Travelers always want to bring home something that will remind them of their trip — but many often get stuck buying cheap knick knacks from tourist traps. To avoid getting something you’ll only throw away in a few months, we’ve rounded up a list of some authentic items you should buy when abroad.
Forget key chains and mini Eiffel Tower sculptures, here are the “real” best things to bring home from around the world.
Argentina: Leather goods
Argentina is famous for its leather products, so it’s a perfect place to pick up a pair of leather gloves, some leather shoes, or a leather wallet. The country has plenty of small boutiques where you can buy quality leather goods.
Belgium is home to some of the best lace and tapestry studios in the world. Belgian lace is all handmade, and often involves using over100 threads per bobbin. The cities of Brussels and Bruges are both known for their intricate lacework
China: Tea Pots
Anything relating to tea would be a great souvenir to bring home from China. A painted tea pot or tea cups would be a beautiful memento, but you could also bring back a tin of authentic Chinese tea to continue to enjoy at home. Opt for green tea, black tea, brick tea, scented tea, and oolong tea.
England: Cadbury’s Chocolate
Cadbury’s chocolate is a perfect gift to bring home since many agree that it is the best chocolate in the world. Plus, the Hershey Company just banned Cadbury’s chocolate in the United States — so it will be an extra special treat for any American friends.
They won’t last long but macaron cookies are a wonderful souvenir to bring back from France. There are hundreds of places to buy macarons around France, but the ones from Pierre Hermé are arguably the best. Try the unusual flavors from the ‘Jardins’ collection.
Germany: Beer Steins
This is a fairly common souvenir to bring back from German, especially during times like the German Oktoberfest. Beer steins are typically made from stoneware, porcelain, pewter, and sometimes even glass. There are plenty of local stores in cities around Germany that sell authentic handmade beer steins.
Greece: Olive Oil
Greece is famous for its virgin olive oil production, and it is used in almost all of Greek recipes. One of the best places to pick up authentic Greek olive oil is the Kritsa Lassithi agricultural co-operative in the island of Crete. The co-op makes world-famous olive oil, which is often referred to as the ‘Rolls Royce of oils’. If you don’t want to bring back traditional cooking olive oil, you can also pick up some soaps or cosmetics that are made with olive oil.
Paprika is the perfect gift to bring back from Hungary because it is all over the country and the spice is incredibly cheap. Hungarian paprika is also unique and it is said to be sweeter than paprika grown in other soils and climates. A great place to find authentic local paprikais Budapest’s Great Market Hall.
A quality bottle of whiskey is a classic souvenir to bring home from Ireland. A recommended place to pick up the Irish whiskey is the Bushmills’ Distillery in Northern Ireland, where you can actually see and smell the whiskey being made.
Italy: Traditional Venetian Masks
A great souvenir to bring home from Italy is a traditional Venetian mask. The masks are used in the annual Carnival, and are often intricate and beautiful. Venetian masks can be made of leather, porcelain, or glass. Pick up the mask from Ca’Macana, one of the oldest mask making workshops in Venice. The store is known for its authentic handmade masks that are made in the same way Venetian artisans would do 800 years ago.
Japan is on the cutting-edge of technology and is known for its electronics. Sure, some electronics are cheaper here, but that’s not the only reason to buy electronics in Japan: you’ll also find innovative and sometimes bizarre products that you’d never find back home. The best place to buy electronics — from cameras and TVs to rice cookers — is the Akihabara district in Tokyo.
A colorful hand-painted ceramic bowl is a beautiful and unique gift to bring home from Morocco. Decorative pieces are often hand-painted with intricate floral and geometric designs. The cities that are the main centers for ceramics are Safi and Fez.
The Netherlands: Cheeses
For any foodie, cheese is the perfect gift to bring back home from the Netherlands. There are plenty of different varieties available, and stores will usually have the cheese sealed airtight for free. In the Reypenaer cheese tasting room, you can test all different types of quality cheese before purchasing something to bring home.
Poland: Amber Jewelry
Amber is the native gemstone of Poland, and there are hundreds of shops selling quality jewelry around the country. Polish jewelers have more than 80 names to describe types of amber, from flame and honey to clouded and woolly, according to the National Geographic. It is also believed that amber jewelry can bring good luck.
Portugal: Ceramic Tiles
Portuguese tiles, known as azulejos, have had a huge influence on the culture. Azulejos tiles are everywhere in Portugal — they are on the walls of churches, homes, benches, fountains, bars, restaurants, and subways stations. Buying a tile item in one of the many souvenir shops around the country would be a perfect way to bring back a bit of Portugal.
Russia: Lacquer Boxes
Lacquer boxes can be found all around Russia, and are a great souvenir to take back home. The beautiful hand painted boxes are made of several layers of papier-mâché pressed together and oven-dried. The images on the boxes are usually scenes from Russian fairy tales and legends. The top producers of lacquer art are the towns of Palekh, Fedoskino, and Mstera.
South Africa: Amarula
Amarula is a cream liqueur made from the exotic Marula fruit, and is a great gift to bring back home for friends. The marula fruit is indigenous to the woodlands of Southern Africa — and the liquor is supposed to taste of slightly fruity caramel.
It’s usually a safe bet to bring home wine home as a souvenir — and what better place to buy wine than in the Spanish countryside? Spain’s major wine regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Valdepeñas.
Turkey: Copper Coffee Sets
Turkey is famous for its production of copper and its unique way of brewing coffee. A perfect souvenir for someone who wants to try to brew their own Turkish coffee is an authentic copper coffee set. You can find plenty of different types of coffee sets at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.