Turkey has been a trading crossroads for centuries and its counters and stalls still burgeon with goods you can barely keep your hands off of, whether it’s gleaming jewelry or a silky carpet. Textiles from scarves and clothing to table linens will tempt you; plan on shopping for leather goods here as well. Ceramics in the Iznik style will captivate anyone who likes glossy blue and white, or perhaps it will be the chased copper plate you just have to take home. Other souvenirs include figures of Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocian dolls, ceramic cups, needle lace, copper and wood decorative items. At local markets choose your treat: local honey from pine forests, jams, hand woven carpets and rugs, spices and herbs, and many other village products. Pack lightly when you leave home, or you’ll be shopping for an extra suitcase in Turkey.
In Cyprus the epicenter of shopping activity is in Lefkosia, where Stassicratous Street is the place for the ultimate shopping experience. Everyone goes there, even if it’s just to stop for a coffee and snack or to window shop. The well-designed shops are always an attraction specifically because they stock almost all the well-known, international labels. This is where to go to find out what’s on the catwalks in London, Paris, Milan and New York. Perhaps even more attractive than the stunning fashions is the personalized, friendly, shopping experience in Cyprus.
Greece simply glitters with all kinds of jewelry. And it’s so easy to pack! Athens’ numerous jewelry shops, located mainly in Syntagma and Kolonaki areas, have a wide collection of ancient Greek jewel replicas as well as traditional and modern pieces, mostly crafted by local jewelers. You can also find filigree pieces of silver and turquoise, which are mainly made in Ioannina of Epirus and have traditional motifs of unique beauty. Fun souvenirs are bronze vases, copper utensils, clay items and ceramics, popular since ancient times. At the Hellenic Organization of Small and Medium Industries and Handicrafts (EOMMEX) you can find handmade carpets of excellent quality. You will be amazed with the wonderful designs, the bright colors and the quality of the materials used for EOMMEX carpets – surely your floor at home will be happier with a Greek carpet upon it?
For the ultimate in sophisticated style with that extra something, isn’t Italy the first place that comes to mind? Shopaholics will revel in the variety of outlets and wholesale stores, especially for shoe manufacturers in the Fermo area. In Venice, shop for the famous glass of Murano, colorful pearl necklaces, terra-cotta masks or typical Venetian desserts: these are some of the gifts you can get for yourself or for your family, as a souvenir of unforgettable Italy. Florence is a good place to dedicate yourself to shopping, from local handicraft to the art of the goldsmith, the leather worker and haute couture, not to mention the gelato you have to consume to keep your strength up. Heavy to pack but worth every ounce, take home at least one piece of Italian ceramics, whether it’s from Deruta or Palermo it will be a beautiful reminder of your vacation.
The Ta’ Qali Cafts Village in Malta is a convenient place to see a range of crafts and find craftspeople at work. You’ll find the light-as-air silver filigree jewelry the Maltese love and wildly colorful handblown art glass, among other hand crafted art and decorative items. Lace is on sale all over Gozo and Malta, especially at the town and village markets; look for a hand knit poncho to keep you cozy in the late night breeze. Local crafts can also be found in souvenir shops across the islands. Look for the Malta Crafts Council logo on products genuinely made in Malta.
Monaco is, quite simply, the undisputed international capital of luxury. The greatest names in fashion have established themselves in the Principality - haute couture clothing and shoes, jewelry and time pieces, perfumes, cosmetics, accessories - the world's most beautiful finery is showcased in the Principality of Monaco. From the cobble-stones alleys and lanes of Monaco-ville where the shopkeepers display traditional souvenirs to the retail stores of the Métropole Monte-Carlo, the Allées Lumières, or Fontvieille Shopping Centre with their enchanting windows of clothing, decorations, home wares and gifts, all that you could wish for, you can find in the Principality!
Fashionistas may go crazy in Spain, where long opening hours give maximum access to top Spanish and international designers. Trendy, creative, traditional or deluxe fashions; enjoy your favorite fashions to the full with a day’s shopping in Spain. Leather goods and shoes in particular will probably prove to be a major and most welcome temptation. Every major city has lots to offer in fashion. If you love handicrafts, keep your eyes peeled in Galicia; for the famous Spanish ceramics, head to Valencia. For something really precious, a Spanish guitar sounds like no other, and the luster of Majorca pearls will cause smiles for years. There’s also that bottle of unctuous Spanish olive oil you might want to pop in your suitcase.