The One Item to Bring Back From Every Country in Europe That Will Fit in Your Carry-on
This story originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.
One of the major problems that every traveller encounters is luggage capacity, especially if you’re only using a carry-on.
Still, chances are you want to bring back a token from your travels or a gift for family and friends.
Many of Europe’s most classic souvenirs are wines, oils, pottery, spirits and liqueurs — most of which aren’t compatible with hand luggage restrictions put in place by airlines.
To combat this problem, Business Insider UK has compiled a list of the best souvenirs to bring back from every country in Europe — all of which fall in line with hand luggage regulations.
Taking into account tradition, authenticity, size, and weight — as well as what items make for a great gift — keep scrolling to find out the one item to bring back from every country in Europe that will fit in your carry-on.
Silver production is one of Albania’s oldest crafts, and due to the country’s respect for the metal, prices rarely fluctuate or rise with inflation. If you are in search of a cheaper souvenir for yourself or friends, try searching in local flea markets for cut-price treasure.
This tiny country situated in the Pyrenees mountains is most commonly known to visitors as a tax haven, perfect for picking up duty-free shopping. However, if you’re after a souvenir beyond the big designer names you can snatch up at any airport, try bringing home some cured Catalan meats that travel well like Iberico ham or Morcilla sausage.
If you want a memento that will last, markets across the country offer various souvenirs that honour Armenia’s national emblem: the pomegranate. But if you’re after something more delicious, then colourful and enticing churchkhela, a sweet made of candied nuts, make the perfect treat that’s robust enough to survive the flight home.
These ‘Mozart balls’ can be picked up from almost any supermarket in Austria. Spheres of marzipan coated in chocolate then wrapped in foil emblazoned with the composer’s face, these popular sweets pay homage to the world-famous Austrian, and also have their own cafe completely dedicated to them in Salzburg — Mozart’s home city.
Some of Azerbaijan’s most impressive exports are their copper kitchenware and pear-shaped “Armudy” tea sets. Whilst these might not be the easiest things to bring home in your hand luggage, a Buta tablecloth or rug is easy to pack, traditional, and a great reminder of your trip to have around the house.
Symbolising joy and prosperity, straw’s importance in Belarusian culture goes back centuries. Historically, locals believed that straw harnessed the power of the sun and could pass on the power of nature to people. As a result, house decorations and amulets made of straw are a great Belarusian souvenir or gift.
Belgian chocolate might be famous across the world, but the chances of you managing to carry some home all in one piece without it melting everywhere are minuscule. Instead, opt for some local and equally as delicious speculoos — a crunchy biscuit made with brown sugar and spices.
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In one of the many vibrant markets like the Old Bazar Kujundžiluk in Mostar, you’ll find endless hand-crafted homewares and stunning stained-glass lanterns. Although some of the trinkets might be too fragile to travel, there’s enough choice to make sure you’ve got enough souvenirs for everyone back at home.
Slippers might be the last thing on your mind whilst you’re on your summer holiday, but grab yourself a pair of these traditional terlitsi and you’ll be set once evenings start getting cooler. These woollen slipper socks are not only snug and warm, but also fun and colourful and a great souvenir to pull out when the weather back at home is looking bleak.
The tie was invented in Croatia in the 17th century, and the Parisian aristocracy loved the idea so much that they spread it across the world. If you want the ultimate tie-shopping experience, head to “Croata” in Zagreb where on-hand experts will help you choose your perfect tie, and even how to develop your signature knot.
Lefkara lace is a delicate style of needlework only found in Cyprus, and an intricate piece of this handiwork is a perfect and easily transportable gift to bring back in your hand luggage.
Some of this country’s most recognised souvenirs may be the ornamental bohemian glass or retro Mucha posters, but neither are particular easy to squeeze into your cabin luggage. Instead, opt for the just as stunning local garnet. This semi-precious stone’s eye-catching gleam is fuss-free enough to be worn everyday, but special enough to make a great gift.
Known for its clean-cut fashion and furnishings, it isn’t hard to find gorgeous and even useful souvenirs to bring home from Denmark. But if you’re feeling thrifty, the country’s capital is bursting with thrift shops and markets where you can bag some iconic Scandinavian design for a fraction of the cost of the mainstream, tourist-attracting retailers.
The Estonian design market is one also growing in popularity, with boutiques across the country popping up and selling sleek and stylish wooden accessories. With phone cases, wooden bow ties, jewellery and cufflinks all in funky colours with geometric designs, these souvenirs are great conversation starters.
Some of Finland’s most stylish exports are the Marimekko fabrics, prints, and wall hangings. These bright and exuberant designs are recognisable all over the world, and have the perfect amount of fun, Scandinavian flare to liven up any room back at home. With wall hangings coming in various sizes, you can find the perfect fit to fold up and stuff in that carry-on.
You can’t return from France without bringing back some charcuterie or a lump of cheese. Nevertheless, these things always leave your suitcase and its contents smelling like a deli counter. Instead, bring home to your loved ones something much more pleasantly fragrant. Some of Paris’s candle shops date back to the 17th century, and the country and its capital still boast some of the most luxurious candle boutiques such as world-renowned candle maker and perfumer “Diptyque” — just make sure you wrap them well.
Germany is great for both kitsch and timeless souvenirs. Whether you’re after a cuckoo clock or some fine table linen, a crude fridge magnet or some elegant Christmas ornaments, you’ll be sure to find something for your home. When it comes to transporting goods home, sturdy but light “Lebkuchen,” or gingerbread, is a classic crowdpleaser.
Whilst olive oil and ouzo might not fit within your hand luggage’s liquids allowance, a packet of fresh herbs will easily squeeze into any case. The Greek are known for their home-and-herbal remedies, and with markets offering cheap spice stalls in every town, city, or even village, you can bring home something that will remind you of your holiday every time you root through your spice rack.
Hungarians are great at creating puzzles — just look at the Rubik’s Cube. These secret puzzle boxes can be found at markets across the country. Despite their straight-forward exterior, each box won’t budge open until the panels and slates have been moved in a specific order, at which point the lock and key become visible. Ranging in size from a dinky ring box to a fully-fledged jewellery chest, it’s easy to find a size to suit your luggage allowance.
Known for its volcanic activity, many retailers and jewellers in Iceland use volcanic stone — better known as cooled lava — in unique jewellery creations.
The Claddagh ring traditionally symbolises love and friendship. Depending on which hand it is worn and which direction the heart points, the ring can signal whether the wearer is single, in a relationship, engaged, or married.
Limoncello, olive oil, Murano glass, and balsamic vinegar — many of Italy’s most popular souvenirs aren’t particularly hand-luggage friendly. However, if you’re in Rome you can grab a pair of the Pope’s favourite socks from 200-year-old retailer Gammarelli which has been providing garments for Italian priests, bishops, and popes since it first opened.
The Baltic region is home to one of the largest deposits of amber in the world, and the Baltic Sea is often referred to as the “Amber Sea.” This is reflected in both the quality and the quantity of amber on sale in Latvia, making the perfect opportunity to purchase a gift for a loved one back at home.
The sixth smallest country in the world, it’s pretty easy to miss Liechtenstein on the map altogether. As a result, one of the best ways to celebrate and remember your time in this tiny principality is with some proper Liechtenstein merchandise. With a proportion of souvenir shops that far outweighs the permanent population, it seems that kitsch memorabilia is the most common thing to take home.
Wicker baskets and ceramic jugs are amongst Lithuania’s most notable souvenirs, but neither are particularly suitcase-friendly. Another of the country’s national crafts, decorative paper clipping, weighs nothing in comparison, and can be slotted into even the most overstuffed hand luggage.
Although its neighbour Belgium might be more commonly known for its chocolate, Luxembourg has an equally rich history with the stuff. With luxurious chocolate shops in every town and city never more than a short walk away, visitors have their fair share of vendors to choose from.
Reflecting cultural aspects of both the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder the Macedonians take their food seriously. The country’s warm climate helps herb and spice plants to flourish, making a holiday in Macedonia the perfect opportunity to spice up your spice rack with some unique local blends.
Maltese nougat is a local delicacy and is best enjoyed after a meal with a small glass of “hanini.” Whilst the liqueur might not meet your hand-luggage regulations, the nougat will be greatly appreciated by your family or friends upon your return.
Traistă are woven bags which were traditionally used to carry goods to and from the market in rural Moldova. These colourful, heavy-duty totes are now seen as more of a fashion accessory and make great summer handbags.
Some of Monaco’s best souvenirs won’t be found in a gift shop. For decades, Monaco’s casino was one of the largest forces supporting and sustaining the country’s economy. Bring yourself back some chips as a memento of the country’s larger-than-life culture. Or, if gambling isn’t your thing, then check out some of Monaco’s intricate and unique stamps.
This traditional cap, referred to locally as “kapa,” features black to mourn the historical grandeur of Serbia, gold to symbolise 500 years of the Ottoman yoke, and red which represents the blood shed in the country’s struggle for liberation. Purchasable versions of these hats are available across the country and are an ever popular souvenir amongst tourists.
Alongside classic clogs or tulip-adorned fridge magnets, stroopwafels are another quintessentially Dutch souvenir. Best served on top of steaming coffee to melt the cookie’s caramel centre, these biscuits will go down great amongst colleagues or friends.
Traditional Norwegian knitwear’s iconic patterns and designs are replicated across the world, but nothing beats an original. Some of the country’s most iconic designs and brands can’t be purchased outside of Scandinavia, so snatch up a piece of timeless knitwear while you’ve got the chance — even if you have to wear it on the plane.
Ask any local and they’ll tell you that Poland has some of the best linen in the world. A timeless souvenir or gift you can admire for years if not decades, bed linen, tablecloths, or napkins are great and easily transportable souvenirs to bring back from Poland.
More than an third of Portuguese land is covered by cork oak trees, so it’s no surprise that the country is the world’s leading exporter of cork. With the material being used for everything from plugging wine bottles to space travel, visitors can grab some authentic Portuguese cork in practically any form from markets across the country.
Sheepskin hats, known locally as Căciulă, are traditional winter dress across the Balkan countries. Romanian designs favour black sheepskin and make a great traditional keepsake.
With tourism as its most dominant economic sector, there are plenty of souvenir options in San Marino. One of the independent republic’s most popular souvenirs are the collectable stamps and coins.
The “licider heart” is a traditional Serbian symbol making a comeback in the fashion and tourist worlds right now. This token of love, which can take the form of sweets, biscuits, stained glass, and even clothing, is a traditional way of showing someone that you’re thinking of them, and can mean everything from “I’m sorry” to “happy birthday”.
The Slovaks are known for their drinks — whether it’s mead wine, kaltenecker beer, or something stronger like slivovica or tatratea. While you won’t be able to carry any of the local alcohol back home with you, you can still take a taste of the local drinking culture with a Pijacka poharik. This shot glass-sized bottle is often bound in leather with a neck strap so you’ll never misplace it.
A delicate and intricate handcraft most popular around Easter time, “pisanice” is the decorative painting of eggs to be given as gifts. Although fragile, these traditional Slovenian crafts are worth the effort it takes to wrap and bring home, as every egg is utterly one of a kind.
Amongst the cheap castanets and fans that target tourists and crowd the local markets, you can find some truly authentic souvenirs to take home. Saffron is famously expensive, however in a Spanish market you can get your hands on the stuff for a fraction of the UK’s prices. This golden spice gives paella its famous colour, and it’s worth picking some up so you can create the Spanish dish once you’re home.
Salt liquorice may divide Sweden like Marmite divides the UK, but this candy is undeniably Swedish. The salty-sweet concoction is so popular over there that you can even get salt liquorice flavoured ice cream, biscuits, macaroons, and chocolate.
In Switzerland, you’ll find a Mondaine clock in over 800 railway stations across the country. The ubiquitous brand is synonymous with telling the time there. Mondaine also sell watches and wall clocks, so wearers never feel too far from a Swiss train platform.
Traditionally used to ward off bad luck and evil spirits, the “Evil Eye” is not only easily transportable but also a classic and popular Turkish symbol that can be found in markets on bracelets, stained glass, key rings, and other trinkets.
Russia isn’t the only country famous for its stacking dolls. These Ukrainian Matryoshka dolls are all intricately hand-painted to resemble everything from peasant girls to former Soviet leaders. Also known as “Babushka,” meaning “grandmother,” the best thing about these dolls is they stack, therefore taking up less luggage space.
What’s more British than a cup of tea? With dried, special blends available at almost every department store — loose-leaf or bagged — tea is the perfect memento to bring back from a trip to the UK. You can go as cheap or as expensive as you like, and an ornate tin of tea makes a great gift, too.
Originally published at www.businessinsider.com.