République tchèque

Shopping - Czech Republic


There are many reports of one price for Czechs and another for tourists.


Under the Communist regime that ruled Czechoslovakia until 1989, shopping was a grim experience in the Czech Republic. The odd jar of sauerkraut and some Russian dolls might be a slight exaggeration but only because they had sold out of sauerkraut.

Today, Prague is awash with shops, albeit the dominant brands include the very un-Czech Tesco - in a building that is very much a blot on the central Prague landscape - and Marks & Spencer.

Top items that might be of interest on a city break include Bohemian glass and china - although getting it home in one piece can be a challenge - wooden toys (still including the Russian dolls) and local handicrafts.

Prague shopping areas

The top areas in Prague city centre include Wenceslas Square and the streets around the Old Town Square. Some of the best places are found by wandering the narrow streets of the Old Town.

On your walk from the Old Town Square to the Charles Bridge, you'll find Erpet Bohemia Crystal at Staromestske namesti 27. This has a fabulous range of lead crystal, jewellery and goods from leading Czech brands. There's coffee available in the lounge area.

Further along, at Male namesti 14, is Blue, a very different glass shop with quirky modern designs. Nearby, Monday to Friday, you'll find the Old Town's largest outdoor market, Havelsky trh, in front of St Havel church.

If you are looking for something very different, like a chastity belt, battle axe, sword (not recommended if you are flying home) and armour then U rytire Krystofa at Kozna 8 in the Old Town is ideal.

Czech Folk Crafts is a little more conventional - wooden toys, corn-husk dolls etc - at Karlova 26. The Charles University Gift Shop has some nice ideas like branded university sweatshirts and pullovers. It's at Celetna 24.

Prague shopping hints

Prague shops have varying opening times from 8am to as late as 10am. Most close at 5pm but some are open well into the evening.

VAT is levied at 19% on most goods and services although it is only 5% on most foods and hotel and restaurant bills. VAT can be claimed back if you spend more than 1000 CZK on an item. Tax free shops display a ‘Tax Free Shopping’ notice. Ask for a tax free shopping cheque and tax-free envelope and have it stamped by customs within 30 days of purchase. Refunds can be collected at Ruzyne Prague airport.

Credit cards are generally accepted - check at the door of a shop for details. It's less likely you will be able to use a credit card for low-cost everyday items. Don't be tempted by the street sellers offering excellent currency exchange rates for changing money.

Cheap designer goods on street stalls, or at bargain prices, are likely to be fake. Pirated CDs, DVDs and computer software are also sold widely, so buy with caution.

Czech classical music CDs with the works of Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek and others can be very good value.

useful sections of the website

kuPractical life and expatriation in the Czech Republic

kuThe Czech currency

kuRetail and distribution in the Czech Republic

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