Categories
Leisure

Shopping

Europe is the home for major fashion designers. London, Milan, Berlin, Madrid, Budapest and of course Paris are all centers of fashion. Other than New York no where else does style set the tempo for the fashion industry more than in Milan and Paris. These cities have their big fashion weeks and during that time you might find it a little more difficult to get a room at a bargain price.

While the shopping mall or center originated in American, Europe has caught on to the concept. Let’s be clear Europe was into shopping centuries ago. Rome had its Trajan’s Market and Istanbul has long had its Grand Bazaar. However, shopping areas in Europe are much like they were when the downtown areas of US cities flourished with large department stores and specialty shops. Certain streets in major European cities still are lined with many fine specialty and designer stores.

European Designer Stores…
Major European Department Stores…
  • Åhlén’s – Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Arnott’s –  Dublin, Ireland
  • Attica –  Athens, Greece
  • Auchan – St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Austin’s –  Derry/Londonderry, N. Ireland
  • Ludwig Beck –  Munich, Germany
  • Bennett’s –  Derby, England
  • Brown Thomas –  Dublin, Ireland
  • BVH –  Paris, France
  • Clery’s & Co. –  Dublin, Ireland
  • Debenham’s –  Dublin, Ireland
  • De Bijenkorf –  Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Detsky Mire –  Moscow, Russia
  • DLT –  St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Dunne’s Stores –  Dublin, Ireland
  • El Corte Inglés Barcelona / Madrid, Spain
  • FNAC –  Barcelona / Madrid, Spain Bruselles, Belgium
  • Fortum & Mason –  London, England
  • Galeria Centrum –  Warsaw, Poland
  • Galeria Kaufhof –  Berlin, Frankfurt am Main / Munich Germany
  • Galeries Lafayette – Bordeaux / Lyon / Marseille / Nice / Paris / Strasbourg / Toulouse, FranceBerlin, Germany
  • Globus – Geneva, Switzerland
  • Harrod’s –  London, England
  • Harvey Nichols –  Leeds, London, Manchester, EnglandEdinburgh, Scotland
  • Hema –  Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Illum –  Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Jelmoli –  Zürich, Switzerland
  • Jenner’s –  Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Peter Jones –  London, England
  • KaDeWe –  Berlin, Germany
  • Kastner & Öhler –  Graz, Austria
  • Kreativkauhaus –  Berlin, Germany
  • La Rinascente –  Florence / Milan / Rome, Italy
  • John LewisLondon, England
  • Le Bon Marché –  Paris, France
  • Le Printemps –  Paris, France
  • Liberty –  London, England
  • Magasin –  Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Magasin du Nord –  Aarhus, Denmark
  • Manor –  Geneva, Switzerland
  • Marks & Spencer –  Dublin, IrelandVilnius, LithuaniaValletta, Malta
  • MAS –  Rome, Italy
  • Nama –  Zagrab, Croatia
  • NK –  Gothenburg / Stockholm, Sweden
  • Penny’s –  Dublin, Ireland
  • PUB – Stockholm, Sweden
  • Salling –  Aarhus, Denmark
  • Steffl –  Vienna, Austria
  • Stockmann – Helsinki, FinlandSt.Petersburg,Russia
  • Stockmann Kauamaja –  Tallinn, Estonia
  • Tati 3e –  Paris, France
  • Tbro – Rome, Italy
  • Tesco –  Prague, Czechia
  • TsUM –  Moscow, Russia – Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Vroom & Dreesmann –  Amsterdam, Netherlands
Shopping Malls & Centres…
  • Magna Plaza – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Stadfeestzaal – Antwerp, Belgium
  • Las Arenas –  Barcelona, Spain
  • Royal Galleries –  Brussels, Belgium
  • Departmentstore Quartier 206 – Berlin, Germany
  • Prince Bishops Shopping Centre –  Durham, England
  • Istanbul Cevahir –  Istanbul – Turkey
  • Kanyon –  Istanbul, Turkey
  • MEGA Belaya Dacha –  Kotelniki, Russia
  • MEGA Family Shopping Centre –  Khimki, Russia
  • Espace Coty –  Le Harve, France
  • Euralille – Lille, France
  • The Mediacity –  Liége, Belgium
  • Harrods –  London, England
  • Westfield Mall –  London, England
  • Part-Dieu –  Lyon, France
  • Trafford Centre – Manchester – England
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II –  Milan, Italy
  • Saint-Sébastien –  Nancy, France
  • Vulcano Buono –  Nola, Italy
  • Ropewalk Shopping Centre – Nuneaton, England
  • Abbeygate Shopping Centre –  Nuneaton, England
  • Clarendon Shopping Centre –  Oxford, England
  • Westgate Shopping Centre –  Oxford, England
  • Carrousel du Louvre –  Paris, France
  • Forum des Halles –  Paris, France
  • Galeries Lafayette –  Paris, France
Shopping Streets & Districts...

What better places to shop when visiting in one of these cities. However, shopping areas in Europe are much like they were when the downtown’s of US cities flourished with large department stores and specialty shops. Many of these European cities have certain streets and areas lined with fine specialty and designer stores, one store after another.

Flag_of_Austria Austria

  • Salzburg: Getreidegasse
  • Vienna: Mariahilfer Straße, Neubaugasse, Favoritenstraße, Graben, Kohlmarkt, Kärntnerstraße
  • Graz: Herrengasse

 Flag_of_BelgiumBelgium

  • Antwerp: Meir, Schuttershofstraat, Huidevettersstraat, Leopoldstraat, Kelderstraat
  • Bruges: Steenstraat
  • Brussels: Avenue Louise, Boulevard de Waterloo, Rue Neuve
  • Ghent: Veldstraat

 Flag_of_Bosnia_and_HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina

  • Banja Luka: Gospodska
  • Sarajevo: Titova, Ferhadija and Sarači

  Flag_of_BulgariaBulgaria

  • Sofia: Vitosha Boulevard
  • Varna: Knyaz Boris 1 Boulevard
  • Burgas: Aleksandrovska street
  • Plovdiv: Batenberg street

 Flag_of_CroatiaCroatia

  • Dubrovnik: Stradun
  • Split: Riva, Marmontova
  • Zagreb: Ilica

 Flag_of_CyprusCyprus

  • Nicosia: Makariou Avenue, Stasikratous Street, Ledra Street, Onasagorou Street
  • Famagusta: University Avenue
  • Limassol: Makarious III Avenue, Anexartisias Street, Agiou Andreou Street
  • Larnaca: Ermou Street
  • Paphos: Makarios III Avenue, Glastonodos Street, Ermou Street, Nikodemou Mylona Street

 Flag_of_the_Czech_RepublicCzechia

  • Prague: Pařížská Street

 Flag_of_DenmarkDenmark

  • Copenhagen: Strøget
  • Aarhus: Strøget

 Flag_of_FinlandFinland

  • Helsinki: Aleksanterinkatu, Esplanadi

 Flag_of_FranceFrance

  • Bordeaux: Rue Sainte-Catherine
  • Brest: Rue de Siam
  • Caen: Rue Saint-Pierre
  • Cannes: Promenade de la Croisette, Rue d’Antibes
  • Grenoble: Rue Félix Poulat, Place Grenette, Grande Rue, Rue de Bonne
  • Le Havre: Avenue René Coty
  • Lille: Vieux Lille
  • Lyon: Place Bellecour, Rue du Plat, Rue de la République, Rue Édouard Herriot, Rue Émile Zola
  • Marseille: Cours Saint-Louis, Rue Saint-Ferréol, Rue Paradis and Rue Grignan
  • Montpellier: Rue de la Loge, Place de la Comédie
  • Nancy: Rue Saint-Jean, Rue Saint-Georges, Rue Saint-Dizier, Rue Gambetta, Rue Stanislas, Rue Raugraff, Place Henri Mengin
  • Nantes: Rue de Verdun, Rue de la Marne, Rue de la Barillerie, Rue d’Orléans, Place Royale, Passage Pommeraye, Rue Crébillon, Place Graslin, Rue de la Fosse
  • Nice: Avenue Jean-Médecin, Rue Paradis, Avenue de Verdun
  • Paris: Champs-Élysées, Boulevard Haussmann, Rue de Rivoli, Boulevard des Capucines, Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V, the axis formed by Rue de Castiglione, Place Vendôme, Rue de la Paix and Place de l’Opéra, Rue de Sèvres, Rue du Bac, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, as well as segments of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue de Rennes
  • Rouen: Rue Jeanne d’Arc, Rue du Gros Horloge
  • Saint-Étienne: Place Dorian, Rue du Général Foy, Rue Gambetta
  • Saint-Tropez: Quai Jean Jaurès, Quai Suffren
  • Strasbourg: Grande Île
  • Toulouse: Rue Saint-Rome
  • Tours: Rue Nationale, Place Jean Jaurès

 Flag_of_GermanyGermany

  • Berlin: Tauentzienstraße, Kurfürstendamm, Schloßstraße, Friedrichstraße
  • Bochum: Kortumstraße
  • Bremen: Obernstraße
  • Cologne: Hohe Straße, Schildergasse
  • Dortmund: Westenhellweg
  • Dresden: Prager Straße, Königstraße
  • Duisburg: Königstraße
  • Düsseldorf: Schadowstraße, upscale: Königsallee
  • Erfurt: Anger
  • Essen: Kettwiger Straße
  • Frankfurt: Zeil, Neue Kräme, Roßmarkt upscale: Goethestraße
  • Hamburg: Mönckebergstraße, Spitalerstraße, upscale: Neuer Wall, Hohe Bleichen, Jungfernstieg
  • Hannover: Georgstraße, Bahnhofstraße
  • Karlsruhe: Kaiserstraße
  • Kassel: Königsstraße
  • Kiel: Holstenstraße, Dänische Straße
  • Leipzig: Petersstraße, Grimmaische Straße
  • Mannheim: Planken
  • Munich: Kaufingerstraße, Neuhauser Straße, Theatinerstraße, Maximilianstraße
  • Nuremberg: Karolinenstraße
  • Stuttgart: Königstraße
  • Wiesbaden: Wilhelmstraße, Kirchgasse

Flag_of_Greece Greece

  • Athens: Voukourestiou Street, Ermou Street, Kifisia
  • Thessaloniki: Tsimiski Street

 Flag_of_HungaryHungary

  • Budapest: Andrássy Avenue, Váci utca

 Flag_of_IrelandIreland

  • Cork: St. Patrick’s Street, Oliver Plunkett Street
  • Dublin: Grafton Street, Henry Street, O’Connell Street, Wicklow Street
  • Galway: Shop Street
  • Limerick: O’Connell Street

Flag_of_Iceland Iceland

  • Reykjavík: Laugavegur

 Flag_of_ItalyItaly

  • Bari: Via Sparano, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Corso Cavour
  • Bergamo: Via XX Settembre, Via Gerolamo Tiraboschi, Via Zambonate, Via Giorgio e Guido Paglia, Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII
  • Bologna: Via Farini
  • Brescia: Corso Palestro, Corso Magenta, Via San Martino della Battaglia
  • Cagliari: Via Manno, Via Garibaldi
  • Catania: Via Etnea, Corso Italia
  • Capri: Via Roma
  • Florence: Via dei Calzaiuoli, Via della Vigna Nuova, Via Roma, Via de’ Tornabuoni, Piazza della Repubblica
  • Genoa: Via Roma, Via XX Settembre, Via Luccoli
  • La Spezia: Corso Cavour, Via Prione, Via Chiodo
  • Livorno: Via Ricasoli, Via Grande
  • Lecce: Piazza Mazzini, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Milan: Via Montenapoleone, Corso Giacomo Matteotti, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Via della Spiga, Corso Venezia, Piazza San Babila, Via Manzoni, Via San Pietro all’Orto, Via Sant’Andrea, Via Verri, Corso Vercelli, Corso Buenos Aires
  • Naples: Via Toledo, Via Chiaia, Piazza de’ Martiri, Via Calabritto, Via Scarlatti
  • Padua: Via San Fermo, Via Altinate, Piazza Garibaldi, Via Santa Lucia, Via Cavour
  • Palermo: Via Ruggero Settimo, Viale della Libertà, Via Roma
  • Pisa: Corso Italia, Borgo Stretto
  • Rome: Via Cola di Rienzo, Via dei Condotti, Via Frattina, Via del Babuino, Via del Corso, Via Veneto
  • Salerno: Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Mercanti, Via dei Principati
  • Torino: Via Roma, Via Garibaldi
  • Taranto: Via Tommaso D’Aquino
  • Venezia: Piazza San Marco, Calle Larga XXII Marzo, Calle Valaresso
  • Verona: Via Mazzini, Corso di Porta Borsari

 Flag_of_LatviaLatvia

  • Riga: Barona iela

Flag_of_Lithuania Lithuania

  • Vilnius: Gedimino prospektas
  • Kaunas: Laisvės alėja

 Flag_of_LuxembourgLuxembourg

  • Luxembourg City: Groussgaass

 Flag_of_MacedoniaMacedonia

  • Skopje: Macedonia Street, Skopska Čaršija, Bit pazar
  • Bitola: Širok Sokak

 Flag_of_MontenegroMontenegro

  • Podgorica: Slobode Street, Džordža Vašingtona Boulevard

 Flag_of_the_NetherlandsNetherlands

  • Amsterdam: P.C. Hooftstraat, Kalverstraat, negen straatjes, Utrechtse straat, Leidse straat
  • The Hague: Noordeinde, Spuistraat, Grote Marktstraat
  • Rotterdam: Beurstraverse, Meent, Lijnbaan
  • Arnhem: Steenstraat, Ketelstraat, Bakkerstraat, Koningstraat
  • Eindhoven: Rechtestraat, Demer
  • Maastricht: Kleine Staat, Grote Staat, Wycker Brugstraat, Stokstraat
  • ‘s-Hertogenbosch: Markt, Hinthamerstraat, Arena, Vughterstraat, Kerkstraat

Flag_of_NorwayNorway

  • Oslo: Karl Johans gate, Bogstadveien
  • Trondheim: Nordre gate
  • Bergen: Strandgaten

 Flag_of_PolandPoland

  • Krakow: Florianska
  • Łódź: Piotrkowska Street
  • Poznań: Półwiejska
  • Warsaw: Nowy Świat
  • Wroclaw: Świdnicka

 Flag_of_PortugalPortugal

  • Coimbra: Ferreira Borges Street, Visconde da Luz
  • Lisbon: Rua Augusta, Avenida da Liberdade, Rua Garrett, Rua do Ouro, Chiado, Baixa Pombalina, Rua do Carmo, Rossio
  • Porto: Rua de Santa Catarina
  • Póvoa de Varzim: Rua da Junqueira, Avenida Mouzinho de Albuquerque

 Flag_of_RomaniaRomania

  • Bucharest: Calea Victoriei, Bulevardul Magheru, Bulevardul Nicolae Bălcescu
  • Cluj-Napoca: Bulevardul Eroilor, Piaţa Unirii, Bulevardul Regele Ferdinand
  • Constanţa: Strada Ștefan cel Mare, Bulevardul Tomis, Bulevardul Alexandru Lăpuşneanu
  • Oradea: Calea Republicii

 Flag_of_RussiaRussia

  • Kazan: Baumana Street, Pushkina Street, Kremlyovskaya Street
  • Krasnodar: Krasnaya street
  • Moscow: Tverskaya Street, Kuznetsky Most, Stoleshnikov Lane and Tverskoy Boulevard, Petrovka Street, Tretyakov Drive, Arbat street, Novy Arbat street, Kutuzovsky Prospekt, Leninsky Avenue
  • Rostov-on-Don: Bolshaya Sadovaya street
  • Saint Petersburg: Nevsky Prospekt, Liteyny Prospekt, Garden Street, Bolshoi Prospekt Petrogradskoy Storony
  • Sochi: Navaginskaya street, Vorovskogo street, Democraticheskaya street
  • Volgograd: Lenin Avenue, Raboche-Krestiyanskaya street
  • Yekaterinburg: Prospekt Lenina, Kuybysheva Street

 Flag_of_SerbiaSerbia

  • Belgrade: Knez Mihailova

 Flag_of_SlovakiaSlovakia

  • Bratislava: Obchodna Street

 Flag_of_SpainSpain

  • Barcelona: Portal de l’Àngel, Carrer de la Portaferrissa Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla Catalunya, Avinguda Diagonal, Carrer de Pelai, Carrer de Sants
  • Granada: Calle Recogidas
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Calle Mayor de Triana
  • Madrid: Calle Serrano, Calle José Ortega y Gasset, Gran Vía, Calle Fuencarral, Calle Mayor, Calle del Carmen, Calle Preciados
  • Málaga: Calle Marqués de Larios
  • Marbella: Avenida Ramón y Cajal, Avenida Ricardo Soriano
  • Seville: Calle Tetuán, Calle Sierpes
  • Puerto Banús: Muelle Ribera
  • Valencia: Carrer Colón, Carrer En Joan d’Àustria
  • Vigo: Calle Principe, Calle Urzaiz, Calle Gran Via

 Flag_of_SwedenSweden

  • Göteborg: Avenyn
  • Stockholm: Drottninggatan, Götgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan, Biblioteksgatan

 Flag_of_SwitzerlandSwitzerland

  • Bern: The Old City, Marktgasse and Kramgasse.
  • Geneva: “Les Rues Basses” , Rue de la Confédération, Rue du Marché, Rue de la Croix d’Or and Rue de Rive)
  • Zürich: Bahnhofstrasse
  • Basel: Freie Strasse
  • Lugano: Via Nassa.
  • Lucerne: Old City, Hertensteinstrasse, Weggisgasse, Kappelgasse

 Flag_of_TurkeyTurkey

  • Ankara: Tunali Hilmi Street, 7th Street
  • Istanbul: Abdi İpekçi Avenue, Bağdat Avenue, İstiklal Avenue
  • İzmir: Plevne Street, Kıbrıs Şehitleri Street

 Flag_of_UkraineUkraine

  • Kiev: Khreschatyk
  • Lviv: Freedom Prospect
  • Kherson: Suvorov street
  • Eupatoria: Naberezhnaia street
  • Feodosiya: Tsentralnaia street
  • Simferopol: Kirpova street
  • Odessa: Privoz street

 Flag_of_the_United_KingdomUnited Kingdom

 Flag_of_EnglandEngland

  • Bath: Milsom Street, New Bond Street, Old Bond Street, Burton Street, Union Street, Stall Street, Southgate Street, SouthGate
  • Birmingham: Corporation Street, New Street, Bullring, The Mailbox
  • Brighton: The Lanes, North Laine
  • Bristol: Queen’s Promenade and Whiteladies Road
  • Canterbury: High Street
  • Coventry: Smithford Way, The Precinct, Market Way, Hertford Street, Broadgate, Cross Cheaping, West Orchards, Cathedral Lanes
  • Durham: Elvet Bridge, Saddler Street, Market Place, High Street, Silver Street, The Gates Shopping Centre
  • Kingston upon Hull: Prospect Street, St Stephen’s shopping centre, the Prospect Centre, Paragon Street, Carr Lane, Princes Quay, Whitefriargate
  • Leeds: Victoria Quarter, Briggate, King Edward Street, The Headrow, Albion Street
  • London: Bond Street, Oxford Street, Savile Row, Jermyn Street, Piccadilly and Regent Street, Knightsbridge area, Sloane Street), Kings Road, Covent Garden, Neal Street, Long Acre, Seven Dials, Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove, Royal Exchange
  • Liverpool: Bold Street, Church Street, Lord Street
  • Manchester: Market Street, Oldham Street, King Street, Deansgate, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street
  • Newcastle upon Tyne: Northumberland Street,Grainger Town
  • Nottingham: Bridlesmith Gate
  • Nuneaton: Bridge Street, Market Place, Queen’s Road, Newdegate Street, Abbey Gate, Abbey Street, Stratford Street, Harefield Road
  • Oxford: Cornmarket Street, Golden Cross, High Street, Queen Street, Broad Street
  • Sheffield: Devonshire Quarter, Fargate, The Moor, Meadowhall Centre
  • Swindon: The Parade, Regent Street, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre
  • York: The Shambles

Northern Ireland

  • Belfast: Royal Avenue, High Street, Donegall Place

 Flag_of_ScotlandScotland

  • Aberdeen: Union Street
  • Edinburgh: Multrees Walk, George Street, Princes Street
  • Glasgow: Buchanan Street, Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street, Princes Square, Merchant City, Ingram Street

 Flag_of_WalesWales

  • Cardiff: Queen Street, St. Mary Street/High Street, The Hayes
  • Newport: Commercial Street
  • Swansea: Oxford Street
Conversion Chart for Buying Clothing & Shoes in Europe...

Beware that a fluctuation in sizes can vary from one maker to another. It is always recommended to try on clothing or shoes for proper fit.

USEuropeUKItalian USEuropeUK USEuropeUK
Women’s Clothing Dresses Women’s Shoes Women’s Blouses
 2 x small 32 436  5352.5 3240 34
4 small34638  5.53.53 344236
  6 small36 840  6363.5 364438
8 medium381042 6.5374 384640
10 medium401244 737.54.5 404842
12 large421446 7.5385 425044
14 large441648 838.55.5 445246
16 x large461850 8.5396  
18 xx482052 9406.5 
20 xx502254 9.5417 
 22 xxx 522456  10427.5 
 24 xxx 542658  10.5438 
  12449.5 
134510.5 
US & UKEuropeUSEuropeUKUS & UKEuropeUSEuropeUK
Mens Suits / CoatsMens T- ShirtsMens Dress ShirtsMens Shoes
 3242 small 87 3414366.538.56
3444medium91 3614.5377396.5
3646medium973815387.540 7
3848large1024015.5398417.5
4050x large1074215.75408.5428
4252x large1124416419438.5
44542x large1174616.5429.543.59
46562x large12248174310449.5
4858 17.54410.544.510
 5060 1145 10.5
5262124611.5
US/UKEuropeUSEuropeUKUSEuropeUK
Children’s ClothingGirls ShoesBoys Shoes
219.526 811.529 11
421026-278.51229-3011.5
651127-289.512.530-3112
871228-2910.5133112.5
109133011.513313.5
14/131013112.52341.5
16/1512232-3313.53352.5

“VAT” (Value Added Tax)…

When making a major purchase there will be a value added tax to the purchase. This can be an additional 15% or more added onto the cost of the item. VAT percentages are applied differently from country to country for different goods and services making it somewhat complicated.  If you purchase over a certain amount you may be entitled to a VAT refund. That minimum amount is different in each country and some country’s do not offer the opportunity to get a refund to tourists. Purchase from a merchant that participates in the VAT program otherwise you will not be able to receive a VAT refund. Look for window stickers that signify the merchant participates in the VAT program or ask them if they do. Purchases must be made at one retailer to qualify so you can not add up multiple purchases from several different merchants. You can not use your purchase prior to leaving the country or the EU. If you do, you can be denied a refund. Travelers to Europe are not entitled to refunds on rooms or meals.

Steps for a Refund…

At the time of purchase have the merchant fill out their part on the refund voucher form. You will probably be asked to show your passport to prove you are a out of country citizen so have it with you when you shop. Take your receipt, purchase and VAT voucher to tax refund counter for approval and stamp at customs when departing from the airport. Make sure you do not pack your items and checked baggage before getting your paperwork stamped. There are also third party’s (like exchanges) that can verify and stamp your refund voucher. Once approved you can mail in the papa rework and have them credit your back account or credit card.  In some countries you will be required to mail it before you leaving the country. Some merchants may participate with either Global Blue or Premier Tax Free services, you may go online for more information. Both of these services have locations where  you can receive a cash refund immediately. These services will charge 4% of the total for the convenience but, you won’t have to wait months for your money. If you buy an item at a European Union country and leave from another one, you can wait until your departure from the last EU country to make your claim. If you are in a country that is not in the European Union and has it own currency (like Switzerland) you’ll need to make your claim before exiting that country.

Remember, there can be many variances to the VAT in each country so ask questions when making purchases. If a merchant is unable to answer or your questions or explain it, shop at another store.

 The following table shows standard VAT tax percent and minimum purchase by country, where available. Certain items and services could have a lower rate than the standard rate.

EU CountryVAT rateMinimum  non-EU CountryVAT rateMinimum
Austria20%€75.01 Albania10%ALL 400,000
Belgium21%€125.01 Andorra4.5%N / A
Bulgaria20%lev 30 BGN Belarus20%N / A
Croatia25%740 HRK Bosnia Hercegovina17%N / A
Cyprus19.5%€50 Iceland25.5%N / A
Czech Republic21%2,001 CZK Liechtenstein8.0%CHF
Denmark25%300 DKK Macedonia18%N / A
Estonia20%€38.01 Moldova20%N / A
Finland24%€40 Monaco19.6%N / A
France20%€175.01 Montenegro19%N / A
Germany19%€25 Norway25%315 NOK
Greece23%€120 Russia18%No refund
Hungary27%52,001 HUF Serbia20%N / A
Ireland23%no minimum Switzerland8%300 CHF
Italy22%€155 Turkey18 %100 TRY
Latvia21%€44 Ukraine20%No refund
Lithuania21%200 LTL  
Luxembourg15%€74 
Malta18%€25 
Netherlands21%€50 
Poland23%200 PLN 
Portugal23%€61.35 
Romania24%250 RON 
Slovakia20%€175.01 
Slovenia22%€50.01 
Spain21%€90.15 
Sweden25%200 SEK 
United Kingdom20%£30 

Buying Souvenirs & Mementos…

There’s the typical tourists souvenirs like key chains, post cards, t-shirts and figurines of the famous landmarks.

  • I can be difficult to find these items other than in high tourist areas and they tend too be more expensive. Careful, you’ll find some items are even made in China. How Authentic.
  • Another idea is pack no t-shirts, just buy them there and wear them so you’ll have a souvenir when you get home.

You might also find something of great interests or value to purchase for yourself.

  • Hand crafted items like German cockoo clocks & beer steins, Murano glass, Swiss watches, Lithuanian amber jewelry, Waterford crystal, Scottish wool sweaters , Dutch wooden shoes, English tea sets & soaps, Turkish rugs, French perfume, Belgian chocolates. Not to mention hand made lace, ceramics, porcelain, carved wood items and fashion designer clothing and accessories.

Remember as tempting as it is to buy and bring home food products, many states prohibit bringing them in from out of state. Products made from plants are highly screened and confiscated by customs.

When buying for family and friends wait till your last stop so you are not lugging around that extra weight for the rest of your vacation.  Another good place is the duty free shops at the airports where you will not pay the VAT tax. While it is nice not to pay that tax, selections are limited and there may not be that special item you want…
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