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Shopping in Berlin

Anything goes in bohemian Berlin and this ethos is very much reflected in the attire of its inhabitants. You'll see all sorts of eye-catching apparel being worn on the streets of this city, which is a haven for DIY hipsters and funky fashionistas.

Whether you have a penchant for punk clothing, designer clobber or vintage garments, if you're looking to replenish your wardrobe, you'll be spoilt for choice with a diverse selection of shops and markets catering for all persuasions.

While prices in the multinational stores are in line with the rest of Europe, there are plenty of bargains to be found in independent emporiums and markets, where the only thing more satisfying than picking up a €15 outfit is being able to drink a sensibly priced beer as you peruse the wares. Now that's what we call shopping.

Key areas

The famous main avenue of West Berlin is Kurfürstendamm that runs through Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf, still a great place to shop for big brands. The neighbourhood is also home to the city's premier department store, KaDeWe (Tauentzien-Strasse 21-24). Most Berliners will agree that the best shopping is available in Mitte between Hackescher Markt and Alexanderplatz.

If you're sick of looking at price tags, head to Garage (Ahornstraße 2) where you can buy clothes by the kilo. But have a close look at the quality of the clothes.

Markets

Markets abound in Berlin. The best known are Flohmarkt am Mauerpark and Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz, both open on Sundays in Prenzlauer Berg. Flohmarkt am Mauerpark also hosts karaoke sessions during the summer months.

Trödel-und Kunstmarkt (Address: Str. des 17. Juni) is one of the biggest flea markets in Berlin with a long tradition. The market is open every Saturday and Sunday.

The antiques and book market on the Museum Island is ideal for books, records, CDs, arts and craft. Open every Saturday and Sunday.

The SO36 night market (Address: Oranienstraße 190, Kreuzberg) is great for funky junk and punk paraphernalia. Check the website so36.com for dates.

The Antik & Trödelmarkt (Address: Richardstraße 105, Neukölln) is for antiques lovers. Open Monday to Friday 1000-1800.

Shopping centres

There are more than 50 shopping centres to choose from in Berlin. The biggest shopping centres in central Berlin are LP12 Mall of Berlin (Leipziger Platz 12), ALEXA (Grunerstraße 20), Potsdamer Platz Arkaden (Alte Potsdamer Str. 7) and Ring-Center Berlin (Frankfurter Allee 111).

Beyond the city centre, the biggest shopping centre of Berlin is the Gropius-Passagen (Johannisthaler Chaussee 317, Berlin Neukölln) and the most famous is KaDeWe (Tauentzienstraße 21-24, Berlin Schöneberg). Other options include Das Schloss (Schlossstraße 34-36, Steglitz) and Boulevard Berlin (Schloßstraße 10, Steglitz).

Opening hours

Shops in Berlin are generally open Monday to Saturday 0800/0900 to 2000. Almost everything is closed on Sunday, except on open for business Sundays.

Souvenirs

Bergmannstraße in Kreuzberg is rimmed with boutiques of a special kind and second-hand shops. Here you also find regional produce in the Markthalle am Marheinekeplatz. Or go to the bookshop Hammett for crime novels and then head with your new book to the Café Barcomi's for delicious cheese cake. The curiosity shop boxoffberlin (bob) in Zimmerstr 11 sells souvenirs made by regional artists. Markets are also a great place to pick up souvenir antiques and bric-à-brac.

There is also a cluster of anti-souvenir shops scattered around the eclectic Kreuzberg district; Oranienstraße is the place to go for anarchist clothing and I Love Kreuzberg paraphernalia.

Tax information

Visitors from outside the EU who are visiting for three months or less can reclaim a portion of that on goods worth over 25 Euros. Berlin shops displaying the 'TAX-FREE' sign issue a receipt that, when stamped by customs, can be redeemed at a tax-free reimbursement office.

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Ritz-Carlton Berlin

Expect the full whistles and bells of an international five-star chain hotel at this sumptuous 300-room property on Potsdamer Platz. Notable features include four restaurants and bars, among them the Tea Lounge, known for its ceremonial afternoon teas. Underground parking is another perk.

Ostel

The prices vary enormously here at this retro showcase for the garish/fabulous interior design of the former East Germany. Part hotel and part museum, this is definitely one of Berlin's more idiosyncratic places to stay; prepare for lots of brown and orange. It's also a stone's throw from techno temple Berghain and the adjacent attractions of hipster Friedrichshain.

Hüttenpalast

Based in a one-time vacuum cleaner factory, this wonderfully eccentric "hut palace" offers colourful accommodation in a range of indoor vintage caravans and repurposed huts. Standard rooms are on offer too – they give more space but they're not nearly so much fun. The backyard has been transformed into a wild garden.

Das Stue

Billed as Berlin's first luxury boutique hotel, the none-more-cool Das Stue sits on the southwestern fringe of the Tiergarten park. It's full of grand design touches, while the rooms themselves are modern with hardwood floors. The hotel also plays home to a spa and, in Cinco by Paco Pérez, a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin

Hotel Adlon Kempinski is one of Berlin's great historical hotels, and a magnet over the decades for the rich and famous (including Michael Jackson, who notoriously dangled his baby over one of the balconies in 2002). It's located close to the Brandenburg Gate, and retains the luxurious feel of Europe's golden age.

Soho House Berlin

Part of the Soho House empire, this private club and boutique hotel is based in Mitte, east Berlin's achingly hip heart. The 40 bedrooms vary enormously in price and layout, but all include vintage furniture and quirky features such as record players. Bring your swimmers for the glamorous rooftop pool.