So, you’re off to Europe this summer. Lucky you. From the beer halls of Germany to the cobbled streets of the Czech Republic to the grand old buildings of the United Kingdom, you’ll be in for a right treat.
Europe’s variety is its strength. You could leave the searing heat of Spain on a train at night and arrive in the cool mountains of Switzerland the next morning, quite literally countries and cultures away from where you were when you went to sleep.
It’s that variety though that leads to problems when it comes to gift buying. With so many different nations, people and traditions to experience across the continent, how will you know what to buy in each of the countries you visit?
Help is at hand as we’ve put together this guide to what gifts to buy on your European adventure – and there isn’t one gimmicky key chain or cheap t-shirt in sight.
Beer glass from Germany
When it comes to food and drink, then Germany is known for two reasons – meat and beer. They eat sausages like they are going out of fashion and as for the beer, it’s often consumed in 1-liter glasses known as a stein. What better gift to remind you of long, hazy nights drinking smooth German beer in one of their famous beer halls than your own stein glass?
Delftware from the Netherlands
You might think that you can’t get anything more Dutch than clogs or windmills, but you’d be wrong. Delftware is the ultimate present to bring back from the Netherlands. This blue and white pottery is named after Delft, the city where it has been in production since the 1600s. At delftware’s height, 33 factories were producing these cute little pieces, but now only one remains. You’ll still find this famous blue and white artwork all over the country though, and it will provide an excellent decoration for when you get home.
Jewellery from Italy
Italian jewellery is among the most beautiful world. If you’ve ever watched the best Mafia movies of all time, then you’ll know the sort of things we’re talking about. Stunning watches, priceless necklaces, and gold rings. Now, we wouldn’t advise getting your jewellery from a real-life version of Vito Corleone, but if you are in Italy, then some Italian jewellery is a must. Check out this guide of how to identify if it is authentic.
A handheld fan from Spain
Spain is hot – so hot in fact that it gave the world the siesta where many locals shut up shops and business and head for a sleep in the afternoon. Sleeping isn’t the only way that they combat the warm temperatures, as you’ll note when you spot women all over the country using handheld fans to cool themselves down. Even if you’ve got no need to use such an instrument back home, these brightly colored and decorative fans are a fantastic gift and could also serve as a decorative piece.
Evil eye beads from Greece
An evil eye bead doesn’t exactly sound like the sort of gift you want to be buying, but then again nothing is really as it seems in Greece. These decorations are bright blue charms with eyes that look suspiciously like fish eyes painted onto them. They are said to ward off misfortune and can be found practically everywhere, from on jewellery to charms to bags to paintings. The evil eye bead has been a fixture of Greek history for centuries, and so you can’t leave the ancient land without one.
Amber from Poland
Known as the gold of the Baltic, Poland is one of the richest amber producing countries in the world. It’s particularly prevalent in the north of the country, where the port city of Gdansk has spent pretty much its entire existence trading amber with the world. You’ll find plenty of boutiques selling unique jewellery made of this fascinating material which is essentially tree resin that has been hardened and weathered into something beautiful by water.
Camembert from France
France isn’t known as one of the best countries for culinary delights in the world for no reason. While you might struggle to get home some of the staples of a French diet such as baguettes, steak, snails or frogs leg, one food item you will be able to find a place in your luggage for without ruining is Camembert. This creamy goat’s cheese comes from the north of the country, and you will struggle to find a better food to end a meal with anywhere in the world.
Bohemian crystal from the Czech Republic
Bohemian crystal is some of the highest quality glass in the world, which makes it a must buy if you are in the Czech Republic. It is hand blown, cut and engraved and because of its unique properties, much more durable than most other glass. It comes from the Bohemia region in the west of the country.
Whiskey stones from Ireland
Ireland has long held an almost mythical place in the hearts of the world for its green lands and its friendly people. Irish people love a drink almost as much as the Germans do and when they aren’t putting away pints of Dublin-brewed Guinness, then they’ll turn to one of the many fine whiskeys made in the country. The trick to a good tasting Irish whiskey is keeping it at the right temperature and rather than use ice they do that with whiskey stones. These ice-like blocks will chill your tipple and won’t melt and water down the whiskey either.
A knitted woollen jumper from Norway
Norway is cold, and because of that, it is one of the world’s leading makers of woolen knitted sweaters. They come in all kinds of quirky designs and are made to the highest quality, keeping the wearer warm no matter how low the temperature plummets – minus 60.5 being the national record. If you want to pick up the most famous brand in the land, then go for one made by Dale of Norway.