A German ICE train at Copenhagen central station. Photo: Berlinow

Cheaper Rail Travel this Fall

#shopping

How to: Pay

 

Cash Is King in Berlin

Get your cash ready. Photo: Berlinow.

You’re probably used to pay with your Visa or American Express card when you’re abroad. In Berlin, Cash is King.

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At Kürfurstendamm and Friedrichstraße, and other areas frequented by tourists, you can usually use foreign credit cards. Supermarkets like Kaiser and Rewe has also begun accepting cards like Visa and Mastercard. But smaller shops, restaurants, cafés, and some large chains like Mediamarkt and Ikea does not accept foreign cards.

The easiest alternative is to withdraw cash from an ATM with your credit card. Be sure to check with your bank before though, different charges apply for different cards.

If you’re staying in Berlin for a longer period, you might consider a German bank account. Then you’ll get a Girocard, which can be used almost everywhere in Germany.

 

How to: Shop Organic

 

A Guide to Organic Food Shopping in Berlin

Berlin is the organic food capital of Europe. Photo: Esbjörn Guwallius/Berlinow

Berlin is the perfect city for an organic lifestyle. The range of organic foods and other everyday products is enormous.

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In Germany and especially in Berlin, there are numerous shops that specialize in organic products. Everything sold in these supermarkets are organically grown or produced.

Alnatura is one of the German organic chains, and our favorite. Everything in the Alnatura stores looks and feels very fresh, manual cheese and bread counters as well as fruit and vegetables. The chain has many products under its own brand, these are often less expensive than products from other producers and usually of high quality. Alnatura has seven stores in Berlin. The largest is on Greifswalder Straße 89 in the outskirts of Prenzlauer Berg.

Bio Company has 22 stores in Berlin. Maybe not always as fresh as Alnatura, but they has a very wide selection in their larger stores. In the entrance to all supermarkets is a small Imbiss, which also sells bread and coffee, organic of course.

Viv Biofrischemarkt is the second largest chain in Berlin with its eight stores. Here you’ll find everything you need for your weekly shopping. Not the most exciting store, but if you live nearby a Viv, it’ll do just fine. A bakery shop with a good selection is available in all stores.

Europe’s largest

LPG Biomarkt has six stores in Berlin, one of them Europe’s largest organic supermarket. On two stories, covering more than 1 600 square meters, you’ll find Berlin’s widest range of organic products. In addition to food it features a large department with cosmetic and hygiene products. There’s also a bistro, and a bakery with a coffee shop. The address is Kollwitzstraße 17 in Prenzlauer Berg. Some of the other five LPG branches are also relatively large, compared to other chains.

Kiepert & Kutzner has only one store, but a really good one. Personal style, fresh and well-stocked fruit and vegetable department, manual cheese and deli counters, cool music in the speakers and free tea and mineral water make this institution in Prenzlauer Berg a winner.

Veganz is not 100 percent organic, but almost everything in the supermarket is grown and produced organically. The special thing with Veganz? Every single product is vegan. There’s vegan pizza, sausage, cheese, fake chicken … and the list can easily get very, very long. They also have a coffee shop with bakery, which features and vegan cakes and cookies among other goodies. Veganz is open on Sundays (which is uncommon in Germany), when they also serves a vegan brunch.

“Bio” is short for biologisch, the German word for organic.

 

How to: Shop Vintage

 

Second Hand Shopping Guide for Berlin

The GDR department at Humana Second Hand. Photo: Esbjörn Guwallius/Berlinow

London, Paris or New York seems like the most obvious choices for the hunting fashionista. But be aware, Berlin has several hidden secrets when it comes to this Gebiet.

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Berlin is maybe not the first city that pops into mind when you think about shopping vintage or second hand apparel. But seek, and ye shall find. From thrift stores in Friedrichshain to high fashion in Charlottenburg, Berlin can serve all needs and budgets when it comes to old, smelly, used clothes.

Dress lovers beware, this might be your heaven in Berlin. Kleidermarkt is a chain of several second hand and vintage shops in Berlin and other German cities. In Berlin there are four branches, two of which are gigantic. In some of their stores you can even buy clothes by the kilo… 17,99 euros for one kilogram of t-shirts or jeans, and even cheaper during happy hours once a week.

This is one of the largest second hand stores we’ve ever been to. Humana at Frankfurter Tor, with it’s five floors, it’s more like a department store. If you are looking for vintage fashion, and got a limited budget, this is the place to go. From lederhosen over H&M and seventies glam to old DDR fashion, you’ll find it all here. One floor is dedicated to “stuff” – board games, old records players, china and furniture. If you’re really lucky, you’re at Humana during one of their biannual sales, where the price drops to as low a 1,50 euro – for each and every single garment. Besides the flagship store in Friedrichshain, Humana Second Hand has branches all over Berlin. The second largest is located at Alexanderplatz, and there’s also a quite well-stocked branch at Schönhauser Allee. The others are quite small in comparison, but you’ll nevertheless find interesting stuff there.

Designer clothes

Momsenstraße is a parallel street to the famous Kurfürstendamm shopping avenue in the western district of Charlottenburg. On this street, and some surrounding side streets, quite a large number of second hand and vintage shops have gathered. Several of them are investing in well-known designer clothes, with slightly higher price tags than their colleagues above. A Geheimtipp is Madonna on Mommsenstrasse 57. Here you you’ll find designer clothes for a fraction of what they were like new, although, they’re not exactly giving them away.

Checkpoint smells like it should. Old army clothes, heavy overcoats and some new stuff crammed in and old theater in Kreuzberg. Maybe not the top choice among Berlin’s second hand stores, but there is still something for everyone and often moderate prices.

Stiefelkombinat has two stores, both of them located at one of Berlin’s hottest intersections, Eberswalder Straße/Schönhauser Allee, right next to the metro Eberswalder Straße. The selection consists of clothes, shoes, strange old gadgets and furniture. The price level is slightly too high, but here’s at least a lot of fun stuff to browse and if you’re lucky, you might make a deal. Open late, until 10 pm.