The Best Albanian Souvenirs to Buy!
When visiting Albania there is plenty of fantastic things you can take home in memory of your trip. Albania has some beautiful handicrafts which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
So, let’s get into the top Albanian souvenirs to buy on your trip!
1. Homemade ceramics
One of the best things I have brought in Albania is a homemade ceramic vase with traditional Albanian patterns. You will find some workshops around the country, but I highly recommend visiting ZadrimArt. They have a shop next to Mrizi i Zanave, which is the most famous agritourism business in Albania.
Everything is handmade and they have a bunch of different designs and ceramics. I chose a vase, but they have plates, cups, decorative pieces, and more!
Çifteli is a traditional instrument which can be found mostly in the north of Albania. It’s a sort of guitar-like instrument with only two strings. In the traditional Albanian songs, you will hear this unique tone of the instrument. If you are lucky in the northern villages, you may hear an old man sitting and playing the Çifteli!
3. Olive Oil
Albania has some of the tastiest olive oil in the world. It’s fresh, delicious and has a beautiful colour to it that only the best quality olive oil has. Being so close to Italy, it’s no wonder that Olive oil is of equal quality of what you can get in Italy.
The Mediterranean area is known for its delicious produce. The best way to pick up some is by going to the local markets. The best stuff is sold usually in water bottle containers, nothing fancy but it gets the job done! This oil usually comes straight from the farm and into the bottle.
A Qilim or a handwoven rug is a fantastic souvenir that you are likely never to forget. These beautiful handwoven rugs are a favourite of mine. One of the best places to find one of these is the city of Kruja. Kruja is only an hour away from Tirana and is a fantastic day trip from the city. Within the old bazaar are people selling and making on the spot the beautiful Albanian souvenirs.
There are some incredible artists within Albania, and you will find beautiful handmade drawings within the touristy areas. One of my favourites was a drawing I brought off a family within the castle walls of Berat. A drawing is a fantastic Albanian souvenir as it serves as a memory of that certain place you visited.
Pupa is one of my favourite things to buy. It is essentially hand-knitted socks that are worn over socks within a house. They are sort of like fabric slippers and are usually made by grandmothers to keep your feet toasty warm in the winter months.
I have many pairs which are given to me by family but when I was visiting Theth and forgot all my warm clothes, we got talking to a woman who was a shepherd but at the same time knitting a pair of Pupa. I bought a pair off her for around 500 lek, the best 500 lek I have ever spent.
7. Bunker ashtray
Among travelling around Albania, there’s no doubt that you will see many bunkers. During communism, the leader Enver Hoxha was certain there was going to be war, so certain that he constructed over 700,000 bunkers to be prepared for a war that was never coming. Nowadays around 150,000 remain and are scattered throughout the country. Some are half-destroyed; some have been turned into hotels and tattoo parlours and some just sit there in top condition.
Either way, why not remember your time in Albania by purchasing a bunker ashtray, possibly the most kitsch but funniest Albanian souvenir to purchase during your trip.
Albania cognac is some of the best in the business. If you’re looking for an alcoholic Albanian souvenir, then try out Skanderbeg cognac which is available in nearly all small markets and supermarkets.
Leading on from the alcohol-themed Albanian souvenir be sure to pick up some Raki, which is a distilled spirit made from grapes, peaches or any other fruit. It’s usually homemade and delicious, but very strong so be wary.
Raki can be anywhere from 20 to 80% proof so be careful about how much you drink at once. Just like the olive oil, raki can be purchased in local markets and is usually in plastic water bottles. It’s completely clear, like Vodka. You can also buy more commercial raki in the supermarket in case you need to buy a sealed bottle.
10. Second-hand goods
This might not be a common Albanian souvenir, but I wanted to include it because to me it’s one of the best. Within the cities, particularly Gjirokastër and Kruja, there are second-hand goods for sale that date from communism times, and even the 1800’s sometimes!
These little shops are like stepping back in time. You can find an array of interesting things such as old photographs or maps from the communist times, you can even find old helmets, guns and other weaponry. Some of the stuff you can find in these shops are really interesting, making second-hand goods one of the most unique Albanian souvenirs you will find!
This will definitely be something unique and most likely no other person will have the same souvenir as you!
There’s your big list of 10 perfect Albanian souvenirs which are great to purchase for others or a memory of your trip. Make sure you support local businesses and small craft makers on your trip. There are some talented people out there that may not have a commercial shop but have equal or better-quality handicrafts so if you see an artist the best way to support them is to buy their products.
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- The Best Places to visit in Albania
- Living in Albania as a Digital Nomad
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