Holidays are special – the things we see, what we do, how they make us feel… The tan might fade, but our memories don’t have to. Souvenirs can help those memories live on a little longer. We’re not talking your run of the mill fridge magnets, these authentic keepsakes really represent the place you’ve visited – a little piece of your holiday, right there at home.
Handmade rugs – Marrakech
Wander the throngs of Marrakech’s markets and have your senses bombarded by aromatic spices and colourful keepsakes. Rugs are perhaps the most famous souvenir. Traditionally they were woven by the mountain tribes to help protect against the cold of the snow, and by the tribes based closer to the Sahara desert as heat protective shawls. They’re now more often used as decorative pieces in people’s homes, so if one catches your eye, stop for some good natured haggling!
Avarcas – Mallorca & Menorca
Pick up a pair of avarcas at many of the leather stores and market stalls all over Mallorca and Menorca. Originally they were designed to keep the farmers’ and villagers’ feet cool while they were grafting in the hotter months. Today however they’ve become a must-have accessory for your summer holiday wardrobe and a fashion statement to bring home with you!
Tiles – The Algarve
From beautifully tiled buildings to pictures and pottery, Portugal is well known for its colourful tiles. Known locally as Azulejo, from the Arabic word for ‘polished stone’, tiles were produced to mimic Roman mosaics by hand painting geometric designs and art onto the ceramic base. The designs then made their way onto pottery and crockery – great statement pieces to add a splash of colour or interest to any room or surface of your home.
Lace – Cyprus
In the hillside town of Lefkara local women have been producing lace for about 1,500 years. Their fingers were all the more nimble after the Venetian occupation of Cyprus between 1489-1571, where Italian techniques were refined to create the lace now well known to the region, Lefkaritiko. Nowadays, lace is available to buy all over the island in all forms, shapes and sizes! If you fancy a new tablecloth, or something ornate to spruce up a little corner of your home, it’s a lovely souvenir and a little piece of Cypriot history rolled into one.
Backgammon – Kefalonia
Greek locals can often be seen playing backgammon loudly and ecstatically in local coffee shops. It’s impossible for passers-by not to be drawn into the fun of the game too! Kefalonia in particular is well known for backgammon and you can usually find ornate boxes and dice for sale. Set the stakes and practice playing at your own villa, then hone your skills back at home.
Tenerife Pearl – Tenerife
Tenerife Pearl is a showroom well known on the island for crafting and selling beautiful pieces of jewellery made from natural pearl. You can pick your own oyster, find a pearl and then have it set in one of their jewellery pieces. Choose from classic, contemporary and even bespoke designs for a take home treasure.
Olivine – Lanzarote
Olivine, or peridot as it’s sometimes known, is a beautiful mineral named for its green hue. Lanzarote’s volcanic landscape makes it plentiful here and even unassuming black lava rocks can contain a glistening green middle when cracked open! Look out for it while you’re out and about in the Timanfaya National Park, or on volcanic beaches. Even if you don’t find a piece yourself, there are lots of shops and stalls selling handmade olivine jewellery or other trinkets for a unique and pretty keepsake.
Limoncello- Amalfi Coast
Sweet and tart in one zesty hit, Limoncello is a liqueur made in Sorrento from local lemons. You’ll see it offered at restaurants after a meal as a palate cleanser or a sweet finale, however it’s said that peasants and fishermen used to drink it in the morning to help ward off a cold! We’ve not tried that one, but it might be worth popping a bottle in your suitcase for the dreary UK winter just in case.
Cazuelas & Terracotta – Costa Blanca Andalucia Costa del Sol
We’ve all had tapas before, right? Many of us want to try and recreate holiday dishes at home, and traditional Spanish crockery would make them all the more authentic! Spanish Cazuelas are strong, versatile cooking and serving pots made of clay, usually partnered up with small terracotta tapas dishes. They’ll add an unmistakable Spanish flare to your kitchen.