17 Best Albanian Souvenirs to buy
Last Updated on April 26, 2022
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Albania offers a vibrant culture with scenic beauty unlike others in the entire Balkans.
Once you’ve set foot on Albanian soil, you’ll be mesmerized by the hospitality of its people, the abundant delicacies it has to offer and homemade artistic pieces that you can take back as memorabilia from your trip.
There are plenty of options to take home as unique Albanian souvenirs, from homemade items to perishable goods.
The beauty of these souvenirs is the craftsmanship that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
From plates and pots to wooden sculptures and wine, anything with an Albanian touch can be taken home as a souvenir. These items can be gifted to a loved one or set aside as a decoration piece.
So, take this article as a guide to see which items you can take home as a memory of your wonderful time in Albania.
You might want to take all or at least some of these items home as Albanian souvenirs.
Best Albanian Souvenirs to buy
Albania is known for handmade crafts, and homemade ceramics are one of the most popular items that tourists buy as Albanian souvenirs.
To commemorate my stay in Albania, I brought home a homemade ceramic vase. The vase is crafted with patterns native to Albanian culture in hues of blue and vermillion.
Although there are plenty of shops where you can find artisans with their works of art, I recommend visiting ZadrimArt.
One of their shops is next to Mrizi i Zanave, a renowned agritourism business in Albania.
Every item in their shop is crafted by Albanian hands and shows the intricacy of Albanian culture.
There is a wide range of designs and types of ceramics like plates, decorative items, and even cups that you can take home as an Albanian souvenir.
If you’re even remotely ecstatic to learn about music, how different hymns are created, or different types of instruments native to some cultures, then you would like the Cifteli.
Cifteli is a guitar-like musical instrument, but with only two strings. It is native to Albanian culture, as it originated in Albania and Kosovo.
If you get the chance to hear traditional Albanian music, you might notice its tune in most of them.
If you plan to visit northern Albania, you might come across an old man wearing a traditional Albanian cap and playing the Cifteli.
Ciftelis come in various sizes but are bound to capture your heart with their beautiful melody. It can be easily purchased from a local bazaar in Albania.
This might come as a shock, but olive oil extracted in Albania is the tastiest of its kind. Its quality can be attested by noticing its rich green colour.
Not only does it seems freshly extracted, but it tastes delightful.
Although the Mediterranean area is known for its delicacies, Albania’s proximity to Italy could be the reason behind such high-quality olive oil.
You can easily buy it from the local markets in Albania, and they would sell it to you in a water bottle container.
Don’t expect a fancy glass jar as the oil comes straight from the farm and into the container – that’s why it is fresh!
So long as you’re able to safely transport it back, olive oil is one the best Albanian souvenirs to get any chefs in your life.
Albania has a wide range of handmade goods that can be taken home as souvenirs. One of these is the qilim, which is more or less a handwoven rug.
These traditional Albanian rugs are beautifully crafted with intricate patterns and pay homage to Albanian culture and art. Truly a wonderful addition to your treasury of souvenirs from Albania.
You can find plenty of shops in Albania where a qilim is sold. The old bazaar in Kruja, a very significant historical town in Albania, sells these.
Kruja is only an hour away from Tirana and this could be an exciting road trip as well. You would find many artisans in the bazaar, making the qilim.
The city of Tirana is home to many art galleries that house beautiful artwork from Albanian artists – a delight for art enthusiasts.
Most popular tourist destinations in Albania have places where you can buy handmade drawings from Albanian artists.
One of such places is the studio of Eljan Tanini, an Albanian painter whose work is on display at the Galeria Fab of Tirana, among other spots.
Tanini’s work is vibrant and full of colors, analogous to Albania’s culture.
You would also find artists selling their artwork on the street. I bought artwork from a family living within the castle walls of Berat.
Truly a magnificent piece to keep alive the good times I spent in Albania.
My favorite souvenir from Albania has to be the pupa. It is a hand-knitted pair of socks that are normally worn inside the house. Pupas are mostly made by old Albanian women.
They are cozy and will keep your feet warm enough during the colder months. They’re also perfect Albania gifts for any friends or family who live in colder areas.
Although knitwear is very common in Albanian bazaars in the form of blankets, bags, caps, the pupa is my favorite (that’s why I have got tons of pairs).
Sadly, I forgot most of my warm clothing when I was visiting Theth, but luckily, I met this shepherdess along the way who was knitting a pair of pupa.
One of the most fun facts about Albania is that during the communist regime in Albania, their leader, Enver Hoxha, was determined that they might have to face a war.
To buckle up for that, he constructed more than 700,000 bunkers – but the war never happened. Though only 150,000 bunkers are left, you might see at least a few.
They are scattered in various places, some are in shackles, others have been preserved and transformed into hotels, tattoo shops, and some just sit on the ground in perfect condition.
A bunker ashtray might be a garish type of souvenir but is a cool purchase to memorialize your trip to Albania.
An exquisite alcoholic beverage, native to Albanian culture and cuisine is the cognac. Even if you’re not that much of a wine connoisseur, you need to try the Skanderbeg cognac.
This delicious Albanian brandy is readily available in every market. Cognac is produced by distilling the grapes twice and has a slightly acidic taste, but very unique and worth the try.
One of the most popular Albanian drinks is Raki, and this unique alcoholic beverage is a great Albanian souvenir.
Raki is made from distilled spirit, sourced from grapes, peaches, and other fruits. It can be very strong but has a delicious taste and aroma.
Be careful about the amount you consume; it can range from 20 to 80% alcohol-proof. The appearance of Raki is clear, like Vodka.
Raki is also available in small and large-scale markets and is usually sold in plastic containers. You can also purchase it in a sealed container from the supermarkets in Albania.
There are many options for buying Raki, but we recommend choosing the locally sourced Raki – easily available in any village or city.
Some locals produce it in their homes, so don’t hesitate to ask for some.
Normally tourists in Albania don’t prefer taking second-hand goods home as souvenirs, but to me, they are a bit special.
In cities like Gjirokaster and Kruja, there are plenty of thrift shops where second-hand goods are available for purchase.
Some goods are so old they might date back to the communist period of Albania or even the 1800s. Truly a remarkable keepsake of Albanian history.
There is a wide range of goods in these thrift stores, ranging from old photographs to helmets, maps, weaponry, and other interesting items.
You might even be able to find a traditional Albanian costume (fustanella for the men and xhubleta for the women), complete with its own special history.
Albanian coffee is more than just a boost of caffeine in the morning, it is a representative element of Albania’s culture.
Albanians normally drink either of the two types of coffee – Italian espresso or Turkish coffee. The latter is commonly called the Balkan coffee as well as it is available in the Balkan region.
Balkan coffee is a very thick and strong blend of ground coffee beans, water, and sugar.
Though you can make it in whatever way you like your coffee, Albanians prefer a frothy texture rather than an overly boiled beverage.
Albanian coffee is not only an important part of their lifestyle but showcases the heritage and hospitable nature of its people.
You might find Balkan coffee being served in tiny cups throughout Albania. Though it is commonly available in most markets, you can find the finest quality blend in an upscale store.
Nonetheless, it is a perfect souvenir to take back home and reminisce about your time spent in Albania.
Albania has a longstanding tradition of beekeeping and the extraction of honey.
There are various trips specific to beekeeping areas of Albania, like the Honey Trail, that, along with exploring Albania’s beauty, revive Albania’s rich culture and history through a sweet and sticky delicacy.
Albanian honey is widely used in traditional Albanian food like the bean pie in Korca, skewered lamb, or a honey nut cake. Some wineries in Albania even offer Raki with Albanian honey.
If you’re even remotely aware of Albania’s history, you’ve probably heard of Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu frequent times.
The Albanian hero is commemorated for his loyalty and resistance to the Ottoman Empire’s invasion throughout the Balkan region.
Being the most celebrated historical personality in Albania, you might come across numerous souvenirs with his picture on them or even tiny sculptures of Skanderberg riding his horse.
You thought Raki and Cognac are the only alcoholic beverages Albanians are proud of? Albanian wine, in general, is a very commonly bought item among tourists.
There are quite a few beautiful wineries all across Albania, be sure to check those out. And while you’re at it, try the exquisite wine of Albania, sourced from their vineyards.
You can also buy it from commercial markets in sealed containers to take back home.
Caj mali (tea)
The Caj Mali tea is a sweet-flavored tea that is sourced from Albania’s Mediterranean coastline.
Though it was traditionally used as herbal medicine as it is rich in antioxidants, it is used as a part of Albanian cuisine now. The tea leaves are free from caffeine and sustainably produced and extracted.
Be sure to get it from local farmers or in eco-friendly packaging from the bazaars in Albania.
Just like the handmade ceramics and pupas, Albanian jewelry is also significant of Albania’s culture and its artistic history.
You might find exquisite designs, ranging from cultural motifs to contemporary pieces. Many bazaars in Albania sell eagle pendants that pay tribute to the Albanian flag.
Many of these pieces might be red or black, signifying the colors of the Albanian flag.
The black eagle on Albania’s flag with two heads symbolizes the strength of Albanians and is a very common souvenir item.
Be sure to check out the local markets and artisan shops for Albanian jewelry. It can be perfect if you’re looking for unique Albania gifts or souvenirs.
Homemade wooden souvenirs
While in Albania, you would find a lot of homemade items, from pupas and ceramics to wooden souvenirs. These come in various sizes and designs.
From plates, pots, vases to traditional Albanian items or even sculptures of Skanderberg, you would find a lot of these in bazaars of Tirana or Korca.
Every city or village in Albania has a unique history and culture to offer. The items in this article are just some of the representative elements of Albania’s vibrant culture and history.
You can easily find most of these Albanian souvenirs in any bazaar in Albania and pack them with you to take back home.
Now that you know what to buy in Albania, check out my ultimate Albania travel guide to plan the most memorable trip possible!
Frequently Asked Questions
Albania has many skilled artisans. Visitors can enjoy things such as jewelry, ceramics, homemade wooden gifts, carpets and rugs, traditional outfits, paintings and drawings and much more!
Raki and Cognac are prominent drinks in Albania, but Albania is also a great producer of wine. In fact, wine is one of the most common souvenirs bought by tourists in Albania.
Every town and village will have places to buy Albanian crafts and souvenirs. From larger bazaars in cities to smaller thrift shops and market stalls, there’s something for everyone in Albania!
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