Peppered with prominent shopping streets, cool little concept stores, art galleries, antique shops and bustling markets, Budapest is a great place for browsing. Plan a shopping spree with our below guide to local treasure troves of anything from high-end fashion to flea market wonders.
Andrássy út is Budapest’s answer to the Champs Élysées. This tree-lined thoroughfare is filled with fancy shops like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Rolex, and stretches all the way from behind the Basilica in downtown to Heroes’ Square. A shopping haul here costs a fortune, but Andrássy út is a perfect place for window-shopping while strolling alongside beautiful century-old buildings – with the Millennium Underground, Continental Europe’s oldest metro, running belowground. 1061 Budapest, Andrássy út
Ecseri Flea Market
Budapest’s largest flea market lies on the outskirts of the city, about a 40-minute bus ride from downtown. At first glance Ecseri looks like a massive junkyard – which is not ever so far from the truth – although you can stumble upon some pretty precious items, too. Ecseri has everything you’d expect from a flea market and then some, from furniture to antiques, paintings, gramophones, typewriters, household items, retro cameras, Soviet-era relics, toys and just the most random knick-knacks. A morning spent browsing here is quite a special experience, and although Ecseri is open from 9am daily, Saturday is definitely the best day for browsing. There are only two rules to keep in mind; don’t take anything too seriously and always do haggle. 1194 Budapest, Nagykőrösi út 156.
Fancy a dress from Budapest? Nanushka is Hungary’s most famous fashion brand, already discovered by stars like Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence. Although it’s now well-known worldwide – and ships to a number of destinations – the headquarters are still in downtown Budapest, manifested in a small store-cum-mini specialty café. Nanushka’s designs are feminine, cosmopolitan yet comfortable, and while they cost a pretty penny, they’re still much cheaper than other international brands and make a great souvenir. Although less prominent, menswear features, too. 1052 Budapest. Bécsi utca 3.
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Váci utca is Budapest’s most prominent pedestrianised shopping street. Although it’s tourist central with crowds flooding the whole length of the street day and night, the line of little shops and restaurants is worth a look. While there are some tacky tourist traps here, you can also find small affordable shops and commercial chains like Zara, H&M, New Yorker or Flying Tiger. The first half of Váci utca starting from Vörösmarty tér is busier, while the second stretch has a quieter atmosphere, ending with the Great Market Hall. 1052 Budapest, Váci utca
Great Market Hall
Housed in a pretty building with a colourful ceramics roof, the Great Market Hall is a favoured place by tourists and locals alike. On the ground floor grocers pile up fresh fruits and vegetables, butchers sell everything from nose to tail and a little fish market features. Upstairs, you can try Hungarian specialities like lángos, a disc-shaped deep fried dough traditionally topped with sour cream, garlic and shredded cheese, as well as clothes and souvenirs. With paprika and sausages hanging everywhere, this market hall couldn’t be more Hungarian. Don’t forget to ask the vendors for a little taste of cold cuts or cheeses before buying. 1093 Budapest, Vámház körút 1-3.
Falk Miksa utca
Filled with dozens of shops specialising in art and antiques, Falk Miksa is the heart of the art trade in Budapest. The street starts at the statue of Lieutenant Columbo and his dog on the corner of the Grand Boulevard and ends by the Hungarian Parliament. Although you can unearth some inexpensive items here, most venues also cater to a classy clientele offering silverware, porcelain pieces, paintings, jewellery, furniture and more. This street is a must-see for the lovers of art and antiques, but it’s also perfect for just browsing due to its special peaceful atmosphere. Sometimes you can run into live auctions, too. 1055 Budapest, Falk Miksa utca
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Hidden in the courtyard of a stunning century-old Budapest apartment block lies Paloma, a second home for Hungarian designers. Nearly 50 local designers have open workshops here, showcasing handmade clothes, jewellery, bags, shoes, ceramics and more. The best thing about this place is that you can almost always meet the designers and get the story of your chosen souvenir from first-hand. 1053 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos utca 14.
Since its foundation in 1826, one of Hungary’s most iconic brands, Herend Porcelain, has been twisting heads with intricate, hand-painted and high-quality plates, cups, ornaments, figurines and more. Today, Herend is one of the world’s largest porcelain manufacturers. The ceramics company counts several royalties and celebrities among its clientele, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Queen Victoria. You can visit their flagship store in District V or their boutique shop on Andrássy út to admire the finest pieces of porcelain. 1051 Budapest, József Nádor tér 10-11./ 1061 Budapest, Andrássy út 16.
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Szimpla Farmer’s Market
On Sunday mornings, Budapest’s most famous and first ever ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, opens its doors to a different crowd. A friendly and laid-back famer’s market sets up here, bringing local producers and busy cosmopolitans together. Honeys, jams, freshly-baked breads, cold cuts, fruits, veggies, cheeses and all kinds of local produce feature, and something Hungarian is generally cooked on the spot from the seasonal ingredients. When in Budapest, visiting a ruin bar is a must, but seeing a very different side of it on a Sunday morning is an extra experience. 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 14.
You don’t have to spend too much time in Budapest until you run into somebody wearing a shirt, a hoodie or a full cap with simply ‘BP’ or cheekily ‘BudaFCKNPest’ written on it. These are the items of the BP Shop, which might seem a bit touristy at first, but they are almost more popular among underground locals. The stores themselves are nothing special, especially considering that the selection is complete with other big brands like Nike and Jordan, but if you’d like a souvenir that’s a subtle – or less so – nod to your time spent in Budapest, something from their cool and urban BP collection is a fun choice. 1051 Budapest, Hercegprímás utca 6./ 1077 Budapest, Wesselényi utca 24.