12 Unique Shops Worth Traveling For

Why not make your holiday shopping list an excuse for a trip? From a famous record shop to the hippest boutique in Iceland, our editors share the places they’d travel to for unique holiday gifts around the globe.

12 Unique Shops Worth Traveling For

The hip yet decidedly Peruvian hats at Cocoliso

Courtesy of Cocoliso

1. Hay

Copenhagen, Denmark

Hay has been one of my favorite sources for home design since I first visited in 2008. The colorful and highly functional brand has gone global since then, and this fall marked the debut of Hay Kitchen Market, its new line of tools and objects for the modern home cook. At the top of my gifting list: teapots, glassware, and cutting boards. You can never have too many cutting boards. —Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief

2. Cocoliso

Cusco, Peru

Handmade alpaca and baby alpaca knitwear is mixed in with jewelry and leather goods from local designers at this shop. I’m actually ordering a blanket that I fell in love with on a recent trip but didn’t end up buying then. So soft. So cute. So worth the shipping fee. They don’t have a website, but they have a Facebook page, and you can email them at e.cocoliso@gmail.com to place an order. —Maggie Fuller, assistant editor

3. Farmers Market

Reykjavík, Iceland

Farmers Market is just the hippest place. Think stylish, not-itchy Lopapeysa sweaters, rugged boots, knit hats with a slight slouch and big pom-poms, and ponchos. Basically, you want to go to Iceland with an empty suitcase, buy your entire wardrobe for your trip here, and feel like one of the cool kids. Farmers Market’s flagship store—an actual old fish warehouse—also sells a selection of Icelandic music, which, oh my god, is their music scene hip.—MF

4. Khmer Ceramics

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Khmer Ceramics was one of my favorite manifestations of the Khmer artisanal renaissance. Granted, this was four years ago or so, but Cambodians were making a concerted effort to revive traditional Khmer culture, including the Khmer ceramic techniques and styles. This small, bright, minimalist store filled with delicate, irregular bowls, plates, and cups was such a relief from the mass-produced souvenirs you find all around Siem Reap. I bought a full set of little tea bowls with blue glaze on the inside and rough, stonelike exterior, all of which had an elegant scrolled detail etched on the outside. —MF

Hay in Copenhagen

Hay in Copenhagen

Courtesy of Hay

5. Easy Street Records

Seattle, Washington

Because they have tons of stuff, and you never know when Pearl Jam might stop by. —Jeremy Saum, executive editor

6. Flying Tiger

Various locations in Europe and the Northeast United States

My wife always goes to the Flying Tiger shops in Europe. They actually have some now in NYC. They’re sort of Ikea-esque but they don’t sell furniture. It’s all little accessories and gifts that are design-forward, cute, and cheap. Excellent stocking stuffers. —JS

7. À la Mère de Famille

Paris, France

If I had to pick a shop to scour anywhere, I would want to make a stop in Montmartre, at the original location of À la Mère de Famille, the oldest candy store in Paris. It has been around for more than 250 years, and there’s a huge variety of candy so finding something for even picky sweet tooths is easy. And Paris in the winter is pretty dreamy. —Sara Button, editorial assistant

8. Lakritsroten

Stockholm, Sweden

This place is SUPER niche because all they sell is licorice, but, man, it is the licorice version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Here, they offer anything you could imagine infused with licorice, including toothpaste and body products. I bought a ton of stuff for the people in my life who love licorice. —Aislyn Greene, senior editor

9. Powell’s City of Books

Portland, Oregon

Powell’s is the largest indie bookstore in the world. It feels like a country unto itself. You can find rare and out-of-print books—plus, it sells a bunch of cool, made in Portland–themed gifty stuff, like bags, cards, and all those little holiday tchotchkes that are perfect for stocking stuffers. You can buy gift certificates for people who don’t live nearby—and whose taste you don’t know—because they have an online store. But it’s worth a visit; it’s just a beautiful place if you’re into books. —AG

10. Typographia

Madrid, Spain

I’m a sucker for clever shirts, but Typographia does “clever” in a really intelligent way. None of its designs are as simple as throwing two pop culture references together to appeal to crowds that would simply be pleased to recognize both things. There was very little wordplay on the shirts and plenty of visual jokes, like fake cave paintings of early man hunting down an AT-AT instead of a mammoth. The non-lazy humor was refreshing, and that only covers about half the shirts. The other half were designs, like a diagram of a deconstructed record player. They pull off both classy and clever very well, and the physical quality of their shirts is on point—so soft, so well cut, and in beautiful colors. Just A+ all around.

—Nicole Antonio, associate managing editor

11. A Vida Portuguesa

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal’s marvelous design aesthetic and rich artisan history is on ravishing display at A Vida Portuguesa, my one-stop-shop for locally made products with a deep sense of place. The boutique’s expertly sourced soaps, ceramics, fragrances, and sardines (presented in gorgeous retro tins) are perfect stocking stuffers—and come in such exquisite packaging, you won’t even have to wrap them. —Arabella Bowen, digital executive editor

12. SHED

Healdsburg, California

SHED is a playground for the food- and entertaining-obsessed. The bright, open space in the heart of California pinot country is lined with shelves full of delicious delights like heirloom grains, artisan pickles, local olive oil, and so many types of mustard. They have French copper cookware that’s as beautiful as it is functional, thick wooden cutting boards, Japanese knives, and lovely household odds and ends. (I once almost shelled out $95 for a bottle opener—seriously.) Plus, once you’re done shopping, you can enjoy a delicious healthy-ish meal at SHED café—ideally with a glass of wine because, you know, you’re in wine country. —Danielle Walsh, senior editor

>>Next: 16 Meaningful Holiday Gifts With Great Backstories

Danielle Walsh is a former editor for Afar, based in California.
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