Greece has many more features than just picture-perfect beaches, age-old monuments and a rich history. With a vast range of handicrafts and traditions still living today, the country has much more than the usual fridge magnets and Parthenon replicas to bring home as souvenirs. Here are some items you can only get in Greece.
The mastiha tree or lentisk is native of the Mediterranean basin but only in the island of Chios has the resin been cultivated for production. As such, it used to produce a plethora of products and food items, but you cannot go wrong with buying a Greek olive soap with mastiha. Perfect for body and hair, this gentle soap will instantly make you think of Greece when you use it.
People know Greece for its ouzo and restina wine, but there is a delicious drink you can only find on the island of Corfu. Kumquat liqueur is omnipresent on the Ionian island and this is definitely a delicious souvenir to bring home in your suitcase. While kumquat originates from China, in the 1860s, English agronomist Sidney Merlyn brought the “golden fruit” to Corfu, where the tree can be found in every backyard today.
With age-old apicultural traditions, Greece is definitely known for its delicious honey. With several different types of honey, Greek honey can be used for eating of course but can also be incorporated into your DYI remedies or homemade care. You can readily find honey virtually anywhere in Greece, but there is nothing better than buying a jar sold locally.
Olivewood is hard and strong and has a beautiful grain pattern, giving each individual carved piece a distinct aspect. Furthermore, it becomes darker and more vibrant as it ages and has a smooth finish. Blessed with a strong population of olive trees, Greece has been selling olivewood items for years now, ranging from kitchen utensils and decorative items to jewelry. You will find olivewood stores virtually anywhere in Greece and on the islands.
If memories of Greece conjure up rebetika melodies, you may consider buying a bouzouki. Brought to Greece by Greek emigrants from Asia Minor, rebetika is a nostalgic music genre where bouzouki is one of the star instruments. Even if you don’t know how to play, buying one may be an excellent souvenir for a music lover or even for yourself. Of course, if you don’t feel like splurging, there are still other traditional instruments with more modest prices. But all the same, you should visit stores specializing in handmade traditional Greek instruments, they are truly impressive.
Greece is blessed with a rich nature and its mountains are covered with herbs and wild flowers. Why not take a taste of Greece home with you? Dried herbs, teas and spices are easy to travel with and can be found in any food store or open-air market. In big cities, head straight to the central market where you will be able to find a few selections of specialised shops. Whatever you do, make sure to bring home a branch of mountain tea.
Spoon sweets or glyko to koutaliou are treats usually often served to welcome guests in your house. Consisting of fruits, and sometimes vegetables, preserved in syrup, these are served on spoons with a glass of water. You can find them anywhere in Greece and they are delicious sweets to offer guests back home.
Greece has a long tradition of leatherwork, so you should grab yourself a leather piece when you are visiting the country. From belts, bags, wallets and purses as well as briefcases and many accessories, leather goods in Greece are made with good quality leather and will last you a lifetime.
It’s impossible to speak about Greek leather and not mention the leather sandals, the fashion item that Greeks and visitors alike both share. Perfect for the beach or the city, sandals are a great addition to your wardrobe and are excellent souvenirs. We are head over heels for the Andromeda sandal by Meraki Company. These babies are handmade and were inspired by the myth of Andromeda and Perseus.
Jewelry is always a good souvenir to bring home from your holidays. Skip the traditional silver or gold rings and bracelets with Greek symbols or the usual evil eye, and get yourself a piece of ceramic jewelry. This beautiful necklace made in Greece is definitely a head-turner and conversation starter. Make a statement and wear this white and gold handmade porcelain necklace with either your casual or formal outfits and shine bright like a star.
Alright, there is nothing exclusive about candles. You can find them everywhere, but we are simply so in love with this local brand. Funded in 2005, Waks has a wide selection of candles and diffusers with exquisite scents. Besides the classics, Waks also brings candles with unique scents such as rain, cut grass and saltwater.
If you are visiting the land of bearded gods and don a beard yourself, do yourself a favor and opt for a HOMMER product. Catering to the men who want to take care of their beards, HOMMER has a wide line of shampoos and beard oils made with natural ingredients and full of antioxidants. Inspired by ancient Greek history and mythology, the products are designed to clean, moisturize and protect the scalp and skin. Who said men couldn’t take care of themselves as well?
What would a summer vacation in Greece be without visiting one of its many fantastic beaches and islands? Save yourself the hassle and buy a beach towel 100% made in Greece. Launched in 2012, Sun of a Beach is a brand that embodies the Greek summer with its vast collection of beach towels and accessories, with fun prints and cool patterns.