Berlin has a lot in store for those who love to shop like me. From huge emporiums overflowing with designer labels to your average shopping malls with all your favourite middle of the range brands. For luxury designers and international chain outlets I headed for the world famous shopping street Kurfürstendamm, and am happy to introduce you all to it.
Each district of Berlin has its own commerical hub, although one of most celebrated must be the Ku’damm (Kurfurstendamm), a 4km stretch of avenue in Charlottenburg. The Ku’damm is the place to go for all manner of clothes shops, department stores and of course the usual top designer outlets such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes.
Tauentzienstraße, the extension of Kurfuerstendamm is an ideal shopping mile for the whole family with diversity in styles as well as price categories. World famous KaDeWe department store on Wittenbergplatz is a must for its Food Halls and international designer labels, and that’s where I spent the most time on my trip.
Strolling towards the Ku’damm you’ll find popular highstreet favourites such as Urban Outfitters and H and M. Souvenir Shops are at the Europa Centre and the traditional Café Kanzler on Kanzler Eck with its great street views of the Ku’damm is an established highlight. Exclusive labels including Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci and Jil Sander while further down the boulevard on the elegant side streets such as boutiques are elegant side streets such as Fasanenstrasse and Bleibtreustrasse are chic boutiques and specialty stores.
During the “Golden Twenties” the Kurfürstendamm area of the “New West” was a centre of leisure and nightlife in Berlin, an era that ended with the Great Depression. The shops and businesses owned by Jewish tradespeople became the target of several pogroms, culminating in the “Reichskristallnacht” of November 9, 1938. In World War II the boulevard suffered severe damages from air raids and the Battle of Berlin.
Nevertheless after the war rebuilding started quickly and when Berlin was separated into East and West Berlin, the Kurfürstendamm became the leading commercial street of West Berlin in its Wirtschaftswunder days (the days when the economy boomed) . It was therefore the site of protests and major demonstrations of the German student movement.
After German reunification the Kurfürstendamm had to compete with central places like Potsdamer Platz, Friedrichstraße or Alexanderplatz, which led to the closing of numerous cafés and cinemas. It retained the character of a flâneur and upscale shopping street as the western continuation of the Tauentzienstraße with its large department stores.
The globally unique international art project United Buddy Bears was presented in Berlin on the boulevard Kurfürstendamm during the summer of 2011.
1. Make sure you have a good map with you and research what you want to see before you go. Like this one which has information about the different areas of Berlin, a tube map and a street map. At the weekend there is usually someone giving out free maps to tourists along Ku’damm street.
2. Be sure to sample some authentic German street food, I went for a Berlin favourite, Currywurst (curried sausage)
3. Wear sensible shoes! There is a lot of walking involved with any trip in Berlin, I wore these… and got blisters. You’ve been warned!
Extra Information courtesy of the Berlin Life guide.