When you seen enough souvenir shops all selling the same miniature Charles Bridge, Astronomical Clock magnets and reproductions of Prague Castle, hop on the metro line A and get off at Flora station. Atrium Flora Shopping Mall means shopping where the locals shop. You can buy here anything that will brighten up your day from shoes and lingerie to iPhones and cuddly toy animals. When your shopping is done, go up to the fourth floor for a gourmet dinner, a snack or just a pizza or hamburger. Shopping hours are very liberal, seven days a week from 8 am to 22 pm.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Costa Coffee is one of the best places in Prague for pure Arabica coffee.
Marianne's expert tip: Be sure to have a look in the Bata shop. This international chain of shoe shops is of Czech origin and sells much more than just shoes.
Shakespeare and Sons is a shop where you can browse for hours on end. Firstly because almost all books are in English and that makes reading a lot easier than books in Czech. Secondly because it is a tiny shop full of atmosphere and very inspiring. The walls are lined with book cases from the ceiling to the floor, chockfull with English literature, from best sellers and travel books to classic novels. Can’t find your favorite novel? Browse the second hand section. Leaf through English translations of Czech authors and get inspired by reading tantalizing recipes in the cookery books.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Be sure to get your copy of The Trial by Kafka, Prague's most celebrated citizen.
Marianne's expert tip: Get a Czech cookery book in English; vepro-knedlo-zelo, roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut is the all time favorite.
The Czech daily diet is not very healthy because it contains too much meat and hardly any fruit or vegetables. Over the last few years this attitude has been changing because the younger generation has discovered organic food which they can buy at the Farmers’ Markets, farmarske trziste in Czech. One of these markets is held at Jiriho z Podebrad Square. As soon as spring arrives the Farmers Markets set up their stalls; special types of cheese and also smoked cheeses which are a Czech speciality, wine from Moravia and all sort of fragrant herbs. Taste, smell and buy. Apart from organic fruit and vegetables you will find here beekeepers selling their honey and home-made jams.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Home-made jams and wines make the perfect present, but also beeswax candles.
Marianne's expert tip: freshly-baked traditional goodies such as kolacky or babovka make a perfect snack.
Dum Porcelanu, Porcelain House, specializes in porcelain cups, mugs plates dishes and figurines but also earthenware and crystal. Blue onion porcelain is their speciality. The onion motif found its origin in the floral motifs on Chinese porcelain which were in fact pomegranates. These were copied for the European market and mistaken for onions, because they looked like onions. Blue onion decorated china is very popular in the Czech Republic and almost every family has a dinner, tea or lunch set with this pattern at home. Dum Porcelanu is also the perfect shop to buy Bohemian crystal bowls, vases and wine glasses.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Shopping in Dum Porcelanu is a true pleasure because the prices are not inflated as in the Old Town.
Marianne's expert tip: If you are looking for a dinner set for children, Dum Porcelanu stocks lovely sets with pictures of Little Mole, krtek in Czech.
Prague has a large variety of antique shops. Located on Vinohradska street, only a ten-minute walk fromWenceslas Square, Antikvariat Vinohradska is one of the top quality antique shops in Prague. It specializes in in old books, even though you may not be able to read Czech the collection is worth browsing especially when you are interested in old books. The books on Art need no knowledge of a foreign language because the illustrations tell the story. Music lovers will rave about the wide selections of second-hand CDs and gramophone records. If you are looking for the musical score of Carmen or Don Giovanni, it may be your lucky day and you will find a pristine copy.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Specialized in books, Antikvariat Vinohradska stocks an impressive collection of Art Books.
Marianne's expert tip: Venture outside the tourist area of the Old Town to find antique treasures at bargain prices.
When you think cheese, you think Gouda. Hey! Just a minute, Gouda is a city in the Netherlands! What has Gouda to do with Prague? If you crave true Dutch cheese, hurry to Cheesy, a traditional Dutch cheese store. They stock imported cheeses from all over the world, but are most famous for their Dutch cheeses. As is customary in cheese shops in the Netherlands, you are offered a slice of cheese to try, and another one; no obligation to buy. Gouda cheese is available in different of ripeness. Old Gouda is three years old and delicious when grated and sprinkled on top of a pasta dish.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: This is the only shop in Prague that sells 'Leidse kaas', cheese from the city of Leiden (near Amsterdam), with caraway seeds.
Marianne's expert tip: Be sure to sample young or semi-mature Gouda. Its taste is like an angel's kiss: soft and creamy.
Vinohradsky Pavilion was the first shopping mall to open after the Velvet Revolution. It offered many exclusive designer brands such as Sergio Tacchini, Tommy Hilfiger and la Perla. Its opening in 1994 may have been slightly premature because Prague was not as yet ready to embrace capitalism. Today only two of the fifty-five shops are still open. The star attraction is the Albert supermarket in the basement and the ATM machine near the entrance. Still, Vinohradsky Pavilion is worth a visit if you like fin de siecle architecture. This terracotta-coloured shopping mall is located in the former Vinohradsky Market Hall and adorned with art nouveau steel details.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Beautiful example of fin de siècle architecture with a hint of Art Nouveau
Marianne's expert tip: Albert, the supermarket in the basement, has a fine selection of typically Czech products.
Greek Corner is like a Greek island but situated in Prague. This is your shop if you suddenly crave Mediterranean food. Thick black Kalamata olives, thick sheep yoghurt and pine honey from the island of Thassos to sweeten it or creamy feta cheese, all product in Greek Corner are equally tantalizing. This is one of the few shops in Prague where you can buy retsina, a resonated wine that has been made for at least 2000 years. If you like something stronger go for the ouzo, an anise flavored aperitif, or tsipouro, a distilled spirit. Mavrodaphne is a sweet red wine that goes very well together with a Greek meal.
Recommended for Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Greek Corner has the best tzatziki outside Greece, be sure to stock up on Kalamata olives.
Marianne's expert tip: Compose your own take-away meal from the selection of freshly cooked dishes.
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 Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Buying at the thrift store means recycling and at the same time helping people who are less well off.
Marianne's expert tip: Go bargain hunting in Praha Thrift Store and support non-profit charities. Browse through books, find second-hand clothing or household goods. This unique shop also stocks new items.
Tucked away in a side street off Vinohradska Avenue, Antik Petit is a tiny shop specializing in antique textiles. The shop owner Mrs Olga Bystronov�olicits 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 Vinohrady's Best Shopping because: Antik Petit is not tourist focused, 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.