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Best Gift Stores in the World: Melissa’s Picks

During the mad dash of holiday shopping, I often think of my favorite under-the-radar spots around the globe—and occasionally wish that I could teleport myself there, be it in Tokyo, Cape Town or Paris. (Luckily, some of them have websites and ship internationally.) Read on for some of my top global gift stores for the people on my list, from the hipsters to the haute bohemians and everyone in between. And for more gift inspiration, see my curated shopping board on 1stdibs.com.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a shopping- or design-focused trip. Our specialists can advise on the best destinations and plan guided shopping excursions, private visits to ateliers and private tours of museums.

Best Gift Stores For Romantics

From a Portuguese leather shop to an exotic emporium that’s been dubbed the Fabergé of Thailand, these boutiques are great for picking up elegant, delicate mementos.

  • Antonia Miletto, Venice: Made-in-Venice jewelry including ebony wood and gold bracelets, diamond-encrusted fish and cufflinks
  • Alessandro Dari, Florence: Contemporary jewelry inspired by Renaissance sculpture and craftsmanship
  • Lotus Arts de Vivre, Bangkok: Jewelry and stunning one-of-a-kind baubles with Asian artistry
  • Luvaria Ulisses, Lisbon: Gorgeous leather gloves in a memorable setting
  • Paris flea markets: All manner of vintage and antique treasures; contact Indagare to arrange a tour with a shopping guide
  • FD Gallery, New York: My sister’s exquisite gallery of jewelry (vintage and rare) and art

Related: Winter News from London

Best Gift Stores For Design Lovers

Filling a home with global wares from these shops is a sure-fire way to delight those who love to dream about distant lands.

  • Stilleben, Copenhagen: Curated selection of home décor items, accessories and jewelry
  • Cecile & Boyd Showroom, Cape Town: Global treasures, furniture, lighting, accessories and exotic objects from the designers behind the Singita lodges
  • Creel and Gow, NYC: Rare décor pieces including antiques, taxidermy, jewelry and coral
  • Empreintes, Paris: Limited edition objets and original artworks by French craftsmen and artists in a special new multi-story shop in the Marais
  • Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm: Classic Swedish and Danish design pieces, lighting, printed fabrics, wallpaper and furniture

Related: Top 10 Design Hotels

Best Gift Stores For Fashion Mavens

For my most stylish friends and family, I browse these world-class addresses that offer unique, envy-inducing designs.

  • Luisa Beccaria, Milan: Flirty and feminine dresses with unmistakable Italian elegance
  • Fivestory, NYC: Costume jewelry and finds from around the globe with pieces from boundary-pushing designers
  • Talitha, London: A former Vogue editor’s treasure chest of vintage art, eclectic homewares and plush furnishings
  • Charvet, Paris: The best men’s ties and scarves as well suede slippers and custom shirts
  • La Parisienne, Capri: Capri pants (Audrey Hepburn adored La Parisienne’s custom duds) and designer fashions
  • Ragtag, Tokyo: Consignment fashions from cutting-edge local designers like Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto as well as European labels including Prada, Marni and Lanvin

Related: Introducing… Indagare Design Tours

Best Gift Stores For Gourmands

For the foodies in my life, I like to grab specialty products when I’m on the road; olive oil, chocolate and wine never fail as gifts. These emporiums have great selections, and some of them offer online ordering.

  • Enoteca La Fortezza, Montalcino: Wine (don’t miss the Soldera Brunello di Montalcino)
  • Jean-Paul Hevin, Paris: Only-in-Paris sweets (I love the chocolate lollipops and heart-shaped boxes with chocolate lace tops)
  • Mallorca Delicatessen, Palma: Delicious Mallorquin treats like honey, olive oil and liquor
  • Olivier, Napa Valley: French ceramic wares, jams and mustards—the rosemary-infused olive oil and artichoke tapenade are favorites
  • Neal’s Yard Dairy, London: Cheese subscriptions, classes or gift boxes for cheese lovers
  • Maison de la Truffe, Paris: Truffle boxes of varying sizes and assortments.

Related: Top 10 Trips for Foodies

Best Gift Stores For Frequent Travelers

It can be hard to buy for globetrotters, but gifts from these bespoke shops are guaranteed to please. If all else fails, consider an Indagare travel credit that can be used for future adventures.

  • My Style, Milan: Classic travel bags, ranging from large duffels to toiletry bags, all of which can be monogrammed
  • Leopolda, Tuscany: Well-priced artisan cashmere sweaters, shawls and scarves that are perfect for cozying up on plane rides
  • Globe-Trotter, London: Handmade trunks in canvas and leather and killer colors
  • Bentleys, London: Voyage-inspired antiques, vintage luggage, bowler hats and airplane propellers

Related: Holiday Pop-Up Shops in New York City

Best Gift Stores For Nesters

For homebodies and hosts, I like to purchase little things—beautiful linens, fragrant candles, uber-soft blankets—that will give their homes an extra dose of warmth.

  • Cerâmicas Na Linha, Lisbon: Plates, bowls, planters and painted dishes that recall Lisbon’s beautifully tiled façades
  • Teresa Alecrim, Lisbon: Embroidered pillows, linen napkins and tablecloths, tailored sheets, soft cotton bathrobes and baby linens
  • Avoca, Dublin: Irish-inspired products like handwoven blankets, throws and rugs, soaps, Irish cookbooks and more
  • Dédalo, Lima: The best of Peru’s products, including glass- and woodwork, jewelry, textiles, leather pieces and interesting products made from recycled materials
  • Spin Ceramics, Shanghai: Innovative and contemporary hand-crafted tableware, ceramics and art
  • Vintage-Department, Lisbon: Taxidermy birds, African masks and vintage furniture from the 1950s mix with contemporary art and global finds from the owner’s travels

Related: Indagare Journey: Milan Design, April 2018

Best Gift Stores For Hipsters

From a concept store in Amsterdam (complete with an in-house barbershop) to a home décor mecca in NYC, these shops sell wares that are undeniably cool.

  • The Apartment by the Line, NYC: Furniture, beauty products, fashion, artworks and photographs and a stellar shoe collection
  • Hutspot, Amsterdam: Men’s and women’s fashion, art, home décor, jewelry, books and eclectic items like skull-shaped candles, anatomical heart models and cartoon-printed playing cards
  • The Store, Berlin: Designer clothing, records, beauty products, books and more
  • MQ Point, Vienna: Contemporary fashion and interior design pieces

Best Gift Stores For Haute Bohemians

From a beach shack bursting with boho-chic fashions to Paris’s maze-like flea markets, these shopping destinations are great for relaxed, super stylish finds.

  • Eric Raisina, Siem Reap: Technicolor fashion and accessories, including fluttering shawls, silk- and fur-trimmed scarves, velvet cardigans, organza evening bags and tie-dye silk wraps
  • Caravana, Tulum: Earth-tone, breezy fashions and jewelry
  • Good Earth, Delhi: Woodblock-printed table and bed linens, porcelain and children’s clothing
  • Some, Marrakech: Custom straw baskets, ceramics, glassware and pillows
  • Lalla, Marrakech: Pretty handbags and accessories, jewelry and Moroccan vintage wares
  • Hot Pink, Jaipur: Chic dresses with Indian flair, kitschy accessories and cashmere and wool scarves in every color of the rainbow

Related: Shopping with a Teen in Paris

Best Gift Stores For Readers

As an avid reader, I seek out bookstores in every place I visit. Here are some of my absolute favorites:

  • Persephone Books, London: Beautifully reprinted classic books by 20th-century writers (primarily women)
  • Rizzoli, NYC: Curated coffee-table books on topics such as fashion, interior design, art and travel, as well as European magazines and news publications
  • Shakespeare & Company, Paris: English-language books from rare editions to the latest reads
  • Do You Read Me?, Berlin: Books, photography books, art magazines and journals
  • Ulysses Rare Books, Dublin: First editions and rare works from primarily Irish and British authors
  • Heywood Hill, London: New and antiquarian books and catalogs. The store also has a book subscription program that is great for gifts.

Best Gift Stores For Writers

I’m constantly jotting down notes when I’m traveling, and I still love to send and receive handwritten notes, so I’m always on the hunt for unique paper products. These stores offer some of my favorite finds.

  • Antica Legatoria Piazzesi, Venice: Hand-printed sheets of paper and desk accessories and books from a Venice institution that has been open since 1900
  • Papier Plus, Paris: Brightly colored (turquoise, hot pink, hunter green), cloth-covered notebooks, scrapbooks and photo albums
  • Kakimori, Tokyo: Specialty stationary and custom-made notebooks (don’t miss their sister shop, InkStand, which is located next door and sells beautiful fountain pens)
  • Gianni Basso, Venice: Bookplates, business cards and stationery printed on antique printing presses

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a shopping- or design-focused trip. Our specialists can advise on the best destinations and plan guided shopping excursions, private visits to ateliers and private tours of museums.

– Melissa Biggs Bradley on November 30, 2017

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