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Best Souvenir Buys in Spain
Many visitors go to Spain and have no idea of what to buy. This is a list of suggestions of what to buy. Remember that it is better to buy one quality thing than to buy many cheap things that you will never use.
1. Leather Coats and Jackets - The quality of leather outerwear is very high in Spain and one can find glove soft leather coats for men and women. If you are going to buy a coat or jacket, the store will fix the sleeve length for you for free, but leave enough days for them to do it. A good place to start looking for these is the El Corte Ingles Department Store, which sells very good quality leather coats. There are also leather specialty stores located all over Spain.
2. Women's Leather Bags - Very high quality women's leather bags can be bought for moderate prices, especially those that do not have designer logos. Leather bags are the best because they last a long time and you can get good ones starting at 30€. Most popular resorts along the coasts have many stores selling leather bags. There are also expensive designer bags that can be found in big cities, and also in El Corte Ingles.
3. Leather Wallets and Clutch Bags - Again one can find high quality leather wallets for men and women and clutch bags for women all over the country. Prices will depend on the quality.
4. Gloves - Glove stores in Spain are called guanterias and Spain is one of the few countries where one can go to a store dedicated only to gloves. The gloves are of a very high quality and there are different types of lining, such as silk and thermal, as well as unlined, all in a variety of colors for both men and women. Here are stores located in Madrid:
a. Guante Varade
Calle Serrano, 54
Cristóbal Bordiú, 23
b. Guantes Luque
Espoz y Mina, 3
5. Shoes - Leather shoes from Spain are among the best in the world. The best are the hand made shoes because they use the best leather and have the best workmanship. The Spanish walk a lot, so there are many shoes stores in every city. Many of the shoes for women are very fashionable and many are sold with matching bags. One can also find many good walking shoes that can be used with more formal wear. Good shoes are comfortable from the first day you wear them. Beware of cheap shoes made in the Far East because their quality may not be good and may use imitation leather.
6. Hand Held Fans - There are many very decorative hand held fans that are inexpensively priced and these make a good buy for oneself or for family and friends. They can be put in glass frames and used for decoration in houses. Spanish women still use fans during summer to beat the heat. Many Spanish women have a wide variety of fans to match the color of their outfits. The best are those that are hand painted on both faces. Most fans are decorated with flower designs. Many are made by prominent artists, but these cost more.
7. Saffron - Spain is one of the major saffron producers in the world and the plant is grown in Castilla La Mancha. It is more expensive than gold by weight, but a very little quantity gives a wonderful flavor to food, especially for paella. One can buy the spice at any market or spice store and it is sold in little plastic boxes. It costs about 60€ for 25 grams, and the smallest container is 2 grams. There is also a package called Aeroplano that is sold in the same stores in foil packs and these are spice concoctions that give the paella rice its yellow color.
8. Paella Pans - If you are a cook and want to cook paella in your home, you can buy Teflon coated pans, which have a flat bottom and are shallow. These can be bought in the kitchen section of El Corte Ingles and other stores.
9. Flamenco Music - One can buy CDs with flamenco music by great guitar players like Paco de Lucia almost everywhere that souvenirs are sold.
10. Damascene Ware from Toledo - The city of Toledo produces black steel that is decorated with gold, silver, and copper. There are plates, boxes, knives, jewelry, and home decoration items like clocks. Many of these are true works of art. A good souvenir for friends is a pendant decorated with figures of birds and flowers, which is not expensive and occupies little space in your luggage. It is called Damascene because the art originated in Damascus.
11. T-shirts - Every famous futbol team in Spain sells all sorts of T-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and caps, with the logo of the team. These are good gifts for young people. You can also buy T-shirts with the name of the city you have been to and use this as a status symbol when you go back home, to show that you have traveled. A T-shirt from famous resorts like Puerto Banus will have more status than others, the more exclusive the resort, the higher the status.
12. Lladro - The Lladro porcelain is sold mainly to tourists because younger people in Spain do not care for these products. Many department stores in the U.S., such as Macy's carry Lladro, and there are many Lladro stores scattered in the big cities of the U.S. One should only buy if one finds a design that is not available in one's hometown.
13. Ceramic Plates - Many cities in Spain produce their own type of ceramic plates and many tourists like to buy these to decorate their homes. Many have very beautiful designs. You can ship them to yourself or have the store ship for you, because these are heavy and you do not want to lug them everywhere.
14. Turron Candy - Turron is made from almonds and honey and formed into tablets and is sold in Spain usually during Christmas. There are two types, one is soft and the other one hard. It is sold in El Corte Ingles Supermarket all year long.
15. Rabitos - Rabitos are chocolate covered figs and are a delicacy, mainly made in Extremadura. They can be bought in the Gourmet section of El Corte Ingles and are not expensive.
16. Pictorial Books About Spain - One picture is worth a thousand words and there are pictorial books for most cities. The All Madrid book is about Madrid and is inexpensive, about 9 euros. Pictures are the best way to remember your trip.
17. Gold Jewelry - The gold used in jewelry in Spain is 18 karat gold and one can find very good gold jewelry, such as earrings, pendants, and bracelets all over Spain. A quality souvenir such as gold jewelry is something that will last a lifetime and will bring back memories every time one uses it. In small jewelry stores, you can ask for a small discount.
18. Coral Jewelry - Many women in Andalusia wear coral jewelry, especially when they are in native dress during cultural celebrations and fairs. Coral jewelry flatters women's faces and goes with all skin colors. All good jewelry stores carry coral jewelry. The red-orange color is the best and most expensive.
19. Spanish Shawls - Spanish shawls are a very good souvenir and can be used during summer evenings in other parts of the world. The big ones can be used to decorate one's piano or table. The best ones are made of silk and Seville is famous for its production, for the hand embroidered shawls. There are less expensive shawls made of synthetics that are practical and cost less. A beige colored shawl with a discreet design can be used with most women's outfits. Andalusian women love to wear shawls during fiestas and parties. A good Spanish shawl can be a good inheritance to leave to one's daughters.
20. Marquetry Boxes - Marquetry boxes are made in Granada and the top of the box has inlaid ivory and colored wood with a pleasant geometric pattern. Granada has been famous for making these boxes for centuries, since Moorish times. They are very decorative for the home and many are specifically designed to hold two decks of cards. Now they may be also made in Morocco.
21. Gaudi Souvenirs - In Barcelona and other cities there are small Gaudi souvenirs, like sculptures, magnets, etc.