UNICORN is a gem of a shop located in the old town. You have probably heard of the cheap & cheerful souvenir stands by the Heilig Geist Kirche (holy ghost church) near the Market Square, and this store also specializes in souvenirs from Heidelberg and Germany in general - but this is different:
--> Souvenirs here are of the highest quality. This is a place for the serious collector; or for some serious presents for the special people in your life. Prices aren't cheap, but you get some truly amazing items for your money.
You can find high-quality kitchen products from German manufacturers, traditional clothing for men & women, beer steins (mugs) with intricate decoration (often hand-made), fine china crockery & tea sets, photography books, and the infamous Steiff soft toy collection.
What to buy: The Steiff "Knopf im Ohr" toys will catch your eye in their large window display; everything from a small teddy bear (40 EUR) up to a 6-foot tall lifelike polar bear (4,100 EUR!) can be found here!!! In my opinion, these are no toys for drooling toddlers. These are beautiful items of the highest quality. A teddy or any other animal from the Steiff collection is a great gift, and one that can be treasured by a family (and a child that is old enough to appreciate it!) for many years. I'm seriously considering buying one or two special "furry friends" during my next visit...
A bit of fluffy history:
Margarete Steiff, a polio-stricken German seamstress, created a small elephant-shaped pin cushion in the year 1897. It became surprisingly popular as a children's toy, leading her to create more animals made from fabric. In 1902 her nephew, Richard Steiff, joins the company and creates the world's 1st toy bear with jointed arms & legs. In 1903, the bear makes it across the Atlantic to the USA where it is sold under the name "Teddy", after US President Theodore Roosevelt.
The trademark button in the ear was added in 1903 to combat the confusion created by numerous cheap copies flooding the world market. In 2005, the company celebrated its proud 125th birthday!
What to pay: Prices start at approx. 9 EUR for a 6cm hedgehog, up to 4,100 EUR for a 6-foot tall polar bear!
The Providenz Church has a small table near the entrance door, where people can put down used books. Anybody who's looking for something to read, can come and have a look. If they find a book they're interested in, they just drop some money in the box and take the book. It's all done on the base of trust. The money is used for projects of the church. Of course, you never know what you can find there, but it's worth going there and see what on the table.
What to pay: You pay what you think the book is worth.
I was walking down the main street when I noticed a sign " L'Epicerie". Since I like to cook (and eat) , I followed the sign to the store , a few meters away from the Hauptstrasse. It's small , but offers a large selection of spices, salt - I saw Swedish salt there - what's the difference to other salts? - peppers, olive oils, vinegars etc. The place was crowded, so
I didn't ask about the salts, but I heard other customers asking questions and they were answered in a very friendly and helpful way
Even better, for the chocoholic at least, this shop is just opposite a chocolaterie. Again a small place, a large variety of all sorts of chocolate and again not the kind you'd find in the supermarket. You can buy very small chocolate bars to find out which flavour you like.
I bought cinnamon, rose pepper,lemon and earl grey flavoured chocolate, for 20 cents each. A great way to taste many different flavours!
Both stores are under the same ownership. This was my first visit there, but certainly not my last.
Address is Hauptstrasse 32, but a few steps away from the actual main street.
What to pay: Prices varied a lot, of course.None of the prices looked too expensive for what you get, so a comparison to a similar store would be "about average", but to a supermarket "more expensive than average".However, most of the items cannot be found in the average supermarket. I bought some dried herbs and paid about three Euro, which I think is perfectly acceptable.
This mall is located exactly on the Bismarksplatz (convenient tram & bus stop for the old town) and consists of 7 levels covering over 12,000 square metres of "credit card danger"... Note that there are 2 (two) Kaufhof malls in old town Heidelberg. The other one is located in the Haupstrasse / pedestrian precint, about 5min walk from this one!
I prefer shopping in the individual stores along the Hauptstrasse, but especially in bad weather, a warm & dry mall is very tempting indeed.
Monday - Saturdays: 09:30am - 08:00pm.
What to buy: Here you will find Fashion Accessories, Watches and Jewellery, Stationary and School supplies, Books and Magazines, Bed sheets and Duvet covers, Chocolates and sweets, Crockery and Cutlery, Kitchen and household appliances, Women's & Men's Wear, Sports items, Children's and Baby Clothes, and of course the "Markthalle" on the ground floor. (see my separate restaurant tip)
There is also a large toy store on top floor (beautifully decorated during Xmas time), together with one of my favourite places for "a coffee with a view": Dinea Restaurant. (see my separate restaurant tip!)
What to pay: Most items are very reasonably priced, and there are many seasonal special offers.
My fiance used to be an underground house DJ and nowadays works as an Audio Engineer, so I know that there is NO WAY we can walk past this record shop without spending a considerable amount of time! Nowadays, I usually "drop him off" and do some shopping alone, whilst leaving him happily in his element... haha!
At any given time, Vinyl Only stocks over 70.000 records! Here you will find anything from Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, to the Beach Boys and ABBA, The Doors and INXS, to old-school dance classics and cutting-edge club tunes (many professional DJs are regulars here). As the name promises, the emphasis of the business revolve around vinyl (excuse the pun) but for those of you that are too young to even remember the black discs, CDs are also available.
On certain days of the week, the store welcome local DJs to spin a few tunes in a free set for its customers. Ask the staff for dates and details.
What to buy: And even if you're not interested in buying much, settle down with a set of headphones, listen to your favourite or some new tunes, and join-in the musical appreciation, trivia & history discussions that always pop-up between the owners and some customers. The staff here are extremely helpful and knowledgeable... everything here is in alphabetical order, but if you're not sure about the artist or song title, simply singing the tune to them usually works as well ;-)
This is a real place for music lovers of all ages. Don't miss it!
What to pay: Prices range far and wide: starting at 5.99 EUROS for "one-hit-wonders" and lesser known artists, up to big bucks for rare collectors' pieces. They also often have a special offers section where you can make some fantastic finds.
What to buy: I wouldn't think that it is typical for Heidelberg, but it definitely is typical for Germany: beer steins - in various sizes and colors. But watch out: they are HEAVY! Usually you can find those mugs in any of the souvenir shops!
What to buy: There are quite a few souvenir shops along Hauptstraße (Main Street) Heidelberg. They do have coockoo clocks that are wonderful to look at, but they sure are expensive!!! You can always ask about tax free shopping - it should be no problem in Heidelberg.
Along the main street you will always find artists either exhibiting and selling their artwork and/or scheming and sketching and painting right there. I think this adds to the wonderful and lively atmosphere of Heidelberg!
There is this one antique shop in Heidelberg that has a wonderful collection of old keys and especially locks - a joy to look at! Plus the owner is very friendly and even helped us with cleaning this one lock which we had not even bought at his place - but he sure was enthusiastic about such a wonderful piece!!
Hauptstrasse is the main shopping street and pedestrian for most of the day but in the mornings there are quite a few delivery vans and there are cyclists everywhere all day long so beware! As for the shops, they are quite a good mix (see the website below) even if bookshops (it's a student town) and clothes dominate along with cafes to rest your feet in and the odd gift shop with interesting things. You will also find a Käthe Wohlfart's Christmas shop here which is almost as big as the one in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber and as impressive with its many rooms full of Christmas delights.
This is a tiny costume jewelry store on the main street in Heidelberg that you should not miss. The owner has a selection of different designers and thus ample variety in styles.
What to pay: There you find anything from one euro until around 150+
There are some very unique shops in Heidleberg. One of these shops is the so called Zuckerladen (sugar shop). You can get here all the candies you can imagine. And the best: You don't buy them like in a supermarket, in a bag from the factory. Here, you choose them. You choose the candy, how much you take, you make your own bag! Ah, what a perfect place!
Gummibaeren (gummi bears) are my favourite sweets. Of course I couldn't resist buying 1kg of them when I discovered this great shop in Heidelbergs pedestrian zone. They've got a selection of some dozen different sorts of candy and I suppose that everything is good. You are even allowed to try it!
What to buy: gummi bears!
What to pay: slightly more than in a supermarket, but the bears are far better than most other sorts
Hospitality, cheery and friendly sellers and good products. You may find coffee and tea specialities from all over the world. I myself do not drink coffee, but the variety of coffee types makes me almost coffee-fan.
What to buy: Tea and coffee in nice boxes:
- Sunflower: Coffee, Tea, Marmelade and Bisquits.
- Breakfast: Tea, Marmelade and Bisquits.
- Coffee and Tryffelballs.
What to pay: I bought 2 bottles of wine, 3.90 and 6.50 euros. The other had Heidelberg-label. I gave those as souveniers, pity that I cannot tell anything about the taste. The boxes are 12-13 euros.
This was a very nice shop despite the weather. I think we could have roasted the coffee beans on the side walk it was so warm.
The Janssen Kaffee house roasts their own beans in the several roasting ovens one could see from the shop interior.
What to buy: I highly recommed Janssen Kaffee. I bought the "Heidelberg" roast which is a mild blend. It came in a very nice cannister that made it easy to transport in my luggage.
What to pay: I believe I paid 8 euros for a cannister. The cannister holds a little better than a pound of coffee.