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.
Travel offers; book through Rough Guides
Planning your trip to Germany
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
The best places to go in spring
Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders
From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises
Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived sh…29 Mar 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article