11 Souvenirs to Buy From Transylvania
So you have your entire trip planned out. It’s always best to know what’s out there in terms of Transylvanian gifts, so that you can search for those little gems once you arrive at your destination. Yes, that’s right! We’re talking about the best souvenirs to buy from Transylvania.
Wool Socks, Scarves and Other Wool Items
You can find these beautiful, warm and highly resistant items in most markets near the main tourist attractions, and some of them are even handmade by locals. Made from 100% wool. Get your hands on a pair of cosy socks to keep you warm through the coldest winters, or choose some mittens, sweaters, scarves or tea-warmers.
Tuica and Local Wine
Tuica is our very own traditional strong drink, usually containing more than 40% alcohol by volume. It is made our of plums, pears or apples, although legends say you can make it from almost anything. Local wines are also worth the trouble of being taken back home, with the Queen of England being a notorious Romanian wine lover.
Traista (Knitted Bag)
This is now a somewhat hipster-ish bag that originally used to be worn in Transylvanian villages. However it can make for a versatile fashion item, usually coming in shades of red, with happy and meaningful patterns that vary by region.
Speaking of patterns, Romanian rugs have some beautiful and rustic designs that can definitely add an interesting and relaxing edge to any room. You can still find quite a few that are handmade (using weaving by loom) in exchange for an attractive price.
Hand-Painted Ceramic and Icons
From all folklore art forms, this is probably where Romanians take most pride in their talent. The most famous and valuable ceramic is the one from Horezu, which comes in a unique decorative style which is centuries old, usually depicting natural elements. Whether you decide for a tray, a pot or a bowl, you can be sure you’ll be taking home an authentic gift. Religious icons are also a valuable gift to take home, as this is one of the few European places where you can still get hand painted icons at incredible prices.
Similar to what you can find in Russia, but using local patterns, you can buy hand-painted Easter Eggs. The level of detail in their designs make them astonishing and a wonderful gift to take home to your loved ones.
Ie (Romanian Blouse)
This traditional Romanian blouse has inspired so many great fashion houses (from Dior to Yves Saint Laurent), it’s hard to believe you can buy the real deal so easily on your Transylvanian trip, wear it yourself and feel as if you are wearing royal garments. Look for the ones made out of borangic (gossamer) to experience the unbelievable lightness and smoothness of fabric.
Naframa (Veil) and Other Fabrics
Head veils used to be a big part of women’s fashion in Transylvania and they still remain a central piece of clothing mostly in rural areas, with mostly older women opting to wear this beautiful garment on their heads. Tradition asks for Orthodox women to cover their heads when entering church and church mass on Sunday used to be the main weekly event, where everyone always went looking their best. Therefore the designs are truly sensational, as this piece is transforming into more of a fashion statement. Wear it as a scarf or use it to accessorise a more daring outfit.
Dracula Merchandise and Wood Items
Ok, so maybe this should have come first. There are so many incredibly funny and creative souvenirs with vampire and Dracula themes, it’s hard to resist buying at least one. Varying from mugs to magnets and minimalistic pocket mirrors or luggage tags citing Bram Stoker’s book, you can be sure to find something for everyone home. Besides wooden figures of the Count, arts and crafts have always been a big deal in Transylvania, so have a look for some other wooden items, such as spoons, chairs, baskets or salt shakers.
Green Walnut Jam
This jam is absolutely addictive and has a truly unique taste, as it’s made from green walnuts in June after a tedious process taking hours of preparation and boiling. It’s part of the local tradition to prepare jars of jam for the winter, and using green walnuts is specific to the area.
This is a tasty Romanian classic dating from the Soviet era. The rum chocolate product was relaunched after the Romanian Revolution and it has more fans than ever before. You may decide to buy it for your friends or family back home, however we won’t judge if it gets eaten before you get home!
Finding the most beautiful authentic souvenirs can be a challenge, especially when there isn’t much time for shopping and searching. That’s why having a knowledgeable guide by your side can make all the difference. Our team at Transylvania Trips has been working with the best tour guides in the area for more than 15 years, so we promise to take you to the best places to buy souvenirs, sometimes off the beaten track, where you can greet and shake the hands of the local people making them.