8 Overlooked Places to Find the Perfect Souvenir // #5 will make you the favorite child.
Ever wandered around the airport on your way home, scrapping for something thoughtful to give your Mom after your big trip?
Here are my go-to spots on where to find the perfect souvenir in Europe:
1 | Farmer’s Market
Here’s a list of known handicrafts by country:
- Austria – Mozart chocolates, jewelry
- Czech Republic – pottery, manufaktura bath products & hand-painted Easter eggs
- England – tea & bone china
- France – champagne, cosmetics & cheese (ensure it’s vacuum sealed)
- Germany – wood carvings, beer steins & holiday decor (esp. at the holiday markets)
- Greece – ceramics, leather handbags, jarred Kalamata olives
- Ireland – wool products & trad music
- Italy – blown glass, leather shoes & dried pasta
- Netherlands – wooden clogs, art prints & stroopwaffels (Dutch treats)
- Portugal – pottery, wine & canned sardines
- Switzerland – chocolate (of course!) & cheese
- Spain – olive oil, olive-wood products & sherry
2 | Restaurants and Bars
My favorite shirts are those with a story. Wearing a tee with a generic LONDON logo plastered on the front seems unoriginal and touristy. Instead find a tee or tote from the local watering hole and you’re in the club. While dining throughout your trip, keep an eye out for restaurants and bars that sell merch.
3 | Grocery Store
Chocolate is always a great gift! Better yet, I love giving my family local honey. It always tastes a bit exotic, unique to the region and doesn’t disappear at the same rate as other sweet treats. Other items to keep an eye out for: olive oil (and canned olives), candy, coffee and wine.
4 | Pharmacy
Everyone loves medicine, amiright?
No, kidding, but what you will find there are local hand creams and lotions. While in Paris last year I found beautiful lavender paraben-free lotions in pretty metallic bottles that the Parisians swear by. I gave them as part of my bridesmaids gifts.
5 | Coffee & Tea Shops
A mug or canvas tote from a coffee or tea shop is definitely a worthy gift, but what about giving your Mom grounds from the local coffee roaster or a beautiful tin of tea? One whiff and she’ll feel like she’s in a beautiful cafe in Paris. After the grounds and leaves have disappeared, she can use the pretty tin to make a window sill garden or vase.
6 | Postcard Stand & actually send them
I know, I know. So obvious, right? How many times do you buy those things and then don’t actually send them? Next time, record the addresses of your nearest and dearest somewhere that doesn’t require data to locate. Jot down a few tangible thoughts from the day (“we ate salted caramel macaroons and loved the reggae street performer…”) instead of empty fillers (“the weather is great, the trip is great” blah, blah, blah) and drop it in the post. FYI – more often than not, stores that sell postcards also sell stamps.
(I’m such a fan of handwritten postcards that I used postcards from Heidelberg as thank you notes for our wedding!)
7 | Museum Gift Shops
Beautiful art prints, inspiring notepads, stationary and quirky trinkets. Some of my favorite keepsakes are from the basements of my favorite museums. One note, this might not be your cheapest option but will likely be one of the more unique.
8 | Kitchen Supply Stores
When visiting gastronomic destinations, keep your eyes peeled for the local kitchen supply store. Picking up a gorgeous Parisian saute pan, Moroccan tangine or even a giant German glass beer boot is a winner years down the road. Not to mention, a great conversation piece for dinner parties to come.
Where else do you like to find thoughtful souvenirs?