What are prices like on items that we might want to bring home as gifts and mementos. Trying to figure out how much to budget for this or if I may want to get more Zloty ordered. We are going to be mainly in Krakow but also in Chemno and Torun, and maybe Gdansk. Also, what are some suggestions for good Polish mementos? I have bought religious Icons from previous visits in areas and I think I will do that again. I also like to get a local drink (thinking a vodka) to bring home as well to share with friends. I believe the Torun area is know for their gingerbread so hoping to be able to maybe bring this home.
I would not "order" any zloty - no need. Get them at an ATM once you're on the ground - there will be lots of them. Poland has a lot of amber jewelry and various handicrafts. Prices should not be too high at all unless you get something from a gallery (modern galleries are not inexpensive). I'm Polish and have a collection of wooden Polish dolls representing different regions (my Mom has a bunch of pottery). Also perhaps a local painting would make a good gift. I would say that you can get Polish vodka anywhere (including the Zubrowka grass bison vodka) so it's not worth lugging back.
I would highly recommend going to Gdansk if you can fit it in. Same with Warsaw.
I found an absolutely fabulous shop in Warsaw that was a collective for hand-made traditional Polish folk art items--weavings, tablecloths, pottery and I ended up bringing home as much of their carved wooden and painted items as I could--couldn't fit the nativity scene in my suitcase or that would have come as well.
In Krakow head to the Kazimierz district for hand-made items, if that's your interest. My ideal souvenir is always something hand-made or vintage/antique, yours may be something else entirely.
Gdansk is full of shops with a staggering array of amber jewelry--since it comes from the Baltic, that would be a great souvenir. I am a picky shopper and spent quite a while comparing quality and prices, ended up with a sterling cuff bracelet set with a somewhat triangular piece of butterscotch amber that I wear a lot and a more brownish colored pendant for my mom.
Our dollar goes a long way in Poland, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can buy for much less than expected. I did bring some zloty with me, but as Agnes says, very easy to get more from ATMs and I had no trouble using my credit card anywhere.
Thanks for these suggestions. The store in Warsaw sounds amazing Christa. Agnes those dolls sound really interesting. I'm looking forward to Poland. Looks like an amazing country that has lots to be explored.
One major handicraft brand that is highly regarded is called "Cepelia" - they have a store in Warsaw that I've been to several times. I'm sure they would also have one in Krakow (just ask for it because their website is terrible). You can see what some of the items look like using the link below:
http://cepelia.pl/en/ (unfortunately the website is very outdated)
Thanks Agnes. I will look into this.
Teresa--I visited in May 2015 and spent 8 days between Krakow & Warsaw, day trip to Gdansk, and I was completely bowled over by the whole experience--I expected to like Poland and instead fell completely in love with it, such a beautiful country, fascinating history, friendly & helpful people and the food was incredible--I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you care to dig I posted a trip report about it with lots of detail.
Teresa the Zubrówka vodka in the US is different from the original (you can google up the legal reason) so the vodka purists prefer the real thing. Mead is also traditional alcohol, both as liquor and as a flavored vodka.
Thanks Stan for the information on the Vodka. I do like to bring something unique from the country itself. I am in Canada so we don't always get the same things in as you can in the USA either. Always fun to bring home a unique product/bottle.
If you're in Gdansk, look into the amber pieces as momentos of the lower Vistula area.
We have brought back as gifts:
Polish pottery (bubble wrap)
Ornate paper cut outs that can be framed when you return home. These are a great idea if you need to be concerned with heavy luggage. The art work is stunning and looks very festive and expensive!
I brought back a number of pcs of amber jewelry that I picked up in Krakow. Love the polish pottery & pked up some at an outlet not far from the train station. They bubbled wrapped it for us too.