Pařížská, in Josefov, is home to the city’s luxury stores – branches of the international fashion houses. Celetná in Staré Město, and Na příkopě on the border of Nové Město, also specialize in luxury goods, clothes and souvenirs. The city’s modern department store is the multi-storey My národní on Národní connected with the Quadrio shopping mall. Locals have had their own malls – known as passages – since the 1920s, and new ones continue to sprout up. The biggest of all malls is Palladium, on náměstí Republiky, housed in a castellated former army barracks. For more off-beat, independent shops, you need to explore the cobbled side streets of Old Town and New Town. For outlets, you need to explore the city suburbs.
This very large shopping mall just opened recently in 2007. There are four floors, with more than 200 shops and over 30 restaurants and cafes. There is also some historical value behind the Palladium, as the foundations are associated with 12th-century structures integrated into the architecture of the shopping mall.
Address: Náměstí Republiky 1, Prague 1. Getting there: Metro B to Námestí Republiky. website
Beginning late in August, always attend the summer sales. January to mid-February is the optimal time to stock up on pants, jackets, sweaters, and other warmer clothing for a fraction of its usual price. Fall fashion starts following sales in the summer; the fun colour and radiant florals of springtime arrive in February, and the summer items are found in stores once Easter is over.
One of the most exclusive and highly respected Bohemian glassmakers, Moser, was founded in Karlovy Vary in 1857 and is famous for its rich and flamboyant designs. The shop on Na Příkopě is worth a browse as much for the decor as for the goods – it’s in a magnificently decorated, originally Gothic building called the House of the Black Rose. Address: Na Příkopě 12; Open daily 10am-8pm. website
This is a fashionable and modern shopping centre, as well as a favourite entertainment centre. Nový Smíchov is spread across three floors filled with 150 different shops, a food court and a Palace Cinema multiplex. There are several style boutiques, a big computer store, plus the French food chain Carrefour. There is also a huge area for parking in the basement.
Address: Plzeňská 8, Prague 5; Getting there: Metro B to Anděl. In fact, it is not right in the historical city centre but let’s say it is still in the city centre, easily accessible from metro station Anděl, just 5 minutes walk from Wenceslas Square. website
Part of the country’s biggest jewellery chain, specialising in Bohemian garnet, with a huge range of gold and silver rings, brooches, cufflinks and necklaces featuring the small, dark blood-red stones. There’s also pearl and diamond jewellery and less expensive pieces set with the dark green semi-precious stone known in Czech as vltavín (moldavite).
Address: Dlouhá 28-30; Open 10am-6pm Mon-Fri, Sat until 1pm. website
Czech Garnets. The Czechs have been mining garnets for centuries. Said to bring vitality and cure depression, the Bohemian variety of garnet is not found anywhere else in the world. They are a deep, rich red known as “dove’s blood”, and the settings typically feature many small garnets clustered together. Most garnet jewellery in the Czech Republic is made by Granát Turnov and sold in factory stores by authorized dealers. Once purchased, you should get a certificate with a stamp of approval. However, a fair amount of what is sold in Prague as Bohemian garnets is actually made from almandines or other stones from Italy and elsewhere. Showy gold pieces set with large, brownish stones are indeed not Bohemian garnets.
Belda is a long-established Czech firm dating from 1922. Nationalised in 1948, it was revived by the founder’s son and grandson and continues to create gold and silver jewellery of a very high standard. Its range includes its own angular, contemporary designs and reproductions based on art nouveau designs by Alfons Mucha.
Address: Mikulandská 10; Open 10am-6pm Mon-Thu, to 5pm Fri. website
This is a stunning shop and sells the best jewellery, lamps and furniture in the whole of Prague, most of which is in the Secessionist style. It’s found in U Obecního domu, New Town and the closest Metro station is Náměstí Republiky. It’s open from 10 am-8 pm every day. website
Fashion Outlet Arena
This is an outlet centre located at Prague’s outskirts, is a place where you’ll find dozens of shops with brands discounted 30-70%. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Getting there: take metro line A to Hostivař, and from there, the shuttle bus runs directly to the Fashion Arena. website
This offers original hand-crafts, wood toys, and handmade skincare items. Their home woven linens are genuine. This has plenty of locations around Prague, but its’ major one is on Melantrichova 17; website
Botanicus shop chain
With major positions in Prague, this branch of natural soap, herb and scent stores are a fantastic Anglo/Czech success tale. Began by a botanist from Britain and a Czech partner northeast of Prague on a farm, Doctor Stuart’s make wonderfully scented items that are excellent gifts to bring back home with you. Address: Тýský dvůr (to the rear of the church of Týn) / Michalská 4, adjacent to Нavelské Tržiště; website
While not top-end fashion, it is still worth making a trip to this flagship shop of the renowned Czech shoe company. The styles usually reflect high street tastes. Address: Wenceslas Square 28; Monday to Friday 09:00 to 21:00, Saturday 09:00 to 20:00, Sunday 10:00 to 20:00. website
Dům hudebních nástrojů
A music store that offers everything from bagpipes to drum kits to penny whistles and pianos. Lots of these instruments are produced in the Czech Rep, ensuring that this is an excellent shop for both memento seekers and musicians to visit. Address: Jungmannovo nám. 303; website
Dating back to 1232, the Havel Market has seen many changes over the centuries. What began as only a produce market is beginning to get back to its roots as the produce stands outnumber the souvenir stalls. However, visitors can still find handmade Czech crystal, jewellery, honey and wooden toys in some of the stands. The market is located off of Melantrichova Street in between Můstek and Old Town Square. It is also open year-round.
Šestka is a new shopping mall and is very rarely busy. It is located one stop from Prague Airport, meaning that it is very far from the city centre but perfect to visit just before you leave. To get there, jump on the 119 bus from Dejvická metro station. website
This is not the biggest mall, but it has various fast food restaurants, cinemas, and supermarkets. It also has plentiful parking and is close to the metro and bus route. You can jump on bus number 100 from the airport to Zličín to do some shopping or grab a bite to eat when you leave the airport. website
Just over the metro, the Národní is a 5 storey monolith rather than a normal retail outlet. Also, it is the most centrally positioned supermarket and the place you visit to get a few evening supplies or some fresh bread or fruit. Furthermore, it is a good place for picking up mementoes such as chocolate, spa wafers, Becherovka, or other gifts. Address: Národní no.26, Prague 1. website
On the street of Na Příkopě is located Slovanský Dům shopping mall, featuring top stores, restaurants, cafes, beauty salons and a multiplex cinema. Inside this lovely social complex, you will be amazed by the elegant, modern design and combination of high-end retailers like Armani, Clinique, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and award-winning restaurants. website
Small shops, boutiques and interesting cafes can be found in passages that run under the Art Nouveau Lucerna Palace connecting Vodickova and Stepanska streets just off the Wenceslas Square. Here you will find the entrance to the Lucerna Theater, the Lucerna cinema, a rock club, unique boutiques, a wine shop, new age crystal stores, Lucerna cafe, and even an upside-down version of St Wenceslas and his horse, by the one and only David Cerny, hanging from the atrium of the Lucerna passage. website
This passage, located at the bottom of Wenceslas Square in the Art Nouveau Koruna Palace, offers clothing boutiques, a pizzeria, jewellery and watch stores, a cafe, Body Basics, a jewellery store, and Bontonland Megastore (the largest music store in Prague). website
Etiquette to use When Shopping in Prague
Always hail the shop assistant with a friendly “dobrý den” (hello or good day) upon entering the shop. And, when leaving, say “Na shledanou” (good-bye).
If you are only looking, say “jen se dívám” (I’m just browsing). Should you discover an item that you like, indicate this to the shop assistant and allow them to open it, or take it off the shelf. The phrase “mohu si to zkusit?” is a straightforward way of saying, “Could I put it on?”.
Do not expect a lot of smiling or small talk. Obviously, there are some outgoing shop assistants in Prague, but local customs dictate more formal politeness than any friendly banter with the shoppers.
Before purchasing anything, be sure that you definitely want it. Local policies on refunds are normally much less sympathetic than they are in the UK or US. You might receive a refund (as long as you have still got your receipt), but it is more probable that you will be given shop credits instead or maybe even refused a refund completely.
Finally, do relax and try not to be intimidated. Remember, you are the customer, and the staff are just there to assist.