This is a great place to either shop for yourself, or to also bring some nice gifts back home for loved-ones. Choose uniquely-shaped bottles & some nice decorative wrapping to make a simple bottle of booze into a nice gift from Heidelberg. (try "Heidelberger Blaue Perle" = blueberry liquor)
All around the store there are shelves packed with big glass spheres full of delicious concoctions, brews and fermentations. Ask one of the sales staff for assistance, and you can open the tap to pour yourself a sample (of each...) before you buy.
I spent 1/2 hour trying to choose a few bottles... their assortment is so big, with so many yummy things: liquors made from any kind of berries or fruit, aromatic whisky (not your "ancient" variety, but still pretty decent), various wines and much more.
What to buy: This store sells spirits, liquors and mixers / wines, dessert wines, etc. / jams, honey & other condiments / oils & vinegars. I can't help myself: I buy something here every time :-)
Depending on the season, the store has promotions for certain products. In summer, for example, you're most likely to find small cups with caipirinha or sangria for free tasting, and the bottles at discounted prices.
In winter, you absolutely MUST try their Xmas liquor, made with cloves, plums, vanilla and other gorgeous ingredients... I'm serious folks: you are truly missing out on something if you don't pick-up a couple of bottles! Mulled wine at the Xmas market is nice, but this stuff is even nicer for sipping at home.
Mondays to Saturdays 10:00am - 07:00pm.
What to pay: Obviously a little bit more expensive that regular "supermarket booze" but so worth it! I paid 7 EUR for 1 litre of plum liquor.
Heidelberg is a tourist hot-spot, so naturally you'll see plenty of stores & stalls selling everything from postcards, to t-shirts, to fridge magnets, mouse pads, calendars, beer mugs... you get the idea: *Everything!*
The best place to look for souvenirs are the stalls all around the Heilig Geist Church in the old town's pedestrian precinct (or "Hauptstrasse"). Some might call this a tourist trap but let's be honest: most of us deny it, but usually we DO buy ourselves some souvenirs. Admit it! haha! ;-)
What to buy: Most of the stuff is your usual cheesy rip-off kitsh, but sometimes you may just find something a little taseful & treasured.
Have a look at the back of the church... there's an art gallery selling prints of traditional, modern or abstract Heidelberg images. And maybe a mouse pad for the office wouldn't be so bad? A fridge magnet for grandma? And a proper German 1-litre beer mug for your uncle?
I bought a Heidelberg sweatshirt (helps my homesickness) for 20 Euros, a funny kitchen apron for 10 Euros and 2 small wooden dolls for 3 Euros each.
--> Also see my seperate "things to do" tip on the Chocolaterie Knoesel, located right behind this church!
What to pay: You can try to haggle, but most stall owners will have none of it. If the price is too high, compare with the other stalls (they all have pretty much the same things) or just leave it be.
Germany is one of the few countries that still does Xmas "properly", in all its glory, cheesiness, community spirit, warm fuzziness & grand decorations. Experience christmas in Germany once and you'll never want to celebrate it anywhere else ever again :-)
--> Check this link for my separate Xmas-Market-Tip: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/1a2d2f.
Kaethe Wohlfahrt is the poster child of this spirit; a well-known chain of stores throughout Germany and of course there's also a store in Heidelberg's old town. This is a place where it's always "the season to be jolly" - Christmas decorations are on display & for sale 365 days a year! The window displays are truly magnificent and are changed regularly.
What to buy: There are also plenty of souvenirs and decorational items for sale that are not "Xmassy", such as Cuckoo-Clocks, Garden Gnomes, hand-made dolls, Glass or Ceramic figurines, table cloths, Xmas Pyramids, Nutcrackers, cookie tins, limited edition collectors items, hand-made tree decorations, and so much more...
For those of you that can't get enough: you can order their products from their online catalogue! Visit the website for more info.
Monday to Friday: 10:00am - 06.00pm.
Saturdays: 11:00am - 05:00pm. (Sundays: Closed)
What to pay: Many of the items are quite expensive, but the high level quality & craftmanship is undeniable.
This is the very first shop I visit, each and every time I'm in Heidelberg. I've been shopping here for years. It's a tradition for me, and anyone that I've ever brought here has also fallen in love with this place.
The Tea Pavillon is easy to miss, so slow-down and take notice: a small yellow sign on one of the old town's buildings points into a small corridor, taking you past an age-old and dented wooden stairwell. Behind these stairs, enter through a small glass door into a tiny shop crammed full of delicious delights and wondrous trinkets.
This shop signifies everything I love about Heidelberg and old, European cities in general: step into a side-alley and discover something completely unique, tucked-away and hidden from "unworthy" visitors :-)
What to buy: Here, you will find teas from all over the world as well as designer tea pots, hand-made cups & mugs, wind chimes, incense sticks, tee accessories, scented oils & candles, beautiful & unique gift ideas, etc. My reason for always visiting this shop are the hand-made, all-natural and incredibly yummy candies ("bonbons"). Made from various herbs & fruits, nothing beats a sore throat like their in-house candy creations!
If you're looking for something unique, visit the friendly staff at the Tea Pavillon in the Hauptstrasse (pedestrian precinct) of the old town in Heidelberg.
TIP: Be very careful when moving around in this small shop; if you break something, you pay for it.
What to pay: There is something here for every budget. The sweets are charged by weight (pick 'n' mix your own).
This little shop is on a side street, and looking at the windows I would NEVER have known there was a candy store inside.
And what a peculiar store it is! Filled with unbelievably unique items, you will choose your items from purchase when it's your turn and by pointing them out to the sales person.
The store opens at 11:00 am and by 10:45 there was a long line forming outside.
What to buy: You have to wonder if the guy sitting in the dental chair is some kind of warning about the results of shopping here! The choices are really unique; from foaming marshmellow type animals stuffed with gummy things to chocolate blended with an odd assortment of combinations; chili peppers, peppercorns and strawberries, spices.....
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!
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.
Kathe Wohlfahrt is commonly referred to as the Christmas shop, all year 'round. In fact, my daughter sent us some really unique and beautifully special Christmas ornaments from this shop during the holidays. We visited in February and the store was decorated for Easter. There was every possible type of ornament and google for Easter. They are all very charming and cute.
But there is more to this store than Holiday items. Every possible German artifact and cute little souvenier can be found here. Also there is a huge supply of charming postcards, greeting cards, cuckoo clocks, etc. etc. etc!
I don't care if my clothes aren't by Italian designers. I don't care for shoes that cost more than a small car. All I want are trendy clothes that are comfortable, of good quality and will fit me! And ever since I got my first little pocket money from my parents, I've been shopping in Hennes & Mauritz. Don't get me wrong: I am not a shopaholic. But after years of frustration, seeking clothes that will fit tall women with curves, I always find myself returning to my trusty H&M.
H&M is a Swedish brand now operating in countries worldwide. They have managed the seemingly impossible success of retail: ever-trendy clothes at very reasonable prices. If Madonna, Karl Lagerfeld & Kylie Minogue agree (all have designed collections for H&M) then I can't be so wrong, can I?!
What to buy: There are 2 (two) H&M stores in Heidelberg: one at the entrance of the old town (Hauptstrasse No. 1), by the Bismarkplatz (this is ALWAYS my first stop when I visit Heidelberg) and the other is inside the Hauptstrasse (no. 37), about 10min by foot. Both stores have 2 levels, and if you cannot find your size in one shop, staff will call the other store to check for you.
I love H&M because:
> prices are reasonable.
> quality is good.
> the size on the hanger IS the actual size of the garment.
> fantastic selection of underwear & lingerie.
> their trousers are long enough for my long legs!
> they have large stocks of all items.
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 10:00am - 08:00pm.
Saturday: 09:30am - 07:00pm.
--> UPDATE April 2008: H&M has emerged as the top performing European retail brand with a value of 10.4 billion euros!
What to pay: Prices are extremely reasonable, and yet I always find I'm overspending and can hardly carry the bags afterwards!
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.
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.
The store moved, away from the train station area more to the centre. They are now situated in the Plöck, the street running parallel to the main street.
If you're looking for British food or British souvenirs, that's the place to go.Also if you like Malt Whisky! They have a large selection of brands .
What to buy: Above all British food, cider, Malt Whisky, but also greeting cards, books in English, teapots etc.
What to pay: It's a good deal cheaper than getting a plane ticket to London and doing your shopping there, but it's more expensive than in a German store.Most items cannot be found in a German store anyway.
As befits an old university city, Heidelberg has a number of good bookshops.
This one is conveniently located in the Old Town on the Main Street, right around the corner from the City Theater. So if you have some time to kill before the opera starts you can go in and have a look around.
This bookshop is actually much bigger than it looks from the outside. They have a huge selection of used books, carefully shelved by subject, and in my experience they are very helpful if you have special wishes.
Open Monday - Saturday 10:00 to 20:00.
Cuckoo clocks are very popular in this region of Germany. Kathe Wohlfahrt has a wonderful choice of cuckoos to choose from. One entire room of the store is dedicated to these whimsical clocks. Fortunately the times are all set differently so they don't all go off at the same time.
What to pay: These are pretty pricey little devils, ranging in price from under one hundred euros to several hundred euros
Schwarzmarkt literally means "black market"... but don't worry: this isn't some kind of dodgy side-alley operation: this is a funky little shop that mainly specializes in Mobile Phone accessories (they say they have the largest selection of mobile covers in the area), but has recently started branching-out and now offers fun gadgets, cool & cult t-shirts, funky gift ideas, and in 2006: FIFA World Cup fan items (of course!)
The staff here is great: you can tell that they truly enjoy their work, and quite often I've had to force myself to stop a rather entertaining conversation because the queue behind me was getting impatient! (Sorry!)
--> (I will upload some photos of my t-shirts from here sometime...)
What to buy: I'm not saying that you "have to" stop at this shop, but I enjoy coming here and more often than not, I find something fun, special and unique (and most of the time it's NOT for my mobile phone :-) This place is definitely worth a quick visit.
Monday - Saturday: 09:30am - 08:00pm.
Good thing to know: in Germany we call (UK) mobile phones or (USA) cell phones --> "a HANDY" :-)
What to pay: There is something for every budget, but some of the "cult" items (i.e. t-shirts, etc.) can be a bit pricier than usual.