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Burrowing for bargains at markets and vintage stores is a bit like digging for gold: often arduous, but occasionally extremely gratifying. Scrabble for second-hand bargains at these loved markets and thrift stores in Vienna, where you’ll be sure to find unique clothes, jewellery, antiques and more.
Naschmarkt, between Kettenbrückengasse and Karlsplatz, is Vienna’s most famous food and flea market and is a huge hit with tourists and locals. The early bird catches the worm here; arrive before sunrise for the best pickings. The market has a rich history dating to the 16th century, when it was a humble trading ground that sold mainly fruit and vegetables on a modest stretch; today it is a huge affair, with vendors selling food and drink from around the world. Visit on a Saturday for the weekly flea market, where around 400 stalls offer a range of rarities.
Carla, a vast warehouse, is filled to the brim with donations including used beds, sofas, tables, crockery, books, instruments and clothing. As well as benefiting the environment by recycling goods, Carla employs men and women who have been unable to find work, and also funds various projects that support vulnerable people in the community.
This retro store, with a 1950s rockabilly vibe, is a Neubau district fixture. It stocks a huge collection of vintage men’s and women’s threads and accessories, and is loved by sweet-toothed shoppers for its American candy. In not-so-vintage style, they also have a smartphone app, which enables users to check the latest arrivals alongside events happening around Vienna.
A shop with a difference, this groundbreaking store won’t actually sell you a thing; instead, visitors can come and take things they need. Voluntary donations to help with running costs, or donations of other goods for the store, are welcomed but not necessary; donations need to be of good quality and without defects, and can include clothes, toys, computers, books and electrical appliances. The aim is to promote a society where people help each other, as an alternative to capitalism.
Get ready for a rummage at Bootik 54 on Neubaugasse, one of the trendiest shopping streets in Vienna. So big it takes up the space of two stores, this is a treasure trove of fashionable finds from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, including vintage Levi’s, jewellery, bags and reworked items. Leave plenty of time to have a good look through this store stuffed with plenty of goodies you never knew you needed.
Expect designer steals and big-name bargains at this beautiful shop in the heart of the fashionable 7th district. It stocks both men’s and women’s clothes, and you could find sportswear, dresses and knitwear from the likes of Missoni, Celine, Moschino and Givenchy. You could even pick up a wedding dress or a brand-new leather bag. Stop to refuel after a shopping marathon with drinks, breakfast or a huge slab of cake at the charming in-store café.
A shop to make you smile, this colourful and artfully arranged store is full of hand-picked vintage delights to catch your eye. Shoes and bags are a speciality, with a selection of big names including Prada and Louis Vuitton; the shop also stocks up-and-coming designers, pre-loved clothes of all kinds and a carefully chosen selection of jewellery.
Don’t expect a bargain at this luxury second-hand store, which has two boutiques in the centre of Vienna. However, dedicated fashionistas will find an exclusive collection of classic designer pieces to treasure forever. Everything is checked for authenticity, so you can be sure you’ve got your hands on the genuine article, with brands including Prada, Christian Dior, Chanel and Valentino. New pieces are added every day, so it’s always worth returning for another look.
Siobhan Grogan contributed additional reporting to this article.