Best Shopping in Prague: Nove Mesto and Stare Mesto
Shopping in Prague is not high on the what-to-do list of most tourists. They come to Prague to amble across Charles Bridge, to drink beer and dine al fresco. It won’t take long to discover that Prague’s Old Town is not only brimful with tourists but also with shops. Shopping in Prague is like being lost in a treasure trove. Souvenirs rub shoulders with wine-red garnet gems. Bohemian crystal sparkles in the sun. Soviet type fur hats are in great demand. Arty handmade earrings go for a song. Almost everyone sauntering through Prague’s cobbled streets steps into shops and admires pashimas, wooden toys or arty statuettes. Prices reflect the interests of the tourists.
Best Shopping in the Old Town district (Stare Mesto)
The Old Town district is almost entirely pedestrian zones. Join the throngs of people shuffling through the narrow streets; be sure to include Karlova and Celetna. Both streets offer the same type of shops yet they are different. Manufaktura (Karlova 26) is popular for natural cosmetics and traditional folk art like wicker baskets, embroidered table cloths and wooden spoons. Modernista Design Shop (Ovocny trh 19) for lovers of Cubist ceramics and also known for furniture and design lighting (quite clumsy to take home but you are free to browse). Leading off Old Town Square is Parizka Avenue filled with high-end fashion boutiques.
Shopping and Sightseeing
Shopping and sightseeing go hand in hand in Prague. Always look up at the facades of the houses in the Old Town. They show many surprises. Karlova 3 is the house at the Golden Source and had a richly decorated front. Karlova 18 shows a plaque decorated with a golden snake. It may refer to a gold merchant who owned the house in eighteenth century. Above the entrance door of Karlova 22 you will see a statue of princess Libuse. She predicted that the seven hills of Prague would become a prosperous city. The cubist-style house ‘The Black Madonna’ is home to Cubist Museum (Ovocny trh 19) and Café Orient, the only Cubist style café in the world.
Shopping in Prague: the New Town district (Nove Mesto)
The Nove Mesto district is Prague’s commercial and shopping district. The two main shopping streets are Wenceslas Square and Na Prikope where you will find a large selection of shops from international chain stores to shopping centres. The most popular shopping centre is Palladium (namesti Republiky 1) brimming with 200 shops and over 20 restaurants. Cerna Ruz (na Prikope 12) is an up-market shopping centre. Go to the Farmers’ Market at namesti Republiky to stock up on fresh fruit and honey beeswax candles. Dana Bohemia (Narodni 43) and Moser Crystal (na Prikope 12) are two of the better shops to buy Bohemian crystal. The Bata Shoe Store (Wenceslas Square 6) is five floors full of shoes, boots and handbags. Go to Cesky Granat Turnov (Dlouha 7) if you want to buy jewelry studded with garnets. A certificate of origin accompanies your purchase, meaning you buy semi-precious stones and not glass beads as is often the case in the souvenir shops in the Old Town.
Best Shopping in Prague: Bazars and Antique Shops
Antique shops and bazars were popular in Communist days and still are. They are full to the brim with stuff from the 1950 and 1970, for many people this is retro for the Czechs old fashioned. These shops sell everything from furniture to tea cups and sneakers and everything in between. Bazars are usually cheaper than antique shops and usually have a larger stock. Bazar CD Krakovska (Jilska 452) a three-minute walk from Old Town Square for CDs, Vinyl, DVDs, Blue-Ray all second hand. Bazar u Medveda (Katerinska 15) near Karlovo Namesti brims with your grandmother’s stuff, dinner sets, cups, dishes, books, Bohemian crystal, watches and lots more. Antiques Cinolter (Maiselova 57) near Old Town is Square more upmarket and more real antique and therefore much more expensive. It is good to know that the further away from the centre the more favourable the prices. Shopping in bazars is a kind of treasure hunt; you never know what you will find.
Markets in Prague Centre
Markets in Prague centre include flea markets and farmers’ markets. In December the latest Christmas market is at old town Square. In spring you will find the Easter market here.
1. Havelske market, Havelska, Stare Mesto
This is the oldest market in Prague and sells mainly souvenirs. There are also several stands selling vegetable and fruit
2. Flea market Naplavka, Rasinovo Embankment
This is an excellent market to rummage through books, DVDs and vinyl. You are bound to find some second-hand treasures from alarm clocks to costume jewelry.
3. Christmas market, Old Town Square
The largest Christmas market is at Old Town Square from late November to early January. This is the main seasonal market. Every day there is entertainment on the small stage and the vendors sell Christmas trinkets and mules wine and other seasonal treats.
Shopping in Prague Centre: the Malls
The biggest shopping mall in central Prague is Palladium on namesti republiky. Many former department stores like Kotva and Bila Labut have now adopted the shop-in-shop concept.
1. Bila Labut, na Porici 23, Nove Mesto
This was the first department store in Prague and now shop-in-shop: shies, toys, books and lots more. In the basement is the Lidl supermarket.
2. Kotva, namesti Republiky, Nove Mesto
Kotva applies the shop-in-shop concept. It is more upmarket than Bila Labut. You will find here international brands like Armani, Bvlgari and Burburry.
3. Quadrio, Spalena 22, Nove Mesto
Quadrio offers sixty-six stores spread over four floors. The food court is on the top floor. If you like Indian cuisine, you should try Bombay Express or Loving Hut recommended for vegans. You can admire Hlava Franze Kafky, the head of Kafka. This work of art is made by the Czech artists Davis Cerny whose art is provoking and sometimes shocking.
4. Palladium, Namesty Republiky, Nove Mesto
With 200 shops and 20 restaurants, Palladium is the largest shopping centre in Prague centre. Shops include international chain stores: H&M, Esprit, Calvin Klein. The food court is on the fifth floor.
Shopping in Prague Centre
Prague brims with shops and it seems that every second building is a shop. It is impossible to browse in all. Here is a selection.
1. Dana Bohemia, Narodni 43, Nove Mesto
Dana Bohemia is one of the best places for Bohemian crystal of first class quality. The prices are higher than in the souvenir shops because the quality is superior.
2. LEGO shop, Narodni 31, Nove Mesto
The LEGO shop doubles as a museum where you can see 2500 models constructed of 1.000.000 bricks. The shop has a large collection of LEGO construction boxes.
Fashion Shops in Prague Centre
1. Jaroslava Prochazkova, Vodickova 36
Czech fashion designer whose collection is affordable and original. The shop is in the Lucerna Passage right next to the upside horse dangling on the ceiling.
2. Destroy, na Prikope 31, Nove Mesto
Destroy specializes in shoes and stocks brands like Converse, Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel, Puma, Reebok, Ecco, UGG and more.
3. Klara Nademlynska, Dlouha 3 and Hana Havelkova, Dusni 10, Nove Mesto
Two Czech fashion designers who combine trendy with classic and excel in quality material. Klara Sport and Klara Jeans are two affordable labels.
4. Desigual, Koruna Palace, Wenceslas Square 1, Nove mesto.
Desigual has several stores in Prague, one in the centre and the others in Shopping malls in the suburbs. If you like avant-garde and colourful fashion, Desigual offers a large collection at affordable prices.
Photos Marianne Crone