Knut
Knut pictures

Shopping in Berlin

Berlin is one of Europe's best kept secrets when it comes to shopping destinations. It's a big city and has all the big national and international chains as well as a thriving specialist and boutique scene. Yet price levels are reasonable: you're not paying for the ridiculously high costs suffered by stores in other capitals, giving you more bang for your Euro or buck.

If you're looking to take advantage of Germany's bargains across a whole range of goods, a trip to one of Berlin's many modern shopping malls will give you a huge selection under one roof.

Still got some old Deutschmark in the back of your travel wallet? Are all those old pfennig and d-mark coins weighing your pockets down? You'll be glad to know they're still worth something: collectors won't buy them, but some stores still accept Germany's old currency at the official exchange rate, and you can always change them at the Bundesbank. Our guide to using your old Deutschmark shows you where and how.

Shops by type

Opening hours

Germany used to have arcane and restricted opening hours - until 6:30 pm on weekdays (except Thursdays) and 2pm on Saturdays (except on the first Saturday of each month, when shops were open to the dizzyingly late hour of 4pm). As of November 2006 the rules have been considerably relaxed and in Berlin shops and stores can open from Monday to Saturday 24 hours a day (trading is still not allowed Sundays and public holidays however, although there are certain exceptions such as the period before Christmas).

In Berlin most shops and malls open between 9am or 10am and 8pm every day (except Sunday and public holidays). Supermarkets generally open earlier, at 8am or even 7pm, whereas smaller fashion boutiques and specialist shops may only open around midday. On special occasions about four times a year shops are also permitted to open on Sundays, but only between noon and 5pm (these are known as verkaufsoffene Sonntage); the four Advent Sundays are also legal shopping days (unless the last Sunday falls on Christmas Eve).

For information on Sunday opening in 2007, see Sunday Opening in 2007.

Closing times now vary from place to place: generally most shops are open at until 8pm; many remain open until 8pm on Friday and Saturday evenings, and some are open until 10pm every day. 24 hour opening is virtually non-existent.

Despite the recent liberalisation of opening hours, it's still possible to be caught short of something when all the usual shops are closed. If so, do not lose hope: there's a selection of shops which will be open, but you may have to travel a little to find one. See our guide to Out-of-hours shopping for more information.