Prague Shopping from Souvenir Shops to Designer Boutiques and Second-hand Stores

As most shops in the historic center of Prague stock Bohemian crystal, it is difficult to know where to buy that set of wine glasses or that delicate decanter. Have a good look around and compare prices before deciding where to buy. Pop into Moser, not only for their crystal and porcelain but also for the beauty of the building which looks more like a museum than a shop.

Browse the shops in elegant Pariszka Street, Prague's answer to the Champs-Elysees. Duck into side streets and discover the boutiques of Hana Havelkova and Klara Nademlynska, renowned Czech fashion designers. Then head for Botanicus for natural products. Their soap, oils, herbs and spices, candles and the like are made in the small village of Ostra, east of Prague.

Blood red garnets are a famous Czech product. They come from mines in Turnov, a town in northern Bohemia. Many shops sell these semi-precious stones. The smaller ones are home produced, the bigger ones come from India. Both are equally brilliant. Browsing all four floors of Book Palace Luxor may take up more time than you have. Head for the Prague Books department and pick up a coffee table book on the capital; the perfect gift either for yourself or friends.

The following list of 10 best shops may help you to decide to where to go first.


Prague 02 Vinohrady

The Praha Thrift Store is an excellent spot to grab a bargain. When you buy here you help people in need and you save the planet by reducing waste. You also help yourself because prices are low and quality is high. The clothes section stocks second-hand but also new and branded fashion. Browse the wide range of books and you are sure to find that novel you have wanted to have for ages. Rifle through racks of vintage clothing. The children's section is a true Mecca for parents and grandparents. Pick up that Skoda toy car or an abandoned Teddy bear looking for a new home. Lots of Barbie dolls are looking for a new 'mother' and model trains will keep father and son busy for hours.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Go bargain hunting in Praha Thrift Store and support non-profit charities.

Marianne's expert tip: Browse through books, find second-hand clothing or household goods. This unique shop also stocks new items. Buying at the thrift store means recycling and at the same time helping people who are less well off.

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Palac Knih Luxor
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Palac Knih Luxor occupies a prime location on Wenceslas Square. This Mecca for booklovers has four floors crammed with books, a guarantee for a few hours of browsing. This welcoming shops stocks everything from comics to historical novels and from Prague history books to romantic fiction. If you have used up all your reading material, Luxor stocks a wide selection of English best-sellers books translated from Czech on the lower ground floor. You will find new releases on the ground floor as well as Czech and foreign newspapers and magazines, travel and cooking. The café on the first floor is an excellent spot to enjoy a cappuccino with honey cake while you leafing through your newly bought books.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The store is vast and sometimes it is difficult to find what you are looking for. Staff will search in the shop's computer data base.

Marianne's expert tip: Palac Knih Luxor, Book Palace Luxor, what other recommendation is needed? This treasure trove is crammed with fiction, non-fiction, best-sellers and magazines. You will find an excellent selection of foreign books, lots of them in English, on the lower ground floor.

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Bric a Brac
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Nestled in a small courtyard behind Tyn Church in the heart of Prague, Bric a Brac is a wonderful antique shop. Crammed with thousands of items from typewriters to crystal chandeliers, this little store is a true treasure trove. Rummage through shelves cluttered with household goods and glassware. Dig into boxes brimming with antique Teddy bears and Barbie collectables. Try out the violin and if you are lucky it is a Stradivarius, but don't count on it. You had better bring a well-lined wallet because despite the crappy look, most items are surprisingly expensive. Once you have checked out the smallish show room at Tynska, follow the signs to the one in the courtyard and try your luck there.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: One man's trash is another man's treasure. Go home with a wicker coffee table, an Art Nouveau necklace or an old fashioned fountain pen.

Marianne's expert tip: Bric a Brac is a favourite haunt of tourist and prices reflect this. Good bargaining skills will come in handy.

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Hana Havelkova
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When you buy a designer dress from Hana Hanelkova, you need not be afraid to see another guest at the same party wearing your dress. Dresses may be made with the same cut, but all details are different. Fine tailoring is Hana Havelkova's hallmark. Her designs are feminine and elegant with refined details. . She is inspired by natural colors, beige, sand and white. Her collections went on show all around the world and she organizes prestigious fashion show presentations for Czech-made Skoda Cars. You can find her designs at Dusni Street, located in the Stare Mesto district in midst of other fashion designers stores.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Hana Havelkova's fashion is timeless and suited for women of all body sizes.

Marianne's expert tip: Evocative and sexy evening dresses or fragile, innocent wedding dress, Hana Havelkova's Haute Couture is unique and designed to bring out your personality.

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Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Kubista Design Shop is a wonderful shop where you can buy artworks of the Art Deco and Cubists periods. Kubista is located on the ground floor of the House of the Black Madonna, the most famous cubist-style house in Prague. This building is home to café Orient with Cubist-style interior. Kubista Design Shop specializes in jewelry, ceramics, reproductions, pictures, paintings and furniture. They stock original pieces for serious collectors with lots of cash to spend. Prices vary greatly because Kubista also sells replicas. Browse through the collection that comprises works of Bohumil Kubista, Otto Gutfreud, Vaclav Spala and many other well-known Czech artists. Even though the cubist style ceramic tea set looks tempting, it is not very practical to take home. Beautifully illustrated books about Art deco and Cubism easily fit in your handbag and are the perfect gift either for yourself or for friends.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Kubista Design is not only a shop but also a museum filled with Kubist and Art Deco art.

Marianne's expert tip: If you cannot afford an original 1930 armchair or Cubist collectors piece, replica Art Deco cufflinks, pendants and bracelets make great presents to take home from your visit to Prague.

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When you enter Botanicus, a sweet fragrance rushes towards you. This family-owned company stocks beauty products and food stuff. Shelves and displays cases brim with scented soaps, herbal bath oils, cardamom vinegar, teas, honey, wax candles and dried flowers. Your purchase is beautifully wrapped in gift paper and makes the perfect present. All products are made of natural ingredients, using plants and herbs grown in their own organic farm in Ostra about 35 km from Prague. A visit to this farm makes an interesting day trip. Medieval craftsman ply their trade in this mock historical village, which runs interesting events from April to October.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: One of the few places where you can buy Dead Sea mud soap.

Marianne's expert tip: Botanicus is one of the best shop in Prague to browse for natural products like rose or lavender hand cream and herbal salt.

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Moser means Bohemian crystal. The shop sparkles and glows with splendid drinking glasses, carafs, vases, ashtrays and all sorts of other decorative glassware. Each item on display is more beautiful and flamboyant than the next. The Moser shop in Na Prikope street is the flagship of the prestigious glass blowers dynasty of Karlovy Vary. Lead is an important component of crystal. It makes glass strong but it is also a health risk for glass blowers. Ludwig Moser succeeded in manufacturing lead-free crystal that was as strong as leaded glass, an invention that made working conditions for the glass blowers safer and healthier.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: It is worth browsing as much for the crystal objects as for the beautifully decorated original building.

Marianne's expert tip: The Moser crystal collection guarantees flamboyant designs and top quality. If you cannot afford any of their trinkets, treat the shop as a museum.

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Ceský Granát Turnov
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Cesky Granat Turnov is one of the many shops in Prague selling dazzling, dark red garnets. This semi-precious stone comes from mines in the Czech Republic. Shop windows in the historic center brim with garnets in all sizes and shapes. The jewellery is mostly classic of design and looks as if it comes straight from grandma’s inheritance. A plethora of shops in Stare Mesto stocks this semi-precious stone in the form of earrings, pendants, cufflinks, rings, necklaces and bracelets. It is difficult to decide which shop to favor because the ruby red stones set in gold or silver all look very similar. Many shops sell garnets imported from India. They look exactly the same, but if you want to have Bohemian garnets, Granat Turnov is a trusted shop to buy them. Every garnet is accompanied by a certificate of origin.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Semi-precious Czech garnet, usually red stones, allegedly replace sadness with joy. Its effect probably depends on who is buying and who is receiving.

Marianne's expert tip: A multitude of shops in the historic centre of Prague stocks garnets. Although prices tend to be similar, it pays to look around a bit.

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Ivana Follová Fashion
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Ivana Follova is a successful fashion designer with her own boutique in the center of Prague. She likes to work with natural material like, linen, cotton, wool and silk. As she draws her inspiration from Japanese kimonos, her designs are loose fitting and flowing. Her colors reflect the earth and the sky and range from deep ochre to cerulean blue. Elegant evening dresses, enchanting wedding gowns and practical town wear hang side by side in her showroom. If you cannot find your perfect fit, her made-to-order wear ensures unique design. Ivana Follova offers unique fashion and perfect design at an affordable price.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Each piece of clothing Ivana Follova designs is unique and very credit card-friendly.

Marianne's expert tip: Go home with a hand-colored silk dress or a loose fitting soft satin kimono.

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Prague 02 Vinohrady
Antik Petit
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Tucked away in a side street off Vinohradska Avenue, Antik Petit is a tiny shop specializing in antique textiles. The shop owner Mrs Olga Bystronová solicits items from homes all over the Czech Republic. The younger generation wants to move on and anything reminding them of the old, meaning Communist days, is given short thrift. Her shop brims with linen tablecloths with bobbin lace trim, embroidered bedspreads and pillow cases. Display cases are true treasure troves, antique rings, diamond studded pendants and garnet rings sit beside beaded purses and vintage earrings. Move carefully in between the porcelain statues, Bohemian crystal decanters, flower pots and vases. Admire oil paintings, watercolors and drawings. Go home with an Art Deco fan or a set of hand embroidered napkins.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Antik Petit is not tourist focused and prices are far better than in the old Town.

Marianne's expert tip: Poke around a bit and you may go home with an Art Nouveau broche or a pair of lace gloves.

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Meet Marianne Crone

Marianne Crone divides her time between her home in the Netherlands and an apartment in Prague, the city where her son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.

Now retired, Marianne is still an...  More About Marianne