Prague may not be famous for fashion – except maybe socks and sandals, or Jaromír Jágr’s mullet – but the next generation of independent Czech designers are changing the game. There’s now a wide array of hybrid design, shopping and event spaces run by young creative types where crowds hanging out over coffee might just stumble upon their new favourite dress or item of homeware.
There isn’t really a single ‘shopping district’ in Prague. Pop-up shops and outdoor markets draw trendsetters to an array of locations across town depending on the season. Small businesses in the outer neighbourhoods see a steady stream of both residential foot traffic and travelling shoppers once they’ve built a word-of-mouth reputation. So bring your own bag, set aside a few hours to browse, and join the scavenger hunt for your perfect Prague purchase.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Prague
Best places to go shopping in Prague
One of Prague’s most eclectic indie shopping experiences doesn’t actually have a permanent home – it has many. Mint Market is a collective of Czech fashion, jewellery and accessory designers who bounce from Prague to cities like Brno, Olomouc and Pilsen... which makes a great excuse for a shopping-filled day trip. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events (they’re usually held three times a month).
The intricate (and witty) designs printed on T-shirts, tote bags, notebooks and accessories at Pragtique are the perfect antidote to Old Town Square’s cheesy slogans and same-old Russian dolls. Rest assured this small design boutique puts money straight in the pockets of the local creatives behind their superlative souvenirs. Two locations, one just off the Charles Bridge in Malá Strana and another tucked inside a passage near Wenceslas Square, are ideal for hand-luggage-sized gifts.
Come for the coffee and cake, stay for the independent shopping. This multi-purpose building on the banks of the Vltava blends shopping with art, fashion and interior design exhibitions. The galleries can be found on the third floor, while the second floor houses fashion studios and the SmetanaQ Showroom, where shoppers can meet the designers themselves. Deelive’s homeware and glass accessories share the first floor with SmetanaQ café – popular with the digital nomad set and students from the neighbouring TV and Film Academy.
More into your brands? Jump on the free ‘shopping shuttle’ from Old Town to Fashion Arena, about 25 minutes out of town. This outlet mall hosts 200 international labels – the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Adidas – and offers more breathing room for tax-free shopping than Prague’s city-centre malls. The complimentary shuttles run from three central locations, leaving around 11am and 3pm daily with rides back into town at 4pm or 7pm.
There’s an effortlessly cool (or secretly-working-hard-to appear-so) vibe everywhere in this cavernous warehouse space, typical of the formerly industrial Holešovice area. At open-plan Vnitroblock you’ll find speciality coffee, shoe shops, a dance studio, mini-cinema, plus a calendar of eclectic events. Browse the limited-edition trainers at FootShop and order a flat white from Signature to blend in with the hip AF crowd.
If you’re looking for a gift for a little one, take a few steps beyond the Prague Castle gates to Rocking Horse Toy Shop. This small boutique brims with charming wooden toys and games for children and is delightfully free of cheap plastic. Bonus points for choosing anything related to Krtek (‘The Little Mole’), who became established during the Communist era and is essentially the Czech equivalent of Mickey Mouse.
The legends, fairy tales and turbulent history of the Czech Republic could easily fill thousands of pages. Need proof? Peruse the shelves of Shakespeare & Sons in Malá Strana or the Globe Bookstore in the New Town. Their selection of English translations of Czech authors (think Milan Kundera, Franz Kafka) is particularly rich.
Prefer your second-hand shopping more curated than chaotic? Head to Bohemian Retro in the Žižkov neighbourhood. Rebecca, the British owner, will help guide you around as you browse racks of vintage men’s and women’s clothing and jewellery. If your purchases are a little on the bulky side, there may even be a second-hand suitcase or handbag here that can save the day.
If you’re after some intricate etched glass objects designed by local craftspeople, you should try Artel. The HQ, just off the Charles Bridge in Malá Strana, is worth a look-in even if you don’t want to buy anything – this place feels as much like a gallery as a shop. Worried about arriving home with piles of shards in your luggage? Their online store can ship a carefully wrapped present to your home in one piece while you enjoy the rest of your time in Prague.
You’ll find all manner of exquisite second-hand clothes, books and homeware at Prague Thrift Store’s two locations in the Vinohrady and Holešovice neighbourhoods. First-time visitors can apply for a 30 percent discount voucher by email before they arrive. True bargain hunters will want to coincide their visit with full moon sale for 50 percent off all clothing (and 30 percent off everything else).
It would seem irresponsible to write about Prague without a single mention of beer. The BeerGeek Pivoteka (bottle shop) and F.H. Prager cider shop in Žižkov offer an ideal combination of drinking and shopping for visiting booze connoisseurs. Save some space in your luggage (and check customs limits on your flight) to sneak a taste of the Czech Republic back home with you.