10 Souvenirs To Bring Back From Your Holiday In Crete
Run out of magnet space on the fridge? Here are some authentic souvenirs to look out for on your holiday to Crete.
1. Thyme Honey
Make a beeline for the thyme honey. This sweet, earthy smelling blend is a sell-out for its orange-hued colour and lavish consistency. You can pick up some particularly good pots in Sfakia, on the White Mountains of Crete.
2. Carob pods
You may not realise it, but carob is everywhere in Crete. It's a very common evergreen, flowering tree, which produces sweet, sweet superfood-esque Carob pods. Tell your gift-receivers back home to remove the seeds and then roast or dry the pods for a healthier alternative to chocolate.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple of the Cretan diet, as it has been cultivated on the island for generations. You won't have to look too far to purchase olive oil in Crete; whether it's a straight-up cooking oil, local marmalade or beauty products. If you're hoping to branch out a little, there are many olive wood-based trinkets you can buy including bowls, candle holders and more.
4. Graviera cheese
Crete is an island of age-old traditions and nowhere is this stronger than in its cheeses. Graviera cheese is an aged, hard cheese to look out for which offers a nutty taste with a tang. Make sure it's wrapped up well for the journey home to prevent spoiling, as well as any lingering, unwelcome smells.
5. Komboloi beads
You may spot locals carrying Komboloi aka worry beads. This string of beads is seen as a comfort to many Greeks, who tend to hold the beads close during hard times. They're often made using aromatic woods such as amber and sandalwood but can also be formed with colourful plastics or natural stones. No matter the design, Komboli beads will make a really thoughtful keepsake.
Pottery or ceramics make a practical but unique gift. If you know your way around the clay, you could make your own, but if not; how about a terracotta vase for your new olive oil? Or perhaps even a new mug for the office... There's plenty of choice in Crete and hey, who says you can't bring yourself back a present?
Fresh Cretan mountains, anyone? The climate in Crete is particularly favourable for growing a very local herb called dittany, as well as crowd-pleasing thyme, oregano, marjoram and others.
8. Cretan knives
Back in the day, men used to carry two Cretan knives on them at all times. One was designed for food, i.e cutting meat or scaling fish, while the other was intended as an enemy weapon. This would be a unique gift choice for an adult, but you need to transport them home responsibly in your checked luggage. Please check with your airline if you're unsure.
Raki makes a great souvenir, as you can buy hand luggage friendly mini bottles. This powerful tipple is seen as a symbol of friendship in Crete but you shouldn't limit it purely to social occasions. Warmed raki is also medicinal, providing instant relief to sore throats and colds. Many people here drink it after a high-fat meal, due to its equally highly digestive properties.
Bring back your own family jewels by picking up some local jewellery. Many handmade pieces at markets go at haggling prices, so go with your bargaining hat on. Our top tip is to head to Chania or Rethymnon for the best quality gold and silver jewellery.