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Are you wondering what the best souvenirs from Poland are? Poland is a beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage that’s full of history and tradition. We have put together a guide on the best things to buy in Poland, including the best Polish souvenirs and traditional products you will want to take home with you!
There is no shortage of fantastic Polish souvenirs and gift ideas to buy during your visit. In fact, Poland is easily one of my favourite places to buy souvenirs from! And for good reason!
My first overseas trip was predominately spent in Poland and Simon has a Polish heritage with both parents born there, so Poland is a country that is very special to us!
The Best Souvenirs From Poland: What To Buy In Poland
If you are visiting Poland soon and wondering what you should buy when you visit Poland, you will be spoilt for choice. Being a country so rich in culture and tradition, there are some really special keepsakes and gift ideas that we recommend.
We have put together a list of the Polish souvenir and gift ideas that we think are best, including a brief history behind each of these popular gift ideas and why they make the best Polish souvenirs.
1. Babushka Dolls
One of the iconic items you will see everywhere in souvenir shops is wooden nesting dolls.
Babushka dolls, also known as Matryoshka dolls, are popular souvenirs in both Poland and Russia. These dolls are made up of a series of wooden dolls that fit inside each other.
They’re typically hand painted with traditional Polish designs and floral patterns, in beautiful bright colours.
Babushka dolls make great souvenirs for displaying in your home. Plus, they’re fun to play with – kids and adults alike will love stacking and unstacking the dolls.
On our first visit to Poland with our kids, our eldest daughter was so determined to get her own Babushka set and she spent so much time playing with it each afternoon back at our apartment.
My personal favourite is a large Babushka doll set that I got at the markets in Zakopane. The stall-owner hand carved Zakopane into the back, knowing that we were visiting from abroad. She didn’t ask any extra of it and it made it extra special!
2. Amber Jewellery
Amber is a fossilised tree resin that is commonly found in Eastern Europe along the Baltic coast of Poland. Jewellery made from Baltic amber is a popular souvenir in Poland, and for good reason – each item is unique!
Amber jewellery comes in many forms, from simple beads to intricate necklaces and bracelets or ornate rings and earrings. Amber items are timeless Polish souvenirs that will remind you of your trip to Poland for years to come.
Amber jewellery also makes one of the best gifts for women who love unique jewellery items. What makes it so special is that each piece of amber differs in colour and shape.
3. Handmade Lace Tablecloths & Hand Embroidered Linen
Lace-making is a traditional craft in Poland, and you can find a variety of lace tablecloths and table runners around the country. Embroidered linens are also commonly made by hand.
The best places to find these are at markets, especially during the Christmas markets through late November to December.
These beautiful and intricate lace items are often made by hand, and they come in a variety of sizes and designs. They make a great gift for anyone who loves to entertain, or for someone who wants to add a touch of Polish tradition to their home decor.
My mother-in-law has a lovely collection and always gets some new pieces to bring home when she visits Poland to see friends and family.
4. House Slippers
In Poland, it is polite to take off your shoes when you enter someone’s home. That’s why house shoes and slippers are found in every home you visit.
Most homes will have spare slippers to offer guests who are visiting and Polish people will take your shoes and give you a pair of slippers to wear.
This helps to keep feet warm during the long, cold Polish winters. It’s not uncommon for many people to wear slippers in their workplace as well in Poland.
They go by quite a few different names although one of the most common Polish translations of house slippers is kapcie.
You can find house slippers in a variety of styles and colours throughout Poland, from traditional woollen slippers to modern leather house shoes.
They make great souvenirs that are both practical and stylish since you might like to start your own house slipper tradition back home!
5. Wycinanki (Polish Paper Cutting Art)
Wycinanki is the art of paper cutting that has been practised in Poland for centuries. Traditionally, this folk art started with shepherds cutting designs from bark and leather.
The coloured designs were used to decorate homes during special occasions like weddings and holidays, pasting onto furniture, roof beams and windows.
Today, you can find wycinanki in many forms, from paper cutouts and window decals to framed designs and wood carvings.
And there’s a very good chance you will recognise these traditional designs, as they are well known in Polish culture. These same designs appear on Polish cloth and traditional costume as well.
Wycinaki comes in a variety of designs, from floral patterns to animal shapes, such as roosters and peacocks, making them a great souvenir for anyone who appreciates traditional folk art.
6. Polish Vodka
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without adding vodka! Poland is quite famous for their vodka and there certainly is a difference. Even from equally famous Russian vodka.
The excellent quality isn’t the only reason it’s popular, either!
There are some really unique flavours of vodka to be found in Poland and the flavoured vodkas are definitely my favourites!
Best of all, you can find full-size and smaller-sized vodka bottles for reasonable prices, almost everywhere!
It was quite an eye-opener for me during my first visit to Poland when being served shots of vodka continuously during a meal with Simon’s extended family. I declined due to an upset stomach at one point and was then given a whole different type of vodka – stomach vodka they described it and said it was a very popular remedy for stomach upsets.
There’s no turning down Polish hospitality!
Our two favourite Polish vodka varieties to bring home are the flavoured Soplicia vodkas – especially the Polish Wisniowa Cherry Liqueur but all the flavours are delicious. And Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka, which traditionally includes a blade of bison grass from the Białowieża Forest.
Both of these make great gifts or souvenirs from Poland.
7. E. Wedel Chocolates
E. Wedel is one of the oldest and most famous chocolate brands in Poland. Their chocolates are made with high-quality ingredients and come in a variety of flavours.
You can find everything from milk chocolate bars to truffles and pralines. They make a great gift for any chocolate lover in your life, and they’re sure to be a hit back home.
When we visit the Polish butcher near home here in Brisbane, we often grab a few bars of E. Wedel to reminisce about visiting their chocolate cafes in Bialystok and Krakow during past trips.
You can find E. Wedel cafes in many Polish cities, but their chocolates can also be found in many shops and big supermarkets throughout the country. Yum!
8. Polish Pottery
Another long tradition and popular souvenir in Poland is pottery. Polish pottery originated from the Polish town of Boleslawiec, so it is often referred to as Boleslawiec pottery. This is one of the oldest forms of folk art in the world.
It is known for its intricate designs and vibrant colours, and it’s been produced in the region for centuries. Each piece of pottery is unique and handcrafted, making it a one-of-a-kind souvenir. You can find everything from plates and bowls to mugs and vases and other beautiful tableware or kitchen decor.
These handmade and unique souvenirs can be quite expensive, especially in the more touristic places, but a lot of care goes into handmaking and hand decorating each piece.
The best way to tell if your bolesławiec pottery is authentic is to check that it is stamped with ‘Hand-made in Poland’ at the bottom.
9. Traditional Polish Clothing
Poland is known for its very traditional clothing style. If you’re interested in traditional Polish fashion, you can find a variety of items to take home with you.
The national costumes of Poland aren’t worn day to day by Polish people but are instead worn for special events such as folk festivals, regional events and religious holidays. They differ based on the regions of Poland as well.
For women, you might want to consider a folk dress, or skirt, or a handmade floral wreath for your hair. For men, you could look for a traditional white shirt with embroidery, or a pair of leather boots. There are many accessories as well.
On our last visit, we got our girls some beautiful traditional floral patterned skirts that they wore until they no longer fit. I also got a gorgeous cloth shawl that I use as a table runner sometimes in our home.
You will find Polish clothing and linen products at many markets and in several shops in more tourist-focused areas that cater to tourists.
10. Wooden Items
Poland is also quite famous for its wooden products, particularly those made in the Zakopane region of the Tatra Mountains. The woodworkers in Zakopane use traditional techniques and often incorporate intricate designs and patterns into their work, creating unique and beautiful pieces.
You can find wooden carvings and decor items in other regions of Poland though as well. But you will certainly notice their prominence as you stroll the markets of Zakopane.
Some of the popular wooden souvenirs from Poland include carved figurines, decorated boxes, and wooden plates or bowls.
We have quite a few different wooden items in our home from our white Christmas in Zakopane, when we each split up and did our Christmas shopping at the markets on the day before Christmas Eve. Such a fun experience and some of the best gifts ever!
These wooden products are a great way to bring a piece of Polish culture into your home.
Note: Many airport customs will ask you to take these items out for inspection. It can be easier to pack them in your carry-on baggage if you have the space. This is due to concerns with wooden products from certain countries, although we’ve never had any issues with our Polish products.
Seasonal Gifts From Poland
If you are visiting Poland around Easter time or Christmas time, there are some special seasonal gifts you can get too.
11. Pisanka (Decorative Eggs)
Easter is a significant holiday in Poland, and there are several traditional gifts you can find during this time. One popular item is the pisanka, which is a decorated egg made using a traditional wax-resist method.
These eggs can be beautifully intricate and make an excellent addition to any Easter basket.
A traditional Christmas gift is the bombki, which are decorative glass or ceramic ornaments used to decorate the Christmas tree or to sit on little tabletop hangers for a Christmas table centrepiece.
Some also hold candles and cast beautiful light around the room.
Things To Buy In Poland During Your Stay
There are also some great items to buy in Poland that might be restricted from taking home in your suitcase or carry-on luggage! This is, of course, the Polish food you simply need to try!
You can find our complete list of must-try Polish foods and Polish cuisine guide, many of which we won’t mention here. Instead, here are a couple of the more indulgent and speciality items that are worth trying:
13. Oscypek Cheese
If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss out on trying Oscypek cheese. It’s a smoked cheese made from sheep’s milk that’s only produced in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland. It has a distinct flavour and texture that’s unlike any other cheese.
You can find Oscypek cheese at local markets throughout Poland or in some Polish dishes at restaurants.
No trip to Poland is complete without trying some traditional Polish sweets. Pączki (pronounced “pawnch-key”) is a type of doughnut that’s filled with jam or other sweet fillings. They’re especially popular in Poland during Fat Thursday, a holiday that’s celebrated the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.
If you can’t make it to Poland during that time, don’t worry – you can find Pączki at bakeries throughout the country year-round.
These days they come with many different fillings aside from the more traditional jam, including apple, Nutella and custard. Simon definitely prefers his mum’s traditional recipe!
Krówki is a popular sweet treat from Poland that makes for delicious and unique souvenirs. And this is one you can pack into your luggage!
These chewy, milk-based candies are a semi-soft milk toffee or Polish fudge, made by caramelising milk, sugar, and butter.
Krówki comes in a variety of flavours, including the classic milk flavour, chocolate, coffee, and fruit flavours like strawberry and lemon. They are often wrapped in colourful paper or foil. And you will always find them in a bowl on at my in-law’s house after a meal!
These Polish souvenirs and gifts to buy in Poland are sure to make it easier to reminisce about your time spent exploring this beautiful and diverse European country!