How best to describe Kolbenova flea market in one word… “Random” would probably be accurate. Of course, there is always an element of relative chaos specific to flea markets in general, which is what makes them so enjoyable to explore and find the order and treasures among the disorder. However, it may take a little more mental preparation to visit Kolbenova than your average flea market.
Kolbenova flea market – “Blesi trhy Kolbenova” in Czech – is a short journey to the former periphery of Prague. It can be reached within 20 minutes with the yellow underground line “B” (station stop “Hloubětín”) or just as fast with either tramway line n° 8 or n° 25 (station stop “U Elektry”). To adjust to the setting and atmosphere of Kolbenova, it is better to take the tramway and watch the scenery deteriorate as the destination comes closer. Hopping off at Kolbenova can seem as though the location must be wrong, but if one is willing to navigate through the makeshift booths, there are treasures to be found at Kolbenova flea market!
Kolbenova is the largest flea market in the Czech Republic and claims to be one of the largest in Europe. More than 650 stalls (if it is accurate to call them so) spread over 50,000 square meters and the area looks a little like a huge disused parking lot. Since the whole market is open air, it is definitely best to visit Kolbenova flea market in fine weather – as many stallholders will not bother to brave the rain.
On a sunny day though, shoppers can be surprised at the unique items on offer. There are historic artifacts, antiques furniture pieces, vintage clothing, books and paintings spread among the topsy-turvy piles and with an early arrival it is certainly possible to find excellent pieces for great prices.
There is a small entry fee of €1 (20 -CZK) to enter the Kolbenova flea market. For the most dedicated flea market shoppers, it is certainly worth it. But those who are after a “sanitized” tourist experience bereft of the realities of life are probably best advised to shop elsewhere.