Looking to combine some shopping with your sight-seeing? It’s easy to do in one of the many shopping centers in Germany.
If you’re going to do some shopping, it’ll be important to have the right kind of money. Like the rest of the European Union, Germany utilizes the Euro as its primary form of currency. You can typically have your money exchanged in airports, banks, and major hotels. However, there are ATMs scattered throughout the country that provide the same service (although there may be an additional service charge). Most major German stores will accept credit cards.
Shopping Centers in Germany
You’ll find plenty of areas to shop in any of the major cities with the majority of the options located in its center. Just about anything the heart desires can be found, particularly within Berlin, and it’ll be a good idea to budget your finances accordingly lest you find yourself spending too much!
By law, German stores are allowed to be open from 6:00 A.M to 8:00 P.M. Monday through Saturday. Smaller shops, especially rural ones, will often close for an hour or two during the afternoon for lunch. Sundays remain a day for rest and most shops will be closed on these days. However, you’ll find a few exceptions to this rule. Large railroad stations or airports remain open at all hours and are popular shopping centers in Germany—you’ll find a few nice clothing stores in the Frankfurt airport. Additionally, pharmacies, food shops, and newsstands will remain open.
The numerous kiosks that you’ll see in each town are allowed to be open after hours and on Sundays, but there’s a limit in what they can carry: alcohol, beverages, cigarettes, newspapers, and some hot foods. Gas stations will also sell some non-automotive related items.
Sales and Taxes
Twice a year, German stores will typically have closeout sales—one in July and the other in January. All sorts of goods fall under these sales, including clothing and sports equipment. Deals can be found for as much as 50% off.
A 16% tax is applied to just about anything you’ll purchase from shops in Germany.
Not all shops in Germany are large or sell goods made in factories. Christmas Markets first begin to make an appearance in late November and run through to Christmas Eve almost without interruption. Found in just about every village and town in Germany, the Markets feature stalls full of homemade items: from woodworked figurines, to baked sweets, to toys, to leatherwork. These can make perfect souvenirs in addition to the beer steins and handmade crystal that you can find in other shops in Germany.