But, it's good to know beforehand what is especially worth taking home as a souvenir, which are the best quality products of Hungary, when different shops are open, where will you find the big malls and several other things. We tried to collect here all necessary information for shopping maniacs.....
Would you like to bring home some Hungaricum? Looking for typical Hungarian gifts?
Ok, let's go to the town center, we'll start with discovering the Central Market hall than have a pleasant walk in the famouse Vaci street and in the neighboring narrow alleys. The street is located paralel the River on the Pest side - linking Vörösmarty square with the Market hall represents the main artery of the inner city.
Central Market Hall:
You can reach it by tram No 2 (Fovam ter stop) or by tram No 47, 49 , it is at the head of the green Szabadsag bridge on the Pest side, opposite the Gellert Hotel and Bath.
The more than 100 years old ever-buzzing building has incredible variety of quality foods: paprika garlands, strings of garlic, fruits and vegetables, cheese and fish, flowers, handicrafts everywhere, the building is full of colours, sounds and aromas.
You can buy here the bitter aromatic herb liqueur called Unicum, one of the top bitter spirits of the world or the famouse Tokaj Wine which said to be the"Wine of Kings, king of Wines". Buy a Tokaji Aszu - a famouse sweet dessert wine, its remarkable bouquet is given by the grapes being left on the vine to shrivel in the sun. The number of "Puttonys"(panniers) which go into a barrel gives the Aszú's puttony number , the more puttony, the sweeter and the more expensive the wine is. Excellent present for business partmers but also for your family members.
An other Hungarian alcoholic drink is the "Barack- or Szilvapálinka", it is Apricot or plum spirit, originally a homemade spirit with 40-50 % of alcohol content. It is a very poular local drink, first of all on the countryside in the morning before starting the day people use it as an "eye-opener".
These Hungarian alcohols can be purchased of course in every foodstore but if you'd like to bring it home as a souvenir always check quality.
Hungarian goose liver is excellent and HERZ and Pick Salamis are also Hungaricums, they are the highest quality salamis of the world.
Nice handicrafts, applied art goods can also be purchased here and after the "gruelling" shopping you can taste one of the Hungarian dishes on the first floor in FAKANAL restaurant. Not too cheap but good Hungarian cuisine, we can recommend to taste here the "LÁNGOS" with garlic souce and sour cream. :)
Opening hours: Monday: 06.00 - 17.00
Tuesday-Fri: 06.00 - 18.00 , Sat: 06.00 - 14.00 Closed on Sunday
Along Vaci Street:
Leaving the Market Hall just cross the street and you'll find yourself in the well-known pedistrian and shopping street Vaci. It has 2 parts , you will start with the elder section which is not so busy than the new part (from Ferenciek ter to Vörösmarty square)
The street is full of boutiques and bijouteries, jewellers and perfumeries offer their products. Here you'll surely can pbuy T-Shirts with Hungary or Budapest logo, coffee mugs or other kind of pots, little souvenirs reminding you that you were in Budapest.
Foreign language bookshops, wine shops, antique furniture and paintings, good Galleries - but in the meantime direct your eyes also to the old and nice buildings which were raised in the late 1800s.
Wide range of original, artificer and folk-art products from all over Hungary in the street:
Folkart Centrum: Vaci street 58 Open every day 10-19
Craftsman's house : on the corner of Vaci and Regiposta streets. Open: 10-19
And other good souvenir idea: Porcelain
Zsolnay and Herend Porcelains are very famouse, in Kígyó street which opens from Vaci street you'll find both factories' shops. Ash trays, plates and vases, dining sets, but replacement pieces also can be ordered. Not too cheap but very nice presents to your granny.:)
After having the souvenirs let's go shopping for ourselves.....:)
Most Hungarians do the shopping in big malls where everything is under one roof: food stores, brand name clothes shops, boutiques and bookstores, drogeries and gift stores. All "Plazas" can be easily reached by underground or by tram lines. Here you are the biggest ones from the center:
Westend City Center: behind Nyugati train station. Multiplex cinema, food court, bowling and other standard luxuries that most malls boast. Tel: 238-7777 (5 languages menu) M3 blue metro stop: Nyugati pu.
Mammut I and II.: mall, office and living complex on the Buda side. Maybe the biggest one in Budapest. You can reach it by tram No 4 and 6, get off at the stop before Moszkva ter terminus. www.mompark.hu
An other favourite way of shopping is to go to markets which can be chinese or a flee market.
Chinese marketes offer cheap but not high quality clothes, food and evrertyhing "made in China". Good place for absurd brand names. :) I could recommend two of them which are quite big and still easily reachable by public means:
Józsefvárosi piac: Tram 28,37 to "Kobanyai ut", it's a little china town with all its advantages and disadvantages. Open daily from 6am to 6pm.
Fay street: tram No 14 from Lehel ter(M3), quite big, with vietnamese stallholders.