Travelers always want to bring home some souvenirs and gifts that will remind them of their trip.
I personally love getting souvenirs from each place that I’m visiting. Something unique about the place you visit – to keep the best memories and never forget them ^_^.
Check out my travel backpack, I get a patch from every country that I visit. How cool is that?!
Russia is home to several artists so you can expect to see some of the best artworks and handicrafts displayed in the streets. These things are actually the most popular Russian souvenirs that you can take home and distribute to friends and family members as a gift.
Aside from these handicrafts, there are several other interesting things that you can buy in Russia as a memento of your trip. These are things that you can rarely find in your home country and in other parts of the world. Please, take a look at this list of the 25 best Russian gifts and souvenirs that you can bring home from Russia.
1. Matryoshka Dolls
The Matryoshka Dolls are also called the Russian nesting dolls and are perhaps among the most popular souvenirs from Russia. The dolls are available in various traditional styles. You will find pretty ones that are dressed in colorful floral dresses and beautiful headscarves. They have whimsical designs and are intricately painted.
This is the perfect souvenir for little girls or even for your adult women friends since it will make a great decoration for the living room.
Vodka is so common in Russia that it’s almost like drinking water (I’m joking, it’s actually one of the stereotypes). Even if you aren’t a big drinker, there is a high chance that you are going to taste the wonderful beverage at some point during your Russian trip. Sure, you can get vodka anywhere in the world but there is nothing like getting a bottle of Russia’s famous beverage from the source country.
This powerful alcoholic drink runs deep in Russian culture and makes for a fine souvenir if not for yourself then for a friend or family member who enjoys a good drink. It is recommended to buy vodka at a big supermarket which will guarantee it’s quality.
I recommend you to buy one of the vodka brands you see below. These are cheap and really good vodka:
- “Graf Ledoff”
- “Пять озер” (“Pyat Ozer”)
You can also buy the world-famous Russian vodka “Stolichnaya” or “Russian Standart” but I don’t think it’s as cool as getting one of the brands that locals drink.
3. Gzhel Ceramics
If you are interested in some house ware ceramics items, then you should consider buying the Gzhel souvenirs. This style of ceramics is over 200 years old and it is originated from the village of Gzhel. The most common of them are those that have a blue and white floral design and although you can find them all over the world now, it is really different if you get it from where it has originated from.
You can find beautiful Gzhel porcelain, bowls, tea sets and other housewares. They’ll look amazing at your home! It is my personal favorite souvenir from Russia!
Valenki’s are popular boots made of felt that used to be worn during winter. You might not see them as much these days in cities but out in more remote areas, you can still see valenki’s being used, especially by kids.
Valenki’s represent a true part of Russian culture both for the unique colors used and also as a reminder of the harsh winters one can experience in Russia. Make sure to get a pair of these “Russian UGGS” for yourself or someone else as a gift from Russia.
If you aren’t an expert on caviar, then you may be surprised to know that Russia produces some of the finest caviar in the world. Just like there are exquisite varieties of Olive Oil from Spain and Italy, Russia produces a variety of different caviar, the highlight being the Beluga caviar.
Caviar represents a huge part of the Russian diet and you can get a jar of red caviar for as little as $10 making for a small, cheap and truly authentic souvenir to bring back home.
6. Orthodox icons
One of the main aspects of Russian culture is the prominence of Orthodox Christianity, the country’s main religion. You may not be religious, but one of the most authentic souvenirs you could bring back would be some form of an Orthodox icon.
Whether you want something as simple as a wooden egg with the painting of the Holy Mary or large wooden framed picture of Mary and Jesus, taking an Orthodox icon with you makes for a great souvenir from Russia.
Russians are known for their tradition of painting on wood. This dates back to the 12th century but still, you will find that a lot of Russians are still into it, especially those that live in the villages of Palekh, Kholuy, Mstyora and Fedoskino. Most of these artworks come in the form of painted boxes that are made of wood.
You will find a lot of them displayed along the streets of St. Petersburg and they have become very popular among tourists from all over the world.
8. Starbucks mugs
Okay, this may seem like a really touristy thing to do but who cares? You’re on vacation after all and there is nothing cooler than bringing a Russian themed Starbucks mug back home. Your friends would love that as a gift!
Starbucks mugs make for fantastic souvenirs as you will most likely be using them regularly to drink your coffee. Is there a better way to remind yourself of a great time you spent in Russia?
9. Communist era military souvenirs
If you want something interesting and unique to bring home to friends, the communist era military uniforms would be a great choice. They come in the form of Soviet Army hats, uniforms, pins, medals, etc. You can now find several of them that are being sold at very reasonable prices and can be bought cheaply especially if you haggle.
Khokhloma is a Russian village near Nizhny Novgorod that is popular for producing traditional Russian tableware. These days, you will find some companies in Russia that have been adapting this tradition and have created their own modern version of the tableware.
This work of art will surely amaze you since the tableware is painted with very delicate floral patterns and are painted with festive coloring. So if you want a beautiful decoration piece for your home, then this would be a perfect choice.
11. Dymkovo toys
Dymkovo toys or Vyatka toys are souvenirs from my hometown – Kirov. These typical Russian toys are molded out of clay. They are usually molded figures of people or animals and represent one of the oldest aspects of Russian handicraft. Dymkovo toys are no longer all that popular due to the rise of mass-produced plastic toys but they represent a part of Russian history that would have otherwise been forgotten.
What’s great about buying these little toys as a souvenir is how exquisite the color patterns are. They will make for a lovely addition to your living room shelves.
12. Fur Hats
Although you can pretty much find fur hats being sold in various countries worldwide, the Russian fur hats are something different. If you have seen those classic films set in Russia (like “Red Heat”), then you will certainly notice those elegant fur hats worn by stylish men and women.
13. Honey from Siberia
With the richness of wild nature, Siberia produces some of the purest and highest quality honey in the world. While they may not be that well known for it, the Altai region in Siberia makes amazing raw honey and they are far easier and cheaper to buy in Russia than anywhere else in the world.
Given that bees are dying out and good honey is harder to find and pricier to obtain these days, take advantage of the fact that you are in Russia and pick up a few jars of the good stuff.
A Balalaika is a wooden string instrument that looks like a guitar with a triangular base. There is a whole host of Balalaika instruments with each one varying in size and pitch. The use of Balalaika remains common today but it really is a reflection of old Russian folk music which dates back to as far as the 19th century.
Impress your friends at the next dinner party when you bust out this interesting looking guitar that you bought from Russia.
15. Sports souvenirs
Sports dominates Russian culture and one of the best souvenirs you can pick up in a foreign country is some sort of sports souvenir. The most popular sport in Russia is football so a jersey from a popular football club like Spartak Moscow or Zenit Saint Petersburg would be a good start. If you don’t fancy football (soccer), then consider picking up a very cool ice hockey jersey of the Russian national team.
For those that don’t like jerseys, a souvenir from the 2018 FIFA World Cup or from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games wouldn’t be a bad choice either.
Every country seems to have a popular childhood character whether that’s Winnie the Pooh or the Little Mermaid. In Russia, Cheburashka dominates the world of children’s literature. Also known as Topple, this little animal which kind of looks like a monkey is a national icon in Russia.
You would be shortchanging yourself if you don’t pick up at least a little Cheburashka doll to take back with you as it is a huge part of their mainstream culture.
17. Replicas of Faberge Easter eggs
You are probably familiar with the Faberge Easter Eggs – that piece of artwork created by Russian jeweler Karl Gustav Faberge. The jeweler is from St. Petersburg and he created this beautiful masterpiece for the Imperial family of Russia.
These days, you will find a lot of replicas of that famous masterpiece being sold all over Russia. These are beautiful eggs that are made from gold or silver and are adorned with crystals, pearls, ivory, jade, diamonds, rubies, etc. The price would vary depending on what the eggs are made of.
18. Amber jewelry
Amber jewelry is another popular souvenir that you can buy in Russia. What’s great about buying these is that you can simply tuck it away on your carry on. They usually come in silver and have golden and green drops of fossilized tree resins that will greatly remind you of Russia.
These are also great gifts for loved ones and can even serve as heirloom jewelry if you just take a good care of it.
This bizarre looking object will seem like a metallic mug that kings used to drink from to the untrained eye. Known as a Podstakannik, this mug is actually a tea glass holder which is used to hold a drinking glass. They were produced in masses during the Soviet era and today they are a traditional way of serving tea in Russia.
No souvenir is complete without some sort of drinking utensil so why not bring back this unique object and make your next tea party something special.
20. Pavloposadskie scarves
Pavloposadskie scarves are known for their reflection of traditional Russian fashion and elegance. They are a traditional accessory that Russian women use to cover their shoulders or used as headwear or wrapped around their waist. The name comes from the town of Pavlovsky Posad, a tiny town near Moscow where the scarves are produced.
This elegant and comfortable scarf is an authentic piece of Russian clothing and one of the most beautiful items you can pick up in Russia.
21. Military/pilot watches
Russia has a long history of producing some of the best military and pilot watches in the world. While they may not be as famous as Swiss watches, big brands like Vostok and Volmax are now making a name for themselves all over the world.
In Russia, you can find everything from new models to old school vintage models at a reasonable price. Shop around and find yourself a truly unique accessory that will function as more than just another souvenir.
22. Birch bark souvenirs
The bark of the birch tree is actually being used all over Russia. You will find decorative folk crafts that are made from the bark, such as hairpins, boxes, picture frames, etc.
You will surely appreciate the intricacy of the design. These are very beautiful creations that come with lace-like detail, something that you can rarely find in other countries.
23. Bogorodskoe wooden toys
Russians are fond of creating artwork out of wood, and the Bogorodskoe wooden toys are among their best masterpieces. They are great souvenirs for your little ones.
These are tiny strings and ball toys that come with sliding mechanisms which cause the bears to grab for honey or the peasants to chop firewood. These are very whimsical toys that your kids will certainly love.
24. Russian chocolate
Belgium may have the biggest reputation for fine chocolate but Russian chocolates are up there too. Russia makes a host of fantastic chocolates from dark chocolate to sweeter varieties. You may be a little overwhelmed when you see the huge range of chocolates available in Russia so try to ask around for a recommendation or take the risk and pick out a handful. I highly recommend you to try the famous Russian chocolate “Alenka” and “Babayevsky”.
As a novelty, Russian chocolates have some of the most unique packagings around. Some are so pretty you may not even want to eat the thing and keep the chocolate just for display.
25. Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky books
No serious lover or literature can have a conversation about books without bringing up legendary Russian authors Leo Tolstoy or Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Getting a copy of their books is not a problem in any part of the world but there is nothing cooler to add to your bookshelf than an authentic Russian print of “War and Peace” or the “Brother’s Karamazov”.
You will be surprised at just how different the book covers look in Russia as opposed to the stock standard version you may see in any other book shop at your home country.
As you can see, there are plenty of really cool souvenirs and gifts that you can bring home from Russia. When you get to the country, you will realize that there are indeed a lot of interesting things that can make great gifts and souvenirs, which your friends and family will certainly love.
Enjoy your time in Russia!