“Where can I go to buy bed sheets and shower curtains?”
“How can I get a mobile phone number and an Internet connection for my place?”
“Which are the cheapest and the best supermarkets to do the shopping?”
In this section we will answer all your questions about everyday life in Berlin. This kind of info will be very helpful in order to gain confidence with the city and make you feel at home quickly.
Supermarkets in Berlin
You can find many supermarkets in Berlin and most of the times you will find at least two or three really close to the place where you live. If you want to save money, then go to one of the hard discount chains Aldi, Lidl, Penny or Netto. For products of higher quality but still relatively cheap you can go to Edeka (sometimes it is called Edeka Reichelt), Rewe, Norma or Metro, according to your location. Kaiser´s supermarkets are usually the biggest in Berlin but they are in most cases expensive. Moreover, in some part of the city you will also find big hypermarkets like Real or Kaufland; these ones are huge stores where you can find practically everything from food (even foreign products), clothes, household electrical appliances, etc.
The supermarkets are usally open from Monay to Saturday, from 8-9 am till 9-10 pm. However, inside all big S-Bahn stations like Friedrichstraße, Ostbahnhof, Südkreuz, Innsbrucker Platz, ect. there are supermarkets that are always opened on Sundays as well. Click here to find out the supermarkets that opens on Sundays.
Shopping for your house
After your arrival in Berlin and as soon as you’ll settle down in your new flat or dorm, you will probably need to buy some furniture, bed sheets or anything you will need to make yourself at home. We recommend you to go to one of the four IKEA stores available in Berlin. As a side-effect it might occur that your flat will be really similar to other flats in the city, but anyway this is probably the best option you have to buy cheap items with a relatively good quality. A couple of alternatives to IKEA could be Roller with its two stores in Berlin or Woolworth, which has several shops across the city. You can click on the following links to localize either Roller or Woolworth.
Don’t forget to take a look on e-bay, as well. Even better, check out e-bay kleinanzeigen and with a bit of luck you will find furniture, tables, beds and so on sold by people who’re leaving the city or moving to another flat for very little money. Spend some of your time consulting this page, it’s really worth it!
Mobile phone: German SIM Card
Another one of the first things you will have to provide yourself with is certainly a telephone number. There are many providers of pre-paid SIM cards in Germany and you don’t need to buy a telephone to get one. If you choose a company among T-Mobile, Vodafone, e-plus or O2, it will be enough to go to one of their shops and ask for a new number or, in case, an Internet connection for your smartphone. The big advantage of using the service of these companies is that you can recharge your pre-paid phone card at one of the BVG-terminals inside the underground stations (the ones where you usually buy tickets) or at a cash dispenser. Get a SIM card costs usually 10 € + the amount of traffic with whom you wanna charge your phone. Same thing for the Internet connection with a smartphone: if you’re not interested in signing a contract for one year or more, you can choose for pre-paid Internet traffic starting from 10 € per month.
There are lots of providers offering mobile phone SIM cards without requesting any initial costs and are indeed really cheap. For example, with Phonik and blau.de, you can buy a 10 € SIM card at a MediaMarkt or Saturn store and you can easily activate it, just by filling in an online form with your personal data from your laptop. What you pay is normally the amount of traffic already available in your SIM card. With this kind of companies you normally pay 9 cents for a SMS and 9 cents/minute for a phone call within Germany. You can also recharge your phone at an electronic store, in one of the several kiosks in the city or in a supermarket.
In Berlin you can find pharmacies almost everywhere. They are called “Apotheke” and usually are open during the day. If you need one during the night or at the weekends, please refer to this link.
In case you don’t feel well and you have to go to a doctor, you can find here the list of all the doctors working in your quarter. Please insert in the field “Fachrichtung”, the line “Allgemeinmedizin, Praktischer Arzt, Artz”, if you need a general practitioner. Remember that you have to take with you the certificate or the card attests that you’re health insured. The first time you have to go to a doctor, you have to pay 10€, please hold the receipt in a sure place because if you have to return to the practitioner in the following 3 months showing the receipt you don’t have to pay again.