The best souvenir to buy in 20 European countries

Sarah Schmalbruch
Tuesday 19 September 2017 12:55 BST
  • Forget gimmicky key chains and cheap t-shirts: Every European country offers unique souvenirs that are native to that country.
  • Examples include chocolate from Switzerland, leather goods from Italy, amber from Poland, and coffee from Turkey.

Sometimes the closest you can get to Europe is an American town with European influences.

But for the times that you can make it abroad, it's always a good idea to commemorate your trip with a souvenir.

Many European countries are known for certain foods or handmade crafts that are ideal for bringing back home. Portugal, for example, is the single producer of port wine in the world.

Keep scrolling to see the ideal souvenir to buy in 20 different European countries.

Germany: Mass

Germans have long been known for their love of beer — often it's cheaper than water — and they drink it by the liter in heavy glass mugs known as a mass.

Take a trip to Munich's historic Hofbräuhaus and grab a mass with the iconic blue HB on the front.

Italy: Leather goods

Italy is full of outdoor markets packed with vendors selling a variety of leather goods that range from bags to belts to notebooks.

The country's most famous market — and the ideal spot to find quality leather goods — is the San Lorenzo Market in Florence. You could spend the better part of a day wandering around the endless array of stalls.

Croatia: Licitar heart

Popular all over Croatia, licitar hearts are simple cakes made from flour, water, yeast, and sugar that are shaped with tin molds and then baked and painted bright colors — most commonly red.

The hearts have been around since the Middle Ages. The smaller versions can make for a great Christmas tree ornament.

The Netherlands: Delftware

Delftware is blue and white pottery that's named after the city where it's produced — Delft. The pottery dates back to the 1600s, and, at its peak, Delft was home to 33 factories that produced the unique pieces.

Now only one factory remains, but you can find Delftware all over the Netherlands. Pieces range from plates to teapots to decorative statues.

Austria: Mozartkugeln

Mozartkugeln are chocolate-coated truffles filled with pistachio-flavored marzipan and nougat, and they're one of Austria's most beloved confections.

They were first created in Salzburg in 1890 by Paul Fürst, who decided to name his creation after the famous Austrian composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Romania: Wooden spoon

Once used for more practical purposes, Romanian wooden spoons are now mostly a decorative item. The hand-carved utensils come in an array of different designs, from animals to religious symbols to people.

Many motifs also have special meaning: for example, a rooster is supposed to symbolize hope.

Spain: Handheld fan

You'll see women using colorful, handheld fans all over Spain. Even if you don't intend to use the fan for its actual purpose, it can serve as a great decorative piece thanks to the intricate hand-painted patterns you'll find on most of them.

Turkey: Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee is served black and is known for being both stronger and sweeter than the average coffee you'll find in the US. Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is one of the country's most historic brands.

Coffee is traditionally served in a copper cup in Turkey, so if you want to bring back the full experience, grab a cup and saucer as well.

Poland: Amber

Known as the Baltic's gold, amber is everywhere in the Polish port city of Gdańsk. You'll find plenty of boutiques selling unique jewelry made of the material, which is simply tree resin that's been hardened and weathered by water.

The city even hosts an international amber fair with pieces from over 215 vendors.

Sweden: Dala horse

Dating back to the early 19th century, dala horses are named for the region from which they originated: Dalarna, in central Sweden.

The brightly-painted horses are now considered the country's unofficial symbol, and although they're popular as souvenirs, plenty of locals have one in their homes as well. The red horse is the most traditional.

Portugal: Port wine

Portugal's scenic Duoro Valley is the world's only producer of port wine, a fortified wine that's sweet and often enjoyed after a meal.

Spend the day visiting the lodges of the Duoro Valley and trying different kinds of port. Chances are you'll find a bottle you'll want to take home with you.

Greece: Evil eye beads

Believed by the Greeks to help ward off misfortune, the evil eye (mati) is a symbol that you'll find on bright blue charms and jewelry throughout the country. It's been a fixture in Greek history for centuries.

France: Camembert cheese

A baguette probably won't make it in your luggage on the trip back home from France, but Camembert cheese will. The creamy cow's milk cheese comes from the northern region of Normandy and is the ideal end to any meal.

Since raw milk cheese is illegal in the US, you wont find the real deal stateside.

Ukraine: Lizhnyk (hand-woven wool blanket)

Lizhnyk are wool blankets that are handmade primarily in Yavoriv, a village on the Ukraine's western border with Poland.

The wool used to make the blankets comes from sheep that are raised in the Carpathian mountains, and the blankets themselves are produced the old-fashioned way: on a homemade wooden loom. They're super soft and warm.

Czech Republic: Bohemian crystal

Bohemian crystal is glass that's made in Silesia and Bohemia — hence its name. Both regions are now part of the Czech Republic.

The glass, which often features beautiful detailing, is known for being hand-blown, cut, and engraved. It's also higher quality and more durable than most other glass.

Switzerland: Lindt chocolate

The Swiss consume a whopping 23 pounds of Swiss chocolate per year, an impressive number considering the country's size.

Switzerland has produced many of the chocolate industry's greats, including Rudolf Lindt, a Swiss-born chocolatier who invented the conche in 1879, a machine that forever changed the way the dessert was manufactured. Lindt still uses that technique to make the rich chocolate they produce today. Grab a bar, or 10.

Norway: Knit wool sweater

Thanks to its cold weather, Norway is known for being a producer of high-quality knit sweaters. Dale of Norway is a particularly popular brand that's been handcrafting the intricately-designed wool sweaters at their headquarters in Dale since the late 1800s. They've also been outfitting the Norwegian national ski teams since the 1950s.

These sweaters not only look nice, but will also manage to keep you warm no matter how frigid temperatures are.

Hungary: Embroidered tablecloths

There are several different styles of embroidery that are popular in Hungary. Flowers are probably the most common design, and make for a pretty decoration on the numerous tablecloths and runners sold in shops and stalls throughout the country.

England: Cadbury chocolate

Yes, Cadbury chocolate is available in the US, but the ingredients and the taste aren't the same. Hershey's makes the Cadbury chocolate that's sold here, and it may have more sugar than the British version, and isn't nearly as creamy or rich.

Go for the brand's famous creme eggs or just get a bar of chocolate; there are a multitude of unique flavors you'll find in England that don't exist in the US.

Ireland: Whiskey stones

Instead of going for the more obvious bottle of whiskey, try whiskey stones, which are best known for their ability to keep a glass of whiskey at just the right temperature without diluting it (like ice will).

Take a trip to Connemara on Ireland's west coast and you'll find stones made from the rare marble that exists only in that region of the country.

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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