Shopping in the Czech Republic and Austria. What to bring as a souvenir?Russ Bily
The Czech Republic and Austria are popular tourist destinations in Western Europe.
In some of my previous articles, such as “5 Recommendations of What You Can Do in Prague,” “Day Trip to Cesky Krumlov and Hluboka Castle from Prague,” and “The Best Way to Travel Between Prague, Budapest, and Vienna,” I wrote about the best places of interest you can visit in those beautiful ancient countries.
Besides sightseeing, tourists often want to go shopping and buy some special things for themselves or for a present. In any city of these hospitable countries, small souvenir shops, shops with products of national and local production, boutiques selling European brands, and huge malls are waiting for tourists.
For the fans of shopping on a grand scale, large shopping and entertainment complexes are opened, where people can not only buy but also walk, have dinner and a lot of fun. The prices there are very attractive.
Shopping in the Czech Republic and Austria can be really exciting and pleasant for your heart and budget if you know what, where, and when to buy. The main thing is to know the best places, choose the time of sales, and of course, to have an idea what souvenirs really represent the spirit of the countries you visit.
In my previous article “Shopping in Germany”, I wrote about the best cities and places for shopping, as well as the most popular products and souvenirs from Germany.
In this article, I’m going to show you that the Czech Republic and Austria are also worth going shopping. I will recommend you what, where, and when you should buy in those two popular countries in Western Europe.
Shopping in Prague and Karlovy Vary
What to Buy?
Czech Glass, Crystal, and Porcelain
Tourists who visit the Czech Republic are not only interested in food or clothes. First of all, foreign visitors are attracted by authentic Czech glass and crystal. Czech glass and crystal production have been around in Europe for hundreds of years. The tall champagne flute glass was a Bohemian design.
By the way, to be sure that you buy authentic crystal or glass, be sure to check the following.
Tip 1: The weight will identify Czech crystal. 24% lead content makes crystal much heavier than glass. Cheaper products will increase the glass volume, making the weight heavier.
Tip 2: Real Czech crystal has optical properties which have to be seen to be believed. Holding a Czech crystal glass up to even light should result in multiple rainbows; it’s like looking into hundreds of prisms simultaneously.
Czech goods are offered in specialized stores. Mosser Glass is famous all around the world for selling the ‘handmade glass of kings’, which you will find in Prague, Karlovy Vary, in the city of Brno, and Cesky Krumlov. Moser Sales Gallery in Prague is located Na Prikope, 12.
Elegant original products made of Bohemian glass are sold in the capital’s brand shop-workshop Blue Praha. Shops “Madonna” sell products of glass factories in the Czech Republic, such as dishes, chandeliers, original ornaments, and souvenirs, are located in Karlovy Vary.
Magnificent porcelain is offered in the firm store “House of Porcelain” on the Jugoslavska street, 16. The shop co-works directly with the Prague porcelain factory. There you will find dishes, different utensils, and other products for every taste.
Clothes, Footwear, Natural Cosmetics
When shopping in Prague, many people take advantage of fairly good prices for clothing and jewelry. Tourists often buy footwear and jewelry in Prague, for example, stylish and of high-quality shoes of famous brand Bata, luxury Jablonex jewelry, Preciosa jewelry, as well as exclusive souvenirs and accessories with Swarovski crystals.
The natural Czech cosmetics of the world-famous Manufaktura brand will be the best gift for women. The ingredients of this cosmetics are really natural, as they include herbs, beer, and wine.
Sweets and Drinks
As for the food and drinks, Czech beer, herbal liquor Becherovka, Czech Slivovica, a tincture of herbs and spices Fernet Stock, as well as Czech traditional sweets are outside of competition.
Surprisingly tasty are Czech waffles with different fillings. In Prague, I recommend Pancake house. There you can taste and buy delicious pancakes, crepes, and unique Prague waffles. Traditional and the tastiest waffles are sold in the Oplatky store, in the city of Karlovy Vary.
Shopping in Cesky Krumlov
The thirteenth-century town, located in the Czech Republic’s Southern Bohemia region and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can be interesting for tourists not only because of its historical value but also because of a great variety of shopping possibilities.
What is an authentic shopping reminder of Cesky Krumlov?
When glass and crystal items, a Czech Republic shopping mainstay, are the best in Prague, Cesky Krumlov is famous among shopping lovers because of its Bohemian Garnet or Czech Ruby, one of the most popular souvenirs. Garnets cover a wide color range including yellow, orange, blue, green, brown, red and black, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I advise you to buy garnet jewelry only in branded stores. There you will receive a certificate, and you will be sure that all purchased items are made of genuine Czech stone.
Shops under the brand “Granat” are located not only in Cesky Krumlov but also in Prague, Liberec, Turnov, and Czech Budejovice.
If you see the labels “Czech Garnet,” “Bohemian Garnet,” or “Turnov Garnet,” these are trade names for a type of Garnet called Pyrope, which historically is mined in the north of the Czech Republic and has the deep red color. In fact, only one company in the Czech town of Turnov supplies all of this type of Garnet.
NOTE: There’s a wide selection of items set in 14 karat gold and sterling silver. For purchases over 2.001 CZK, the shops give non-EU-country customers a Tax-Free Shopping form for a tax refund when leaving the EU.
Interesting bags can be a perfect present from Cesky Krumlov. Bambas is a family-owned business that produces and sell very interesting, hand-painted with bright colors, and superb quality bags. The main shop is located in Cesky Krumlov in the Latrán Street, 15.
Marionettes are a truly Czech souvenir, beloved by many tourists. Fairy tales have been very interesting in this region, which explains the popularity of puppets and marionettes. Witches don’t represent evil; instead, they have playful, trickster and satirical characteristics.
While marionettes and puppets are sold throughout the country, there are two special Cesky Krumlov places to purchase them. The Marionette Muzeum in the Latrán Street, 6, is a branch of Prague’s National Marionette Theatre and housed in the former Church of St Jošt. A nice gift shop is located there.
Fairytale House in Radniční, 29, is another popular place. Expect to pay 6,000 CZK for hand-carved marionettes, made locally from Linden wood. Most people purchase them for decorative purposes. There’s a delightful museum on the second floor.
Pencils may not top a shopper’s list but they are a must-buy in Cesky Krumlov. For Sudoku and crossword players who use a Sudoku pencil, that exclusive item is made by Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth. Their adorable shop is located in Kostelní 169. A popular item is the hand-made pencil holder that resembles a porcupine with pencils as quills.
At Cesky Pernik, located in Latrán 54, you can buy a perfect present for the lovers of sweets. Freshly baked Old Bohemian gingerbread is amazing there. All items are hand-painted; older Czech women paint traditional designs while younger women capture contemporary themes.
Where to Buy in the Czech Republic?
Prague is a center of attraction for many shopping lovers. On the Paris street, the shops of a premium class are located; on Wenceslas Square, many shopping complexes are concentrated. Inexpensive things are better to buy at Na Příkopě Street.
One of the most popular shopping centers is Palladium, located on the Republic Square. It has more than a hundred boutiques. The prices are moderate; however, there are a lot of people. The products are sold in the supermarket Albert.
Opposite Palladium, there is the shopping center Obchodní dům Kotva with boutiques for the middle class. In this store on the ground floor, there are small nice shops for the sale of accessories and souvenirs. At the top, are products from the real bohemian glass.
Another huge shopping center is Obchodní centrum Letňany. This shop is removed from the historical sights of Prague, so there will be fewer people in it. In this commercial center, branded goods are sold, such as Puma, Adidas, Tatuum, C & A, Zara, Bershka, and others. There is a grocery supermarket Tesco Extra and a home-goods store Kika there. There is also the aqua center, the ice-skating rink, the children’s play center, and the cinema.
The three-storeyed complex Nový Smíchov is located not far from the center, near the Anděl metro station. There are always a lot of tourists in it.
Not far from the Old Town, there is the large shopping complex Arkády Pankrác. This is a relatively new shopping center and the second largest in the Czech Republic, with a huge number of stores of clothing, footwear, and sports goods. It is calm and comfortable. There are the huge parking and the children’s playground with air conditioning.
The Metropole Zličín shopping center is a very large complex with the product market InterSpar, cinema center Cinema City, and many shops.
Obchodní centrum Šestka is on the way to the airport. The families with children are attracted by a large children’s center, a 20-meter hill in the middle of the building.There are a lot of restaurants and boutiques; products can be found in the supermarket Albert.
Clothing and other goods at medium prices are presented in the large commercial center Galerie Harfa. On the roof of this shopping center, there is a Dinopark, playground, and a skating rink.
There are several popular shopping centers in Karlovy Vary, such as “Atrium”, “Globus”, “Fontana”, “Varyada”. They are famous both among the locals and the tourists.
As for the other cities, in Brno, I can recommend “Galerie Vankovka” and “Olympia”.
In Olomouc, you should visit “Olomouc City” and “Centrum Hana”.
Most of the Czech shops are open from 09:00 to 18:00, but large shopping centers are open until 9:00 pm.
When to Buy?
Seasonal sales in almost all Czech shops are designated by the term “Sleva.”
After Christmas, most stores start the first wave of winter sales. The second starts after the New Year and lasts until the end of February. Prices at this time are very low, a number of discounts reach up to 70%.
In the beginning of July, huge sales of summer assortment begin. The sales last a month and a half.
In the offseason, there are two more periods of sales: in late April and early October; however, they do not last long.
Shopping in Vienna
After walking and shopping in the Czech Republic for several days, you will have a desire to go to some neighboring country, for example, Austria, as it is located a few hours from Prague.
What to Buy in Austria? What is the best Austrian souvenir?
Sweets, Cakes, Wine, and Coffee
Vienna is famous for its coffee and sweets. The famous Sachertorte chocolate cake is a true Viennese specialty. The original cakes come in various sizes and are packed beautifully, so make ideal gifts.
Manner Schnitten is hazelnut wafers in their distinctive pink packaging is a common gift as well. You can find them in most supermarkets or the Manner store in the center, in Stephansplatz 7.
Pralines are perfect in Vienna. Altmann & Kühne is a small, traditional confectioner making its own chocolate and pralines. Nothing unusual so far for a city like Vienna, but what makes their products particularly great for souvenirs is the gorgeous packaging. The confectioner’s own premises is in the center, Am Graben, 30.
If you can’t make it to the Wachau Valley outside Vienna to try a marille, a special local apricot, ripened by the midsummer sun, the next best thing is to buy it in Vienna. The jars of this special apricot jam are sold by Julius Meinl, whose store at Graben 19 is a temple of fine food.
Surprisingly, but Viennese wine is of high quality in Vienna, so it makes a great gift as well. You can find it in specialist wine stores and some supermarkets.
Famous Viennese coffee can be bought in Vienna Coffee Company. They use only the finest coffee beans, imported from throughout the tropics. They offer espresso, single-origin and estate coffees, rich flavored gourmet coffee, as well as their own private blends. Moreover, they have special offers for gift ideas. Please also visit Kaffemik, Kaffeemodul, or Kaffeefabrik for delicious coffee.
Not only the Czech Republic but also Austria is famous for its porcelain. Famous for its vases and tableware, Augarten Porcelain also produces figurines and other porcelain items, all stamped with the blue-striped shield as a sign of authenticity. They’re the flagship store is in the center, Spiegelgasse, 3, the factory store, in Schloss Augarten, Obere Augartenstraße, 1A in the 2nd district.
Lobmeyr glassware is particularly famous for its drinkware, chandeliers, and lamps, but also for its historical influence on design. The flagship Lobmeyr store is also in the center, Kärntnerstrasse, 26.
Freywille jewelry makes a good present, especially bracelets, famous for its colorful, artistic designs and special enameling technique. You can find it in two main stores in the center, at Stephansplatz, 5 and at Albertinaplatz, 1.
The Snow Globe
The snow globe is an authentic gift from Vienna, as it was actually invented in the capital of Austria. You can still buy it directly from the original manufacturers, featuring a variety of Viennese landmarks and personalities, including Stephansdom, the Ferris wheel, and Empress Elisabeth, as well as more general motifs. The factory shops are in the 17th district, Schumanngasse, 87. The company also stands at the major Christmas markets in December.
Shopping in Salzburg
The most well-known Christmas markets are in Salzburg. They take place on the perimeter of Salzburg Cathedral. On the cathedral square and residence square, you can purchase special souvenirs at several festively decorated stalls. It is here where traditional handicraft businesses offer figures for Christmas cribs, different aroma, Advent wreaths, and much more. So the most famous souvenirs that you can buy in Salzburg are connected with Christmas. However, plenty of other things, especially sweets and coffee, are considered popular gifts among tourists.
Sweets, Drinks, and Other “Mozart” Goods
In Salzburg, everything is connected with one of its famous inhabitants—Mozart. So, you will be offered a chocolate cocktail in a round bottle “Mozart”. It is as in a tiny souvenir package, and in the usual volume.
Mozartkugel or the so-called Mozart ball is a must-buy present from Salzburg. They are a mix of pistachio, marzipan, nougat, and chocolate. Various companies now produce Mozartkugel products, but the one you’ll see most often in Vienna is from Mirabell. The variety of pack sizes, shaped boxes and alternatives let you choose just the right amount to spend as a gift from Vienna.
These sweets can be found in the café, dedicated solely to the chocolate balls in Salzburg, the composer’s homeland, where the treats were originally created.
There is a large selection of schnapps, from traditional apricot to apple, pear, and raspberry. The charm of these drinks for tourists is in a very original bottle form; it is made in the form of a violin. There are also a variety of variations of its sizes. After consuming the drink, this bottle will continue to please you by its unusual shape.
Mouse-sized Austrian cheese shops can be found in Salzburg. In this city, you will find the varieties of cheese for every taste: crammed with creamy alpine varieties, holey Emmental, fresh cheese with herbs, and other. The most famous shops in Salzburg are the following: Kaslöchl, Edlmann’s, and Dorfkäserei Pötzelsberger.
Interestingly, in some shops, you can see the famous salt of Salzburg. The assortment of salt is huge. For example, you can find this mineral in combination with flower petals, spices, and even chocolate. Each type of salt is suitable for preparing specific dishes. Undoubtedly, buying such an ordinary commodity in an unusual form is very exciting.
Salzburg offers a lot of hand-made items, so, perhaps. Do you want a traditional colorful rug, woven from small multi-colored scraps of cloth? Such rugs of local manufacture from natural fabrics can be bought in Salzburg; however, they are not cheap.
The hand-carved nutcrackers, nativity figurines, and filigree Christmas stars are the real deal at this traditional craft shop in Salzburg.
A Music Box
A traditional souvenir from Austria is a music box. They can be found in souvenir shops on the main street of Salzburg. Now the boxes on batteries gradually replace the former mechanical ones.
Where to Buy?
From designer shopping at Vienna’s Kohlmarkt, Kärntner Strasse and the Graben to luxury boutiques on Salzburg’s Alter Markt and Getreidegasse, Austria is the perfect place to purchase stunning souvenirs you’re sure to treasure forever.
Being in Vienna, you can buy clothes and footwear in a variety of shopping centers and outlets. Designer clothes shops can be bought at “Nelso,” “Bucherer,” “Knize & Comp,” “Cloppenburg,” and “Gerry Weber.”
If you are interested in inexpensive clothes, then pay your attention to such clothing storesas “Turek,” “Bernhart,” “Steffl,” and “J. & L. Lobmeyr.”
If you want to buy jewelry and watches of famous brands in Vienna, pay attention to such jewelry stores, as well as brand shops: “Hubner,” “Ringstrasse-Galerien,” and “Wagner.”
The most popular clothing and footwear stores in Salzburg are “Enzenhofer Andreas” at Bayernstr 20, “Schps Richard & Co AG” at Südtiroler Pl 11 / ForumCenter, and “Boutique Marie-Clair” at Schwarzstr 18.
Branded and inexpensive clothes and footwear are represented in “Dantendorfer.”
Accessories can be bought at “Collins-Hute.”
Excellent confectionery products are waiting for you in the confectionery “Shatz.”
Holidays are never holidays without a bit of shopping, so visitors will be delighted by the many large malls, small souvenir shops and splendid shopping streets across Austria and the Czech Republic.
Shopping in the Czech Republic and in Austria will give you a lot of pleasure. It can be really interesting and exciting. The main thing is to know the places, choose the perfect time for you, and of course, to have an idea what gifts are better to buy.
In the Czech Republic, you will be offered a variety of souvenirs, from famous Bohemian glass, crystal, porcelain, and jewelry to marionettes and even pencils.
Austria will surprise you with a variety of chocolates, cakes, famous Viennese coffee, and even different kinds of salt, which you will not find in your country.
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