Bringing Berlin Home: Souvenirs From the German Capital

Go beyond the cliché Ampelmann keychains and pull-back model Trabants.

The desire to collect mementos has accompanied us since the beginning of time. When Marco Polo landed back in Venice after his expedition in China, he was most probably wearing a silk scarf and holding a Ming vase, while the upper-class English travelers who visited Europe on a Grand Tour liked to collect antiquities and archeological treasures as keepsakes of the cities visited, sometimes after looting tombs with their own hands. Today, souvenirs serve the role of little trophies symbolizing that slice of the world we’ve just conquered, be it geographic or cultural. But you don't have to break the bank in a souvenir shop for great reminders of your trip. Read on and get inspired!

Gummibärchen

These Berlin-bear-shaped jelly babies are the perfect gift for kids and adults. Bring back a bag of KaDeWe-branded ones made with natural fruit juice. For more Berlin bears of the non-edible kind, head to KPM-Berlin and browse the shelves for luxury porcelain souvenirs, including a Berlin bear dressed like the kaiser.

Turkish Delights

Berlin is Turkey’s other capital, and the Turkish market on Maybachufer in Kreuzberg (open Tue and Fri) carries lots of great souvenir ideas, from patterned fabrics to lokum (Turkish delight) and spices.

Berlin Spirits

Berliner Brandstifter gin

Bring back the Berlin spirit in a bottle of Berliner Brandstifter gin or Our/Berlin vodka, or get the TV Tower-shaped Berliner Luft schnapps, which will look great on your shelf even after the peppermint liquor is long gone. Find it at Galeria Kaufhof on Alexanderplatz.

Old-School Selfies

The B&W photos from the retro machines scattered around town are a Berlin hipster classic. Wear your vintage clothes and take home a strip of “yous” from back in the late 1970s. Find photo booths at Checkpoint Charlie, Markthalle Neun, and the Alexanderplatz train station.

Berlin-Based Honey

Support Berlin’s bees! The BerlinerHonig honey is made by urban hobby beekeepers and comes in jars bearing the name of the producer and neighborhood where it was made. Get it in the bigger supermarkets.

Perfume

Frau Tonis Parfum perfume Berlin

With a bottle of Frau Tonis perfume, handmade with French essential oils, you can choose to wear Marlene Dietrich’s Pure Violet fragrance or the urban Linde Berlin and Eau de Berlin concoctions.

Essential Oils

Bring back some essential bath oils by Tetesept or Kneipp from any DM or Rossmann drugstore: A few drops in your bath will relax your muscles and nerves, lift you up, ease a cold, remind you of the ocean, or transport you to an Indian bazaar or a Moroccan hamam, depending on which blend you choose. They even have fizzy, colored bath beads and crackling salts for the kids.

Marzipan

The German classic also comes in a Niederegger variety that's dipped in dark chocolate, melts in your mouth, and simultaneously excites both the sweet and the bitter receptors on your tongue. Get it at Karstadt, or visit Fassbender & Rausch for a full array of fine chocolate.

Cosmetics

German cosmetics are reliable, effective, and high-quality. Stock up on Dr Hauschka lotions at KaDeWe.

Unique to Berlin

The crafty DaWanda community produces funky Berlin-themed T-shirts and products year round. Visit www.dawanda.com to see what’s new, or visit their Snuggery shop at Windscheidstr. 18.

If after browsing these ideas you still want to take home that pull-back toy Trabant or Ampelmann T-shirt that's in everyone else's suitcase, we won't judge you.

Solveig Steinhardt
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