Maybe it’s because we’ve all been stuck at home for most of the past year and a half but it seems like scented candles have become more popular than ever, with destination-themed scents helping us remember or experience places we’re missing or yearning to visit.
When it comes to memories, smell is our strongest sense, which is why a whiff of coconut can immediately transport us back to a summer at the beach.
For those desperate to travel again, these evocative candles may be the closest they get for a while – making them the most meaningful gift of all.
It’s impossible to pick just one candle from Literie’s New York Collection because who can resist scents like Pizza from a Guy Named Joe or I Have a Cabin Upstate? But, as any New Yorker will tell you, there’s nothing like the smell of Central Park in the spring, which is captured here in all its glory with fresh notes of grass and bergamot. Made of soy and coconut wax, the candle comes in a cute little glass jar and has a burn time of around 50 hours. Literie also offers a Miami Collection with scents like Buying Bags in Bal Harbour and Bottle Service. Price: $35
This beautiful candle comes in a calming glass jar reminiscent of the cool blues of Santorini. Described as “Luminous waters and fresh herbs,” it’s balanced with amber, woods and musk for a scent that will make them want to book a flight to Greece. (While you’re checking out DW Home, don’t miss the Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes and Dinner Roll candles, which nail their namesakes and are a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving with someone far away.) Price: from $20
Full of zest yet clean and refreshing, this citrusy scent is basically Italy’s Amalfi Coast in a candle. Lemon and orange bergamot are blended with fresh mint and a hint of driftwood for a unique fragrance that will make your recipient happy to stay home. Made from a proprietary wax, it has a burn time of 50-60 hours so they’ll feel like they’re spending their work week sitting in an Italian piazza with their laptop. Price: $44
As majestic as the natural glacial formation for which it was named, this breathtaking scent conjures up images of crashing waterfalls, cascading forests and abundant orchards. In other words, Norway. It comes in a simple, green (of course) painted glass vessel with an engraved beechwood lid and features scent notes of apple and pear blossoms, orchard fruits and redcurrants. It’s, literally, like a breath of fresh air. For a more extensive Scandinavian experience, check out the EXPLORE gift set. Price: $45
Homesick’s extensive collection of place-themed candles will immediately transport them somewhere else – like France. With top notes of vanilla, coffee and butter (croissants!), mid notes of lavender and anise, and base notes of tobacco and musk, it’s like sitting in a Paris café, taking in the wonderful scents of the city. If your recipient is more a “There’s no place like home” kind of person, Homesick offers a candle representing every state, many cities and many other countries. Price: $34
This new scent from iconic Yankee Candle Company is an ode to the best kind of road trip – a drive through the woods as the fall leaves put on a show. It’s driven by top notes of green mandarin, frosted jasmine and white rose; mid notes of Douglass Fir, white vetiver and clary sage; and base notes of Madagascar vanilla bean, white suede and labdanum. The premium-grade paraffin wax candle even comes in an autumn hue itself. Price: $31
The easiest way to travel to Hawaii this holiday season is via this eco-friendly soy wax candle that smells like aloha. It’s got beachy notes of sea salt, sea moss and driftwood touched with bergamot and ylang ylang to create a lovely island atmosphere. The double-wicked candle comes in a screenprinted glass tumbler for a minimalist look that lets the scent take the spotlight. Price: $38
This elegant candle smells so good – it’s got notes of eucalyptus, cypress, moss, bayberry, fir, patchouli and sweet incense – but if you can’t quite place the destination that inspired it, it’s because it doesn’t exist yet. 100% of the profits from this beautiful candle go toward opening The Jenesis House Wellness Resort & Spa, the first black-owned, female-owned resort in Arizona. The 13-room, adult-only resort will offer a spa, healing arts, farm-to-table nutrition and complete wellness experiences. If it smells anything like this luxury candle – which comes with a Rose Quartz crystal for healing and a free refill – we don’t think we’ll ever want to check out. Price: $65
As complex and rich as the San Francisco neighborhood itself, this earthy candle features base notes of vetiver and white patchouli (hello, Summer of Love!) topped off with spicy yet smooth notes of sandalwood and ylang-ylang. Befitting of the luxury for which Nob Hill is known, the 100% natural soy candle features a natural charcoal-based black dye and is housed in a black recycled glass jar. Available in a variety of sizes, it – like many of the candles in Flores Lane’s city-themed collections – comes with a playlist that’s equally lit. Price: from $6.00
Send them on a trip to the Island of Enchantment with this delicious-smelling candle hand-poured in an authentic coconut shell. Handmade in Puerto Rico by a small, family-run business, it has a tropical vibe that turns any space into a vacation. You’ll wish you had actually brought it back from a weekend away. Price: $5.99