Modish streetwear in Berlin; organic farmers markets brimming with the bounty of land and sea; artsy independent boutiques; family-run craft workshops; new-wave design stores; high-street chains – Germany has the whole shebang. Traditional gifts are timeless – who can resist bringing home a cuckoo clock, ceramic stein or a natty pair of Lederhosen?
Regional products include traditional Bavarian outfits, including Dirndl dresses, Lederhosen, and Loden jackets. Beer mugs are the classic souvenir, no matter whether made of glass or stoneware, plain or decorated, with or without pewter lids – the choice is endless. Famous food products include outstanding marzipan from Lübeck, Lebkuchen (gingerbread) from Nuremberg and Printen (spicy cookies) from Aachen.
German wine also makes a great gift, especially given that some of the most highly prized bottles never otherwise make it beyond the borders.
The Black Forest is the birthplace of German clockmaking, and not only of the cuckoo variety. Precision instruments, such as microscopes and binoculars, are also a speciality. Cutlery is first-rate, with Wüsthof and JA Henckels being leading brands.
Good-quality woodcarvings are widely available in the Alpine regions (Oberammergau’s are especially famous). Fans of the fragile can pick up exquisite china made by Meissen, Villeroy & Boch, Rosenthal, KPM or Porzellanmanufaktur Nymphenburg. The glass artisans in the Bavarian Forest make beautiful vases, bowls and ornaments.
Famous toy brands include stuffed animals by Steiff (the inventor of the teddy bear) and collectible Käthe Kruse dolls. At Christmas markets you’ll discover wonderful ornaments, classic nutcrackers and other decorations.