Top 5 Summer Souvenirs
1) Balzams: No summer would be complete without a ice cold drink with a splash of refreshing Latvijas Black Balzams. This herbal beverage has a long history of healing properties and is good for colds and as a digestive aid. Mixed with soda water and currant juice, it's also a relaxing way to start the evening.
2) Amber: Whether you go down to Liepaja and hunt for the tiny little jewels on your own, or buy them, amber is a perfect souvenir in any form. Although be warned that phosphorus is also abundant in the area. Make sure you know the difference as the two look very similar, though one will burn your hands and the other will look great on a necklace.
3) Handicrafts: Leather books, passport covers and photo albums, artfully designed, are a good gift to appeal to the artist within. Ceramic candlesticks, cups and bells are all available at good prices at booths lining the streets of Old Town. Quality is high and many of the artists sell their own products.
4) Honey: Used for thousands of years for medicine and cooking, Latvian honey comes in various shapes and forms. Apple blossom honey is good for everyday general use, while linden blossom honey is specifically used for treating colds and illnesses. Mixed with currant juice, it is said the mixture can cure a strong cough.
Latvian honey is available in most grocery stores, and can be bought fresh at the Central Market or specialty stores.
5) Linen and textiles: There is nothing cooler on a hot summer's night than lying down on linen sheets. Linen is the traditional textile in Latvia, used for clothing, hats, tablecloths and super air-conditioned sheets. These items may be found in boutiques around town and it is difficult to find any linen products which are less than the best quality available.
1) Marzipan: An unlikely souvenir item, usually linked to Germany, actually has its origins in Reval, Estonia. This city is now Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, where visitors can purchase lifelike marzipan fruits, pigs, and flowers. These and other sweets are available in specialty shops sprinkled around the Old Town.
2) Vana Tallinn: This creamy, strong drink is the Estonian answer to Jagermeister, only with 45 percent alcohol content. This sweet drink, with notes of rum and a multitude of spices is made for making cocktails or to kick up a dark beer. Vana Tallinn is sold in almost every shop.
3) Dolls: Traditional dolls dressed in folk costumes are a great gift for children or collectors. These handmade dolls represent the various traditional costumes of different regions in Estonia, complete with headdresses and tiny lace aprons. These dolls can be purchased in the stalls around town or in souvenir shops.
4) Kalev Chocolate: The chocolate bars are so incredibly fresh that one can smell the blueberries through the wrapper of the brands famous white chocolate blueberry candy bar. Anything by this brand is sure to be a hit, and bars with pictures of the Estonian countryside and Tallinn's Old Town are favorites. Available in supermarkets.
5) Iron goods: Estonian blacksmiths are notorious in the region for having the most creative and sturdy wares. Ashtrays, curtain rods, tables and fire pokers are just a few of the traditional iron goods made by masters today. Though not as easy to transport home, most items can be shipped to your door.
1) Trejos Devynerios: Monks first mentioned this alcoholic beverage over 1000 years ago and the drink is still popular today. Chockfull of herbs and spices, this drink is perfect on its own or mixed. The bottles are labeled with '999' and come in three different varieties all equally intriguing. The drink can be purchased at any shop or supermarket around town.
2) Krupnikas: Another liquor from a land than knows their alcohol. This strong liquor made from clover honey and herbs is sure to satisfy the sweet tooth. The drink is sometimes heated before being served, and legend has it that Benedictine monks living in Niasviz originally created the concoction.
Not just known for its taste, the beverage was also used as a disinfectant for Polish soldiers in World War II.
3) Basketball gear: Lithuania is famous for its tall, strong people and their basketball talents. At the height of basketball season, tons of jerseys, dolls, mini balls, candy and clothes all have basketball logos. For international sports fans, items can be found at many shops around town during the summer season.
4) Embroidered goods: Lithuania is also famous for its detailed embroidery and small scale weaving. Adorned with folk motifs, and ancient pagan symbols, embroidered placemats, napkins and tablecloths are souvenirs that will most likely last forever and add a special something to the table. Available in many specialty shops throughout the country.
5) Ceramics: Kurshenie is the Lithuanian capital of ceramics. Here you can purchase absolutely everything you can imagine made from ceramic, from little devils to ash trays. During midsummer celebrations, many more ceramic souvenirs pop up ready to be used in traditional celebrations.