It’s time for a vacation, and you’re not the type to settle for a ho-hum locale. For a dream getaway at an affordable price, consider a European cruise on a cruise ship. Along the way, you’ll stop at picturesque ports steeped in history and culture, including Dubrovnik, Croatia, situated along the Adriatic Sea. While you’re exploring this charming port, don’t forget to pick up one of these 15 mementos to keep the memories of your vacation fresh in your mind.
1. Konavle Earrings
If you love things that sparkle, consider shopping for traditional Croatian jewelry such as Konavle earrings. Made in gold or silver, these decorative, hoop-style earrings were part of the traditional folk dress in the Konavle region of Croatia, just down the coast from Dubrovnik. These earrings were also a popular proposal and wedding gift from grooms to brides. You can find Konavle earrings at jewelry stores in the Old Town section of Dubrovnik.
Looking for gift ideas? Consider shopping for botuns — sphere-shaped buttons made from silver or gold filigree — that historically adorned men’s folk costumes in the Šibenik region of Croatia. These days, you can purchase bracelets, earrings, necklaces and lapel pins made from botuns from Old City jewelry shops.
3. Hand-Stitched Linens
Dress up your dinner table for special occasions with hand-stitched linens that also come from the Konavle region. Look through the open-air markets in Dubrovnik for napkins, tablecloths and table runners that feature embroidered designs in the traditional colors of red, green and black.
4. Coral Jewelry
Croatians have been trading Adriatic coral since the 13th century, and Dubrovnik is a great place to find beautiful coral jewelry. While you’re exploring markets and shops in the city, look for necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings embellished with coral and other gemstones.
Before there were ties, there were cravats — just imagine a cross between a scarf and a necktie. In 17th-century Croatia, cravats were part of the uniforms worn by soldiers, and now this article of clothing is a national cultural symbol for Croatia. You can find modern-day cravats along with neckties, scarves and shawls at local shops in Dubrovnik.
Women in Croatia have been making lace for centuries, and the craft was designated by UNESCO as part of Europe’s intangible cultural heritage. Known for its unique patterns and high quality, Croatian lace creates beautiful tablecloths, table runners and doilies you can find at local markets and souvenir shops.
7. Dried Lavender
The soil and climate in Croatia are ideal for growing lavender, and the dried form of this fragrant plant makes a popular souvenir. Pick up a bag of dried lavender at markets in Dubrovnik and use it to make aromatic potpourri or sachets for your gym bag, linens and sock drawer.
8. More Lavender Products
When it comes to essential oils, lavender oil is a true favorite. It’s thought to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, soothe sunburn and repel mosquitoes and moths. At shops and markets in Dubrovnik, you can find plenty of people selling lavender oil and lavender-based soaps, lotions and cosmetics.
9. Face Cream
People who want good, quality face creams might not think of looking for it at a Franciscan monastery, but that’s where you’ll find quality face cream in Dubrovnik. A monk-run pharmacy just inside the monastery sells face creams as well as other cosmetic products made with age-old, secret recipes. Local plants like rose, lavender and rosemary are just a few of the all-natural ingredients.
With 450,000 bee colonies producing 9,000 tons of honey every year in Croatia, it’s not surprising that honey is a popular souvenir choice for travelers to Dubrovnik. You can find delicious local honey in groceries and markets, and some artisanal products even come flavored with lavender or sage. Make sure your edible honey products are prepackaged and unopened if bringing back to the ship.
When it comes to winemaking, Croatia offers 2,400 years of history. The climate, terrain and soil in some parts of the country offer the perfect formula for world-class reds and whites. When hunting for wine, remember some of the best grape varieties are Grasevina, Malvasia and Plavac Mali. Remember that cruise shoppers are entitled to one duty-free bottle of alcohol per adult, and any alcohol purchased will be stored safely with your Carnival crew until the end of your voyage.
If you’re looking for a different kind of adult beverage, consider buying a bottle of rakija, a brandy-like spirit unique to the Balkans. Although rakija is frequently made from grapes, you can find this popular drink made from other fruits like cherries, blueberries, oranges and plums and even blends made from walnuts or honey. Before you buy rakija at a Dubrovnik liquor store, you may want to try a sample at one of the local restaurants.
13. Olive Oil
Croatians have been growing olives for centuries, and most olive oil producers in this country are family businesses that hand-pick their olives and press them immediately to produce the finest quality oil. If you want to take home a bottle of Croatian olive oil, just visit one of the oleotecas (olive oil shops) in Old Town.
14. Local Artwork
In cities around the world, you can find works of art created by locals, and Dubrovnik is no exception. Old Town art galleries offer all kinds of collectibles, from glazed ceramics to oil paintings on wood. Enhance your decor with a one-of-a-kind piece from a Croatian artist.
Home cooking in Dubrovnik is influenced by the city’s waterfront location. While mediterranean-style seafood dishes are popular, residents also cook up rustic stews and casseroles inspired by Austro-Hungarian cuisine.
If you like what you taste in Dubrovnik, shop for a Croatian cookbook to take home. Learn how to whip up crni rizot (black risotto with shellfish) or zelena menestra, a green stew made with meat, potatoes and cabbage.
Seeing Europe from the water on a Carnival cruise ship is anything but ho-hum. A vacation with stops at old-world ports is the stuff of dreams, and you can keep your memories alive with souvenirs. Search Dubrovnik for any of these 15 items to take home a small piece of this beautiful European city.