Great Gift Ideas – Top 16 Things to Buy in Tirol
We have put together a list of the top 16 things to buy during your time in Tirol – either for yourself or as gifts for friends and family. All the items in our list are either made or finished right here in Tirol.
1. Hand-blown glassware by Susi Hager
Jewellery, glass figurines, drinking glasses, wine decanters, water jugs – in her Innsbruck workshop located at the address Andreas-Hofer-Straße 14 Susi Hager creates all manner of colourful and intricate items from glass. Each piece is unique. As well as a showroom there is a workshop where Susi often welcomes visitors in to show the how the glassblowing process works. Her artworks can also be ordered online at brennero.at.
Susi Hager makes jewellery, Christmas decorations, drinking glasses and many other items from hand-blown glass. © Glasbläserei Brennero/Brenner
2. Hand-woven materials by Regina Textiles
In the charming village of Igls just outside Innsbruck, Regina Knoflach makes scarfs and stoles as well as textiles for bathroom, kitchen and living room. She uses natural materials such as linen and cotton, wool and silk, all woven by hand to create beautifully simple items with eye-catching patterns and a wonderfully soft feel. Her textiles can be purchased from her workshop, from the shop Tiroler Edles at Seilergasse 13 in Innsbruck and online at www.regina-textiles.at.
The colourful and intricate woven items produced by Regina Textiles are a real hit with locals and visitors alike. © Regina Textiles
3. Knitted items from Tiroler Heimatwerk
In 1934, when the cooperative known as Tiroler Heimatwerk was founded, knitting was a way for women from the Pazaun region of Tirol to make a little extra money for themselves and their families. Now, almost 100 years later, the economy in Paznaun has come on in leaps and bounds, meaning the local housewives no longer need to earn an extra wage – yet the art of knitting continues there, passed down through the generations. The items produced today cover the whole spectrum, from warm cardigans to socks, gloves, scarfs and woolly hats. They can only be purchased in one place, the Tiroler Heimatwerk shop at Meraner Straße 2 in Innsbruck. It is also a good place if you are looking for traditional Tirolean clothing, handmade hair accessories, fine leatherware and other handmade items created here in the region.
Tiroler Heimatwerk uses local wool woven by hand by craftswomen from the Paznaun region. © Victoria Hörtnagl
4. Leatherware by grga
Simple, stylish and functional are three words to describe what is made by Gregor Mair in his leather workshop located at the address Haller Straße 41 in Innsbruck. Items range from wallets and bags to tablet cases and even leather aprons for the barbeque. Unlike most mass-produced stuff, these leather goods actually get better with time and take on their own character as they are used again and again in daily life. They are available online at www.grga.at as well as from Gregor's workshop and in selected shops in Innsbruck (feinheiten, Tiroler Edles and Walde Seifen), Vienna (Graf und Gräfin vom Raimundhof) and Krems (Volkskultur – Handwerk der Regionen).
Gregor Mair, known as grga, produces fine leatherware including wallets, bags and tablet cases. © Grga
5. Porcellain by Andrea Baumann
The porcellain items made by Andrea Baumann, in particular her bowls and dishes (available in all sizes), have a simple but unmistakable style. They are available in white and black as well as various shades of rosé and earthy browns and yellows. Some are also decorated with touches of gold. They are the perfect complement to everything from a traditional wooden table in winter to a crisp white tablecloth for an outdoor feast in summer. They can be found in concept stores and art galleries operated by Resort Innsbruck everywhere from Dubai to Sydney.
© Andrea Baumann
Andrea Baumann's porcellain products are simple and stylish © Andrea Baumann © Andrea Baumann
6. Riedel Glasses
The best wineries and top restaurants across the world highly commend these glasses from Tirol. They’re made in Kufstein, and the Riedel factory shop sells off their second and third-rate products at surprisingly affordable prices. Once you’ve tasted wine out of a Riedel glass, you’ll never again want to drink out of anything else. My favourite are the hand-blown glasses over the machine-made variety. I’ve tested the difference and I’m completely convinced. Riedel are extremely proud of their glass.
Fine wine tastes even better when drunk from these glasses. © Riedl Glas
7. Tirolean dried bacon
A really good Tirolean "Speck" (dried bacon) can usually be found at farmers' markets or in village butcher shops. The secret, aside from good quality meat, is the smoking process. My favourite Speck comes from the Astl family farm in Weerberg, the Krössbacher family butcher in Fulpmes and the Hangl butcher in Innsbruck. Vacuum packing is often available on request for odour-free transportation.
© Tirol Werbung / Kathrin Koschitzki
There’s nothing like fine honey fresh from the beehive. If you can’t find a beekeeper in the region (autumn is the best time of year), the Beekeeper Cooperative at Meranerstraße in Innsbruck is a good alternative. As well as honey, this charming little shop has lots of other produce like beeswax candles.
Honey made in Tirol!
9. Doggln (slippers)
These traditional felt slippers made from Loden, a thick felt-like material also used to make the famous Tirolean hats, are some of the warmest and most comfortable footwear you will find. Where you can get your hands on a pair is often a well-kep secret, but you can find them at Günter Hartl in the Zillertal Valley (Dorf 20, Stumm im Zillertal) and in Reith im Alpbachtal from Anneliese Naschberger (Kirchfeldstraße 4, 6235 Reith). You need a little courage to wear them initially, but no trend was ever set without a few brave pioneers! Fashionistas will definitely appreciate them.
Frau Naschberger from Reith im Alpbachtal with a pair of her homemade "Doggln" slippers.
10. Rock oil from Lake Achensee
This sulphur-rich oil distilled at Lake Achensee using shale rock looks a little sticky and doesn’t smell great, but its effect on sore joints is amazing. You can either float a dish in your bath water to warm it up (this takes 15 to 20 minutes) or add it directly to your bath. Rock oil is widely available in pharmacies and drugstores.
© Tirol Werbung / Lisa Hörterer
A good schnapps can be found in every Tirolean household as an aperitif or a digestive aid after a hearty meal. The quality of alcohol has improved enormously in recent years, and many of the region’s producers already belong to the European distillery elite. Here’s a list of my particular favourites (remember it’s always best to buy directly from the farm or in bulk from a good dealer): Christoph Kössler from Stanz (has his own sampling setup in his house, which in itself is worth a detour); Siegfried Kistl from the Wildschönau (excellent price for what you get); and the Rochelt distillery in Fritzens (excellent spirits and the best bottle designs).
Christoph Kössler is one of Tirol's most successful schnapps distillers. © Feindestillerie Kössler
12. Tiroler Edle chocolate
This fine chocolate from Landeck in Tirol is now famous far beyond the borders of Tirol. The beauty is in the chocolate’s high percentage, good quality cocoa and fillings such as Tirolean walnuts or brandy that have been perfected to give this product its punch. My favorite one is Ötztal Valley cranberries, available from good grocery stores. The packaging is pretty too!
© Tirol Werbung / Lisa Hörterer
13. Swarovski jewellery
Even though the jewellery from Swarovski is available internationally, it’s a special experience to choose your own favourite item from one of the local shops or the Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens. Speaking of which, I very much recommend a visit to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
14. Tiroler Reine (Walde soaps)
Although shower gels have somewhat replaced soaps these days, Tiroler Reine soaps made by local producer Walde will make you want to swap back again. Interesting varieties such as Mountain Mint, Glacier Milk and Forget-Me-Not make for a really unique product containing ingredients that are 100% natural. The pretty packaging lends this soap as the perfect gift. It is widely available in drugstores as well as from the factory shop in Innsbruck (Innstraße 23).
15. Graukäse cheese
This Tirolean cheese has a really strong smell and, incredibly, contains 0% fat – excellent news for weight-conscious foodies. It’s best enjoyed with vinegar, oil and a little onion, or in a broth as Graukassuppe. However, its smell comes with a downside: transporting this cheese can be a challenge! That said, it is possible to have the cheese packed so that its odour isn’t too pervasive. My favourite supplier of Graukäse is the Zillertal dairy or high-end supermarkets (for example, MPreis).
Graukäse cheese is a superfood made right here in Tirol! © Tirol Werbung / Kathrin Koschitzki
16. My personal favourite: the Tirol Beanie
The Tirol Beanie has become a firm favourite with lots and visitors alike. You will find it being worn not only in Innsbruck, Kufstein and Lienz but also in the streets of Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt. Warm, stylish and made in Tirol, what's not to like?