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5 Top “No Go” Souvenirs from Munich

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If you come to Munich you probably want to buy a souvenir, that reminds you about your time in this great city. And of course you’ll find a lot of souvenir shops in the city, with tons of Munich or Bavarian souvenirs to buy. But especially in Munich there are really awkward souvenirs available in certain shop. And the strange thing is, that most tourist think, these souvenirs are “so traditional”. Let us tell you the top 5 “no go” souvenirs of Munich:

5. Oktoberfest hat or felt hat
This is a thing nearly every Oktoberfest tourist buys. A silly looking grey or blue-white felt hat in “traditional” shape. But ask yourself: Have you ever seen real Bavarians running around with such hats? I mean not on Oktoberfest being very tipsy. In normal life you don’t see them. And we also don’t run around with alp style felt hats, especially when they are red or green. Keep in mind that real traditional felt hats usually only suit a matching “Tracht” (traditional clothes). See here a sarcastic video (only in german) about traditional clothing and a perfect matching hat and Tracht.

4. Cow Bells
ok, they’re a funny thing as a souvenir. But keep in mind that Bavarians don’t have them at home on their walls. Only cattle farmers use them for their cows sometimes, especially during “Almabtrieb”, also called “Viehscheid”, a ceremonial driving down the cattle from the mountain pastures into the valley in autumn. But then the bells are really big as you can see here:
Bad Hindelang - Viehscheid - Hinterstein nw 05

3. Nutcrackers
Nutcrackers are not common in Munich or Bavaria. They are also not part of the Bavarian history or tradition. Nutcrackers in the form of a knight, king, forester or miner are typical for the Erzgebirge, a region in the german state Sachsen (Saxony). There it is tradition to produce these figures since the 15th century. Some of you will now say: “I have seen nutcrackers already in Munich!”. You’re right. They are sold in souvenir shops. And yes, during christmas time you can also find such nutcrackers as decorative part in shops, and on christmas markets. But after that, the nutcrackers are mothballed until next christmas.
So if you want to buy a part of saxon tradition… go ahead! 🙂

2. Cuckoo Clock
it is a common stereotype, that in Bavaria, every family has at least one traditional cuckoo clock at home. The cuckoo clock is part of the tradition of the Black Forest area. The Black Forest is not located in Bavaria. It’s part of the german state”Baden-Württemberg”. In Bavaria, you won’t find cuckoo clocks. But as they are demanded by tourists, Souvenir shops sell it of course. If you decide to buy one, please have in mind, that you’re not buying a part of bavarian tradition. By the way… original cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest are extremely expensive (from 200 € – 1.300 €). Those you get in a souvenir shop are all made in China ;-).

1. Beer Stein with tin lid & “traditional painting”
What can I say…. of course is beer and a beer mug (stein) part of the bavarian tradition. But don’t believe that every family has a stein with a tin lid and such paintigs or other bric-a-brac on it.

Bamberg Käthe Wohlfahrt Schaufenster Souvenirs.jpg
Bamberg Käthe Wohlfahrt Schaufenster Souvenirs“ von Photo: Andreas Praefcke – Eigenes Werk (own photograph). Lizenziert unter Public domain über Wikimedia Commons.

If you want a stein that bavarians use, buy a normal beer glass, like the “Halbe” (half a liter glass) or the “Maßkrug” (one liter glass). If you want to go deeper in tradition, look for a beer mug called “Keferloher”. But avoid glasses or mugs with embarrassing paintings on it. A sign or logo of a brewery is acceptable.

2013 Augustiner Bräu Krug.jpg
2013 Augustiner Bräu Krug“ von TakeawayEigenes Werk. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons.

2 Comments

  1. Hello
    Thank you for all of this
    Where can I get an original “cuckoo clock ” in Munich how mad Germany not in China?

    • Hello Naif,
      there is a Souvenir store near Marienplatz (city center) (Neuhauser St. 2). But better ask the shopkeeper if it is “made in Germany”.

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