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Traveling during the winter and Christmas holidays is truly special in many aspects. Christmas is the most magical time of the year in many places across Croatia; cities are adorned with lights and Christmas decorations, the streets and squares are filled with the scents of mulled wine, cinnamon, cloves, grilled sausages, fritters, all complemented by the sounds of Christmas songs. The presence of snow adds an extra layer of enchantment, soothing all worries and making everything a bit more magical. It’s no surprise that many choose to travel and visit different places during this time. What adds to the joy of the Christmas season is the purchase of souvenirs, which can serve as excellent gifts for family and friends during the holiday season. In this article, we will present the best souvenirs you can buy in Istria, Gorski Kotar, and Kvarner during this most magical time of the year.
Every region in Croatia is known for its excellent food, and this part of Croatia excels in it.
First and foremost, there are Istrian truffles and truffle products. Since truffles are sought in the fall, this is an excellent time to buy truffle products as they are abundant.
Additionally, this region is known for its high-quality olive oils. Look for extra virgin olive oils from local producers, often in beautifully designed bottles, making them perfect gifts.
If you want to bring home flavors specific to Christmas, at stands and booths, find traditional dry cakes: kroštule, cukerančići, breskvice, kiflice, zvjezdice, raspucanci, fuži, puslice are just some of the cakes that taste like Christmas. Since they are dry, they can last longer, allowing you to treat family and friends upon your return from the trip.
Wines, Brandies, and Liqueurs:
Istria and Kvarner have a long and rich wine tradition, with indigenous grape varieties for producing excellent wines. Consider bringing home a bottle of, for example, malvasia or žlahtina, distinctive wines of these regions. However, wine is not the only alcohol produced here – there are also delicious brandies and liqueurs made from local herbs and fruits, which can also serve as excellent gifts during festive gatherings. Who wouldn’t be delighted by a bottle of good alcoholic beverage to celebrate the New Year?
The mild climate of Istria and Kvarner fosters the growth of various plants. Above all, there are lavender products, such as oils, sachets, and soaps, which are extremely popular souvenirs as they evoke the fragrant essence of the region. But lavender is not the only aroma in this area – delight your loved ones with a bundle of local rosemary, sage, or bay leaves, allowing them to fill their home with the tastes and scents of Istria and Kvarner during the winter.
Winter in this part of Croatia can be chilly even without snow, so locally crafted woolen items like scarves, hats, and socks become practical and warm souvenirs. If you find yourself primarily on the island of Cres or in Gorski Kotar, look for items made of natural wool of local origin crafted with traditional techniques for yourself and your loved ones.
Handcrafted decorations made of materials such as wood, glass, or ceramics are also popular souvenirs. During your journey, look for some of the numerous ornaments with traditional designs or motifs, which will remind you of an unforgettable trip every Christmas.
When looking for Christmas souvenirs, it’s always a good idea to explore local Advent events, markets, and fairs where you can find unique and authentic items. Take a break from exploring the holiday offerings in the best accommodation in the region, gathered in the offerings of the Molo Longo agency.