It’s very common nowadays to share handicrafts as gifts. As a matter of fact, these items were always related to the Cretan tradition and are also an excellent choice to decorate your home with, a unique souvenir of your trip abroad. Popular gifts are:
Pottery. With techniques from the Minoan era combined with modern touches, Cretans create ceramic vases, bowls, vessels, etc. In the Old Town at Chimaras Street and Koroneou Street as well as in Margarites village pottery workshops, you can live the experience of pottery making.
- Musical instruments. In Stagakis Cretan Lyra Workshop and Papalexakis Cretan Music Instruments store in the center of Rethymno you can learn about the history and observe the manufacturing of the Cretan lyra, a traditional musical instrument.
- Wooden Handicrafts. At Wood Art Workshop you can admire carving wood by hand, involving in numerous methods and tools to turn the original raw piece into a finished work of art. You can also visit the Wooden Sculptures Museum In Axos Milopotamou.
- Leather crafts such as shoes, purses & bags. You can find a traditional leather store in Souliou, Kallergi, Koroneou Street, where you can watch the whole process of leather making.
- Woven crafts made on local looms are combined with the Cretan tradition, showcasing bright colors and playful patterns in the form of decorative throw pillows, personal accessories, and even wall hangings. In Argiroupoli village you can find plenty of traditional hand-woven crafts (known as yfanta) of high quality.
- Hand embroidery. Local Cretan handmade embroideries are very popular decoration items for any use. The art with thread and needle has been an ongoing and evolving process. Hand embroidery is now evolving with modern expressions. It has moved from being a mere necessity to being a form of art as well. The village of Anogia is one of the major handicraft and cottage industry centers of Crete and the woven and embroidered articles produced have superb motifs which are unique to the village. It is interesting to visit one of the many workshops open to the public and observe articles being woven on large looms.
- Knives were very important items for the Cretans, not only to use but also to display as status symbols and show your ability to defend yourself. Today Cretan knives are decorated with local poems (known as mantinades) on their handles.
- Komboloi -a string of beads made by ivory, amber, silver, glass or wood- is one of the most typical symbols of the Greek easy-going mentality.
- Natural Cosmetics and Soaps based on natural ingredients, honey, herbal extracts and essential oils of plants and flowers that grow in Crete, such as olive oil, carobs, avocado, and aloe. You can find a wide range of these products at the local shops in Rethymno.