If you ask my grandma about bringing back souvenirs from a trip for every known acquaintance in your life, she will say, “Everyone has their chance.”
She believes you shouldn’t busy yourself on your travels searching for the perfect souvenir because everyone has their chance to travel and pick up their own souvenirs.
Whether you are of this mindset or not, each city of the world has its specialties that often make their way into suitcases bound for home.
Madrid is no different, serving as not just the capital of Spain but also the capital of its souvenirs. Those lucky enough to snatch up cheap flights to Madrid should consider saving some room for these items in their suitcase.
Most of those classic Spanish souvenirs can be found in the city, from olive oil to swords. Some of the city’s best shopping takes place in two extremes. There is the Rastro market where locals have been shopping for second hand items for around 500 years.
Then there is the Grand Via area, where the trendiest shopping in all of Madrid transpires. No matter where you’re shopping, be on the lookout for some of these souvenir. And as my grandma says, you don’t have to share these items with your finds. Souvenirs are for the traveler too, not just for those you left behind.
Capes: Capes are now trending for fall and winter fashion, but they have always been in style in Madrid. The capital city is the perfect place to pick up a genuine capa española. One of the best places to shop for that Spanish cape is Capas Seseña. The shop has been making traditional Spanish capes since 1901, outfitting a wide range of characters including Gary Cooper, Picasso, Hilary Clinton and Federico Fellini.
Kukuxumusu T-Shirts: While the company stems from the Basque region, Kukuxumusu carries its whimsically T-shirts in Madrid. The company has two stores in the city selling the out-there designs. You can also find these T-shirts at souvenir stands, right next to the gaudy and touristy T-shirts that scream Madrid, literally. These classic Spanish tees are a much more authentic option.
Ceramics: Madrid is by no means a specialist when it comes to ceramics, but the city does carry a vast selection from Toledo and Talavera de la Reina. While there is an array of tourist ceramics, the authentic pieces can be found at Antigua Casa Talavera. From its tiled façade, you know you have arrived to a Spanish ceramic wonderland. The shop sells some of the best in the city with a selection of ceramics hailing from all over Spain.
Leather: Spain places great importance and value on leather goods and its capital city is no different. Madrid offers up belts, shoes, jackets, wallets, handbags and even leather wine bottles for travelers to tote home. No matter what you find, a piece of supple Spanish leather is hard to resist. If your wallet is resisting, visit one of Madrid’s markets for a deal that maybe a steal.
Turrón: If you nabbed a cheap flight to Madrid for the holidays, you are in luck in the souvenir department. Rather than fretting over what to bring back for those uncles and random friends, grab some turrón, nougat usually composed of honey, sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios. It can be found in many different variations. Turrón is generally available around the Christmas season, but one establishment in Madrid has been selling the sweet stuff year round since 1842, Casa Mira.
Flickr photo credit: ctrlw