Prague

Shopping in Prague still feels like an adventure. Around one corner, you’ll find a crumbling shop front and a glimpse of a stooped jeweler hard at work restoring an ancient pocket watch. Around the next, a cutting-edge design boutique selling witty Czech-made home accessories.

In recent years Czech fashion and design has come of age. While it’s no Paris, there’s a funky, even punky, edge to many of the clothes and objects on offer that will stand out anywhere in the world.

But traditional pleasures still abound. Endearing traditional crafts are available on every cobblestoned street. Each region of the Czech Republic has its own specialty, and many are represented in Prague. Intricate, world-renowned hand-blown glassware, wooden toys and carvings, ceramic dishes, and delicate lace all make perfect "I got it in Prague" gifts. The Czechs are also masterful herbalists, and put plants to good use in fragrant soaps and bath products made on local farms.

That said, every city has its kitsch, and Prague is no different. Marionettes have been a favorite Czech handicraft and storytelling vehicle since the late 18th century, and they are ubiquitous here. The trick is avoiding mass-produced versions at tourist kiosks and getting your hands on the real puppet deal.

There are plenty of real deals in the city’s antique shops, art galleries and antikvariats—secondhand book and print stores. Some are vast, dusty caverns, some look like an elderly aunty has tipped out her entire attic willy-nilly, while still others are pristine, prissy, and pricey. Either way the unpredictable jumbles of merchandise offer a fun day of flea market–like spelunking—you may pick through communist-era buttons in one shop and find cubist office chairs or ancient Czech manuscripts in the next.

If you like your souvenirs to sparkle, garnet peddlers abound. But take heed: all that glitters isn’t garnet—many are not the real deal. True Czech garnets are intensely dark red. Also known as pyrope or Bohemian garnet, these precious stones have been mined here for centuries. Tight clusters of garnets are found on antique pieces, while modern baubles are often sleeker and set in gold or silver. Stick to our recommended shops for quality gems, and inquire about the setting—if a low-priced bauble seems too good to be true, it could be set in low-quality pot metal.

The international jet set isn’t forgotten either. If you crave big luxury labels, the aptly named Paris Street (aka Pařížská ulice) will give you your dose of runway glam. Do not expect any steals here, although they are available elsewhere in the city’s impressive selection of European chain stores.

Most of Prague’s shops are open from 10 am until 6 or 7 pm, and malls tend to stay open until 9 or 10 pm.

If shopkeepers in Prague seem aloof, don’t be dissuaded—try greeting them with a friendly "dobrý den" when entering a store, and you may be surprised by their warmth.

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  • 1. Artěl

    Staré Mesto | Ceramics/Glassware

    This American company, led by designer Karen Feldman, merges modern style with traditional Czech techniques, using mouth-blown molten crystal...Read More

  • 2. Bric a Brac

    Staré Mesto | Antiques/Collectibles

    If you like the sensation of unearthing your treasure, this wonderfully cluttered antiques store is the ticket. About the size of a closet,...Read More

  • 3. Czech Labels And Friends

    Staré Mesto | Clothing

    It's clear that the Czech and Slovak designers whose clothes line the shelves at this bright boutique don't take themselves too seriously. Each...Read More

  • 4. Kubista

    Staré Mesto | Household Items/Furniture

    On the ground floor of the stunning House at the Black Madonna, this gorgeous museum shop brings original and replica cubist and art deco pieces...Read More

  • 5. Leeda

    Staré Mesto | Clothing

    This artistic-minded shop is chic, original, and just a little bit mad. Stocked with genuine and original Czech designs, items range from painted...Read More

  • 6. Manufaktura

    Staré Mesto | Crafts

    Established in 1991 in a bid to preserve traditional Czech and Moravian crafts, Manufaktura is now a thriving business with branches across...Read More

  • 7. Masna na Kozím plácku

    Staré Mesto | Food/Candy

    This food shop on a quiet stretch of Kozí is like walking into a bygone era before supermarkets took over the high street. Think the best bread...Read More

  • 8. Mucha Museum shop

    Nové Mesto | Gifts/Souvenirs

    The perfect place for your art nouveau or Alfons Mucha fix (the world-famous Czech artist who made his name painting Sarah Bernhardt in fin...Read More

  • 9. Náplavka

    Nové Mesto | Food/Candy

    Every Saturday sees the hipster riverside hangout of Náplavka transformed into a farmers' market selling staples like potatoes and apples as...Read More

  • 10. Truhlář Marionety

    Malá Strana | Crafts

    Among Prague's many marionette peddlers, this shop below the Charles Bridge stands out for its selection of unadorned linden-wood marionettes...Read More

  • 11. Absintherie

    Staré Mesto | Wine/Spirits

    Absinthe is everywhere in Prague. It's a bit of a tourist cliché, but even if you aren't a fan of the "green fairy," it can be a fun gift for...Read More

  • 12. Adidas

    Nové Mesto | Sporting Goods

    The iconic three stripes, the emblems of the brand, are discreetly displayed all over this unusually spacious concept store on a crowded stretch...Read More

  • 13. Alice Abraham

    Staré Mesto | Clothing

    Inside her eye-catching boutique, this Czech designer with an eye for the dramatic shows off her wares. Clearly fond of animal prints, glitz...Read More

  • 14. Analogue

    Malá Strana | Cameras/Electronics

    A photography and camera-lover's paradise, Analogue offers a knowledgeable staff passionate about analog photography, Lomography cameras (the...Read More

  • 15. Anima Tua

    Staré Mesto | Clothing

    A luxe setting and de luxe clothes bring the sparkle to the party with bold Italian brands like Elisabetta Franchi and Fendi. ...Read More

  • 16. Anne Fontaine

    Staré Mesto | Clothing

    This store is effectively Paris in Prague—a French designer, understated French decor, and rails of blouses dripping with that "je ne sais quoi...Read More

  • 17. Antikvariát Karel Křenek

    Nové Mesto | Books/Stationery

    Despite the extensive collection of antique maps, prints, and engravings dating from the 16th century, this shop is refreshingly bright and...Read More

  • 18. Antique Újezd

    Malá Strana | Jewelry/Accessories

    This dimly lit antiques shop fills bureau drawers with vintage accessories and trinkets, as well as a selection of dainty 1930s pocketbooks...Read More

  • 19. Art Deco Galerie

    Staré Mesto | Antiques/Collectibles

    The quintessential vintage shop just off Old Town Square is pleasantly cluttered with art deco–era sculptures and furnishings. Those with eclectic...Read More

  • 20. Art Shop Prague

    Staré Mesto | Crafts

    In this store, the city's famous Astronomical Clock is old news. The walls are lined with numerous new clock designs from a number of different...Read More

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