We all like to have a memory in the form of a souvenir from the ports we visit during our cruise vacation. Some of the most asked questions from guests are “What are the best souvenirs from Italy?” and “Where can I find the best traditional gifts to bring home from Athens?”
We understand – we all want to bring home a piece of the culture and history of the places we visit and the people we meet.
In this article we look at the many types of mementos that guests are bringing home with them. We hope to inspire you in time for your next cruise so you can add to your shopping experiences in each port and bring home a conversation-starter for years to come.
Visiting Barcelona you can pick up some beautiful gemstones at Tous jewellery. There are several of their shops in the city and you can even find their jewellery at Spain’s famous department store El Corte Inglés in Barcelona.
Ceramics are also a great buy. The bright colors are often unmistakably Spanish and popular designs include a portrayal of Gaudi’s work.
One of the most popular and affordable Spanish designers for clothing is Desigual. And they have boutiques around the city and close to the beach.
Souvenirs from Palma de Mallorca, Spain
The number one most popular gift to bring home from the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca is cultured pearls. There are famous for it.
In addition, try there fantastic olive oil and a delicious liquor called Angel d’Or made, from the oranges grown in the golden valley of Sóller.
Souvenirs from Port of Marseille, France
Marseille soap, or Savon de Marseille, is famous in this region of France and makes a great gift to bring home with you – both for yourself and for friends. It’s easy to pack and smells fantastic.
It traditionally was made of palm oil and sea salt, and the small bars are green in color. Now you can buy all kinds are fragrances. Lavender is the most popular scent as the lavender fields are famous in the region of Provence, just north of Marseilles. You will find the local handmade soaps in almost every gift shop.
For homemade sweet treats try La Cure Gourmande in the center of Marseilles. Handmade by French bakers and artisans, no place else can you find such candies and sweets that are totally unique and delicious.
Souvenirs from Nice, France
Nice and the surrounding area is famous for its olives. From the maritime alps region comes “Olives de Nice”. These small, fruity olives are picked and processed by hand on many of the olive farms, and it’s this sort you should be looking for in the local shops to bring home with you.
If you get the chance visit the best local market in Nice, Cours Saleya in Vieux Nice (the old town). There you can buy all kinds of unique lace linens, that make an easy gift to pack in your suitcase. It gets crowded, but opens daily except Mondays. You’ll love shopping there.
Souvenirs from Port of Civitavecchio, Rome, Italy
For the best souvenirs from Italy, finding them in Rome couldn’t be easier. A firm favorite seems to be Christmas tree ornaments and snow globes. The gift shops around the Vatican are ideal to pick up these, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
For edible gifts, the most popular by far is Italian cheeses. Stick to only the hard variety, and look for parmesan, grana padano. It really tastes very different to the stuff your local supermarket sells. Ask for a locally produced variety and ensure you get it vacuum sealed. It will last around 6 months back home kept in your refrigerator.
Souvenirs from Florence, Italy
If your cruise docks at Livorno Port then you will have the opportunity to visit the historical town of Florence in the Tuscany region of Italy. And there are endless small gifts to choose from in the quaint gift ships to add to your best souvenirs from Italy collection.
Leather goods are often good quality finds in Florence. We’ve spotted great prices on Italian leather briefcases, purses, wallets and gloves.
Souvenirs from Pisa, Italy
You’ll find replicas of the ornate 14th century Leaning Tower to take home with you – from fridge magnets to paper weights. But for great shopping, head to Borgo Stretto, the main shopping street. Here you can find Italian designer brands and better prices than the exports you have in your own country.
For a totally authentic experience, visit “Made in Tuscany” leather goods shop, just a 5 minute walk from the tower.
Souvenirs from Naples, Italy
A cruise with a port of call into Naples, in Southern Italy means you have access to many glorious sites and day trips. Sorrento, Capri, Positano and Almalfi to name but a few. And this coastline is surely one of the most beautiful in the world.
For a taste of La Dolce Vita, pack your suitcase with locally made Limoncello. This sweet liquor is made from local lemon groves and distilleries are scattered along the coast. You’ll find bottles easily in local shops and markets.
In fact, anything with where lemons are represented, from local art and pottery to lemon soap are famous here and make easy gifts to take home.
Souvenirs from Capri, Italy
From a paradise playground of Roman Emperors to a holiday destination of the rich and famous, Capri is an island of outstanding natural beauty – and great shopping.
There is a mind-blowing array of shopping for homeware, jewellery and fashion. Particularly for handmade leather sandals and Italian linen fashions for women.
The prices you pay in Capri for some of the best souvenirs from Italy are going to be higher here, so allow for this in your budget if you end up doing some serious shopping on the island.
Souvenirs from Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik are known for mens’ neck ties and there are some quaint shops in the main shopping streets of Stradun.
Known as cravats, you can also find unique silk scarves, and shawls. Try the Croata Museum Concept Store in the old town.
Souvenirs from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Perhaps too heavy to carry much of it in your suitcase, but a piece or too is irresistible if you are looking for some unique pottery. Look for the geometric designs of traditional talavera, handcrafted by local artisans.
There is an excellent shopping guide to be found on the offical tourism site of Puerto Vallarta here.
Souvenirs from Maine, New England, USA
Look for small bottles of delicious Maine maple syrup; and anything nautical for home decoration. Local woven lobster baskets for entrance hall storage, driftwood kitchen signs and coffee mugs with exact latitude/longitude coordinates of the port are great momentos to bring home from New England.
Souvenirs from Athens, Greece
In Athens, you will find the best selection of natural sea sponges. These come in all sizes and shapes, and all unique of course. Find a size that suits your packing space in the Monastiraki Flea Market or in the gift shops in the neighborhood of Plaka.
Souvenirs from Corfu, Greece
The industry of bee-keeping in Corfu has grown so much that the island is becoming well known for its locally produced honey. You will even find forest honey made from pine and fir trees, along with honey that they produce from wild flowers and herbs. It’s a great gift to bring home as a souvenir from your cruise trip.
Souvenirs from Mykonos, Greece
Olive Oil tasting experiences are amongst the most popular excursions offered on the Greek island of Mykonos. You can discover how to taste olive oil, the olive oil culture, how to use it like a true Greek and the best quality branded olive oils available. And bring it all home in a bottle from this beautiful place.
Souvenirs from Santorini, Greece
You perhaps are not allowed to do this but many a tourist has managed to bring black lava rock or red sand from the island of Santorini. A safer bet is a bottle of Santorinis local wine, or some blue and white pottery from Oia.
Souvenirs from Amsterdam, Holland
Amsterdam, capital city of The Netherlands – also known as Holland – has to be most famous for its Dutch clogs. And you can buy a pair of these charming wooden clogs to fit or a miniature pair as an ornament. Traditionally Dutch clogs are made of wood, entirely by hand, carved out from a block of wood. Today you can buy them in wood or miniature versions in painted porcelain.
Souvenirs from Copenhagen, Denmark
We love anything Scandinavian. Denmark’s capital Copenhagen is known for its modern designs and for specialized souvenirs we recommend a visit to the best department store in the city, Magasin du Nord. If you can carry it home without breaking it, then some real porcelain from Royal Copenhagen is a winner.
Then of course there’s the lego. Lego has it’s beginning in Denmark and often in the lego stores you will find limited edition pieces created solely for the local market. Snap up those collector items while you’re visiting the city.
Souvenirs from Stockholm, Sweden
The Dala Horse has long been a symbol of Sweden handicraft, named after the region Dalarna, in central Sweden. Taditionally you should purchase a small carved Dala Horse in wood, and this is easy to carry in your suitcase too.
If you are visiting near Christmas then miniature Lucia ornaments are great to take home. The Luca festival is “The Festival of Lights” celebrated on the 13th December each year.
And don’t forget a cheese slice, decorated with the 3 crowns, the symbol of Sweden, and an oak handle. Shot glasses decorated with different animals or regions of Sweden also make popular gifts and souvenirs.