There is a lot to think about when planning a trip to Germany. And thinking of what to buy in Germany should be something to think about as well. But do not worry, once you get to the bottom of this list, you will have plenty of ideas of the best things to buy in Germany during your vacation, whether you are in Munich, Berlin or taking a day trip to the Lorsch Abbey.
I always love visiting local market and browsing in a grocery store when I travel. It gives a big insight into the culture of the people who call Germany home, from the fruits and vegetables they eat, to the trinkets they sell, there is much to be learned when shopping in a foreign country.
Keep reading to find out what you should buy in Germany.
What to Buy in Germany
A beer stein is a great souvenir to keep on a mantlepiece as a reminder of Bavarian culture, even though it may take up a bit of space in a suitcase. The beer stein has been used in Germany since the 14th century and is symbolic of fellowship among the people.
There are many different types of beer steins available, made from various materials like pewter, stone, glass, or porcelain. Many steins also have intricate designs and are rare enough to be considered collector’s items. It is one of the most common things to buy in Germany and you can buy one practically everywhere from street vendors, to beer halls and gift shops.
The Ampelmännchen (translated to “little traffic light man”) were the traffic light symbols designed by psychologist Karl Peglau in 1961. They were used in East Germany during the period of Germany’s division and became an iconic symbol around the country. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, laws were passed that replaced the Ampelmännchen on traffic lights with the more generic icons.
However, designer Markus Heckhausen took the iconic figure and made it available to the people of Germany in the form of souvenirs. You can now purchase these gorgeous Germany souvenirs in the form of fridge magnets and ice cube trays, branded on shot glasses, and even made into pasta.
In the western world, eggnog is a favored drink to be shared around Christmas and Easter time. The Germans have a similar drink called Eierliköer, which is much tastier than its American counterpart.
This classic holiday beverage is creamy and is prepared by mixing together ingredients like egg yolks, vanilla bean spice, sugar, and any dark spirit like rum, brandy, or whiskey. Although it is a favorite during Easter and Christmas-time, you can find Eierliköer bottled in supermarkets at any time of the year.
As far as German souvenirs go, Sauerkraut Juice may well be the foulest tasting one on this list. However, contrary to the belief that drinking some of it might cause you to throw up, many Germans solemnly swear that Sauerkraut Juice is a digestive aid and that it actually eases upset stomachs.
This is because Sauerkraut juice is made using well-fermented cabbages in a way that is beneficial to the digestive tract. It is also very high in Vitamin C and contains very little by way of calories. It is a very popular staple in Germany and you can find it at pretty much every pharmacy or large grocery store in the country.
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Wooden Children’s Toys
In this modern age of action figures and remote-controlled cars and drones, you might think any gift you get for a child has to be snazzy and ultra-modern. However, wooden toys hold a certain timeless charm that most kids appreciate. Wooden toys made in Germany are famous for being of the highest possible quality.
The country’s craftsmen are dedicated to their art and use the wood-crafting and toy-making methods that have been passed down from one generation to the next. You can buy a wooden toy in any of the toy stores across Germany.
If a list of the best chocolate-producing nations had to be made, Germany would be at the top along with Switzerland and Belgium. Germans absolutely love chocolate and other than Switzerland, consume more chocolate than any other country in the world. While there are chocolate shops all over the country, the best and most iconic chocolatiers and chocolate museums are in Cologne.
You can buy chocolates in almost every store in Germany, from luxury bars made by brands like Fassbender & Rausch Chocolatiers to more conventional – but still high-quality – bars from brands like Milka or Kinder.
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German Gummy Bears
If you are among the rare people who have a sweet tooth but are not fond of chocolate, German “dancing” gummy bears may be more appropriate for you if you are wondering what to buy in Germany. These gummy bears were the flagship treat of the candy company,[easyazon_link identifier=”B00K61RTT8″ locale=”US” tag=”cadiouwa-20″]Haribo,[/easyazon_link]which was started in the 1920s by the German entrepreneur, Hans Riegel. Since the 1920s, Haribo has grown to be one of Germany’s largest candy brands and ship treats all over the world. You can visit any of Haribo’s factory outlets in Cologne, Wilkau-Hasslau, Montabaur, Solingen, and Neuss. Or just pick some up in any retail store.
A Piece of the Berlin Wall
When the 96.3 mile stretch of real estate known as the Berlin Wall came down in November 1991, it effectively lost its value and became only good for souvenir purposes. Bad luck for the separatists, but good luck to you if you want a souvenir from Germany. You can simply go off to the wall and break off a piece for yourself. Some hotels provide tools for their guests to do this on guided tours. You can also buy a piece of the wall along with a certificate of authenticity from the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Furniture creation in Germany is an ancient craft. Just like toys, furniture made in Germany is typically excellent in quality and lasts for eons. If you are in Germany and your apartment back home could use an ornate couch or a beautiful dining set, Germany might be the best place to buy it. You may have to consider the costs and challenges to deal with when it comes to shipping. But if you purchase your furniture from an antique dealer, they should be able to help with the process.
Many families enjoy the Christmas tradition of placing beautiful ornaments on a Christmas tree. However, there are very few ornaments that are as exquisite as ornaments produced in Germany. The Christmas traditions of Germany are truly ancient and influenced traditions all over the world. In Germany, tourists can head over to Kathe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Village, where they can purchase every possible type of Christmas decoration available; from gorgeous glass baubles to delicate wooden ornaments. These ornaments would make great gifts for friends and family, but you can also buy as many as you want to make your Christmas tree shine with the beauty of a German Christmas.
What to Buy in Germany Conclusion
Hopefully, this list will help you choose which German souvenirs you wish to bring back from your holiday. If I missed on of your favorite things to buy in Germany, I would love if you let me know in the comments and I can add to the list.
One other thing to be mindful about traveling in Germany is to ensure you have travel insurance.
Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel every day.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
Popular Tours in Germany
While you are planning your trip, check out some popular tours in Germany.
If you are interested, you can also check out What to Buy in Paris or What to buy in London or What to Buy in Turkey for your other European travels
Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.
Tuesday 4th of May 2021
Cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest are a great, functional souvenir. And there’s a lesser-known, but beautiful form of Bavarian artwork called Zinnkunst. These are small pewter figures that are manufactured and painted by hand. The most well-known figures are made by the Family Schweizer, which has been manufacturing pewter figures for more than 200 years. The figures are often used as Christmas or Easter ornaments, or as wall hangings.