Categories
Destinations Leisure Things To Do

Shopping

Taking some leisurely time shopping can be a nice break from the busy days of tourism and sightseeing. Not only can you shop at some of the world’s great fashion centers but, there are those wonderful food markets that dot just about every city. There are also flea and antique markets that can be heaven for anyone who as an eye for the old, unique and collectable.

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.

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 / ToulouseFrance – Berlin, Germany
Globus – Geneva, Switzerland
Harrod’s –  London, England
Harvey Nichols –  Leeds, London, Manchester, England – Edinburgh, 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 Lewis – London, 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, Ireland – Vilnius, Lithuania –Valletta, 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, Finland – St.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

Carrousel du Louvre – Paris, France
Forum des Halles –  Paris, France
Galeries Lafayette –  Paris, France
Palladium – Prague, Czech Republic
Centre Deux – Saint-Étienne, France
Paradise Center – Sofia, Bulgaria
Mediterranean Cosmos – Thessaloniki, Greece
The Gasometer –  Vienna, Austria
Zolote Tarasy – Warsaw, Poland
Bielany Retail Park – Wroclaw, Poland
Arena Centar – Zagreb, Croatia
Puerto Venecia –  Zaragoza, Spain

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.

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.

🇦🇹 Austria

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

🇧🇪 Belgium

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

🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina

Banja Luka: Gospodska
Sarajevo: Titova, Ferhadija and Sarači

🇧🇬 Bulgaria

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

🇭🇷 Croatia

Dubrovnik: Stradun
Split: Riva, Marmontova
Zagreb: Ilica

🇨🇾 Cyprus

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

🇨🇿 Czechia

Prague: Pařížská Street

🇩🇰 Denmark

Aarhus: Strøget
Copenhagen: Strøget

🇫🇮 Finland


Helsinki
: Aleksanterinkatu, Esplanadi

🇫🇷 France

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

🇩🇪 Germany

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

🇬🇷 Greece

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

🇭🇺 Hungary

Budapest: Andrássy Avenue, Váci utca

🇮🇸 Iceland

Reykjavík: Laugavegur

🇮🇪 Ireland

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

🇮🇹 Italy

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

🇱🇻 Latvia

Riga: Barona iela

🇱🇹 Lithuania

Kaunas: Laisvės alėja
Vilnius: Gedimino prospektas

🇱🇺 Luxembourg

Luxembourg City: Groussgaass

🇲🇪 Montenegro

Podgorica: Slobode Street, Džordža Vašingtona Boulevard

🇳🇱 Netherlands

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

🇲🇰 North Macedonia

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

🇳🇴 Norway

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

🇵🇱 Poland

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

🇵🇹 Portugal

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

🇷🇴 Romania

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

🇷🇺 Russia

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

🇷🇸 Serbia

Belgrade: Knez Mihailova

🇸🇰 Slovakia

Bratislava: Obchodna Street

🇪🇸 Spain

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

🇸🇪 Sweden

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

🇨🇭Switzerland

Basel: Freie Strasse
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)
Lugano: Via Nassa.
Lucerne: Old City, Hertensteinstrasse, Weggisgasse, Kappelgasse
Zürich: Bahnhofstrasse

🇹🇷 Turkey

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

🇺🇦 Ukraine

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

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England

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

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland

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

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Wales

Cardiff: Queen Street, St. Mary Street/High Street, The Hayes
Newport: Commercial Street
Swansea: Oxford Street

Conversion Chart …

Size labeling varies when buying Clothing & Shoes in Europe versus the labeling size in the States. 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.

Women’s Dresses

US
2 x small
4 small
6 small
8 medium
10 medium
12 large
14 large
16 x large
18 xx large
20 xx large
22 xxx large
24 xxx large

Europe
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54

UK
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
26

Italian / French
38 / 34
40 / 36
42 / 38
44 / 40
46 / 42
48 / 44
50 / 46
52 / 48
54 / 50
56 / 52
58 / 54
60 / 56

Women’s Blouses

US
32
34
36
38
40
42
44

Europe
40
42
44
46
48
50
52

UK
34
36
38
40
42
44
46

Women’s Shoes

US
5
5 1/2
6
6 1/2
7
7 1/2
8
8 1/2
9
9 1/2
10
10 1/2
11
11 1/2
12
12 1/2
13

Europe
35 1/2
36
36 1/2
37
37 1/2
38
38 1/2
39
39 1/2
40
40 1/2
41
41 1/2
42
42 1/2
43
43 1/2

UK
3
3 1/2
4
4 1/2
5
5 1/2
6
6 1/2
7
7 1/2
8
8 1/2
9
9 1/2
10
10 1/2
11

Men’s Suits / Blazers / Coats

Letters
XXS
XS
S
S
M
M
L
L
XL
XXL
XXXL

US
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52

Europe
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60
62

UK
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52

Men’s Dress Shirts

US
14
14 1/2
15
15 1/2
15 3/4
16
16 1/2
17
17 1/2

Europe
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60
62

UK
14
14 1/2
15
15 1/2
15 3/4
16
16 1/2
17
17 1/2

Europe
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44

Men’s T – Shirts

Letters
X-Small (XS)
Small (S)
Medium (M)
Large (L)
X Large (XL)
X Large (XL)
2x Large (XXL)
2x Large (XXL)

US
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48

Europe
87
91
97
102
107
112
117
122

UK
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48

Men’s Shoes

US
6 1/2
7
7 1/2
8
8 1/2
9
9 1/2
10
10 1/2
11
12

Europe
38 1/2
39
40
41
42
43
43 1/2
44
44 1/2
45
46

UK
6
6 1/2
7
7 1/2
8
8 1/2
9
9 1/2
10
10 1/2
11 1/2

“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
🇦🇹 Austria20%€75.01
🇧🇪 Belgium21%€125.01
🇧🇬 Bulgaria20%lev 30 BGN
🇭🇷 Croatia25%740 HRK
🇨🇾 Cyprus19.5%€50
🇨🇿 Czechia21%2,001 CZK
🇩🇰 Denmark25%300 DKK
🇪🇪 Estonia20%€38.01
🇫🇮 Finland24%€40
🇫🇷 France20%€175.01
🇩🇪 Germany19%€25
🇬🇷 Greece23%€120
🇭🇺 Hungary27%52,001 HUF
🇮🇪 Ireland23%no minimum
🇮🇹 Italy22%€155
🇱🇻 Latvia21%€44
🇱🇹 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
non-EU CountryVAT RateMinimum
🇦🇱 Albania10%ALL 400,000
🇦🇩 Andorra4.5%N / A
🇧🇾 Belarus20%N / A
🇧🇦 Bosnia Hercegovina17%N / A
🇮🇸 Iceland25.5%N / A
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein8.0%CHF
🇲🇩 Moldova20%N / A
🇲🇨 Monaco19.6%N / A
🇲🇪 Montenegro19%N / A
🇲🇰 North Macedonia18%N /A
🇳🇴 Norway25%315 NOK
🇷🇺 Russia18%No refund
🇷🇸 Serbia20%N / A
🇨🇭 Switzerland8%300 CHF
🇹🇷 Turkey18 %100 TRY
🇺🇦 Ukraine20%No refund
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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