Quality and precision – the watchwords of German produce – mean most visitors to the country will already be familiar with many of the smaller items it exports besides beer. Familiar names may include Adidas, Birkenstock, Boss, Nivea, Mont Blanc, Villeroy & Boch or Meissen. Prices for these brands are not significantly cheaper than elsewhere in Europe, although the choice is wider. Most cities have a local alternative quarter with a quota of independent boutiques and vintage outlets for local hipsters. Those same quarters in Berlin and to a lesser extent Hamburg also support superb record shops – a good place to browse for cutting-edge electronica.
And then, of course, there is the wonderland of German crafts. Wooden toys are excellent – ubiquitously beautifully crafted with superb attention to detail, and often a regional flavour. Christmas markets are excellent opportunities to pick these up. If you must buy one, cuckoo clocks, made in southern Germany since the eighteenth century, can be bought in shops throughout the Black Forest.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
Planning your trip to Germany
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
Video: is Leipzig the new Berlin?
There's been a lot of hype about Leipzig lately, with many dubbing Saxony's capital "the new Berlin". But can little Leipzig honestly compete with Germany's la…
Leipzig reborn: discovering the city by Trabant
Leipzig, more markedly than most cities in eastern Germany, has experienced an upswing in recent years. It's now a dynamic university city with a colourful, wel…
The 10 best Baltic beach resorts
European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the E…