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Top 10 Souvenirs You Must Buy in Greece

Evil eyes store Greece
The Evil Eye is a common theme of talismans worn all over the Mediterranean, even today. Credit: Credit: FocalPoint /CC BY-SA 3.0

With so many Greek souvenirs to choose from throughout your travels in the country, let’s be sure that you purchase the best ones to help you relive your Greek holiday after your return to cooler climes. After you return home having basked in the warm Mediterranean sun and having experienced the country’s rich ancient history, here are ten of the best gift items sure to make you nostalgic about Greece.

Ten of the Best Souvenirs from Greece

Honey

Honey is everywhere in Greece, and each region, island and village makes their own versions, depending on the geographical location, natural herbs and microclimates. One thing is for sure, honey is an essential part of every Greek kitchen and home.

honey
Greek honey. Credit: Greek Reporter

Many times you will see a Greek yiayia (grandma) offering a spoonful of honey to a young child, for honey is considered to be very healthy and symbolic in Greek culture as well.

Whether you experience Greek honey in a dessert or trickled over some Greek yogurt after a meal, this is one delight that you can easily purchase and take home with you.

It also makes a wonderful gift. You can find honey in many different flavors, such as honey from bees which pollinated thyme and herbs or even pine trees. Also there is a variety of Greek honey that has nuts in it.

Halvadopita and Loukoumi

Here we have two great examples of traditional Greek treats that travel well and have no problems getting through customs.

Rose Loukoumi.
Rose Loukoumi. Credit: avlxyz/CC BY-SA 2.0

Halvadopita is made of two wafers stuffed with a sweet cream nougat filling that contains honey and almonds. It is traditionally wrapped in white paper and costs only around 50 cents. A cheap and delicious treat.

Also, loukoumi, known to many as “Turkish delight,” is a great sweet to purchase and pack away to indulge upon after your return home.

These traditional sweets can be found all over Greece’s mainland and islands; however, the island of Syros is perhaps one of the most famous for them.

Ouzo

While visiting Greece, you are sure to try out ouzo and love it. This unique, distinctly Greek beverage comes in traditional and decorative bottles and are a must-have souvenir for anyone visiting Greece.

Greek Ouzo at the beach in Greece
Greek Ouzo at the beach. Credit: borkur.net/CC BY 2.0

The Greek spirit, which has a unique, strong taste of anise, is served cold on hot summer evenings. Some people mix it with water while others enjoy a neat shot either before or after meals.

Why not get a bottle shaped as the goddess Athena or the Parthenon? After you return home and enjoy reminiscing your Greek holiday with friends and family, the decorative bottle is a keepsake you can display around your home.

Mati — the Evil Eye

At the root of Greek culture is the superstition of the ‘evil eye’, which makes it a perfect souvenir.

Evil Eye in Greece
An Evil Eye, perhaps one of the most common Greek souvenirs of all. Credit: Dramagirl/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When you are visiting Greece, you will see people wearing “the eye” everywhere. This is rooted in superstitions that refer to having a hex placed on you as having the “evil eye,” or “mati.”

In Greek culture, it is believed that someone can cast the evil eye onto another person out of envy and jealousy.

So, in order to avoid being “matiasmeni,” or having the evil eye cast upon you, Greeks wear the famous “eye” charm as protection. What a great story to tell anyone who asks you what that eye on your necklace means once you go home to your country.

Komboloi

Komboloi is also known as Greek Worry beads
Komboloi. Credit: Greek Reporter

As you travel throughout Greece you will undoubtedly come across Greeks fiddling with a strand of beads, spinning them one way and then the other. Komboloi, also known as “worry beads” evolved from the Greek prayer rope, komboskini, although they have no religious function. They are a great way to relax and also make a great gift.

Hand-carved Olive Wood Item

Since Greece is abundant in olive trees, it should be no surprise that there is an arts trade steeped in tradition of creating wooden items out of olive wood. Beautiful and unique, you can find everything from kitchen utensils to sculptures that have been hand-carved from olive trees.

Nativity Olive wood
Sheep from olive wood hand-carved nativity scene. Credit: Martin LaBar/CC BY-NC 2.0

In Crete there are some well-known shops that sell these products, although you are sure to come across them in many villages, islands and even in Athens city center shops.

Olive Oil and Products Made from Olive Oil

Greeks do love their food and they certainly love their olive oil. Greek olive oil is at the heart of every Greek kitchen and is a natural product of which Greeks are very proud.

Olive oil.
Olive oil. Credit: Tiia Monto/CC BY-SA 4.0

Olive oil is used in many dishes, and can be found in cosmetics and beauty products as well.

You can find natural soaps, gift boxes or a basic bottle of Greek olive oil to take back as a souvenir. There is something for everyone.

Handmade Ceramic Replicas

After you have fallen in love with the ruins and ancient artworks of Greece, why not purchase a handmade replica? This is the perfect way to enjoy memories of your Greek holiday long after you have returned.

Ceramic Replicas in Greece
Modern replicas of ancient Greek vases are a wonderful way to remember your Greek vacation. Credit: Egisto Sani/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There are many shops that sell ceramic plates, vases and sculptures that are exact replicas of the originals.

Spice mixes and teas made with dried herbs

One of the easiest ways to flash back to your Greek holiday is to re-experience the amazing Greek food that you sampled while there.

Greek spices
Greek spices. Credit: Like_the_Grand_Canyon/CC BY-NC 2.0

Of course, you might not be able to recreate the Greek masterpieces exactly, but by purchasing spice packets and herbs that are prepackaged for specific dishes, you might come close.

You can find Greek herbs for traditional teas as well as local herb and spice packages for sale everywhere throughout Greece.

Tapestries

You can also leave Greece with a beautiful traditional tapestry to adorn your walls. There are many stores throughout the islands and well as mainland that sell tapestries that have designs and colors representing local customs.

greek Tapestries
Greek Tapestry. Credit: 5telios/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

These unique art pieces are easy to roll up and take home with you in your luggage, or if you purchase a larger one, the shops will arrange shipment details for you. When you look at it on your wall, you are sure to be reminded of beautiful Greece.

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