Best Serbian Souvenirs To Take Home
The great thing about traveling to new destinations is not only checking out a new culture and trying the food but buying traditional souvenirs too! Shopping is fun no matter where you are in the world, but when you are in a new place, deciding on the best items to take home for loved ones is a fun part of the entire experience.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Serbia, you have a whole host of souvenirs to think about cramming into your suitcase. The only consideration might be the question – how much is too much?!
Many souvenirs you will find in Serbia are handmade, i.e. sewn by hand, woven by hand, painted by hand, etc. Making things from scratch is part of the culture and heritage of this beautiful and historic country, so looking into some of the best souvenirs to take back for your lucky recipients back home is a great idea ahead of time.
To help you figure out the gifts which are authentic, versus the gifts which fall firmly into tourist tack, let’s check out some of the best Serbian souvenirs for you to take home from your next trip.
Traditional Types Of Pottery
All over the Balkans, you’ll see different types of handmade pottery, and Serbia is no different. Zlakusa pottery is the most famous you will find in this country, and this incorporates pottery methods which date back centuries.
These types of pottery are also often used to cook traditional food in also, so if you’ve found a dish you love while over in Serbia, you can buy the pottery to go with it and try and make it when you get back home!
Licitar Heart Cookie
For anyone with a sweet tooth, this is the ideal gift. A licitar heart is a cookie which is covered in icing in a red shade, and then extra decoration is added to it, depending upon the occasion. So, if you want to say ‘happy anniversary,’ or ‘I missed you,’ you can! Simply tell the person in the shop what you want to say, and you’ll have your own personalized licitar heart within a few minutes.
A Serbian Musical Instrument
Most countries have their own type of music, and you’ll no doubt have heard plenty of authentic Serbian music while dining out of an evening.
If you loved what you heard, why not pick up a traditional musical instrument to the back home with you? You could try and learn how to play it yourself, or simply look at it and remember your fond memories. A gusle is a good option or a sargija.
If you’ve eaten out in Serbia, you will no doubt have seen rakija on the menu, and you might even have tried it. This rather potent alcoholic beverage is fantastic when it’s homemade, and therefore even more potent!
Buying a bottle of this delicious drink is a must do, but remember to warn anyone you give it to as a gift because it is incredibly high in alcohol content!
If you’ve haven’t tried rakija (put it on your Serbian to-do list), then it is a type of brandy which is usually made of grapes, but sometimes plums too. You can find commercial types of rakija, but homemade is always much more delicious.
A Rakija Lampek
If you fancy trying to make some rakija yourself when you get back home, you’ll be needing a small cauldron!
Whether you keep it for yourself or you hand it over as a gift, this is something genuinely Serbian and completely traditional. The traditional name is a ‘lampek,’ just in case they as you!
Bermet & Wine in General
Sticking with the alcohol theme, bermet is another gift you might like to pick up while you’re in Serbia. This is a wine which is usually served with dessert, and it comes from the Vojvodina region of Serbia. You’ll never be able to make this yourself, as the recipe is top-secret, but it is made of countless herbs and spices. You can choose a red variety or a white option, and taking a couple (or maybe more) home for your loved ones will undoubtedly be very well appreciated!
If you can’t find bermet (quite unlikely), and you want to take some wine home, then local Serbian wine is a must do. Check out options which come from the region of the Danube or Fruska Gora, as these are the most authentic and downright delicious.
Head to a local craft market or a boutique jewelry store in any small town or city, and you will find beautiful handmade jewelry to take home. Many of these pieces are decorated with religious symbols, e.g., crosses, and they make for a very thoughtful and authentic gift. You can also find nods to history woven into the jewelry designs, so simply shop around and pick out pieces which call out to you.
An excellent piece to look out for is a pair of earrings which has small people wearing folk costumes, traditional to Serbia! Cute and very authentic.
If you have a sweet tooth, ratluk should be on your shopping list. This is a little like Turkish delight ins one ways, as in its very sweet and sticky, and it dates back to the times of the Ottoman Empire.
You’ll find ratluk in souvenir shops, patisseries, and in markets, and you’ll probably also find it in abundance at the airport duty-free section before you leave Serbia!
Head to a local market and source out some ajvar as a tasty gift to take home. This is a type of dip which is made of potent red peppers, and you’ll no doubt have had it when eating out at a traditional restaurant anywhere in Serbia.
You can try and make it yourself at home, checking out a recipe online, but come on, does it ever taste as good as the stuff made by someone who really knows what they’re doing? That’s why a jar of this is a fantastic souvenir.
If you’ve never tried traditional honey versus the kind which comes out of a jar, you will know the difference instantly. Delicious, sticky, and with a sweetness that can’t be emulated, traditional honey is a must buy, either for a loved one or just for yourself!
Not all countries have national costumes or dress, but Serbia does, so picking up something which is this traditional is a great souvenir, for sure.
If you don’t want to choose costumes, you can go simply for textiles, e.g., carpets or blankets, but Serbian dress is very special and is often handed from textiles sourced within the local area.
The embroidery detail is sublime, but it’s worth doing some research into which costumes relate to which specific regions, to get the right one for you.
Handmade carpets are a true delight and while they’re not the easiest thing to take back home with you, you will find many vendors will happily ship them for you, for a small fee.
If you want to purchase something small, however, a kilim is a great idea. Pirot kilims are considered to be good luck, so these make for the ideal gift for a loved one. They are also made using the same techniques which date back centuries, making it a truly unique souvenir to have.
Opanak – Serbian Shoes
We talked earlier about traditional dress, and the opanak is a shoe which certainly fits into that category. Made in a way which dates back throughout history, these shoes should be on your souvenir list. You might not wear them, but they will look great in your home and will remind you of your time in Serbia.
These are some of the best souvenirs to purchase when you head to Serbia. Buy them for yourself, buy them for someone you love, it doesn’t matter – what matters is that you are capturing your memories.