I shopped for food daily when I lived in the UK. Since the majority of my diet consists of fresh fruit, I prefer to purchase what I need for that day or the next. This also helps me minimise waste since I never stock up on stuff and forget to use it.
I quickly realised that my daily runs to the shop wouldn’t work out in Berlin. Late into the evening on my first Saturday in Berlin a few weeks ago, my gracious host advised me to run (literally, since it was closing soon!) to the shop that moment before it closed for the night and stock up on food for the following day.
She explained all of Berlin shuts down on Sunday. Well, at least the main shops do. Food and grocery stores are ALL shut on Sunday, with the exception of some shops located in the airports and train stations. These shops have special permission to stay open on Sundays because tourists travel through these areas. Also, restaurants, cafés, and some smaller shops are allowed to be open.
This all came as a surprise to me, because back in the States and in Scotland, Sunday is just another day of the week to most businesses and some shops are even open 24/7.
Even though my host warned me that week, I still forgot about the Sunday shutdown of Berlin the week after that. Fortunately, I had plenty of food to get me through the day, but I was still annoyed and learned my lesson.
Shops in Berlin are closed on Sundays because Germany’s laws regulate Sunday trading. I admit not being able to shop for food on Sundays did annoy me the first few weeks, but in reality, a mandatory rest day is nice for employees and beneficial for everyone. You can plan a day of recreation with your family and know that you’ll have at least one day off in common with your significant other. You just need to plan your food shopping in advance.
BUT even if something slips your mind, you can always visit a shop in one of the main train stations (or try scrounging up snacks at a petrol station as most are open 24/7). While some shops in the major train stations are open on Sundays, keep in mind these shops will be VERY busy and you’ll need to wait in a long queue to enter. Seriously. I recommend planning in advance to save yourself the trouble.
I wonder if the rest of Europe shuts down on Sundays as well? I guess I’ll find out soon enough as I’m heading to Spain (the island of Mallorca) next Wednesday!