Destination Budapest

Best places for shopping in Budapest

Carolyn Bánfalvi and Forrest Brown, CNNUpdated 19th December 2018
(CNN) — Communist officials from 20th century Hungary would probably be startled to see all the shopping opportunities that have emerged in Budapest in the past couple of decades.
From stately high-end porcelain and antique shops to mass markets full of bargains and fascinating people watching, here's a small sampling of the shopping venues you can enjoy when you travel to Budapest:

Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall, also called the Central Market Hall, is one of the city's many fantastic local markets. The cavernous 19th century building is not only a tourist attraction, but a place where locals do their daily shopping.
Butchers sell everything from the nose to the tail, while grocers provide piles of local, seasonal vegetables and fruit. The briny scent of pickles can be followed down to the basement level, where there are gorgeous displays, as well as fish and game.
Oh! And the strings of dried paprika hanging all around won't let you forget you're in Hungary, either.
Great Market Hall, Vamhaz korut 1-3, Budapest 1093 Hungary; +36 (1) 366 3300

Falk Miksa utca

Whether you're a serious collector or just like to browse, Falk Miksa utca, a lovely tree-lined street two blocks from the Danube, is the perfect strolling venue.
Between the Parliament and Margaret Bridge, Budapest's antique row holds the highest concentration of antique shops. A few shops and galleries to look for:
-- Kieselbach Galéria specializes in paintings and also functions as an auction house. (Szent István körút 5; +36 1 269 3148)
-- Nagyházi Galéria is one of the larger shops and stocks a variety of items from outdoor statues and rustic painted furniture to oversized chandeliers and shiny Biedermeier furniture. (Balaton utca 8; +36 1 475 6000)
-- Darius Antiques sells top-notch furnishings, weapons, rugs and paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. (Falk Miksa utca 24-26; +36 1 311 2603)
Falk Miksa utca between Szent István körút and Szalay utca

MesterPorta

Hungary's folk artisans create beautiful pieces out of clay, wool, felt, thread and glass. Most Hungarian regions have their own folk style or prominent folk motifs, and MesterPorta is a small shop that offers a nice selection of high-quality folk art.
There are sets of all-black ceramics, colorful embroidery from the Matyó region, delicately painted eggs and more. Each piece is labeled with the name of the artisan who made it.
MesterPorta, 1011 Budapest, Corvin tér 7; +36 20 232 5614

Herend Porcelain

Herend Porcelain is a storied name across Europe.
Herend Porcelain is a storied name across Europe.
Shutterstock
A fine piece of Hungarian porcelain could be the perfect little item to buy as a remembrance of your trip to Budapest.
Founded in 1826, Herend deals in exquisite plates, ornaments, figurines and more.
By 1851, Herend's products were renowned throughout the world and soon caught the eye of Queen Victoria in London.
It quickly expanded globally, showing its products in World Fairs from St. Peterburg, Russia, to St. Louis, USA, and survived World War II and the communist era.
Today there's a visitor center, museum and manufacturing site, where you can witness the masters at work.
The company website also lists stores where Herend porcelain is sold, however tourists should beware of imitators.
Herend Porcelain, 8440 Herend, Kossuth Lajos utca 140; +36 88 523 100

Szputnyik shop

Looking for some vintage clothing, Hungarian style? You might want to check out Szputnyik shop.
The name and concept are actually inspired by a Japanese novel, "Sputnik Sweetheart," by Haruki Murakami. Szputnyik shop says it likes to cater to travelers, and its clothes marry a retro, funky, individual look with environmental concerns. Along with clothes, you can pick up watches, eyeglasses, backpacks and more.
There are two locations in Budapest.
Szputnyik shop D-20, 1074 Budapest, VII. Dohány Street. 20. +36 1 321 3730
Szputnyik shop K-22, 1061 Budapest, VI. Király street. 22. +36 1 215 3475

Ecseri Flea Market

If you're willing to head to the outskirts of Budapest, you can enjoy one of the city's biggest flea markets. It's about a 40-minute ride from the center of town on public transportation.
The website Flea Market Insiders gives it a hearty recommendation. You may discover finds such as antique cameras, Soviet-era relics, old jewelry and secondhand books. And like most flea markets, haggling and interesting people watching are part of the fun. It's a great place to get an inexpensive souvenir and a slice of Hungarian life.
Ecseri Flea Market, Budapest, Nagykőrösi út 150, 1194 Hungary

Andrássy út

Andrassy Ut near St. Stephen's Basilica.
Andrassy Ut near St. Stephen's Basilica.
Shutterstock
Some people say Andrássy út is Hungary's answer to the Champs-Élysées. This wide avenue, with its refined mansions and museums, is also home to some of Budapest's high-end shopping.
The experience won't be uniquely Hungarian, but this is where you'll find stores such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, if you're in that kind of mood.
Gucci, Andrássy 23, Budapest, 1061, Hungary; +36 1 322 0971
Louis Vuitton, Budapest, Andrássy út 24, 1061 Hungary, +36 1 373 0487

Hold Utca Food Market

Hold Utca Food Market is one of the places to be seen in the plush 5th district.
Nestled directly behind the American Embassy, this traditional food hall has been spruced up to cater for the wealthy residents living nearby.
Ambassadors, TV stars and famous opera singers can all be seen shopping here for their weekly treats. From fresh meat and fish, to traditional Hungarian dishes and eateries, this food hall has everything a foodie could wish for.
Hold Utca Food Market, Budapest, Hold u. 13, 1054 Hungary

Fashion Street

Extending from Vörösmarty Square to Deák Ferenc Square, Fashion Street is one of the more popular shopping areas in Budapest.
This avenue is home to some of Budapest's best souvenir shops as well as high-end shopping outlets.
But Fashion Street truly comes to life during the summer and winter months, when tourists flock to Budapest to soak up the seasonal atmosphere.
Just be careful not to get too carried away with the many options available.
Fashion Street, Deák Ferenc út 15, Budapest, 1052

Shopping malls

Arena Mall, Budapest
Arena Mall -- one of the largest shopping plazas in Budapest.
Courtesy Arena Mall
Just like the United States, Budapest has a whole host of fully stocked shopping malls to choose from.
Boasting more than 10 in total, the mall concept has taken off quickly in the city and the venues are heaving throughout the week and weekends.
With some great bargains and discounts on offer, the malls provide everything from high-end shopping and high street stores, to traditional Hungarian treats and food courts.
The best malls to visit in Budapest are:
Arena Mall Budapest, Kerepesi út 9, 1087 Hungary
Allee, Budapest, Október huszonharmadika u. 8-10, 1117 Hungary
WestEnd City Center, Budapest, Váci út 1-3, 1062 Hungary

Currency

Hungary is part of the European Union, but it does not officially use the euro. Its currency is the forint. Budapest can be less expensive than many other capitals in Europe because of the exchange rate.