Did you know that the most popular men’s accessory, the neck tie, originated in Croatia?
Did you know that the most popular men’s accessory, the neck tie, originated in Croatia? The world-renowned accessory dates back to the 16th century when Croatian soldiers wore their handkerchiefs as a ribbon around their neck. The French were quick to pick up on the fashion statement and named it the ‘cravat’ after the fashionable Croates of Croatia. The cravat gained international popularity quickly and women even began wearing it. Today it remains a staple piece in every man's wardrobe and every year on 18 October, numerous celebrations take place across Croatia marking International Necktie Day.
Local's Tip: Croata is Croatia's leading producer of men's neckties offering a wide range of authentic Croatian ties.
These stunning earrings originating in Rijeka have become one of Croatia's most renowned souvenirs. The earrings resemble a black figure with a turban-like crown. Legend has it that the earrings resemble the Turkish invaders that lost in the battle of Grobnik in the 16th century. From then on sailors wore the face of their losing opponents in their left ear as a symbol of good luck and safety. Women too began wearing the accessory, as it was said that grateful husbands gave the earrings as gift as the women of the town played such an important role in helping the soldiers to win this battle. Today the Morcic face is Rijeka's official mascot and the beautiful earrings have also been made in the form of brooches or pendants.
Local's Tip: Every local jeweler across the country sells Morcic earrings in different sizes and designs however refer to the picture below if you wish to purchase the same look of the original Morcic earring.
This tasty cookie made from pepper, honey, nuts and various spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon dates back to some time in the 16th century. In the popular 1871 novel Goldsmith's Gold, the Paprenjak lady, Magda, is referred to for her exquisite talent in making paprenjak cookies. ‘Paprenjak’, which comes from the word papar (pepper), has gained international recognition as an authentic Croatian product. It is a tasty souvenir you simply must try.
Local's Tip: If you are flying with Croatian Airlines make sure to ask your flight attendant for a free sample of a Paprenjak cookie.
Eduard Slavoljub Penkala patented the original fountain pen, the ‘penkala’, in Croatia in 1906. He first created a mechanical pencil and soon after adapted it to a fountain pen with an ink ampoule inside, a small change that completely transformed the art of writing forever. This common writing utensil is almost the single most used tool for taking note of anything in written words.
Local’s Tip - Today an authentic Penkala can be found in various stationery shops or tourist boards across Croatia. The Penkala is not only a beautiful souvenir but also makes for a very useful gift.
This sour cherry liquor, Maraskino originated in Zadar in the 16th century. The bittersweet taste of Maraskino cherries, a specific type of cherry found only in the Zadar area and one other village, is the base ingredient for Makarskino Liquor. Maraskino is made using the cherry and the cherry pit itself. The cherry and the pit are crushed and distilled and later sugar and /or honey are added to the juice. Afterwards it is aged and filtered, resulting in a tasty liquor. You can pick up a bottle at any local grocery store across Croatia. Keep in mind that with 45% alcohol content this is no sweet juice!
Local's Tip - We highly recommend you try Croatia's official cocktail made from Maraskino cherries, the Crocktail.
Originating from Istria, this unique lacework was inscribed into UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. This needlepoint lace technique results in a spider like web pattern creating an intricate and beautiful design for tablecloths, decorative pieces and traditional clothes. Pag lace is definitely an authentic Croatian souvenir which you will not regret purchasing for your home or as a gift to someone special.
Local's Tip: Many elderly women were taught the intricate technique of lace making from their mothers and grandmothers. On the island of Pag you will be able to purchase authentic lace from one of the local street sellers.
Lavender plants can be found all along the coast of Croatia. The sunniest island of the country is Hvar, where lavender fields stretch on for kilometers. Not only do these fields provide for absolutely stunning landscapes but these beautiful plants produce some of the best lavender oil in Europe. There is not a single city, town or village along the coast that does not sell numerous lavender products from fragrant satchels to oils, soaps and creams. Lavender has also been used in traditional Croatian desserts and liquors. This authentic national product is one whose scent will always bring you back to your time spent in Croatia.
Local's Tip: Lavender oil has been used as a natural mosquito repellent for many generations, get yourself a bottle of natural lavender oil and you will never have to worry about those pesky bites again.
Olive trees and orchards are dotted all over the country’s valleys and fields. Producing olive oil is a favourite pastime and a way of life for locals across Croatia who own family olive orchards that have been passed down through generations. Olive oil from Croatia is not only an ideal souvenir but a quality product which has gained international recognition in recent years. It is no wonder that it is commonly referred to as liquid gold.
Local's Tip: They say that Mediterranean women are the most beautiful women in the world, could this be due to the amounts of olive oil they intake? Olive oil has been used as a natural anti-aging ingredient in many skincare products for years. You be the judge!
Croatia boasts a variety of wines and wine producing regions; from Istria to Dalmatia and intercontinental Croatia. With over 300 recognised wine regions, Croatia was ranked the 30th wine producing country in the world in 2010. An interesting fact is that nearly 70% of the wines produced in Croatia are white. Wines are categorised as premium quality wine, quality wine and table wine. Internationally recognised and awarded wines include: Zlatan Otok from Hvar, Kutjevo Grasevina Ice Wine from Slavonija, Korta Katarina Posip from Dalmatia, Kozlovic Akacia from Istra.
Local's Tip: Almost every family in Dalmatia produces or knows someone who produces their own homemade wine and Prosek (sweet wine). Ask a local where the best place to buy some local wine is for a great souvenir.