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Shopping in Poland


Poland represents somewhat of a shoppers paradise. A fantastic selection of shops, and generally cheaper or, much cheaper then the prices you'll find at home. Poles are particularly fashion conscious and accordingly there is a dazzling array of clothes to choose from.

For those who like to pick up rarer items, Poland has no shortage of shops selling souvenirs, antiques and original crafted designs. Special purchases include glass and enamelware, handwoven rugs, silverware, handmade jewellery with amber and silver, dolls in regional costumes, woodcarvings and clay and metal sculptures.

If you want to find traditional Polish food produce – real Polish butter, cold meats, cheeses and home-baked bread, you should visit the marketplace. Such places have a long tradition in Poland, are a reminder that here you can buy and sell virtually anything.

Particularly attractive are the antiques fairs (held most frequently in large towns). In Gdansk, the famous market called Jarmark Dominikanski takes place every summer, where you can buy historic furniture, 200-year-old medals, old coins, military helmets, paintings and rare books.

Those who prefer high-speed shopping in hypermarkets (including those owned by foreign chains) will not be disappointed either. You can visit these stores until late in the evening, and some stay open round the clock. They are most commonly found in larger towns or on the outskirts.

You can also enjoy shopping for food, clothes and cosmetics in smaller private shops and boutiques, where you can expect exceedingly pleasant service.

Shopping hours are generally Monday to Friday, 6 am-6/7 pm, shorter hours on Saturday and Sunday. ‘Night shops’ open 8 pm-8 am. Supermarkets and department stores open Monday to Saturday, 9 am-8 pm. Bookshops open Monday to Friday, 11 am-7 pm.


In terms of shopping, Warsaw has it all; from big, sparkling shopping malls to tiny boutiques and specialty stores, as well as some decent street markets. Increasingly, international chains, such as Marks & Spencer, are appearing, which has meant that locally produced products are sometimes harder to find than expensive imported alternatives.

For clothing, most of the big international retail chains are clustered in Sródmiescie; look especially along Aleje Jerozolimskie and Marszalkowska. South of Jerozolimskie, especially in the area around the Plac Trzech Krzyzy, you'll find the best of boutique shopping, with local Polish designers rubbing elbows with the likes of Escada and Hugo Boss. Trailing south from the Plac Trzech Krzyzy you'll find the trendiest of Warsaw shopping streets, Mokotowska, with its low-rise mix of international boutiques, fashionable home-furnishing stores, and here and there still the occasional Polish deli or bakery. Mokotowska is currently home to the local branch of names like Commes des Garcons and Burberry, but check out also Polish shops and designers like Odziezowe Pole, Mokotowska 51/53, and Finezja Studio, Mokotowska 63.

For more everyday shopping and particularly for picking up anything you might have forgotten at home, try the Arkadia mall (Aleje Jana Pawla II), hailed locally as the biggest indoor shopping centre in central Europe. You'll encounter hundreds of stores, with everything from high- and low-end fashions, home electronics, furnishings, and food. You're not likely to find many surprises, but the sheer scale of the place will shock. The mall also has a 15-cinema multiplex with a good bet to have several films in English.
For English-language books, try looking at American Bookstore, with a couple of central locations, at Koszykowa 55 and Nowy Swiat 61. This place stocks a nice selection of Polish authors in translation, as well as books about the Holocaust, World War II, Solidarity, the fall of Communism, and other interesting topics.

For cheaper Polish-made products and low-cost souvenirs, try Cepelia (Marszalkowska 99/101), the local branch of a national group selling folk art, traditional fabrics, leather goods, ceramics and woodworking.




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