What to buy in Prague: everything from glassware to puppets
Prague is a historic city packed with artisans and you’ll find their products for sale on every street corner, in shopping districts and in markets. For centuries Prague has been admired for its beautiful, and above all simple, traditional products. If you’re visiting the city, we recommend that you spend at least one morning wandering around the shops in Prague and visiting the workshops, galleries and small stands that are dotted around the historic centre.
Treat yourself to something special
These gifts aren’t for taking back for your friends and family—enjoy them yourself! The following special products are made with love and are very typical to the city.
Glass has been made and manufactured in the Bohemia region since the thirteenth century. Techniques (cutting, blowing, engraving and painting) have been perfected over time and today Bohemian glass is one of the clearest, highest quality glasses in the world. You can find specialist stores and souvenir shops selling Bohemian glass in practically every street in Prague.
Garnet is a semi-precious stone with a long tradition in the Czech Republic as a royal gem. In the past, the country had rich deposits of this stone and it became one of the main elements used in Czech jewellery. Today, garnet is incorporated into pieces of every kind so there is something for every budget; just remember to ask for a certificate of authenticity before paying.
Yes, you read that right. Prague has several cosmetics brands that make all kinds of products from beer: shampoo, shower gel, moisturisers, etc. And because it’s a great source of vitamin B, beer is perfect for rejuvenating and protecting your skin. In fact, Central European countries have used soap made from beer, hop extracts and other natural ingredients since the Middle Ages. Don’t worry, you won’t end up smelling like a brewery!
Souvenirs for children: puppets or a Krtek
These gifts are perfect for children and nostalgic adults who appreciate the beauty of old toys.
Puppets and wooden toys
Although these hand-made products are really aimed at demanding adults who appreciate quality, they also make the perfect children’s gift. They might be rather old-fashioned, but it’s precisely this nostalgic air that makes them special. You can find them in different sizes, shapes and themes. When it comes to puppets, locals say that you don’t choose a puppet, the puppet chooses you…
A funny cartoon mole who first appeared during the Cold War. His adventures spread like wildfire, even reaching Japan, and you can find him as a soft toy, magnet, chocolate, or pretty much anything! This symbol of the country even conquered space when he travelled aboard a space shuttle with astronaut Drew Feustel in 2011.
Drinks as a souvenir
Prague is famous for its wide variety of beers and alcoholic drinks. Locals, and Eastern Europeans in general, love strong drinks to help them get through the cold winters. Why not take a bottle home with you?
A drink made from botanicals with fennel, wormwood and aniseed. Known as the ‘green fairy’ due to its strange green colour and supposedly hallucinogenic powers, it was famously used by artists and writers during the Belle Époque. It doesn’t really make you hallucinate as it’s not a psychoactive drug, but at between 70% and 90% ABV it is remarkably strong.
This herbal digestif is perhaps the most famous drink in Prague. It has a bitter flavour with gentle hints of cinnamon, ginger and a wide variety of herbs and spices. At 38% ABV, locals down it like a shot as a digestive aid and to fire them up.
An antique porcelain stein with a pewter lid makes the perfect gift for beer lovers. Steins can be used as decorative items or to serve foamy beer at home and can be bought both in shops and in some pubs.
Sugar is all around
If you want to discover the food of a new place it’s important to try its typical pastries and desserts. These old recipes are handed down from generation to generation and are simply delicious. No one can say no to something sweet!
In addition to artisans who specialise in glass and beer, Prague also has chocolate masters, incredible professionals who create genuine works of edible art. The city boasts several chocolate museums where you can buy mouth-watering souvenirs.
This typical CD-sized wafer biscuit first appeared in Karlovy Vary, a city famous for its thermal springs and spas, hence the name. The wafers consist of two thin biscuits filled with chocolate, hazelnut or vanilla and can be bought in numerous shops across the city and even online.