Discovering Budapest: What To Buy and Where To Shop
Budapest, Hungary’s buzzing capital, offers an array of unique shopping experiences that cater to all tastes. Despite the city’s shift towards a free-market economy, you can still find high-quality Hungarian goods at excellent prices. From locally crafted folk art and intricate porcelain to bespoke clothes and flavorful wines, here’s what you can buy in Budapest and where to find these treasures.
If you are interested in authentic Hungarian culture, head over to the flea markets or the street vendors around Moszkva tér and Parliament to find handmade textiles, ceramics, and woodwork. Visit Folkart Centrum for machine-made items or Judit Kézműves for genuine Transylvanian textiles. The Central Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) is a great place to explore for affordable folk costumes.
Budapest’s antique scene, dominated by 18th and 19th-century pieces in the Habsburg style, is concentrated around the Castle District, Falk Miksa utca, and Váci utca (Váci Street). Check out Moró Antik for 18th-century weapons or the large Nagyházi Gallery for everything from jewelry to furniture. The Ecseri Flea Market is another good bet for antiques.
Hungary’s Herend and Zsolnay are globally recognized for their exquisite porcelain work. Secondhand pieces can be found in antique shops and markets, while new pieces are available at the company stores.
CLOTHES AND SHOES
Custom-made clothes and shoes are one of Budapest’s luxurious yet affordable offerings. Local designers often accommodate personal fabric choices for a reasonable fee. For exclusive jewelry, visit Dáriusz Ekszerstudió. Please note shoemakers in Budapest mainly produce men’s shoes.
FOOD AND WINE
Hungarian food and wine offer great value and make excellent souvenirs. Look out for national favorites like spicy sausages from Debrecen, smoked sausages from Gyulai, and a range of world-famous salamis. Also consider dried mushrooms, paté de foie gras, a string of paprika, or some fresh sheep’s cheese from markets and delicatessens like Stonewell Gourmet.
As for wines, there’s a diverse range to choose from – dessert wines from the Tokaji region, Muscats from Kiskunhalas, and Chardonnays from Mátraalja. Don’t miss trying the herbal liqueur Unicum and the strong pálinka made from plums, cherries, or apricots. You can buy these at supermarkets or specialty stores like the House of Hungarian Wines, Borház, and House of Pálinka.
Hungary’s rich folk and classical music traditions make CDs, tapes, and vinyl a tempting purchase. For a range of Hungarian folk music, visit Rózsavölgyi Zeneműbolt. Concerto Records offers a selection of new and secondhand vinyl and CDs, while the state label, Hungaroton, sells a wide range of music genres.
For books, visit the Litea Bookstore and Café, where you can enjoy a good read with coffee and cakes. Studium Libri stocks many books in English, while Írók Boltja offers art books. For antique books, etchings, and maps, visit Központi Antikvárium. Treehugger Dan’s is packed with secondhand books, mainly English, French, and German.
Whether you are a casual shopper or an avid collector, Budapest has something to offer everyone. From its charming flea markets to its luxury boutiques, Budapest is a city where shopping meets culture and history.