Croatian souvenirs: fun, cool and authentic

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I don’t know about you, but when I travel I like to search for original and unique souvenirs to bring home. Sure I will, just like anybody else, go for dozens of cheap fridge magnets and patches, to make everybody content backhome. Even the distant aunt that I’ve never really liked.

But I like to browse for real souvenirs, unique artisan products that I can only find in the country I am visiting. Most of the time I end up with spices, and other food products like local sauces, cheese, mustard, sweets, etc.

My all-time favorite souvenir I brought back home from my travels is a small box of worry dolls. My aunt used to have these dolls by her bed side for as long as I can remember. When I put my step on South American soil for the first time, and I saw the worry dolls at the street stand, I just had a flashback from my childhood. And I immediately bought two sets (yes, I tend to worry a lot; and one set of dolls just wouldn’t do for me). This was over ten years ago. And they are still at my bed side. When I change country or go somewhere for an extended period of time, the dolls go with me. These dolls work harder than anybody I know.

Now, I live in Croatia, and I am not really buying souvenirs here. But I was thinking if I was a tourist in Croatia, what Croatian souvenirs would I like to bring back home? Here are my ideas.

And just to be clear, if you are wondering, I don’t make any money from the products I suggest below. I just like them and think you could like them too.

Croatian souvenirs that I like (and you could probably like them too)

A Pinch of Salt is a hand chiseled stone container with a crystal glass cover. You can make your own salt with this unique souvenir. You submerge the container in sea water and then leave it in the sun until the water evaporates. Don’t you find it awesome to make your own, natural sea salt?

Croatian souvenirs: A pinch of salt

Croatian souvenirs: A pinch of salt / Photo credit: Take Me Home

This is definitely my favorite souvenir. My birthday is coming soon, so if anybody is wondering what to buy me, here is a hint. It’s original. It’s cute. And the only thing I don’t like about it is its price. At 199,00 euros, this is not a souvenir you’ll bring home to your distant aunt you’ve never really liked.

Krtz is another kitchen utensil that I like. It’s a walnut opening knife. It’s functional (it really works!). It’s got a beautiful design. At 19,99 euro, it is still not a gift for the aunt you’ve never really liked, but it can be a great gift for somebody close to your heart who likes walnuts. Like me, for example.

Croatian souvenirs: a Krtz

Croatian souvenirs: a Krtz / Photo credit: Take Me Home

A souvenir bag comes with a really funny Croatia-related slogans. It’s the coolest souvenir bag I’ve seen. However at 31,70 euros, they did go a bit overboard with the price. The only original thing is the funny slogan. It’s still a cool souvenir. You can wear it as a shopping bag, or a backpack. It has inside and outside pockets and a zipper. No matter how many positive things I find about this bag, and how much I like it, I still can’t go over its price. Way too much.

Croatian souvenirs: a shopping bag

Croatian souvenirs: a shopping bag / Photo credit: Take Me Home

A necktie is a kind of Croatian invention. But you know that already (and if you don’t know it, check my post on random facts about Croatia). All over Croatia you’ll find Kravata Croata stores specialized in ties, neckties, scarves and shawls. They don’t come cheap but they do make for a nice and unique souvenir.

Sweets! Who doesn’t like yummy sweet treats?! Croatia has range of its own sweets. They make an excellent and inexpensive souvenir. Here we are talking about something to bring even to the aunt you don’t like. Croatian milk chocolate (brand Dorina) runs at 1 euro (100 g), as well as candies (Kiki & Bronhi are the most famous). Bajadera is probably the best Croatian chocolate. It’s made of a fine nougat blended with almonds. But this one, at 3 euros for a 100 g, doesn’t come cheap.

Croatian souvenirs: olive oils

Croatian souvenirs: olive oils

Olive oil is an awesome Croatian souvenir. There are some really great extra virgin olive oils here in Croatia. The best part is that Croatians make single sort olive oils. And each one tastes so different. The best olive oils are Oleum Viride, Ipsa, Chiavalon. But, at 50 euros per liter, they are also very expensive. For the cheaper option either buy directly from the local producers, or buy an Agrolaguna souvenir pack.

What kind of souvenirs do you usually buy on your travels? Share your souvenir habits in the comments below.

About Frank G

Frank G. is a four-time expatriate Canadian currently living in Croatia. Together with his girlfriend, he blogs about Croatia at Frank About Croatia. If you would like to connect, send him an e-mail, or find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

Comments

  1. In addition to fridge magnets and local food stuffs, I like to bring home one nice item from each country I visit. My bookshelves are loaded with handmade items from Greece, Cambodia, China, you name it. I love walking by those items and remembering my travels. I can’t wait to see what I bring home from Croatia!

  2. I am a souvenir hoarder so I loved reading what Croatia has to offer. They’re all great but how neat is that walnut opening knife. I also have a sweet tooth so those chocolates sound great. My daughter and I buy dolls dressed in their native costumes. We also get magnets and ornaments.

  3. Food and souvenirs are 2 things i always bring home from Croatia. Vacation is not the same without bringing a peace of it home :)

  4. I absolutely love that tote bag! My hubby is from the former YU (Bosnia) and I think this would be such a fun gift to surprise him with! Thanks for sharing!:-)

  5. I love puns so I’m all over that bag, but I agree. That price is too much otherwise it’s calling my name!

  6. This post is right up my alley! I always do a Supermarket Souvenirs post for the countries I visit (http://bit.ly/1ev4ir8). We’re headed to Croatia this spring, so I’m very glad to have your recommendations. Thanks :)

  7. This is a really cool list! I’d be happy to “make” my own salt, and I had to giggle at the bag – clever! I’d probably get olive oil, you can’t go wrong with that!

  8. I was totally ready to see if I could get one of those salt things, until I saw the price. Just as well, because it wasn’t until later I remembered I don’t actually live anywhere near the ocean. But it looks so cool!

    • Jess, I’ve been waiting for this comment. As I also realized that you can only actually make your own salt if you live by the sea. But left it unsaid to see if anybody will pick up on it. You win :)

  9. I buy earrings in probably every country I visit. They’re small, unique and I actually get to use them. None of them are allowed to be over ten euro, though!

  10. Frank, we’ve been lucky enough to have been given some homemade Dalmatian olive oil, thanks to our landlord in Split. Nevertheless, the package of sampler bottles that you mention here sounds wonderful! I’ll have to be on the lookout.

    • Tricia, thanks for your comment! We took an olive oil tasting tour at this producer. And his olive oil is really top notch. He’s got 11 different sorts of olive oil (10 single sort and 1 mixed). And the package is very stylish. But it’s expensive.

  11. I really love bringing back food and treats as souvenirs – it’s like the vacation doesn’t have to end right away with the taste at home, too. =)

  12. I remember when my mother sent Bajadera over to us while we were still in USA. My mother in law, who hates European chocolates (she thinks they are too sweet), fell in love with it and kept asking for more!

    • I would say that almost everybody likes Bajadera. How funny it is that your mother in law thought that European chocolates were too sweet. When I was in States, I thought their chocolates are pure sugar. And was buying chocolate in Canada instead. It’s I guess what we are used to.

  13. Love the bag but not the price. The olive oil is expensive too but I wouldn’t mind paying for it since I love olive oil! When I go souvenir hunting, I always end up with things to eat or drink. Another inspiring post! :)

    • You are like me then. Always buying something to eat and drink. If you like olive oil so much, we’ll take you on a olive oil tour when you come to Croatia.

  14. Great list! I would probably go with the chocolates for myself and stuff them in the souvenir bag for my wife. I’ve never regretted purchasing expensive olive oil, so maybe that would go in the bag as well.

    • This one is really good, Dave! Wouldn’t regret taste-wise. And for such a price, it’s only to be used for salads and in moderate quantities :).

  15. exactly right, I hate to buy anything ‘same old’ – it needs to be local and quirky! And if I can’t find that they I just take more photos!

  16. Love the salt maker, how ingenious! Actually I like all of that stuff! Some great shopping tips! : )

  17. This is going to sound silly but I love the packaging of those olive oils haha…souvenirs that actually have something to do with where you are visiting are great. I’ll admit I do the magnet thing though but only cause my fridge now gets to remind me of all the wonderful places Ive been :)

  18. I do not want to buy anything for any old crabby Aunt Frank… but I love that walnut cracker. That is going on my xmas list.

  19. Love the slogan on the bag, but ouch – that’s expensive! The krtz is beautiful though. Great list, good luck!

  20. Hmmmm… I wish I could have a taste of Croatian milk chocolate. My husband and I usually buy Christmas ornaments from the places we visited. They have a lot of sentimental value, yet space efficient.

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