Munich

Munich has three of Germany's most exclusive shopping streets as well as flea markets to rival those of any other European city. In between are department stores, where acute German-style competition assures reasonable prices and often produces outstanding bargains. Artisans bring their wares of beauty and originality to the Christmas markets. Collect their business cards—in summer you're sure to want to order another of those little gold baubles that were on sale in December.

Munich has an immense central shopping area, a 2-km (1-mile) Fussgängerzone (pedestrian zone) stretching from Karlsplatz to Marienplatz along Neuhauser Strasse and Kaufingerstrasse, where most of the major department stores are, and then north to Odeonsplatz. For upscale shopping, Maximilianstrasse, Residenzstrasse, and Theatinerstrasse are unbeatable. Schwabing, north of the university, has more offbeat shopping streets—Schellingstrasse and Hohenzollernstrasse are two to try. The neighborhood around Gärtnerplatz also has lots of new boutiques.

A few small shops around Viktualienmarkt sell Bavarian antiques, though their numbers are dwindling under the pressure of high rents. Antiques shoppers should also try the area north of the university—Türkenstrasse, Theresienstrasse, and Barerstrasse are all filled with antiques stores.

If you're looking for something really rare and special and money's no object, try the exclusive shops lining Prannerstrasse, at the rear of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Interesting and inexpensive antiques and assorted junk from all over Europe are laid out at the Friday and Saturday flea markets at Olympiapark (7 am–4 pm), not far from the Olympic Stadium, with hundreds of sellers.

If you want to deck yourself out in Lederhosen or a Dirndl, or acquire a green loden coat and little pointed hat with feathers, you have a wide choice in the Bavarian capital. There are a couple of other shops along Tal street that have new and used lederhosen and dirndls at good prices in case you want to spontaneously get into the spirit of the 'Fest.

Munich is a city of beer, and items related to its consumption are obvious choices for souvenirs and gifts. Munich is also the home of the famous Nymphenburg Porcelain factory. Between Karlsplatz and Viktualienmarkt there are loads of shops for memorabilia and trinkets.

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    A wide array of artisanal chocolates, truffles, and chocolate spreads, plus delicious hot chocolate, is on offer at this snug shop and café just across...Read More

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