Czech shops offer products that meet European standards and often are a bit less pricey than elsewhere in Europe. Famous Czech glass, costume jewellery, first class Czech beer, culinary specialities, world-famous brand names – all these come with a guarantee of quality and at a reasonable price.
Wenceslas Square, Na Příkopě, Pařížská, Národní třída and Vinohradská are Prague’s major shopping areas. Numerous international retailers like H&M, Esprit, Mango, Zara, Benetton, Top Shop, Next can also be found in Prague’s ubiquitous shopping centres. The most popular commercial shopping centre is definitely Palladium, which boasts over 180 shops, 20 restaurants, bars and cafés spread over five floors. Its impressive architecture and congenial ambience make shopping a real experience. Another shopping mall worth a visit is Nový Smichov, located in the Smichov district. For an alternative, explore the city’s old-guard shopping arcades—namely Černá růže, Myslbek or Lucerna, and department stores like Bílá labuť and Kotva, all of which can generally be relied upon for staple items such as professional attire, bathing suits, luggage and tailoring services. The Fashion Arena Outlet Centre is also worth a trip if you’re looking for discounts on designer brands. There are also some shopping malls in Prague’s outer suburbs (Zličín, Černý Most, Chodov, Letňany). All are within easy reach by metro.
It is a good idea to try on clothes or shoes before you buy them, not only because sizes aren’t always standardised but also returning purchases can be a hassle compared to the standards in Western Europe, where a no-questions policy often applies. As long as you have the receipt, you should be entitled to return clothes for up to 30 days after purchase for a full refund, store credit, or exchange. But this does not always include sale items, which often carry a no-refunds policy. If you don’t have a receipt, you might be able to exchange the item, though policies vary from store to store. If you are a non-EU resident and exporting goods to another non-EU country, you might be entitled for tax back; just look for blue TAX FREE sticker in stores.
- read more about Shops and Department Stores in Prague
What Souvenir to Buy?
The Karlova street connecting the Old Town Square with the Charles Bridge is the busiest road in Prague, and is heavily frequented by tourists. It is packed with similar shops selling identical items and it pays to be cautious. The same can be said about Celetná, linking Old Town square with Power Gate and Municipal House. If you want to take traditional Czech items home with you, then you ought to shop away from this area. Although the large quantity of crystal, garnets and glassware being sold are authentically Czech, and some shops, like Moser, are also genuine, you should definitely avoid the shops which sell Slavic items, unless you wish to acquire some colourful nesting dolls from Russia, or some Communist-style furry hats. In fact, a wide array of dubious items are available, as most of the other stores sell inexpensive goods from China, which just have Prague logos stuck to them. Should cheesy mementos happen to tickle your fancy though, then you will love Prague’s main tourist areas.
Crystal glass (traditional and contemporary), wooden toys for children, and jewellery, especially Czech garnets, are usually popular choices. Puppets (puppet-making goes back to the 18th century) and marionettes are traditionally hand-carved from wood or made from plaster, and can be a nice choice for a souvenir too. If you indulge in liquors, try Becherovka, a herbal liqueur from Karlovy Vary known to have medicinal properties. It is especially good for digestion and is the most unique Czech liquor. Czech jewellery-making is very well famous; look for bead jewellery, imitation pearls and strass jewellery (recommended is the jewellery produced by JABLONEX).
Moser Glass and Crystal
Moser Glass is a luxury, high-quality crystal manufacturer based in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Founded by Ludwig Moser in 1857, Moser boasts a long tradition of superior artistic and technical standards in lead-free crystal. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Moser developed its now-famous technically perfect crystal production, employing a unique formula for producing a substance as hard as rock and as brilliant as lead crystal – but without using a trace of lead. This composition is very suitable for Moser’s marvellous engravings, is ecologically sound, and remains free of all concerns associated with lead. Today, Moser produces a wide range of stem and barware, holloware, accessories, giftware and art glass, all showcasing the superior quality, innovation and remarkable artistic expression for which the line has long been recognized. A visit to the Moser Glass Factory is a pleasure to everyone who loves Czech crystal and glass products and the art of glass-making. Moser glass has been sought out ever since for its outstanding quality and artistry, and is known worldwide as the “glass of kings”. All products are made by hand in an array of shapes and Moser signature colours. website
You do not have to be absolutely insane to like absinthe, the potent, chemistry-lab green spirit, which is 70% alcohol. Buy it everywhere, give it to everyone, but drink it in moderation. read more
Carlsbad Spa Wafers
The history of the traditional Czech spa wafers goes back to 1856 when Karel Reitenberger started to produce them on a large scale. Their taste and shape have not changed since. Thanks to the unique production, which includes manually covering them with a mixture of hazelnuts, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar, the wafers are among the traditional Czech specialties. You can buy them fresh from souvenir vendors, or look for them in a grocery store.
In a country where you can see operas that feature traditional Czech marionettes, these puppets make a good gift. You may know someone who would fancy one of these eerie, but unarguably artistic, creations. Obchod pod Lampou (U Lužického Semináře 5) has the best around, in all shapes, sizes and splendour. read more
Beads and Jewellery Imitations from Jablonec
Beads have been made in the Jablonec area since the 16th century, and sold under the Jablonex brand to more than 80 countries in five continents for the past 50 years. website
Alfons Mucha Paintings
There is no doubt that of all modern Czech visual artists, Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) enjoyed and continues to enjoy the most international recognition, influence, and popularity. In December 1894, Mucha volunteered to produce a poster advertising a play with Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris. On January 1, 1895, the advertisement for Gismonda appeared on the streets of Paris, and became an overnight sensation. You can find popular Art Nouveau Alfons Mucha reproductions at the website.
Books from Famous Czech Authors
You never go wrong by buying some books about Prague, whether about its history, cuisine, or sights. As for Czech prose, you can choose from Czech writers known far beyond Czech borders, like Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera or Jaroslav Hasek and his popular Svejk. read more
Czech Classical Music
Good buys are classical CDs of the works of Czech composers – Dvořák, Smetana, Martinů and Janáček – as well as those of folk music and brass bands. You can get CDs at any bookstore and many other stores in the city centre.