Lithuania’s unique resources and cultural creativity make it an excellent destination for purchasing unique, useful, and beautiful souvenirs. Whether you’re in the market for a tiny treasure of your travels or something more extravagant, the range of souvenirs from Lithuania delivers. The quality array of souvenirs is one reason to visit Vilnius or another Lithuanian city.
Baltic amber, or gintaras as it is known locally, is a point of national pride. Washing up on the shores of Palanga and Klapeida, it glows with an inner warmth that is captured in silver and gold settings or strung raw on a string for necklaces. Shops selling amber jewelry and art objects can be found in any major tourist center. In Vilnius, Pilies gatve and Gediminas prospect, near Vilnius Cathedral, are two good spots for browsing amber shops. From the smallest stud earrings to heavy, dramatic pendants, artists have worked Lithuanian amber into endless imaginative designs. You can’t leave Lithuania without acquiring a piece!
Linen and Other Textiles
Linen fabric seems to symbolize the Lithuanians’ back-to-nature mentality. Its natural color is a soft taupe that takes on new beauty when woven into tablecloths or placemats or draped into scarves and shawls. It can also be purchased dyed in any color of the rainbow and is worked into all types of garments and accessories. Look for artisans who do their own weaving at outdoor markets and fairs. If they speak English, they can explain their craft.
Lithuanian textile artists are also practiced in felting wool, knitting mohair, or crafting leather into functional and beautiful wearables. Street fairs popularly sell these items, and plenty of grandmas ply their hand-knitted shawls and gloves to passersby. Also look for sashes, bookmarks, and camera straps woven from Lithuanian traditional designs and colors.
Beer, Vodka, and Other Spirits
Like the other countries in Eastern Europe, Lithuania produces its own range of alcoholic beverages. Lithuanians are proud of their delicious beer, and the best way to find one worth taking home with you is to try a range of them at pubs and restaurants. Degtinė, or Lithuanian vodka, is another option; find small or large bottles of the stuff at supermarkets such as Maxima. Or you can try Lithuanian bitters, honey mead, or a wine produced from locally grown fruits and berries.
Books are some of the best and worst souvenirs. They’re packed full of information and photographs, but they’ll weigh down your luggage like nothing else. However, you may find a coffee-table book or English-language history that really appeals to you. Browse bookstores in tourist thoroughfares for the best selection of books in different languages. Vilnius: City of Strangers, which looks at Vilnius through the eyes of historic visitors, is a popular choice.
Honey and Beeswax Candles
Lithuanians love their honey and its medicinal qualities. Produced from different flowers then you may be familiar with, Lithuanian honey is worth trying. If you’re in doubt about taking a jar of it home with you, look out for natural beeswax candles carved into figures.
The wooden folk art tradition is alive and strong in Lithuania. Of course, you’ll see an array of boxes, bowls, and spoons, but Lithuanian traditional imagery also appears in the purely decorative form. One interesting figure is Rupintojelis, also known as “Pensive Christ” or “The One Who Cares.” The figure combines both pagan and Christian traditions into one, depicted as a seated Christ-like figure with his head in one hand.
Ceramic objects, from the most utilitarian bowls to whimsical home décor items, are one of Lithuania’s most interesting types of souvenirs. Brightly colored bells and wind chimes, animal sculptures, beer steins, and other ceramic objects can be purchased either from the artists who make them or at stores specializing in Lithuanian souvenirs. You may even be able to pick up a miniature Gediminas Castle Tower.