Souvenir is the French word for “a remembrance or memory.” A treasured keepsake from your travels is one of the best ways to relive precious travel memories. Keychains, mugs, and magnets are fine for last-minute airport purchases, but for a truly authentic travel token, check out our list of top souvenirs from some of the world’s most well-known travel destinations.
10. Peru - Chulucanas Pottery
Chulucanas is a region in northwest Peru known for its pottery making artisans. Chulucanas Pottery is one of the most widely recognizable earthenwares in the world that’s made through a unique creative process. Potters dip each nearly completed piece into a liquid clay. Once dried, a process of chipping away layers begins until the desired design is revealed.
9. China - Calligraphy
Chinese calligraphy is an art form deeply rooted in Chinese culture. It’s a tradition dating back 1000s of years. For a unique souvenir of your travels, pass the gift shops and pre-made artwork to find a local artisan to create a custom-made calligraphy piece depicting your family name in a traditional Chinese fashion.
8. Greece - Thyme Honey
Greece is known for producing a variety of flavored honey with Thyme Honey being the most sought after flavor. In the mountain ranges of western Crete, the Saviolakis family of honey producers gather what’s considered the most flavorful variety of Thyme and use in their honey.
7. Belgium - Lace
Since the 12th century, lacemaking has been a time-honored tradition in Belgium. Though lace shops can be found throughout the country, Bruges is best known for the craft. The famous canal city was once home to a lacemaking school. Today, Bruges is home to the majority of the country’s lacemakers. From Doilies and tablecloths to lace hemmed handkerchiefs, there are plenty of shops to browse for the perfect souvenir and even a lace museum to find out more about the history of this ancient art form.
6. England - Tea
It’s no surprise tea is a top souvenir for travelers to the UK. Whether choosing the Queen’s preferred teas, Earl Grey, or one of the many flavored tea, England is sure to satisfy your tea needs. With tea shops dotted throughout the country, the best place to shop is Fortnum and Mason. It’s the flagship store, located in London, has stood at the same location for over 300 years.
5. Paris - Maracons
The French have been creating this decadent treats for centuries, and today are one of the most sought after souvenirs of the city. The sweet treat is often confused with the coconut favored treat, Macaroons. The French Macaron is a crispy meringue-based cookie with a creamy center. Laduree Paris Champs Elysees is known worldwide for its fresh and flavorful macarons. The biggest challenge is trying not to eat them all before getting home.
4. Italy - Venetian Mask
Carnevale di Venezia is one of the most well-known carnivals in the world. Each year thousands of tourists flock to Venice to celebrate the last days before lent in a ceremony documented as far back as 1094. The Venice streets and canals are decorated with party-goers in costumes and masks parading the streets of St. Mark’s Square. Shop at Venice’s Ca’ Macana for the best in authentic handmade and decorated masks to bring home as a memento of the celebration.
3. Germany - Beer Stein
The German beer stein is a symbol of the nation’s Bavarian culture with a history dating back to the 14th century. During the time of the Bubonic plague, a law was instituted requiring all food and drink containers to be covered in an effort to limit the spread of the disease. Today, not only are these treasures still found on tavern tables but are collected by locals and tourists alike. Though beer steins are found in most shops, the preferred spot to find Germany symbol is the most famous beer hall known, Munich Hofbrahaus.
2. Ireland - Aran Sweater
Named for the island cluster located off the west coast of Ireland, Aran Sweaters are the pride of Irish heritage with a history dating back for centuries. The sweaters were originally made by fisherman families knit in a design specific to their Irish clan. In the event of an unfortunate accident at sea, the pattern on the sweater would help identify the body as it washed up onshore. Today, the sweaters are a popular souvenir of a trip to the Emerald Isle. Available in shops and boutiques around the country, the garment is preferred in the traditional colors of white and off-white though today available in many colors.
1. The Netherlands - Delft Pottery
Easily recognizable by its blue and white painted earthenware, Delft porcelain pieces are a popular souvenir of a trip to the Dutch country. Pottery pieces can be found in just about every gift shop around, but the best place to purchase one of theses treasure is at the Royal Delft. The Royal Delft is the original Delft factory dating back to the 17th century, where visitors can learn the history of the pottery-making process. Visitors can witness master painters at work while they delicately hand-painting each piece according to centuries-old tradition. At the end of the tour, visit the showroom and choose a Delft treasure of your very own.