The right souvenir can be a powerful thing. It can evoke memories that last a lifetime and transport you back to your life-changing trip. But how do you choose the perfect souvenir from Berlin, for example, to achieve this state of mind?
Perhaps you pick a Berlin souvenir with historical significance, such as a small piece of the Berlin Wall. Or maybe authentic German beer or a box of delectable chocolate, for which Germany, therefore Berlin, is renowned. As Marcel Proust wrote in “Remembrance of Things Past,” after taking a bite of a madeleine with a sip of tea, “No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place.” This caused him a flood of memories, which was the inspiration for Proust’s seven-volume classic.
However, if you’re going to rely on a piece of chocolate or a pint of beer to conjure up a box full of memories, you better buy in bulk. Whatever souvenirs you do choose to take home from Berlin, they will surely always remind you of your German adventure in this cosmopolitan capital city.
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Souvenirs from Berlin
Berlin souvenirs are not just about beer, chocolate and the Berlin Wall. This capital city is also well-known for shopping, particularly on Kurfürstendamm, aka the “Champs-Élysées of Berlin,” where fashion and souvenirs of all kinds abound. Berlin is also famous for bears, from Teddy and Buddy Bears to Gummi. If you’re a fan of football (soccer), look no further than Hertha BSC, unless your loyalties lie with FC Union Berlin. Despite which club you support, you can find copious souvenirs to show your allegiance and remember your trip to Berlin.
Piece of the Berlin Wall
What better way to show you’ve been to Berlin than bringing back a piece of the Berlin Wall? It is possible to purchase this ultimate Berlin souvenir at some gift shops in the city, with a lot of searching and research; however, be aware that some unscrupulous shops sell non-genuine pieces of the Berlin Wall, so always ask for a certificate of authenticity. If you want a 100-per cent guarantee, though, you can order a real piece of the Berlin Wall online at Amazon, which comes with a certificate of authenticity. Other Berlin Wall-themed souvenirs include T-shirts, hats, postcards, puzzles, refrigerator magnets, mugs and more, some of which can be found at the Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie.
The Germans have been brewing beer for several hundred years, so finding quality brew in Berlin will not pose a problem. The hometown favourite is Berliner Kindl Weisse, which Napoleon’s men called the “champagne of the north.” Award-winning Berliner Kindl Weisse has a distinctly sour taste and makes for a great Berlin souvenir to take home. Some of the top German beers, according to NerdWallet, you can find in Berlin include Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier, a cloudy, Bavarian-style wheat brew; Erdinger Kristall, the “perfect thirst quencher on hot summer days”; Spaten Oktoberfest, a sweet, brown beer; and Radeberger Pils, a classic German Pils.
You will need a real German beer stein to go with all that German beer. A traditional German beer stein is a great souvenir from Berlin for yourself or the beer-lover in your life. Steins are made from stoneware, porcelain, pewter, crystal and glass and come with or without a lid. You can opt for the ubiquitous Oktoberfest, historical or antique stein or have one personalized with whatever you want, such as your family crest or motto, favourite sports team, etc. In Berlin, you can even find steins featuring the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate and other city landmarks.
When most people think of German wine they automatically think of Riesling, which comes from the Rhine region and is revered by oenophiles the world over. However, German wine does not begin and end with Riesling. Did you know that there are more than a dozen wine regions in Germany that produce both reds and whites and that Germany is the 8th largest wine-producing country in the world? According to Liquorista, some of the best must-try German wines include Muller-Thurgauis, Silvaner, Eiswein and, naturally, Riesling. In Berlin, the best place to find these varietals and more is Planet Wein, Wein und Glas Compagnie and Wine shop Schmidt.
The Germans are just as famous for their chocolates as they are for their beers, and you can bring Berlin back home with the right box of chocolate. One of the best places to find chocolate in Berlin, as well as Germany, is Rausch Schokoladenhaus. This Berlin institution is a favourite of local and visiting chocoholics, where you will find a world of chocolate inside. It is also the ideal place for a Berlin-themed chocolate souvenir, as they sell replicas of city landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Fernsehturm (TV Tower). Some of the country’s most popular chocolates are Milka, Toffifee and Kinder.
Lederhosen and Dirndl
Forget about Lagerfeld. Never mind Joop. If you want some real German fashion go the traditional route and get some lederhosen, short or knee-length leather breeches for men and boys, or a dirndl, traditional feminine dress. Although these garments are worn more in Bavaria and Austria, you can still find them in Berlin, particularly at the following stores: Trachten Angermaier, Frankonia and Lederhosen-Stadl, Berlin’s premier shop for Bavarian lederhosen and other traditional Bavarian gear.
Birkenstock was founded and is headquartered in Germany. The Birkenstock brand traces its roots as far back as 1774, and today are the most popular sandals throughout Germany. Although Birkenstocks are found the world over, what better place to buy them than the country in which they originated and are manufactured? There are a few Birkenstock outlets in Berlin, including Birkenstock Friedrichstraße, Birkenstock Georgenstraße, Birkenstock Schloßstraße and Birkenstock Alexanderplatz.
Germany is renowned around the world for its handmade Christmas ornaments and Christmas markets can be found in just about every city, town, village and hamlet in the country. But you don’t have to wait for Christmas to get Christmas ornaments, especially in Berlin. Just head down to Käthe Wohlfahrt on famous Kurfürstendamm. This megastore sells fine Christmas ornaments, decorations and other wonderful Berlin souvenirs on two floors year-round.
The Germans are fanatical about soccer, aka football in this part of the world, and its national team won the World Cup in 2014. Additionally, Berliners love their hometown heroes, Hertha BSC and FC Union Berlin, and love to show club loyalty via their respective teams’ apparel, and so can you. At the Hertha BSC Fanshop, located in the Einkaufsbahnhof Berlin Hauptbahnhof, you can find club jerseys, jackets, T-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, scarves, backpacks and more. If you prefer FC Union Berlin and want all the same aforementioned items but with the FC Union logo, stop by Union-Zeughaus on Bahnhofstraße. If you don’t want to choose sides, be safe and choose football apparel and souvenirs of the German National Team.
While strolling the streets of Berlin, you will inevitably come across a Berlin Bear, as they are everywhere. In fact, it would be almost impossible not to find one. This enduring symbol of the city has been around for hundreds of years. These cuddly bears are perfect souvenirs from Berlin for kids or the kid in you. You will also see lifesize Buddy Bears, fibreglass sculptures of bears, on the streets of Berlin, which promote the quality of tolerance associated with the city but don’t try to take one home as Berliners will not be very tolerant of that faux pas. Instead, buy the souvenir version in the store.
If travelling with young children and Berlin Bears are not to their liking, try a Steiff Bear instead. These are perhaps the best souvenirs from Berlin for kids and babies, as Steiff Bears are cute, cuddly, soft and sweet, and have been a German classic for over 120 years. In fact, Steiff is one of the world’s oldest and most famous makers of Teddy Bears and soft toys. In addition to Teddy Bears, Steiff makes plush animals, such as orangutans, dolphins, elephants, guinea pigs, lions and more. In Berlin, the best place to find them is the Steiff Shop on, you guessed it, the shopping Mecca that is Kurfürstendamm.
Another famous form of German bear comes in Gummi. German Gummi Bears are the original, real deal, and HARIBO Gummi Bears are the best in the country. The company started in a backyard kitchen in 1920 and today sells its Gummi Bears around the globe and produces 200 different kinds of candy. The best place to find them and other candies and chocolates in Berlin is Kadó, which specializes in all kinds of liquorice, including chocolate-coated liquorice; and La Kritzeria, a candy lover's paradise.
Cuckoo Clocks are classic German souvenirs, and one of the perfect places to buy them in Berlin is the aptly named Berlin Deluxe. This eclectic souvenir store sells genuine Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks, as well as Berlin city bags, accessories, T-shirts, sweatshirts and original Buddy Bears. You can even order authentic pieces of the Berlin Wall through Berlin Deluxe. Another great store is Uhren Maeckert on Dudenstraße, founded in 1897, which offers a great collection of high-quality Cuckoo Clocks.
Grimms’ Fairy Tales
This collection of fairy tales by the Grimm brothers is beloved in Germany, as they were written by German folk heroes Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm. The collection contains more than 200 tales, and any bookstore in Berlin worthy of the name will have them, but some of the best bookstores in the city include Shakespeare and Sons, Karl Marx Buchhandlung, Berliner Büchertisch and Ocelot.
In addition to beer, Germany is acclaimed for its schnapps. (Keep in mind that in Germany, schnapps refers to any strong liquor, and the most popular fruit schnapps in Germany are pear, apple, cherry, plum, and apricot.) Distillers in Berlin have been producing schnapps since the 19th century, and one local distillery is beloved above all: Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur, which is also a museum and a great place to purchase Berlin souvenirs of the spirits kind.
Ampelmännchen (the little human figure you see on traffic lights) is an iconic symbol of East Germany that is now one of the most popular souvenirs in Berlin. In fact, it has reached cult status. You can buy this symbol, which is shown on pedestrian signals in Germany, on sunglasses, shot glasses, hoodies, T-shirts, travel bags, backpacks, towels, stationery, chocolate, toys, and many other products at various Ampelmännchen shops in Berlin, which are everywhere.
Essence of Berlin
Do you want the smell of Berlin to stay with you after you leave to help you remember your trip? Well, you can with Areej Essence of Berlin. This perfumery sells the aforementioned scent that smells like Berlin. Fear not, though, this perfume is quite aromatic (it does not smell like the streets), and is one of the most unique souvenirs from Berlin that you can find anywhere in the city. Every spray is sure to bring back a torrent of memories of Berlin.