Even though Konstanz and Kreuzlingen seem like a twin city, the fact remains that they are situated in two different countries. This is why there are import regulations preventing you from crossing the border unchallenged with five cartons of cigarettes and the back seat full of schnapps. Most goods costing less than 90 euros, however, are duty-free. You can get more detailed information at the border and online see German and Swiss customs.
You’re queuing at a supermarket checkout in Konstanz and happen to carry, for whatever reason, a green sheet of paper: Well, that’s good for you, but better not to wave it around – take it from us! Anyone in a queue waving about a green sheet is Swiss, and the sheet of paper is a duty free form for claiming shopping taxes back. Which some people take their good old time completing after checkout. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go down so well with the other customers. More information, leaflets and instruction sheets on the duty free form is available from IHK Hochrhein-Bodensee (Chamber of Industry and Commerce).
Petrol benefits and delicious treats, Swiss cheese and chocolate based on family recipes
Konstanz and Kreuzlingen are border cities. This description still sounds a bit adventurous, even though the times when a border fence with barbed wire separated the city from its Swiss neighbour Kreuzlingen are long gone. For a running traffic there are four border crossings.
As a motorist you will benefit from the cheaper petrol prices in Switzerland. Although there isn’t that big difference anymore, you can still save up to ten euros for a full tank.
Yet Kreuzlingen has culinary advantages too: While the supermarket chain Migros allows you to indulge yourself into the world of Swiss cheese and also has an impressive offer of pasta, the Bernrain chocolate factory a few streets down manufactures delicious treats according to family recipes. Due to the higher price level for food, shopping in Switzerland is not exactly cheap, though.
Keep duty-free allowances in mind
The only thing that might ruin your unfettered shopping fun is if you exceed the duty free allowance. With the exceptions of alcohol and tobacco, most goods costing in total 300 euros per person are duty-free. Therefore, always keep the import regulations in mind.