Welcome to The Takeaway, a series highlighting the best goods a destination has to offer. Every week, we’ll showcase seven gifts every traveler should consider in terms of quality and value.
Winter in Prague can bring a chill to your bones; if you can handle the cold, though, now’s one of the best times to visit. The crowds are less clustered, a phantasmic fog hangs over the city and snow occasionally dusts the Bohemian Baroque domes and rooftops.
Along with a rich arts history and incredible beer, Prague—and the Czech Republic—has a reputation for good stuff. Handicrafts, notably puppets and Bohemian crystalware are masterfully made here, as well as clothing and leather accessories. Meanwhile, treasures including garnet and antiques abound.
Sarra Sedghi is Paste Food’s and Paste Science’s assistant editor. Her eternal food baby is named Frederick.
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Sweets: Prague is famous for dessert, notably chocolate and pastries. The best (and cheapest) place to stock up in bulk is the supermarket. The Tesco on Národní, for example, is close to several hotels and old town and offers an enormous selection.
Photo: Michal Cizek/Getty
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Antiques: You'll find plenty of antique shops, both high-end and more casual stores, closer to the city center. Prague's numerous flea markets are also good places for digging.
Photo by Jim Killock, CC-BY
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Puppets: Prague is also known for their master puppetry, with marionettes that are both playthings and works of art. Malá Strana district's Marionety Truhlár, offers both handmade marionettes and workshops with puppet master Pavel Truhlar.
Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty
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Crystal: As with other European regions, Bohemian crystal is top quality, and figurines, vases and tableware gleam in all sorts of shop windows. Figurines (especially inexpensive figurines) are easy to find in gift shops, but for higher-end items, visit a Moser, Erpet Bohemia Crystal or ARTEL Design Store showroom.
Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Image
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Gemstones: Jewels such as garnet and moldavite are abundant within the Czech Republic. For the real deal on jewelry, search specialty stores like Granát Turnov and Halada.
Photo by Mauro Cateb, CC-BY
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Fashion: Prague's economy is still riding a boom, with designer stores bordering grand, tourist-friendly streets. A number of boutiques are also sprinkled throughout Old Town.
Photo: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Spirits: Prague is known for beer, but there's plenty else (and plenty stronger) to drink there. Most absinthe in Prague is inauthentic, so instead look for spirits like Slivovitz, a plum brandy, or the herb-based Becherovka liquor.
Photo by Lubomír Walder, CC-BY