Written by Dominic Swire
When relocating to a new country, one of the most important questions to ask is: ‘where can I buy stuff? Fortunately, in Prague, the answer is (almost) everywhere. The city is awash with dozens of shopping centres – and there are even more under construction. But not all of the shops in Prague are so easy to find, which is where Expats comes in
First let’s start with the obvious places in the centre of town. Perhaps the easiest shopping centre to locate is Palac Flora in Vinohradska (tram / metro stop: Flora). Here you will find over 100 shops, many restaurants and several cinemas including the Czech Republic´s only 3D Imax theatre. Numerous trams go through this busy centre along with the green metro line A. There is also copious parking space underground. You can find a similar set up at Novy Smichov in Andel (tram / yellow metro line B: Andel). Both have facilities for children. Getting even closer to the centre, the Tesco department store at Narodni Trida (tram / yellow metro line B) includes a large food store in the basement along with clothes, household goods and electronic equipment on the floors above.
Over the last few years a large number of shopping centres have been developed further out of the city, which are most convenient to get to by car. These include Metropole Zlicin, at the end of yellow metro line B (by car, direction Plzen), Chodov on the red metro line C (by car, direction Brno), or Letnany northeast of the city centre (by car, direction Prosek). All of these places offer western-style shopping fare with cinemas, food courts and children´s play areas.
While large shopping centres are certainly convenient – especially for car owners – if you would like to experience something a little more traditional have a look at the Lucerna shopping arcade just off Wenceslas Square between the streets Stepanska and Vodickova. Here you can find many gift shops, a cinema, and several restaurants and cafes. But keep your eyes peeled because Czech shops often have a habit of hiding from customers rather than trying to entice them in.
This is definitely the case for Bontonland, one of the largest music stores in the city. Even newcomers to Prague would have little trouble finding the location: at the bottom of Wenceslas Square – the problem is seeing it. Almost invisible above ground, the entrance is concealed round a corner of Mustek Metro´s Na prikope entrance. If you do manage to find it, this is a great place to buy CDs and computer games.
While you´re in the vacinity, Wenceslas Square is also a good place for books. You´ll find some of the biggest selections of English language publications in the city at Palac Knih Luxor (No. 41), or Levne Knihy (No. 38). For those of you who like browsing in smaller shops, try Anagram Bookshop at Tyn 4, or Big Ben Bookshop at Mala Stupartska 5, both a stones throw from Old Town Square.
If it´s clothes you´re after, there are plenty of designer shops in Prague. Have a stroll down the tree-lined Parizska Street just off Old Town Square, or Na Prikope between Wenceslas Square and Namesti Republiky. However, despite being an ex-communist state, don´t expect any bargains. If anything, imported goods are more expensive here.
All that walking about is liable to work up an appetite. If you want something healthy, you can find some great organic produce at the Albio store on Truhlarska 20, Prague 1, or the Bio Market on Vinohradska 53. You can get great seafood at the Seafood Shop on Zborovska 49, Prague 5, along with French and Japanese ingredients. More Japanese food can be found at the Japan e-shop on Michelska 55, Prague 4. If you´re vegetarian, you´ll no doubt be frequenting the mecca for vegetarians that is Country Life on Jungmannova 1, Prague 1. Just don´t expect to be served quickly at lunch hour – it´s so popular the queues can get long. If you´re not a Vegetarian, and you´re partial to an English sausage or two, put your head round the door of Robertson´s at Jugoslavskych Partyzanu 38, Prague 6. Another good shop for special ingredients is Culinaria at Skorepka 9, Prague 1. They do good takeout lunchboxes. Unfortunately Fairtrade goods have yet to catch on in a big way in the Czech Republic but if you´re looking for some ethical coffee and chocolate you could try the cultural centre and teahouse Rybanaruby on Manesova 87.
Further to that, don´t forget to look at the local grocery stores (invariably called ‘potraviny´ in Czech) which stock a good supply of basics, especially the ones run by the Vietnamese whose fruit and veggies are mysteriously better than many of the big stores.
Clearly, the list could go on but, unfortunately, this article can´t. If what you´re looking for isn´t mentioned here, simply have a look around our website www.expats.cz and you´re bound to find something of help.
Palac Flora http://www.palacflora.cz/eng/index.php
Novy Smichov http://www.novysmichovoc.cz/?page=home&lang=en
Metropole Zlicin http://www.metropole.cz/en/
Dominic Swire can be reached at email@example.com