that all of the food you buy is fresh (unlike in supermarkets sometimes the fruits or veggies already have seen better days), and is from surrounding farmland (and not plastic food, grown in greenhouses).
These kinds of farmyard sales are usually called Hofverkauf, or "frisch vom Erzeuger" (fresh from the farmer), etc.
What to buy: Usually, you can get strawberries, raspberries, asparagus (in late spring and summer), salad, onions, apples, cherries, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes - any kind of fruit or veggies, you name it.
Yes, it might be slightly more expensive than in a supermarket - but be aware, all fruit you buy is fresh.
Update (Sept1, 06):
the link below will lead you to Tessy's description of farmyard sale - it's better than mine :-)
What to pay: For example:
500 g strawberries: 2,50 €
1 kg tomatoes: 2,20 €
1 kg onions: 1,90 €
1 kg paprika: 2,90 €
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