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‘Tis the season! As we’re coming into peak silly season, I’ve been getting a bunch of requests from you guys on Instagram and Facebook for tips on what to buy friends and family when you visit Austria.
Or, for people heading home for the holidays, what to bring back as an authentic gift from Austria.
To be honest, this is always a planning struggle for me, too, when we go back to Australia for Christmas.
You want to get something heartfelt, and unique and small enough to pack, but not so delicate it will break, but super Christmassy from the Christmas markets and…it’s stressful!
So this list of suggested gifts for Christmas, and general travel gifts for when you visit Austria is made up of brands I genuinely love and have purchased and tested myself.
I’ve also included a mix of links to Amazon, so that if you are super organised and heading ‘home’ for Christmas, you can order online for your gifts to be delivered to your parents/home address abroad, and meet you when you arrive home.
Total genius move if you can be organised enough in advance.
Of course with Black Friday Sales on now, it’s the perfect time to get your Christmas gifts sorted and make the most of the abundant sales available.
Where possible I have included as many local and sustainable brands as I can, as I really feel that gifting can get out of control at Christmas, so making conscious choices on which brands to support is important.
Buying a bunch of touristy junk that gets thrown out a few weeks later doesn’t help anyone, so there’s no plastic claptrap in this list.
I’ve even worked with a few local brands to get you guys some additional savings off the price of tours and books so hopefully we can all enjoy the gift giving season thoughtfully.
That said, I hope you’ll be able to find something for the special people in your life to gift from Austria for Christmas & New Year
Gift Guide For the Traveller
Ok, there are a few basics that everyone needs in their life when travelling, just to make it that little easier and convenient to get through your days.
These gifts are great at any time of year, so make sure you bookmark them for any upcoming trips of your own too! Though not specifically Austrian, they will definitely be helpful to anyone planning a trip to Austria and beyond.
An absolute must for any traveller, they help maximise your suitcase space and enable your inner organiser to separate out clothes, underwear, outerwear, dirty and clean clothes into their own compartments.
I picked up some packing cubes about 3 years ago and will not shut up about them to anytime friends ask about my favourite travel accessory.
Essentially, they are just zippered cubes that you can fill with clothing, that come in various sizes. It sounds very simple but will revolutionise the way you can pack and travel!
Using them means you can squish a lot more clothing in, organise clothing into different categories – so, in my case I have one small cube for underwear and socks, one medium size cube for tshirts, tops, singlets, shirts and day dresses, and another for say, jeans, workout gear and hoodies.
It also makes finding your items within your backpack or suitcase so much easier as things don’t get all jumbled up, you can simply reach for the cube you know has that spare pair of socks.
My original packing cubes are from Kathmandu store in Australia (you can peep them here) but this set of 7 I found online look excellent, with special compression functionality (meaning you can fit more stuff in a smaller bag) and separated sections for wet and dry clothing, so half damp items won’t wreck your dry clothes.
Packing cubes come in all different sizes and quality so you can find one that suits your budgets and needs. Once you have them, you’ll never look back!
We all know there are at least 3 to 5 items you bring with you travelling that will inevitably need charging.
Camera, phone, kindle, watch, god knows what else. Somehow, hotel rooms, hostels and airports normally only have one or two plugs available to charge at a time, which, if you are travelling with a friend or partner is never enough.
Enter the multi-plug power board.
Ok, it might not be the sexiest gift of all time (maybe pair it with some jewellery or chocolate?) but it is so so practical.
Your loved one can charge their many devices in one sitting and make friends in shared spaces, if they offer their spare plugs to fellow travellers in times of flight delay or in a hostel.
For all the times you’ve ever been caught short with not enough chargers or battery for your devices, this is the perfect gift.
If you want to go next level, you can pair it with the really powerful Anker Powercore mobile charging devices.
Stefan swears by these and I can’t even begin to tell you how often it has saved my phone from dying in critical moments – like midway through navigating down Italian countryside streets!
I think these have at least 7 charges worth of power and can slip very easily into your handbag as a backup power source. Again, your mates will love you if you can help them charge their phones on a night out with one of these babies.
So, the gift of charging devices is sometimes the greatest gift of all, is what I’m saying.
A new addition this year, I just came across the Ski & Berg card for Austria and loved the concept of supporting smaller, local ski regions across the country.
The way it works, is you can purchase a €50 voucher either online here, or in any Billa or Merkur store. The voucher is redeemable at any number of select ski and mountain regions across Austria in restaurants, ski lifts, ski schools, huts and adventure activity sellers.
What’s cool about this initiative, is the founders have focussed on ski and mountain areas that don’t get the big bucks from major international tourism traffic. They’re concerned that the rate of local Austrian’s skiing has almost halved in the last twenty years and wanted to make skiing and mountain activities accessible for families and locals again.
So all the regions and activities listed on the Ski & Berg card website encourage travel and money to be returned and invested back into local economies, reviving regions of Austria that are underserved by international tourists, and helping you find new, unique places and activities throughout the country.
As you can imagine, I loved the idea of supporting local economies and culture while discovering new ski spots, so have nabbed myself a voucher that I think we will put to the test in Fieberbrunn Ski school this December.
This would be an amazing gift for anyone who lives in Austria, but also as a useful voucher to help travellers cover the costs of a short ski trip if they are visiting Austria around Christmas.
I spent a good amount of time on the website (currently only in German but you can piece together the words ‘skischule’ or ‘hiking’) and it looks like they have a good depth of range of products that the voucher gift card can be redeemed for.
A handy gift for that brother or in-law who you’re never quite sure what to buy!
I like to gift the city pocketbooks or country guides to friends who are either planning to travel or, as happens often when living abroad, to friends about to move to a new country.
I’m partial to the Lonely Planet guides as they were founded in Melbourne by an Aussie and I am proud to write for their online team about Vienna on a semi-regular basis.
But in all honesty, since I was 17 years old, I loved going to a bookshop to ogle a Lonely Planet guidebook in advance of an upcoming trip.
There is something about having that tangible book in hand, foldout map and a treasure trove of tips written (it seems) just for you! Their latest Austria guidebook is choc-full of reccommendations I haven’t even made it to yet, you can check it out here.
If you are wanting something a bit more arty as a gift, the Lonely Planet coffee table books are also very beautiful, we have a huge edition of ‘Lonely Planet’s Wild World’ that was gifted to us as a housewarming present and I just adore the photography and destinations in there.
Well worth checking out all the available options by clicking here.
For anyone moving to or currently living in Vienna who is still a little *ahem* baffled by the way Austrian’s go about bureaucracy and paperwork and well, practical things, may I lovingly reccommend the Vienna Survival Guides.
These affordable but meaty guides to navigating housing, health and the newly launched education guide are a godsend for anyone who is stuck trying to work out how the hell to go about the real life stuff in Vienna.
I get tonnes of questions from readers all the time on how to find a place, buy a house, where to live (mostly from my monster article on Vienna’s districts here) so these guides are my go-to answer for anyone.
At just €20 a pop, its a really good price to give a really practical gift. The good news? Metropole have offered readers of Austrian Adaptation an exclusive discount, if you enter the promo code ‘Iwillsurvive_AA’ at time of purchase you’ll get 10% off the normal price of the guides.
I love a good bookshop and the smell of fresh, uncracked books more than anyone, but sometimes, those extra kilo’s added by chunky hardcover novels are just too heavy to be lugging around while travelling.
It won’t surprise you to learn that initially, I resisted getting a Kindle at all, but the ever-practical Stefan gifted one to me about 4 years ago and…well, now I can’t travel without it.
I’ve also found it super helpful for getting my hands on English language books that stores in Austria might not stock, so for your loved ones living abroad who love reading its a double whammy gift of convenience and practicality.
Gift Guide For the Foodie
You guys know how much I love a food tour to get to know a city – even if that city is my adopted hometown! So if you are looking to gift a visiting friend or bestie in Vienna a unique experience, the Vienna Food Tour is a lovely gift.
My full review of the Vienna Food Tour is here to peruse, but the short version is, a food tour is a tasty, interactive, local way to experience the city from a new perspective.
The good news for you guys is, if you use the promo code ‘CARLYLOVESFOOD’ at time of purchase you can save 10% off the normal tour price.
Gifting experiences is the true millenial way to do Christmas I hear (apparently millenials have ‘killed Christmas Gifts’ now too 🙄) and if it means you get to try all kinds of local restaurants and dishes, that’s a Christmas win in my books!
Household Viennese name Staud’s makes the best damn marmalade and jams in Austria. They have a lovely market stand at Brunnenmarkt, but if you are worried about sticky jam and glass jars breaking in your luggage you can order online here.
Staud’s have been selling fruit and vegetables since 1883 and now make exquisite jams that really capture the feeling of having a fresh breakfast in Viennese style. My personal favourite is the organic apricot jam – best eaten on a fresh Semmel bread, slathered with butter and topped with a spoonful of jam on top. You can check out the full range of Staud jams, chutneys and even chocolate spread here.
Pro tip – don’t stick your buttery knife into the jam jar, use a separate clean spoon to scoop it out, the jam will last longer!
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May we introduce you to the organic apricot jam? 😋: Gestatten, Bio Marille! Gereift am Land, in aller Stille. … Nichts hinzufügen, einfach nur genießen. Die südländische Note im Bio-Marillen-Cuvee verdanken wir übrigens unseren italienischen Nachbarn. #staudsbiofruechtchen #staudsbio #stauds #jam #apricot #organicfood #organicjam #food #foodstagram #yummy #bio #biomarmelade #berries #nature #saisonal #seasonal #madeinaustria #foodie #harvest #localfood
While we are on the breakfast theme, I INSIST you get this device.
It is the most Germanic/Austrian creation of practicality and it will change your life.
You think I’m joking, but once you have used it to take the top off your soft boiled egg in the morning, you will understand why the genius guillotine way of slicing into an egg is the perfect encapsulation of the Austrian sensibility and civility at breakfast.
No more dribbly, cracking eggs and trying to hack in with your butter knife.
Though it looks small and weird, I promise once you purchase one of these, maybe with a cute little decoration on top, you will start gifting one to all of your friends!
If you’re in Austria, there is no better gift than an experience that can keep on giving once you return home.
Taking a short food course and learning how to make strudel or traditional cookies, or even schnitzel is a great way to get under the skin of a country and return home with a new skill. Lord knows I’m not a great cook, but even I have enjoyed taking the Wrenkh cooking classes in Vienna to understand how to make traditional Austrian cuisine, should the mood ever strike me.
In Salzburg, they even have super cute Christmas cookies & strudel baking course that would be a perfect gift to come home with the skills to make authentic Christmas cookies, Austrian style.
Alternatively, if cooking isn’t your jam, you could take one of the many excellent food tours in Vienna and simply pick up some ingredients as gifts along the way.
You can check the prices on the different tours by clicking here to find your perfect option.
Gift Guide For the Fashionable ones in your life
This delicious number from eco brand Grüne Erde is my new favourite wardrobe item.
I actually searched high and low for an affordable, high quality, non synthetic, warm, cosy not-shit-looking scarf this winter.
After an unfortunate washing machine run-in with my favourite Oliver Bonas grey scarf of last winter, it was time to find a replacement.
But finding a decent scarf that hadn’t been made by a fast fashion brand, still looked good with different combinations of jackets and hats, and had good warm quality materials was super, super difficult in Austria.
Finally, I tripped over this little number from Grune Erde. Made of Mongolian Yaks Wool (I know, I know, it sounds pretentious but soooooo cosy!) this coffee coloured long scarf has saved my fragile little swans neck already this winter.
€90 is a lot to pay for a scarf initially, BUT, when you multiply it out over wearing it across the entire winter, plus the reassurance that it was made sustainably and the materials sourced from vetted suppliers in Mongolia, you can really rest assured that its an investment piece – not just another shitty scarf that you wear a few times and replace.
I’m in love with mine, and intend to wear it for the next 4 months straight. (2019 update, I’m literally wearing it now as I write this post so, cost per wear return on investment has been ridiculously good!)
Scarves are also handy gifts as they pack relatively small, so can be brought back just in time for Christmas!
It would be totally remiss of me not to mention home grown slow-fashion hero brand Dariadeh.
It is notoriously difficult to get your hands on a piece of her gorgeous designs, as they are so incredibly popular, but if you get yourself on a waiting list, or go for some of the off-season designs you are in for a treat!
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Dariadeh is the slow fashion brand from Madeleine Alizadeh, Austria’s most popular blogger, podcaster, and advocate for eco-fashion and green initiatives. She launched the brand two years ago, and the designs and clothing have become cult items ever since.
What’s special about these are the details, every piece has been thoughfully sourced, the cardigans use wood buttons instead of plastic, the organic cotton is sourced in Portugal and the entire production process is incredibly transparent.
I have my eyes on one of the dark green ‘Berta’ jumpers but would happily indulge in anything from this brand, as my previous purchases have been such durable high quality.
Wäscheflott is a luxury pyjama brand that have been creating stylish pyjamas and nightwear in the heart of Vienna since 1948. Carrying into the third generation now, they design and produce all their classic nightwear in the city and can deliver it to your address.
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If you go into their store in the 1st district, you won’t be able to buy anything ‘off the rack’ as all pieces are made to order, just for you, using classical designs and your specific proportions.
They can make pyjama sets, boxer shorts, dressing gown robe and a nightshirt (like a nightie/dress) that you can get individually monogrammed to really feel like Viennese royalty.
The pieces aren’t cheap, but they are entirely unique and all produced in Vienna in traditional style, using high-quality materials for an ultimately classic look – perfect for swanning about in fancy hotels, or feeling posh in your own bedroom.
Men’s Shirts & Accessories
Männersache is an Austrian brand that do wild and fun men’s shirts, cravat’s, ties, handkerchief sets and suits. In a city that can often be a bit plain, boring and traditional with its fashion choices, I lurrrvvee the bright colour pops and playfulness of this brand.
Their shirt and accessories designs use prints, bright colours and a touch of classic styling that combine perfectly for an individual look for family events, weddings or just to jazz up your misters work outfits.
Stefan nabbed one of their bright shirts for a wedding in Ireland a few years ago and was the talk of the night with his loud shirt (the enthusiastic dance moves may have contributed there too!)
If you want something truly different, but still made and designed in Austria, Männersache is a fab option, they have stores in Shopping Centre Sud and at the Donauzentrum in the second district if you want to try before you buy.
Their atelier is in the 4th district so you can also see where the magic happens.
There are a few boutique Austrian jewellery brands in Vienna that would definitely make a unique gift.
Of course you can always go for a classic Swarvoski crystal or necklace as they are an Austrian brand with plenty of options for a variety of budgets and tastes.
However, if you’re looking for something a little more unique, I’d reccommend Katie G jewellery for some edgy, fun rings and necklaces, I’ve gifted my sister from there before.
For something handmade and unique Johanna Bauer is my #1 favourite – we got our wedding rings custom made from here and the service is exceptional, while the store is on the most adorable street in all of Vienna!
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Or if you have some cash to splash, Anni J Jewellery who have some lovely delicate pieces and the pretty store display in the 1st district. Their wristbands are probably down the more affordable end of the scale.
Gift Guide For the Creative Types
Art prints from Die Sellerei.
I adore this boutique stationary, print and artwork store in the 7th district. It basically ticks all my bougie hipster dreams, with cool wall art, cute gift cards and knick knacks for the house made by local suppliers.
The store was created by two local designers so you know they have a good eye and it’s a great mix of unique souvenirs and classy touches for your home.
After many months of pining I finally got my hands on this amazing Vienna print that I absolutely love and will have hanging in our study as soon as possible. A perfectly different kind of souvenir in my books!
You can find your perfect print on their website here. I think I’m going to need the colourful galah print this year, to bring a touch of Australia into our apartment.
Subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud
If you have someone in your life who loves all things blogging, photography and design, then the best gift you could give them is a subscription to the Adobe Suite Creative Cloud. Basically, it means your creative loved one can use the Adobe software suite – Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and their cloud storage that helps sync to mobile devices in one handy package.
This is honestly a lifesaver for anyone who takes, edits and tries to keep track of their images and photography across multiple devices. It seriously levelled up my ability to store, edit and search images for using in blog posts, instagram and everywhere in between. It’s also a great learning opportunity for anyone just getting started in their journey to building a creative career.
There are different payment plans depending on the inclusions, so best to check with the giftee before choosing but this is a gift that would keep on giving throughout the year! You can check the pricing options here.
Creative Lightroom Presets
For the photographer and Instagram fan in your life, I can highly reccommend the Lightroom Preset Packs from my mate Helene at Helene in Between. She has a limited edition ‘Winter Warmer’ set on Sale now, but her regular presets are super helpful for making your photo editing process as efficient and gorgeous as possible.
You can check the prices and what the presets look like by clicking here – the photo below were all taken using these presets as a basis, with my own edits added on top.
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It’s finally Christmas market tiiiiiiiiimmee! 🙌🏻🎄 The lights and huts have been popping up all over Vienna and this weekend is when the festive season really kicks off across town – thankfully the weather has also cooled off a bit so we can really enjoy the gluwein (mulled wine in 15C weather isn’t quite so appealing 😆). I’ve got a list of my favorite local Christmas markets up in the blog (link in bio) but would love to know – which Christmas market is your favorite in Vienna?
There are plenty more recommendations to share with you and I’ll keep updating this post to keep it relevant to what you guys are looking for.
Let me know in the comments, what’s on your Christmas wishlist this year?
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