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The best luxury souvenirs to bring back from Austria


From the niche to the world famous, the historic to the truly modern, these are five local brands you must discover on your trip to Austria

Hannah Lewis / © Katie Wilson-Ells
Hannah Lewis,

Ludwig Reiter
Ludwig Reiter is renowned for hand-crafted shoes of exemplary quality. From the first workshop founded in Vienna in 1885, this family-run company has become one of the most acclaimed footwear specialists in Austria, and the only shoemaker in the country to produce classic welted shoes. Today Ludwig Reiter creations include artisan-made Chelsea boots, brogues, sports shoes and accessories and the pioneering Maronibrater boot, as well as collaborations with designers including Helmut Lang. There is also a personal order service, where shoes are made to customer specifications.  Even the newest models are still painstakingly made by hand in Austria, with each pair involving at least 200 separate operations to complete.

Swarovski
Swarovski is one of the most famous brands in Austria, and arguably the world, producing cut-glass crystals to embellish everything from haute couture to luxury eyewear. It also produces its own sparkling collection of jewellery, accessories and pieces for the home. The company was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, whose patented electric cutting machine facilitated production of the exceptional crystal glass that formed the basis of his global empire. Today, the brand continues with its founder’s core philosophy: to see crystal not merely as a material, but as an inspiration. Swarovski collaborates with leading brands from across the world, putting sparkle into high-fashion jewellery, clothes, watches and accessories, and is probably best known for its own range of collectible figurines. Swarovski’s stunning in-house creations can be found in its boutiques in Vienna, Wattens and Innsbruck.

Susanne Kaufmann
Natural beauty brand Susanne Kaufmann has recently begun to be noticed by beauty insiders, but remains under-the-radar enough to feel like a real discovery, making it the perfect souvenir to take home for friends and loved ones. Founder Kaufmann draws her inspiration from the Alpine valley of Bregenz Forest, and runs a tailor-made treatment spa at her family’s Hotel Post Bezau. Alpine plants are used to create paraben-free, cruelty-free, organic skincare for the whole body, from head to foot, aiming to provide something for every age and skin type. All Susanne Kaufmann products are made at the brand’s facility in the Bregenz Forest and dermatologically tested before being hand-sealed in stylishly minimalist glass jars. The range has now expanded to include haircare, detox teas, scented candles and a set of products for men.

Riedel
As the first person to design the shape of a glass according to the wine it was destined to hold, Claus Riedel is often described as the inventor of the functional wineglass. As part of the eponymous family that has run luxury glassware company Riedel since 1756, he completely transformed the brand’s approach to wineglasses. Although most people might not give much thought to the shape of the vessel they sip fine wine from, experts praise Riedel’s creations, and the difference a glass can make must be tasted to be believed. Reidel glasses are made from crystal in company-owned factories in Austria and Germany. The collection includes tasting sets, a wonderful gift for any wine lover.

Frey Wille
Frey Wille jewellery is instantly recognisable for its use of distinctive, colourful, fired enamel and loved for the jubilant celebration of art and creativity throughout its range. Each collection is based around a core inspiration, including everything from ancient civilisations to famous artists. Simple jewellery shapes and styles are chosen to allow the artists and goldsmiths to be bold and experimental with their designs. Each piece is approached as an artwork and an expression of the joys of life. The Honfleur range, at once bold and delicate, is a perfect example of Frey Wille’s distinctive signature aesthetic. It forms part of the company’s Hommage à Claude Monet collection, a collaboration with the Claude Monet Foundation which has delighted fans for over 20 years. The pieces pay tribute to the artist’s passion for nature, as well as his love of Japanese art.

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