As a holiday draws to a close, thoughts turn to buying souvenirs for loved ones back home. So what does Split have to offer in the way of souvenirs?
The answer is – plenty! Check out the video below for a tour of a typical souvenir shop, but we have tried to steer away from the typical tourist tat, and come up with ten typically Dalmatian souvenirs. As one might expect for a region tied to its natural resources, many of them are produced from the soil.
Lavender – one of the region’s signature products, lavender production was a major industry a century ago, and seeing the fields in bloom in June and July is a magical experience, no more so than at the annual lavender festival in Velo Grablje on Hvar. Souvenirs typically come in the form of oil and dried lavender.
Olive oil – olives are part of the Dalmatian tradition, and wherever they are in the country doing whatever high-powered jobs, the call of the field is too strong for the majority and family gatherings over the olive harvest are one of the most important parts of local tradition. The quality of the olives are excellent, and it makes an idea souvenir, either as oil, or marinated olives.
Wine – with a wine tradition dating back to the Ancient Greeks, it is perhaps surprising that it is only now that Dalmatian wines are attracting international attention, and with 130 indigenous grape varieties to choose from in Croatia, there will be no problem picking up a good bottle to surprise your wine snob friends back home. Plavac Mali for red, Posip for white is a good initial rule.
Rakija – if there is one thing Dalmatians are proud of, it is their ability to make the best hard liquor from almost anything. Everyone will tell you that theirs is the best, and your head the following morning will be your guide. There are some delicious flavours from unusual sources, such as figs and walnut.
Ties – Croatia gave the world the cravat, and a tie remains a very popular souvenir. Visit the Croata tie shop for a fascinating tour in the heard of the palace on Peristil, and choose from a staggering range, before perhaps settling for the most popular – the Dalmatian dog.
Shoes – The quickest of tours of the central shopping zone of Split will be enough to tell you that the city is a shoe Mecca, with countless stores within the palace walls showcasing the latest shoe fashions, many by local designers. Dalmatian women are stylish – why not emulate by picking up a pair or two for back home.
Art – Split has a strong artistic tradition, and there are many galleries and exhibitions in close vicinity. Many of the galleries are manned by the artists themselves, and a portable art souvenir can make a very nice gift.
Figs – Another staple diet and one that one comes to take for granted after years living here, figs are a popular souvenir – either dried, in jams or – you guessed it – rakija.
Sugared almonds – a delicious, and totally addictive, local speciality, using local almonds. Many are home produced. Pick up a pack, try them, and then take some home for yourself.
Nadalina chocolate – Dalmatia also produces its own hand-made chocolate, and there is nowhere more interesting than the Nadalina chocolate store if you are looking for an unusual souvenir. Already discovered en masse by the Japanese, Nadalina produces some very unusual souvenirs, included a vinyl record made of chocolate, which actually plays music!