Shopping in the Baltic States
The Baltic States will tempt you with the fossilized tree sap we know as amber, in more colors than you thought it did, colorful traditional handicrafts and new designers’ innovative creations in fashion and decorative objects.
Visitors to Estonia enjoy finding bargain antique furniture and icons; books; jewelry; textile and wooden handicraft items. Wander through Tallinn’s Old Town, particularly Viru and Müürivahe streets, and you will find numerous high fashion boutiques. International designers are well represented in Estonia but search out the work of Estonian fashion designers at Baltman, Bastion, Ivo Nikkolo, to name a few. Visit the outdoor knitwear market on Müürivahe street in Tallinn, where craftsmen and women sell their knitted products in the shadow of the medieval town wall. At the nearby Katariina Artist Guild are medieval-style workshops where you can watch as glasswork, ceramics, leather goods, quilts and other items are created right before your eyes.
Traveling through Latvia and Lithuania you’ll have plenty of opportunity to select the amber jewelry you want to take home – not that we said it will be an easy decision. In every shade of honey and gold to green and brown, there’s a beautiful range of earthy colors to choose from. Lovely table flaxen linens, often embroidered, are easy to pack and so reminiscent of local traditions, each region having its signature designs. If you love collecting local knitting, be sure to spend some time hunting and gathering in Riga’s Central Market when you’re in Latvia. Among a variety of lovely hand carved wooden items are matryoshka dolls, a vestige of Russian heritage. These colorful nesting figures are always an entertaining for both children and adults with some kid still kicking around inside. Local pottery and basket ware are also good buys and great souvenirs of your time in the Baltics; while you’re in Lithuania be sure to visit some of the hands-on workshops in Vilnius so you can better appreciate the skill required to produce these pieces. Don’t forget to tuck in a packet of salty licorice to keep you perked up on your journey.