Best spots to shop 'til you drop

Berlin is a great place to shop, and we're definitely not talking malls and chains. The most famous and longest retail spine is the Kurfürstendamm in western Berlin, but it’s no secret that for the best buys you have to hit the imaginatively curated indie boutiques scattered around its distinctive neighborhoods. It is they who best reflect the city's zest for life, individual style and aspirations, and a bottomless entrepreneurial spirit. And isn’t it much more fun to flaunt some unique outfit or accessory you won’t find on the high street back home?

In fact, the only thing typical about the Berlin look is that there is no such thing. Basically anything goes, the more idiosyncratic the better. Berliners see nothing wrong with combining black leggings from a cheap chain store with a flared skirt from an up-and-coming local designer (Flagshipstore has a great selection) and a pair of 70s leather boots hunted down at a flea market like Flohmarkt am Mauerpark. Individuality triumphs over conformity any day, and that’s true for fashionistas of any age or gender,

But it’s not just fashion and accessories waiting to be stashed into your suitcase. Berlin is also big when it comes to design and already back in 2006 got the Unesco nod as a City of Design. There’s even an entire design district ready to inspire your decorating fancies. Of course you can also pick up legendary ‘made in Germany’ products like Meissen porcelain, stuffed animals by Steiff or a fountain pen by MontBlanc. Or if you want to enjoy the flavor of Berlin back home, stock up on gin by Berlin Brandstifter, chocolates by Erich Hamann or honey by Berliner Honig. 

Saint George's Bookshop
Photo courtesy of Andrea Schulte-Peevers


It's always heartening to see a bookshop thrive in the Digital Age. But then, Saint George's isn't your average bookworm haven. In fact, with its mind-boggling selection, fair prices, living-room atmosphere and keen staff, it's a stand-out among...  Read More



As the painters, writers and poets of fin de siècle Paris knew only too well, it's a short transition from absinthe-minded to absent-minded. Also known as the 'green fairy', absinthe is a distilled spirit that originated in Switzerland in the...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Andrea Schulte-Peevers


In our times, when the release of a new iPhone elicits headline news and Chinese children make clothing for pennies, the idea of a shop that sells traditionally made products of yesteryear seems to be an anachronism. Yet, Manufactum has stemmed...  Read More

Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf
P & T - Paper & Tea GmbH
Photo courtesy of Andrea Schulte-Peevers


To say that P & T sells tea is like saying that Tiffany sells jewelry. As sleek and minimalist as a gallery, this concept-shrine to fine and rare teas from around the world makes the heart of every sophisticated tea lover skip a beat. The...  Read More



If you want to bring something home from Berlin other than memories and a Brandenburg Gate-shaped fridge magnet, stop by this boutique that stocks a tightly edited selection of fashion and accessories by around 30 designers, most of them based...  Read More



This bazaar-like canalside market scores a 10 for color and liveliness and is tops for putting together yummy meals or picnics. Squeeze past glistening olives, creamy feta spreads, exotic spices, fresh fish and meat, crusty flatbread and piles...  Read More

Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf


If your home needs a makeover, make a beeline to Kantstrasse, which in recent years has evolved into Berlin's 'Design Mile'. Between Zoo Station and Savignyplatz square around 50 high-end stores and showrooms provide decorating ideas and a vast...  Read More



French savoir vivre is alive and well on Friedrichstrasse in the heart of Berlin's historic Mitte district. This is where, in 1996, the famous Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette set up its first German branch in a spectacular building...  Read More



Ok, this flea market is not exactly a well-kept secret, but even after years in business it's still much beloved by both locals and tourists. For good reason: the selection is awesome, prices are fair and the ambience vibrant. Year round,...  Read More

Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf
Photo courtesy of Andrea Schulte-Peevers


If you're in the hunt for gourmet anything, look no further than the Food Hall on the 6th floor of KaDeWe (short for Kaufhaus des Westens or Department Store of the West), continental Europe's largest department store. Take your sweet time as...  Read More


Meet Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Andrea has made a living as a travel writer and photographer for over 20 years, visiting some 70 countries in the process and authoring a similar number of guidebooks, mostly for Lonely...  More About Andrea