At the beginning of 21st century, 2 enormous ultramodern shopping malls appeared in Warsaw: Arkadia i Złote Tarasy. In these huge shrines of capitalism you can buy practically everything: from clothes (popular brands like H&M, Marks & Spencer, Zara, New Yorker, Clarks, Deni Claire, ESPRIT, Hugo Boss, Levi’s, Massimo Dutti etc. and acknowledged Polish brands like Simple, Reserved and Royal Collection, Vistula) to books and records (Empik), to jewellery and home appliances, as well as go to the cinema or dine in one of numerous restaurants.
Arkadia – Al. Jana Pawła II 82
Złote Tarasy – ul. Złota 59
What's worth buying in Warsaw?
Sweets – excellent chocolates, ptasie mleczko or traditional torcik wedlowski (chocolate wafer in the form of a small layer cake)
Alcohol – Poland is the largest vodka producer in the European Union (and fourth in the world). In the first 30 of best-selling brands, 6 are Polish. The number of all Polish brands is around 1300. Best Polish vodkas are Belvedere, Chopin, Wyborowa and Żubrówka. It's also worth buying fruit nalewka (e.g. cherry).
Cold meats – excellent sausages, pâté and hams. It's good to buy them in Krakowski Kredens (see below).
Amber – Amber jewellery has been produced in Poland since time immemorial. Pieces of amber often have so called inclusions, that is preserved animal or plant remains, sunk in stone. They also possess healing qualities – amber beads worn around your neck will ward off headaches and throat aches. An amber liquor is also being made which is said to be an excellent solution for thyroid and throat illness, as well as rheumatism.
Traditional Polish shops:
Cepelia – ul. Marszałkowska (on the corner of Al. Jerozolimskie) shop with Polish souvenirs, mainly Polish handiwork products. Here you can buy hand painted pottery, leather products, sculptures, paintings, embroidered table linens, table cloths, lace (especially Koniaków Lace). czynne: Mon-Fri: 11-19, Sat: 11-16
Desa – an action house that sells art and antiques. Its largest shop is Galeria Marszałkowska at 34/50 Marszałkowska Street. The gallery occupies three floors and offers plenty of furniture, paintings, china, sculptures, silverwork and silver-plated dishes. The pre-auction exhibits are held on the top floor, which is also where auctions take place. open: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-4pm
A few blocks east you will find “Galeria Biżuterii” (Jewellery Gallery) that specializes in sales of antique jewellery. It offers gem and signet rings, bracelets, brooches, necklaces and many other items that come from the world’s (and Poland’s) best jewellery workshops. open: Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat 10-16
Krakowski Kredens (Cracow’s Cupboard) – a shop offering highest quality “slow-food” foods. The prices are high but there is no better place to buy meats, natural sweets or home-made liquers. You will find K.K. shops in shopping centres (Arkadia, Złote Tarasy) and at 22 Nowy Świat Street.
Galeria Sztuki Katarzyny Napiórkowskiej (Katarzyna Napiórkowska’s Art Gallery) – ul. Świętokrzyska 22, Rynek 19/21, Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44 (hotel Bristol) - one of the first private art galleries in Poland. The Gallery exhibits works of modern Polish art classics (e.g. Edward Dwurnik, Zdzisław Beksiński and Tadeusz Kantor) and of younger generation artists. The Gallery also holds international exhibitions. It has presented, among others, the work of Josef Beuys, Eva Kleisinger and professors of the Academy of Fine Art in Florence. The Gallery has organized numerous exhibits and individual shows in Poland and abroad, e.g. in Duesseldrof, Paris, New York, Bucharest and Cologne. open: Mon-Fri: 11-19
Magazyn Praga (Praga Warehouse) – 27/31 Ząbkowska Street – a so called design shop, located in the building of Wytwórnia Wódek Koneser (The ‘Koneser’ Vodka Factory). If you like unique, original objects, you simply must come by here. The place exceeds the definition of a shop. True, everything exhibited here is for sale, but the interior design doesn’t resemble that of a shop – it looks more like a combination of a warehouse and an art gallery. It also exhibits works of young designers.
You will find here furniture and interior accessories inspired by or literally dating back to (having been creatively renovated) the best years of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The objects are unique thanks to designers who have given them a funny, retro or pop-cultural touch. If you’re looking for a one of a kind carpet, lamp or some other knick-knack, this is where you should find it. open: Thu-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-4pm
Flea market (mainly antiques and counterfeits) – ul. Obozowa 99 – Popular antique market. Here you can buy furniture, glass items, cutlery, paintings, books, record etc. The market is open on weekends. Traders open their stalls on Saturday evening, but you can buy the most interesting objects on early Sunday morning – around 8.00 a.m. From 1.00 p.m. the market slowly starts to wind up.