And when I say beautiful second hand bookshops I mean beautiful in their own right. You can probably find up from a hundred second hand bookshops in Prague. They are everywhere. In the very city centre with sturdy shelves holding 1600’s first editions. In the suburbs of Prague 22 lost amongst taller than life block of flats. And also on corners of 1920’s town houses speckled around Prague. Oh, and don’t forget – a second hand book shop is “antikvariat” in Czech, which can easily be confused with “antik” (an antique shop). So which second hand book shops in the city centre are my favourite?
6 second hand book shops in Prague city centre you simply must visit
This one must be my favourite by far. It’s located just off Narodni Trida which runs from the river past the National Theatre towards the centre. It looks absolutely shite from the outside (see the photo above) but it’s full of the most precious gems. You can spot a couple of paper boxes right at the entrance – that’s the 30p per book section. Sometimes it’s even less, depending on the book. Once you walk inside there’s another huge 30p a book section together with various vintage bits & bobs and photographs. Walk up the little mezzanine stairs and you’re in the main section. You will find real gems of volumes in this bookshop. Once I saw a 1700’s French text book in there which just stole my heart. So many gorgeous volumes, so many! And most books are around £5-20 mark, so not extortionate either.
This second hand bookshop is ever so slightly more expensive but only for its location. It’s right in the very touristy city centre so they can easily afford to bump the prices up a little. I really do love the look of this shop from the outside. Because of their location they are really trying hard to make the shop look appealing from the outside too. That’s why they have these huge red bookshelves right outside of the shop window. Beautiful!
Prvni podzemni antikvariat
This book shop is just a little special. Firstly – it’s actually located underground. It’s a huge stone basement right on the edge of the city centre. You have to walk down and down and down these huge stone steps to get there. The place is a little cold for its just so vast – you can spend hours and hours there. They sell predominantly premium second hand books and are focusing on art and graphics. They also do all sorts of blogging and community events which is lovely.
A little dark horse amongst all the other larger second hand bookshops in the city centre. This one’s just different. At the front of the shop you’ll find what’s a mix between a record shop and a regular bookshop. Not all that regular though – they sell a lot of political and overall highly intellectual publications and graphic novels. At the very back there’s a tiny room (kinda looks like a cubby hole rather than a room). And that’s the second hand bookshop section. They have very affordable yet stunning editions, mostly between £2-10. They also sell vintage photographs which are ridiculously cheap in comparison to other bookshops.
Shakespeare & synove
When you’re strolling across the Charles Bridge remember to take a sharp turning to the right once you reach the Lesser Town river bank. You’ll find a cosy bookshop called Shakespeare & Sons. The owner always sits at the till and happily recommends books to everyone. It’s a very touristy shop so the books a little overpriced. The price tags on the new books are pretty steep. What you’d buy for £10 online you could easily spend £20 on here. The books are beautiful though and the selection is very unique. Don’t forget to take the stairs down to the basement. There you’ll find their second hand section mainly with English editions. The books here are not terribly old but there’s always a good selection of certain editions such as Penguin.
This cute little second hand bookshop is located on the busy Nerudova Street leading all the way up to the Castle. I absolutely love the way this place looks on the outside as well as on the inside. The collection there is nicely curated and the owner usually sits at the till always ready to help. You can find some real treasure there. From vintage lapel pins to stunning 1920’s postcards and little collections of poems with the most breath taking covers.
Do you enjoy visiting second hand bookshops in foreign cities?